Day three of the British Freeski Championships saw perfect conditions for the Protest Slopestyle Champs in Tignes. Blue skies greeted the riders and the sun continued to shine all day as Julian Ball (28, Val d’Isère) and 12 year old Madi Rowlands (Rochester) threw down their best moves to fight off strong opposition and become slopestyle king and queen.
Julian Ball impressed the crowds and judges time after time as he pulled off big technical tricks all day including a massive cork 900 followed by a switch cork 720 with a tail grab, a switch 360 on the step up and another switch cork 720 on his first run of the final. His solid riding continued into the rails with two smooth 270 on, 270 offs, switching it up in the middle.
Biting at his heels was young Michael Rowlands (15, Rochester) who was consistently spinning both ways and on his first run of the final stomped a stylish switch 540 tail grab followed by a 720 nose grab, a 360 on the step up then spinning left into a sweet 720 on the final big kicker. He mixed it up on the rails and rode a smooth 270 out of the kink rail, but it was just not enough to catch Ball. His solid run was enough to nudge out Tom Coe (20, Norwich), however, who held onto a podium position with a good variety of tricks including an effortless switch rodeo 540 japan and an inverted cork 720. But it was his slick rail riding which clinched him third place, just behind Rowlands.
Ball, who also came third in the BRITS Bangers & Cash Rail Jam on Monday, was stoked with his win: “I am over the moon and I had a great day today. The course definitely favoured my riding style. The guys who had the double tricks couldn’t really pull them out of the bag and conditions were quite slow for some of the smaller guys. I tried to change it up a bit and do some tricks that the other guys weren’t doing to stand out a bit and tried to go big. I was really pleased with my runs and I will take the win for sure!”
For the girls it was Madi Rowlands, younger sister of Michael, who took the top spot as she stomped her landings and impressed on the rails. In the absence of Olympic slopestyle hopeful Katie Summerhayes, Rowlands took full advantage and nailed a slick 900, the only girl to do so, and easily pulled off several 720s. She also had a solid run on the rails riding switch onto both the box and the first rail.
Anna Vincenti (17, Edinburgh), came in second and also ramped up in the female riding standards being the only woman to ride the step up. She also stomped her rails with clean smooth rail riding on her second final run. Reigning Protest British Slopestyle champion Chloe Hardy (24, Oxford) couldn’t manage to retain her title despite two consistent runs and some strong rail riding. Morzine seasonnaire Hardy rode switch onto the box and rail, looking super solid, but she couldn’t quite compete with Rowlands and Vincenti and was nudged into third place.
Rowlands, who has already had an impressive BRITS so far, said: “I am pretty stoked. I was happy with my run and I would say I got it how I wanted to get it. The course was good, the weather was perfect and I am really happy.”
The Protest British Slopestyle Championships course consisted of two sections, the first four kickers represented 60% of the marks and the lower rail section made up the remaining 40%.
Protest British Freeski Slopestyle Championships Results
1st – Julian Ball 1st – Madi Rowlands
2nd – Michael Rowlands 2nd – Anna Vincenti
3rd – Tom Coe 3rd – Chloe Hardy