Snowsport England Futures Championships Report
The first ever Snowsport England organised Futures Championship went off at Norfolk Snowsports Club this past weekend with a bang, with over 60 different skiers and snowboarders taking to the “Trowse Mountain” facility in Norwich for a weekend of Ski & Boarder Cross, Moguls & Slopestyle
Following on from the Saturday Futures training day, which saw all competitors invited to take part and receive expert Snowsport England coaching across all 5 disciplines, the Championships were a hotly contested affair on the Sunday with plenty of high quality performances from established competitors and exciting new snowsports prospects.
Ski & Boarder Cross
The skiers and boarders kicked off the Championship Sunday with the Ski & Boarder cross the first events of the day, on a course set by local Snowsport England coaches Piers Lincoln and Luke Fenely. Norfolk Snowsports Centre has been the host venue for this summers’ Futures SX training days as Snowsport England look to build the pathway for the sport in the UK, and the numbers of competitors in both disciplines reflected the growing surge in interest in the sport.
After a two run qualification event, the pre-event favourites of Heather Heslop (Female Ski) and Nairne Clarke (Female Board) led the time sheets, whilst two lesser-known names stoop the top seed slots in the mens event, with Akai Carter-Bell from TSN leading the mens ski qualification and Harrison Adkins – a British Ski Team athlete – the mens snowboard event. Whilst Heslop, Clarke and Adkins all held substantial leads within their categories, the Mens ski event was a tighter affair, with Carter-Bell closely followed by Robert Jones (Cardiff) and Henry Wakeford (Norfolk) by less than 0.2 of a second.
As expected, the Knock out rounds provided all kinds of exciting head to head races, with Nairne Clarke winning the Womens Snowboard Finals ahead of Freya Savage, Heather Heslop going unbeaten in the Womens Ski finals ahead of Ella Hall (U16 winner) and Betsy Cheongvee (U12 winner) and Harrison Adkins winning the Mens Snowboard finals ahead of Cameron Long (U12 Winner)
As had been the story of the morning, the Mens ski finals were a less predictable affair as top seed Akai Carter-Bell went out in the Semi finals in a close race with Harrison Adkins and Tom Bartlett, whilst 2nd seed Rob Jones was eliminated in the quarter-finals after a tangle with eventual finalist Josh Abrey.
The eventual Mens Ski Final line up featured 3rd seed Henry Wakefield, 4th seed Harrison Adkins, 6th seed Josh Abrey and 7th seed Tom Bartlett. After a close start and the tightest shoulder to shoulder top section of the day Wakefield came out on top, just ahead of Adkins and Bartlett to claim the first ever Mens Overall Futures Ski Cross Title.
Not to be outdone, the Mens U12 Finals produced some amazing skiing with 5th seed Isaac Cheongvee (Norfolk) leading and winning every heat through to the finals where he defeated team mate Alfie Croft (Norfolk) and Robert Savage to take the win.
The action didn’t stop with the Ski & Boarder Cross, and no sooner was the slope cleared of the course did the Futures Moguls Championship kick off, judged by British Ski Team Olympian Will Feneley, Snowsport England Moguls coach Josh Englert and Olympic Judge Gaz Vogan.
Having had the opportunity to train the moguls course on the Saturday, the Championship event saw an increased number of participants, not least from a handful of the Slopestyle snowboarders who fully embraced the opportunity to take part in their first “Snowvboard Moguls” session.
With a kicker set at the top of the moguls run, followed by three lines of 12 bumps, competitors had two runs to impress the judges, and impress they did. In the Female Ski contest home girl Betsy Cheongvee snatched the Overall win from Ella Hall (TSN) by the smallest of margins outscoring her 73.00 points to 72.00 points, with Georgina Lavers-Grafton finishing 3rd.
In the Snowboard event Finn Owen showed his technical prowess to wow the judges with a clean run that put many of the skiers to shame, scoring 79.67 points – the second highest of any age, gender or discipline – and taking the win ahead of Cameron Long and Hemels Charlie Wiggins.
In the Mens Ski event it was a line-up of familiar faces showing their diversity of skills on skis as Isaac Cheongvee made it a family double winning the Mens event ahead of Harrison Adkins and Tom Bartlett. Cheongvee achieved the highest score of the day with a second run of 85.67, acknowledged by the judges as one to watch for the future on the moguls scene.
Ski & Board Slopestyle
For the final event of the day the skiers and boarders took to the slopestyle course constructed by Snowsport England Park & Pipe coaches Rob Taylor and Rowan Coultas. With a kicker leading into a quarterpipe feature, followed by three different rail lines, the competitors had numerous options to impress the judges with.
As expected, the Slopestyle portion of the event attracted the biggest cheers from the crowd as the level of riding progressed through the 3 hour contest, which included an hours warm up time on the features followed by a 2 run scored final. Norfolk Snowsports club skiers and boarders took full advantage of their home slope knowledge, with Jack Howlett winning the Mens Snowboard event with a huge 360 melon followed by a series of clean 90-90 grinds, with Tyler Reardon taking 2nd place just ahead of 3rd placed Ted Mincher-Lockett, and Cameron Kirby taking victory in the Mens Ski event with a top quality cork 7 off the kicker and a series of mind-blowing rails.
In the Womens competitions Daisy Curtain took the win for Female Snowboard as she and Ella Hall – who won Female Ski – showed it’s not just the boys who can go inverted, each landing huge flips off the top kicker coupled with clean lines on the pipe and rail features.
The standard of Ella Halls skiing across the whole weekend was absolutely top draw and enough to see her walk away with the first ever Female Futures Overall Championships, picking up a set of skis courtesy of Ski Bartlett as a result. Across the three events Ella won the Slopestyle Ski Overall, placed second in the Female Ski Cross and took victory in the Female Moguls comp, despite being pushed closely by Betsy Cheognvee who finished as second female. Annie Denton from Halifax completed the Overall podium in third place, a massive result for a young lady who is relatively new to the sport and only started skiing SkiCross at a Futures SX session at Norfolk 2 months ago.
In the Mens Overall competition there were a variety of different event winners sharing the points over the course of the weekend, making for a much tighter affair on the podium. Cameron Long and Finn Owen shared joint third place with 39 points apiece, a great result for the boys who got stuck in to the multi-discipline approach, tackling the mogul comp on their snowboards and going full charge into every event with massive smiles on their faces. Harrison Adkins took second place with 44 points after winning the U16 Moguls on skis, finishing 3rd in the Ski Slopestyle and winning the Overall Boardcross event and finishing second in the U16 Ski Cross, proving that the best athletes can turn their hand to not only any discipline, but any sport. However, he was pipped on the day by the home-slope Hero Isaac Cheongvee who also walked away with a set of Faction Skis courtesy of event sponsors Ski Bartlett having dominated his category and won the U12 Ski Cross, U12 Ski Slopestyle and Overall Moguls event.
A brilliant end to an amazing weekend, made possible by all the Snowsport England staff and fantastic volunteers, coaches and judges, and the event sponsors AfterJam, Ski Bartlett, Rossignol, Leki and Norfolk Snowsports Centre.
We’re already looking forwards to next year!
All of the results can be found here: Futures Championship Results
Photographs of the event can be found here with thanks to James Bartlett Photography: Futures Championship Photos