After an early start of 5:30am on Saturday 22nd, we arrived in Castleford in plenty of time to grab a quick breakfast from McDonald’s before heading in to register for the Wham Bam Thank You Jam (AKA the British Indoor Snowboard Championships). The new format seemed to be eagerly anticipated by the riders & there were about 70 snowboarders taking part over the course of the day.
After registering I bumped into fellow SNO!zone team mates Jade Walsh & her dad and we headed out to the slope for Jade’s age category comp…..this year all the under 16s had the chance to fight it out amongst their own age groups with 2 judged runs, before joining the rest of us in the jam session. Jade rode really well and was stoked to find out at the end of the day that she had placed 3rd!
The main jam session kicked off at 10:30 and we all shredded the 4 zone course for 90 minutes, they then made the first cut. As there were less of us all the girls made it through to the first zone session, only 22 guys made the cut though. I was especially pleased that 9 year old SNO!zoner Will Gilmore made it through though as he’d been riding well above his age level!
We then had half an hour sessioning the top of the slope, typically this was my least favourite section and not having the guts to hit the gnarly side on rails I resorted to working through my trick list on the pyramid box. Not the easiest of boxes to really get styled out on as it has quite short sections but I was pleased to get some nice switch tricks laid down including a switch-frontside over it. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get me through to zone 2, but at least I know what I need to work on for future comps. If I can keep progressing on the side hits then I may stand a chance of holding my own against the youngsters.
The cuts kept coming with 50% of the riders being culled at each stage until only 4 remained in both the men’s and women’s category. In the end the style & experience of Becky Menday & Andy Nudds won out and they were crowned champions.
It was a really fun day and I think it proved to be a winning format, the youngsters not only had the chance to face the pressure of 2 runs and beat their peers but everyone got to session a really good course in the jam section for at least 90 minutes (much longer if you we’re good enough to make the cuts). It was definitely the most riding I have done at any British Champs since my first one 9 years ago….in fact a couple of the youngsters were moaning about being tired they had ridden so much (of course this tiredness didn’t stop them beating me!).
So now it’s back to practicing, let’s see if I can build on my current skills and beat a couple of the kids in Tignes.
Massive thanks has to go to VitaCoco UK who sponsored me with a months’ worth of coconut water….it really did help keep me hydrated throughout the comp and kept any major girly-leg moments at bay!