LSERSA - Freestyle News - 8th January 2008

Freestyle News - 8th January 2008

British Skiers Go for Freestyle World Cup Glory in Les Contamines

The weekend of 12/13th of Jan sees the opening World Cups for both Ski Cross and Halfpipe skiing in Les Contamines, France. Les Contamines has held the opening events of the World Cup season for the past six years  providing some of the biggest crowds of the tour. British skiers have traditionally achieved their best results on the Les Contamines courses and confidence and hopes are high.

Team GB will be there in force with their biggest team of the year listing 11 of the countries top athletes in Ski Cross and Halfpipe, supported by six coaching staff.

The Ski Cross will take place on the 12th of Jan on the Mountain, skiers qualify through a time trial before reaching the knock out stages when they will launch, four at a time down a terrifying course of big jumps, gaps and berms (banked walls). Stakes are high as this is a new discipline at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games with qualifying starting in 2008. Britain will be represented in the women's event by Emily Sarsfield (Atomic) who reached the knock out stages in 2006 and Sarah Sauvey (Blizzard) who recently switched nationality from Australia and who took 12th place at the 2007 World Championships. In the men's Angus Morison (Stokli, Taggerbags and Scott USA) will be looking to make the knockout stages after coming so close in 2007. Craig Robinson (Dynastar) a recent Alpine convert will be making his World Cup debut. Once through to the knockout stages the competition becomes much more tactical with the need for a heightened pack racing sense, fast start and the ability to block other's lines.

The Halfpipe will take place on the 13th of Jan with the final at night in front of a massive crowd of thousands close to the centre of the village. The British contingent reads like a who's who of British Park and Pipe. Murray Buchan (Volkl), Richard Martin (Atomic) and James Machon (Line, High Society, Vist Bindings, Moah Clothing, Smith Optics, Junki Gear, Ski Club of GB, Lafarge) all achieved Top 15 results at 2007s World Junior Champs and are joined by James Woods (Salomon)and James Webb (Atomic) for their first World level competition. The women are headed up by World Cup star and former British Champion Shelley Jones. Becky Hammond (Head, Animal, Zeal Optics, Ellis Brigham, Pow Gloves)makes her first World Cup start having been  unable to compete in 2006/7 due to injury.

The coaching staff include experienced World Cup Coaches Simon Ashton (Atomic, Salomon, Rip Curl) and Andy Topping and are joined by top coaches, film stars, photo models, organisers of the Grom camps and former Athletes Pat Sharples (Salomon, Oakley Clothing & eye wear) and Andy Bennet (The North Face, Line Skis, Oakley eyewear, Ellis Brigham, Grenade, Bawbags). Support staff include GB TD Iain Mackay (Salomon) and Robert Machon.
Team manager Simon Ashton stated "each year I say we're going to get our best results ever at Les Contamines in these disciplines. I've had to eat my words in the past year or so because the snow gods have frowned on us and competitions have been cancelled. Well, it's snowing in Europe, there's enough snow in Les Contamines, we have World Class athletes and coaches, bring it on!!"