What did you get up to after Christmas? Whilst some were polishing off the turkey leftovers and watching a festive flick on the telebox, others were shredding the gnar in the UK countryside. Parts of the north and midlands received up to 11cm of snow from Boxing Day 2014 which allowed keen skiers and snowboarders to head to the hills for some fresh powder turns. Check out these awesome photos of backcountry riding, UK style!
Team GB Olympic Snowboarder Jamie Nicholls getting some fresh tracks at home in Yorkshire
Jamie laying down a handplant on his mini ramp & Bradford looking very snowy in the background
Friends of Iglu, Lauren Quinnell & Ollie Evans riding near the Peak District in Wessington, Derbyshire
Stunning snowy landscapes in Leek, Staffordshire, perfect day for a fun shred with friends (Credit - Instagram @samcorbett88)
Paragliders jumping off Mam Tor in the Peak District (Credit - Twitter @PaulSCaddy)
More beautiful snowy scenery in the Peak District (Credit - Twitter @PaulSCaddy)
Skiers in the Peak District (Credit - Twitter @PaulSCaddy)
David Mercker Cox taking his board out in Glenariff, Northern Ireland
Snowy Glenariff at sunset
David getting his freestyle on in the snow in Northern Ireland
In the middle of the hustle and bustle of day 1 at the London Ski and Snowboard Show, we met up with cheeky chappie and Team GB snowboarder Jamie Nicholls. After a stunning performance at Sochi and achieving sixth place in the first ever snowboard slopestyle final in a Winter Games, the Olympics has thrown Jamie into the spotlight and he is now recognised as one of the country’s best snowboarders. Nicholls scored a huge 85.5 from the judges on his first run, but the standard of the male snowboarders was so high and Jamie was knocked out the running for a medal. We caught up with Jamie about his Sochi experience, what he’s been up to over the summer and his plans for the this winter, including a pretty big exciting secret project that’s happening in London (watch the video below for more info)
The Yorkshire lad is well known for lapping Halifax dryslope since a tender age, so he is an ideal example to inspire a generation to have a go and try skiing or snowboarding at their local ski centre. Since Sochi, Snowsport England have recorded a 12% increase in participation at domestic slopes and centres year on year, which is fantastic news for the British ski and snowboard industry. As the latest ambassador for Snowsport England’s national participation campaign, Go Ski Go Board, Jamie tells us that he is ‘trying to help build good camps for kids’ with the governing body and help fly the flag for winter sports. He is a regular to The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead which always creates a buzz at the dome and inspires more people to give it a go themselves.
Read more about Team GB's involvement with Go Ski Go Board He has a very light hearted approach to getting in to the sport, and when asked for advice for anyone wanting to learn: Drop in to your closest snowdome, snow centre or dry slope and give it a good go. If you like it, stick at it, if you don’t like it, try it again and again till you do (laughs)… we agree too!
Hayley and I meeting Jamie at the Ski & Snowboard Show
The British snowboarder has a busy winter ahead of him. Last week he narrowly missed out on a podium spot on his first competition of the season and came in 4th at the Burton Rail Days in Tokyo. Some people will see fourth as a good result in Japan but I was going out there to try and win it. Next up will be the Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge from 11 -14 December. After some training and down time in Austria he has high hopes for the competition in Colorado. Snowboarding has taken Jamie all over the globe and the 21 year old is now recognised as one of the World’s best snowboarders. But when he’s not in the park he does enjoy the backcountry; Last winter Jamie went on his first splitboard adventure in Austria, and that must have given him the bug as when we asked him if could snowboard somewhere in the world he’s not been before, Jamie told us that he desires a trekking trip to Nepal, Argentina or some weird places that I’ve never been and never get a chance to go. We are very interested to see what Jamie gets up to this season.
Jamie in Stubai, Austria.
After a busy winter season packed full of Olympic achievements, hard work and plenty of pow, the Team GB winter athletes certainly have a year to be proud of. But what do they get up to when the snow’s gone all slushy, the main resorts have closed and the rest of us have packed up our goggles for yet another year? We give you the lowdown…
The summer months provide a great opportunity for the Team GB athletes to get some well-earned down time, whilst still keeping active. Surfing is a great way to keep fitness levels up and also a great reason to head somewhere exotic for a sunshine fix. This summer, Billy Morgan gave surfing a try for the first time in Portugal and got so hooked, he even headed to Bali to alongside teammate James ‘Woodsy’ Woods to get in extra practice. Other surf fans from Team GB include Aimee Fuller and Jenny Jones; Jones frequently spends her time-off hitting up the Devon and Cornwall coasts.
Surfing isn’t the only board sport that many of the athletes have been participating in, with avid skaters Billy Morgan and Dom Harington planning on filling their summers with plenty of skate park sessions. Over in Belfast, Aimee Fuller has been a regular visitor at her local wakeboarding centre Cable & Wake, where she has been learning how to do her best tricks out on the water.
When not participating in their own sports, the athletes are often spotted showing support for other sporting disciplines. Both Lizzy Yarnold and Jenny Jones were in attendance at Wimbledon this year to cheer on the world’s best tennis stars. Jones also came out to show support at the Push the Prom girls skateboarding event and the Chippenham Games.
