With the likes Billy Morgan, Aimee Fuller (now confirmed as Team GB member), Jamie Nichols and Jenny Jones (to name a few) all about to fly the flag in Sochi, British snow sport is looking in fine fettle. But it’s not the old school alpine race disciplines us Brits are blowing up… Slopestyle is the new kid on the Winter Olympic block and we’re possibly set for the biggest haul of snowy gold for more years than most would care to recall.
UK – Slopestyle superpower?
If terms like jibbin’, bootin’ and stompin’ or kickers, rails and corked are more familiar when associated with football, stairs and a spoiled vintage, now’s the time to get acquainted.
Points are awarded for style, execution and difficulty with riders encouraged to bust out the big guns and hang it all out. Although scores are at the discretion of judges, and therefore subjective, it gives shredders the chance to draw the lines they want, express themselves in their own unique and individual way and show just what’s in their bag of tricks. .
Our grey and pleasant land isn’t exactly noted for its extensive network of mountain resorts, white fluffy powder, pillow lines and groomed alpine piste. Most riders train at one of the various indoor or outdoor fake hills. As a ski/snowboard nation we’ve therefore had to adapt and adopt disciplines that fit terrain we have easy access to. But what Britain lacks in riding choice is more than made up with our enthusiasm for hucking moves. With buckets of contorted technique (easily enough to rival other freestyle rippers of the world), passion, drive and commitment, we’ve surely got a world beating formula.
When you stop and think about it, a resort based snow park only covers a minute area of the mountain, and yet, there’s still enough space to chuck all those comp winning tricks. In fact, you could do this in your own back garden – with some out of the box thinking.
Over the years the level of freestyle skiing and snowboarding, in Britain, has been going through the roof and as Sochi looms ever nearer we, as a nation, are poised to slam a massive dollop of ‘yes we Brits rip’ in the faces of those naysayers who wrote us off years ago. Athletes who reside in better locations, and dominate racing disciplines, will sit up and take notice of when eventually lay it down in the slopestyle arena. If you squint, you can just about make out the opposition trembling in the distance!
So can we do it? Could Britain actually put itself on the map as a bona fide slopestyle superpower – even without proper resorts and snow? The answer is most definitely yes. And with this generation of rippers flying the flag, we can only imagine how good the follow on going to be. All eyes on Sochi then – let’s bring home the bacon, or rather, a sack gold medals!