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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.
Winter 13/14 has been a truly epic season, we are still buzzing from the amazing snow and fun we have had over the past 6 months, both in the UK and abroad. Here are our Top 5 highlights from this ski season
By 16th November 2013 Tignes had already been blessed with a 2m snow base up top and the Pyrenees had just received 40cm of fresh snow. Thanks to the fantastic snowfall and icy temperatures, resorts in Europe started opening their slopes early in a domino fashion. Alpe d’Huez opened 3 weeks early and continued to open every weekend until the resort’s official opening on 6th December. Kitzbühel and Obergugl began opening their slopes to the public in Austria, as did Verbier in Switzerland while Courchevel had a special free taster opening on Saturday 23rd November. With huge storms in Switzerland and France in late November, keen skiers and snowboarders were able to get their snow fixes earlier than ever thought as more and more resorts opened early – was this the best start to the season ever?
Beautiful conditions in Tignes on 8th Nov 2013
To get us more and more excited as winter approaches, the UK presented a range of exciting ski events to attend as the months became colder. Londoners were lucky enough to take advantage of O’Neil’s Shoreditch Showdown, Ski and Snowboard Film Premieres and Iglu Ski favourite, Freeze Festival. Manchester and London played host to the Ski and Snowboard Shows which are the perfect way to find everything you need for the season. While the Snow Dome’s up and down the country gave us that snow fix before getting out to the Alps. To give our ski holiday’s added fun, an increasing amount of events are popping up across the mountains. Christmas markets and firework displays give the festive weeks an added joyous feeling while music and sports events give unique experiences to your holiday. Ibiza Rocks headed to the mountains for the first time with a series of 3 weeks of parties in Meribel bringing the hottest breakthrough live acts and daily après ski events for ‘Ibiza Rocks the Snow.’
O'Neil Shoreditch Showdown, London
With the early snow dumps then warm conditions there was an increase in avalanches in the Alps and terrible news of accidents dominated the snow news. This has increased our awareness of off piste safety, using safety equipment and taking guided tours for off piste adventures. With the media domination of safety in snowsports, the rise in wearing helmets on the slopes is positive and Snow and Rock have seen a huge increase in helmet sales over the last 5 years. If you’re still not convinced, you must watch Kevin Pearce’s inspiring story ‘The Crash Reel’ and take a look at the Love Your Brain campaign. It is extremely important to stay safe on the mountains and minimise our risk of danger means we can carry on doing what we love for years to come.
For more information on Safety in the Mountains.
Even when resorts are starting to close for the season it is still dumping like its January! The heaviest snowfall has been reported in Switzerland with up to 50cm of knee deep freshies in Andermatt and Zermatt while the 3 Valleys in France and Cervina in Italy also enjoyed the best of the new snowfall. Our friends across the pond are on powder alert as they expect over 50cm this weekend in Lake Louise. Winter 2013-14 has been the season that keep on giving with some epic skiing this spring - We love spring skiing!
Sochi showcased huge exposure for the British ski industry and the world recognised the elite status of Team GB’s athletes. For a country lacking in mountains, Team GB proved we are a country to take seriously when it comes to winter sports. With an Olympic Bronze medal, five top 10 finishes, a further five top 20 and 3 in the top 30, it was the most successful Winter Games to date for British skiers and snowboarders. Both Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan made history by representing Great Britain in the first ever Snowboard Slopestyle Olympic Final. After stomping a huge 90.75 in the semi-finals, Billy couldn’t repeat that incredible run and placed 10th in the final while Jamie scored an amazing 85.50 finishing in 6th. Jenny Jones blew the nation away with her Bronze Medal winning run in the Ladies Snowboard Slopestyle Final and confirmed her place as the Queen of British snowboarding. Jenny won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic Snowboard Medal and became the first ever British female to win an Olympic medal on snow. Aimee Fuller was a crowd favourite after throwing a double backflip and landing 9th place in the semi-finals, and then took 17th overall. The Top 10 places continued in the Freestyle Skiing where Katie Summerhayes finished in 7th in the Ladies Ski Slopestyle Final with a solid 70.60 score. Despite James Wood’s injuries, Woodsy qualified in 3rd place with an outstanding first run scoring 87.50 which made him the first ever British athlete to go through to a Men’s Ski Slopestyle Olympic Final. In the face of the hard conditions, the skiers threw down tough competition; Woodsy scored an incredible 86.60 that gave him 5th position in the finals. The list doesn’t stop there; Team GB had a fantastic team of skiers and snowboarders participating in many specialities from Snowboard Cross to Cross Country to the Ski Halfpipe. We cannot forget the other disciplines, particularly the Team GB Curling team and Gold medal winner Elizabeth Yarnold in the Skeleton. Team GB surpassed the 3 medal target and created an unforgettable 2 weeks of winter sports and global recognition of Great Britain’s place on the Olympic mountain. Huge congratulations to all the Team GB athletes, you were all amazing and made us so proud! #backthebrits By Krystelle
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