In keeping up with her new found love for wakeboarding, Aimee Fuller attended the Irish Cable & Wake contest and a Red Bull Go Karting with the stars session. Billy Morgan, a fellow Red Bull athlete met up with other Red Bull team members across various motorsport disciplines to show them his support in the Goodwill Festival of Speed.
There were still plenty of the snowsport events over the summer, with Jenny Jones attending the fundraiser for the youth charity Snow-Camp, of which she is a patron. Katie Summerhayes was a guest judge at this year’s English Slopestyle Championships, showing support to the next generation of promising winter sport athletes.
As well as supporting other sports, many of the athletes are keen to give other disciplines a try for themselves. Ben Kilner cycled from London to Paris with Oakley and Dom Harington also got involved in the cycling, with a London to Milton Keynes bike ride. In addition, Kilner jumped at the chance to participate in his second love – golf – with the Oakley King of Greens tournament (he won the final prize!).
Golf seems to have been popular this summer amongst Team GB, with Jamie Nicholls and Jenny Jones also taking a swing in the King of Greens. Over in Canada, Woodsy was invited to take part in the TJ Schiller Charity ‘Golf’ Invitational - a fun day of not-so-serious golf to raise money for a good cause – the Sarah Burke Foundation.
The summer months are the perfect time for the athletes to get to the gym to work on strength and cardio training ready for the next season. However, they’re also a time to treat niggling injuries and fit in some rehabilitation. At the beginning of the summer, Jenny Jones had surgery to fix a shoulder injury, giving her the summer to recover and get strong again for winter.
As well as taking some physical downtime, many of the athletes will be using their time off to catch up with their nearest and dearest. Jamie Nicholls has plans for holidays and family time in the Maldives and Majorca, Woodsy has been hanging out with his girlfriend in Bali and New Zealand and Dom Harington also has some holiday time set aside with his family.
Most athletes have a much shorter summer season than we’re used to and it’s not long before they head out to find more skiing and boarding opportunities, whether in the Southern hemisphere or closer to home in Europe. This year, Jenny Jones went glacier skiing in Verbier and Katie Summerhayes and Rowan Cheshire attended the British Freeski camps in Cervinia and Zermatt.
Summerhayes also jetted off to the Whistler-Blackcomb glacier in Canada along with team mate Woodsy to attend the Momentum Ski Camps – the place where Woodsy spent his summer’s training as a kid. He also travelled to New Zealand to catch some pow, as did fellow Team GB athlete Billy Morgan.
Having time off over the summer is also about catching up with personal goals and for the athletes this means getting to do the things that they are too busy to accomplish the rest of the year round. Katie Summerhayes passed her driving test this summer and Aimee Fuller passed her motorbike test (well done guys!). Aimee celebrated in style by heading off to Norway for a motorbike roadtrip / snowboarding / skating adventure.
When Team GB aren’t attending training camps or taking some much needed holidays, many of them can be spotted getting in some runs on their local ski slopes. Jamie Nicholls is a regular the Friday night freestyle sessions at the Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead, Katie Summerhayes is a regular at Snozone, Castleford and Rowan Cheshire is often spotted at Chill Factore, Manchester.
Following the success of Go Ski Go Board last year, Snowsport England’s latest initiative Go Race Go Freestyle aims to capitalise on Sochi buzz and give people more of a chance to mirror the skills of the Team GB skiers and snowboarders.
Go Ski Go Board In its first year of launch, 10,000 people participated in the Go Ski Go Board sessions across the country where new riders had the chance to try skiing or snowboarding. Snowsport England continues to get more people into ski and snowboard by offering value for money and convenient access to the sports. Read about last year’s GSGB launch
Go Race Go Freestyle Launch We met Tim from Snowsport England at the launch of Go Race Go Freestyle and spoke about advice for new skiers and snowboarders, keeping the momentum of the Sochi legacy as well as the GRGF launch and other events coming up. Watch our video with Tim here: The GRGF launch kicked off at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead this week with Go Ski Go Snowboard Ambassadors, and Team GB skiers, Katie Summerhayes and Darcie Mead. Nick and Krystelle were at the event to meet Katie and Darcie as well as having a taking part in a Go Race Go Freestyle session. Katie and Darcie talking about their involvement in the campaign, then on the slopes at the Snow Centre Get involved in Go Race Go Freestyle Events will be held Nationwide at indoor and artificial slopes and snowsports clubs nationwide. The Go Race Go Freestyle sessions will come in various forms:
Darcie and Nick taking part in Go Race
Tim Fawke, CEO of Snowsport England said: “Sochi 2014 brought snowsports to the attention of more people than ever before, particularly those inspired by the dynamism and excitement of ski racing or by the fantastic performances from Great Britain’s freestyle skiers and snowboarders. With GO RACE GO FREESTYLE sessions, we are giving people the opportunity to get a taste for another side of snowsports and for people who want to get even more involved, it becomes part of the pathway from grass roots to elite snowsports.”
GO SKI GO BOARD and GO RACE GO FREESTYLE sessions can be found on www.goskigoboard.org.uk
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)