What a weekend, we left for Castleford at 6am on Friday morning and eventually made it to the hotel at lunchtime.Â Torrential rain, a crash that closed the A1 and a project conference call (while I was parked in Asda car park) meant it took 6 hours rather than the normal 3 to get up there.
On the positive side I managed to get a couple of hours shredding in at CasVegas (Castleford SNO!zone) where I focused on their awesome 10m rail.Â It really is the nicest rail Iâ€™ve ridden and I wish they had one like it at Milton Keynes.Â I spent the evening working on some new tricks, including frontside nose presses and some switch stuff as well.Â I still need to commit a bit more on the FS noses, Iâ€™m not quite pushing my foot out enough and tweaking the counter balance but I reckon with a bit more practice Iâ€™ll be looking as stylee as Sam Turnbull does here.
I wish I could say that Saturday dawned bright and sunny but when we arrived at Halifax just before 9am it was freezing cold, windy and looking like rain…..it didnâ€™t get any better,
well I suppose it did, in that it didnâ€™t pour with rain and it was actually warm enough to ditch my jacket for a shirt.Â We were in Halifax for the first leg of the Westbeach Snowflex Freestyle Series and upon reflection it was my first comp as an officially sponsored rider (apologies for not letting Campbell at SNO!zone know how I got on!)Â The first thing that became apparent was that for once the locals werenâ€™t necessarily going to have the edge, the wind was making it difficult for everyone.Â Halifax is quite a unique slope with what I refer to as the â€œdrop in of doomâ€ for the kicker, rather than dropping straight in you have a double bump to take into account between the teetering drop and the kicker itself.Â It is one of the nicest kickers Iâ€™ve ever ridden but getting to it stresses me out, especially in gale force winds.Â Standing at the top I got blown over before Iâ€™d even started but I soon settled into it and was hitting the kicker in a state of semi-fear….of course the kids were killing it, 9s and an attempted 10 (from Andy Nudds, Westbeach) were being thrown down and although a few stacks were had as the landing was a touch sticky there were plenty landed as well.
As ever I have to praise the format of the comp, Wayne (AKA SnowSkate) who organises it along with Sue (Westbeach) is really keen to get us as much riding as possible, so we had a 45 minute jam session, 30 minute rail jam for throw down prizes, a 45 minute final jam session and then a 2 run final as well, not forgetting the team event as well for those riders who hadnâ€™t collapsed in an exhausted heat at the bottom of the slope!
It was a good turn out, with about 40 skiers and snowboarders all riding together, thatâ€™s another of the positive things about this comp series is that skiers and â€˜boarders are together.Â I know that historically thereâ€™s a bit of â€œhateâ€ between the two factions but over the last few years Iâ€™ve got to know some of the freestyle skiers really well and itâ€™s great to be able to shred with and support them the same as I do my fellow â€˜boarders.Â Plus all credit to them, when your legs go in different directions when you stack it you deserve some respect!Â Itâ€™s just a shame that there werenâ€™t more girls in the comp (with 1 skier & 5 snowboarders) but I was pleased that Leah Sill gave Snowflex a go and finished 3rd in her first dry slope comp.
The prizes as ever were excellent and I walked away with a pile of t-shirts, beanies, Skull Candy headphones and a pair of pants in exchange for my 2nd place!Â Unfortunately my buttâ€™s a touch on the large side for a womenâ€™s medium so if anyone wants to buy a pair of bright pink Westbeach pants let me know!
A mention also has to go to Jake Terry (11) for placing 3rd in the 16 & under male category, heâ€™s been battling away for the last few years but on Saturday he laid down some nice 360s and gained a podium place.Â In the menâ€™s comp I felt quite sorry for the 17 & overs as both Jamie Nicholls (15) and Danny McCormick (16) stepped up an age group and finished first & second respectively, 3rd place was claimed by Andy Nudds.
Unfortunately I canâ€™t make the second leg of the comp in Bearsden but rest assured Iâ€™ll be hitting Noeux Les Mines on October 10th for the final.
3rd Rub a dub
1st Stoke Skiers
Endeavor Best unsponsored (trip to the final leg in Noeux Les Mines, France)
Whitelines Subscriptions (most consistent riding throughout the day)
Fall-Line Ski Best Unsponsored (profile column in the magazine)
Document Snowboard Best Unsponsored (profile column in the magazine)
Under 16 Girls Ski
1st Sissy Herrant
Under 16 Girls Snowboard
2nd Sophie Nicholls
1st Katie Ormerod
3rd Leah Sill
2nd Kat Miller
1st Liz Osbourne
Under 16 Boys Ski
3rd Chris Wadsworth
2nd Josh Herrant
1st Tyler Harding
Under 16 Boys Snowboard
3rd Jake Terry
2nd Pete Meadows
1st Matt McCormick
3rd Robert Machon
2nd Charlie Smith
1st James Machon
3rd Andy Nudds
2nd Danny McCormick
1st Jamie Nicholls