Park and pipe crew maintain British momentum on snow
Freestyle Skiing

Park and pipe crew maintain British momentum on snow

30 January 2017 / 21:32

Seven days after Dave Ryding won a historic slalom silver on the slopes of Kitzbuehel, the results kept on coming for Great Britain this weekend, including gold, silver and bronze on the snow.

Jamie Nicholls kicked this off on Friday with World Cup snowboard slopestyle silver, in Italy, before the medal rush continued over in Aspen with Katie Ormerod clinching slopestyle bronze and James Woods gold at the X-Games.

There were also a number of personal best performances from other Brits, on snow and ice, as the growing feel-good factor continued on the winter scene with just over a year to go to Pyeongchang 2018.

Woods ticks off a career target

Take a look at freestyke skier James Woods’ career achievements and it makes for pretty impressive reading, at just 25 years of age.

World Championship slopestyle silver in 2013 – the same year in which he took the World Cup crown and X-Games bronze – as well as a battling fifth place at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, despite sustaining a hip injury in training.

But an X-Games title – at what is regarded as the biggest freeski and snowboard event in the world – had, until Saturday evening in America, so far eluded him.

Just hours earlier he had tried to make it happen in the slopestyle, laying down an impressive run before finishing off the podium in fourth.

But returning to the slopes Woods was not about to be denied a second time, landing two triple corks in the Ski Big Air to take top spot from Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut, on countback after both men scored 88.

Ski Big Air is not on the programme for next year’s Games in Pyeongchang with the snowboarding equivalent instead making its debut.

Although, judging by Woods’ performances across both slopestyle and Big Air, he will definitely be one to look out for in the former.

Impressive season continues for Ormerod

One Brit who will be looking to star in the snowboarding Big Air will be Katie Ormerod, with her maiden World Cup win coming in the discipline back at the start of the year.

In a reverse of Woods’ achievements however, it was the slopestyle where she smashed it on Saturday to pick up her first X-Games medal.

She scored 80.33 for bronze behind winner Julia Marino, to add to a fifth place in the Big Air.

She said: "I'm super happy to get my first X-Games medal! It's always been on my bucket list to medal here so I couldn't be happier!

“Especially to medal in the most high-profile event of the season in such a tough and progressive field of riders."

That was her third major podium of the season with the attention on the 19-year-old – who became the first woman to land a backside double-cork 1080, two 360-degree front flips and a full 360-degree corkscrew spin, in 2014 – growing all the time.

Nicholls kicks off British medal haul

While the likes of Katie Ormerod have been grabbing the headlines this season, Jamie Nicholls made sure to get in on the action on Friday with his first podium finish of the campaign in Seiser Alm, Italy.

The 23-year-old won the World Cup slopestyle in the Czech Republic last season – the first Brit to do so – but had not been among the medals since.

That changed though, as this weekend he stepped it up from qualifying in third place in his heat to take second in the final behind Belgium’s Seppe Smits.

He saved his best run until last, stomping down a score of 87.90 with only Smits’ first run mark of 88.30 any better.

Nicholls finished sixth in the snowboarding slopestyle at Sochi 2014 and will be hoping to upgrade on that next year.

“I can’t believe I have made it on to the podium today” he said, on Friday. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks with a little injury, but today was a good day in the office. I can’t wait for the next few weeks.”

Success continues elsewhere

The GB Park and Pipe crew were certainly well represented over the weekend, too, with Billy Morgan narrowly missing out on the podium behind Nicholls in fourth, while teammate Rowan Coultas claimed seventh place.

In the women’s competition, Aimee Fuller also put in a solid run in the final to finish fifth overall.

There was also a fourth place for Katie Summerhayes in the World Cup ski slopestyle finals, with Madi Rowlands 13th overall.

The team have now already moved on to Mammoth, USA, for the next halfpipe and slopestyle World Cup.

Sportsbeat 2017

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