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THE BRITS WRAP UP - Jane Peel, Laax
Friday April 6, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

It was a bluebird day in the Swiss resort of Laax for the final two events of the British Snowboard and Freeski Championships. PlanetSKI was slopeside. UPDATED

It's all over for another year but the final contests - ski slopestyle and snowboard halfpipe - went ahead in warm spring sunshine and under blue skies. 

The BRITS these days is as much - if not more - about the young up-and-coming freestylers and their parents giving it a go as it is about elite athletes.

The Blackwell family from Pembrokeshire came to the BRITS last year for the first time for just one day and returned in 2018 for the week.

All five of them competed and made the podium.

The Blackwell family at The Brits 2018The Blackwells

They take home a total of six medals from the snowboarding events.

Here's their tally:

Daisy (14) - under 16s bronze, snowboard cross
Mila (12) -  under 16s bronze, slopestyle
Sukie (10) - unders 12s, two bronzes in snowboard cross and slopestyle
David (dad) - masters silver,  slopestyle
Kate (mum) - masters bronze, halfpipe

"It's the best week ever," dad David told us. 

"The kids have been inspired.  They have seen Jenny Jones, their hero;  Billy Morgan, their hero, and Aimee Fuller and Woodsy."

The family spent the afternoon shredding with Jones, the Olympic bronze medallist from Sochi.

"People would pay a lot of money for that sort of thing," David said. 

Joining the Blackwells were the Leighs - Ed, Sian, Suki and Oscar - another family who love the BRITS and picked up an impressive haul of medals.

The Leigh family at the Brits 2018The Leighs

Dad Ed is best known as the BBC Ski Sunday presenter and Winter Olympics commentator but he's a mean snowboarder and has a string of masters titles (the category for the over 30s) from the BRITS.

On the final day, he impressed the judges to make it onto the overall podium, with a bronze in the halfpipe.

The BRITS still attracts Olympians and World Cup skiers and snowboarders but they're as likely to be here as role models as they are to compete for the title of British champion.  

That opens up the field to the considerable freestyle talent GB has below the elite level. 

You only have to look at some of the incredible tricks in the events on day four.

Ski slopestyle men's finalSki slopestyle men's final

Snowboard halfpipe at the Brits 2018Snowboard halfpipe - photo

The ski slopestyle was won by Chris McCormick who also won the big air on the opening day.

19-year-old McCormick and the silver and bronze medallists, Sam Ward and Harris Booth, all made their debuts on the World Cup this season.

"Slope course was perfect today - three good jumps and a rail... what more could a boy ask for?" McCormick said.

"There were many good skiers in the competition today, but I'm glad to take the title."

Men's slopestyle podium, Brits 2018Men's ski slopestyle podium

The winner of the women's slopestyle is one of the outstanding performers of the week.

13-year-old Kirsty Muir has taken the overall title in all three of the events in which she's competed.

She is now the British champion in slopestyle, halfpipe and big air. 

15-year-old Olivia Burke joined Muir on the podium for the third time this week, adding a silver to her bronze medals in big air and halfpipe, while Kirsty's 11-year-old sister Fiona grabbed the bronze. 

Kirsty MuirKirsty Muir - photo Bluebird Photography

Women's ski slopestyle podium, Brits 2018Women's ski slopestyle podium

In the snowboard halfpipe the victory went to Lewis Courtier-Jones who had travelled through the night on a seven-hour drive from Courchevel.

It's the third time he's won the title but this is his first for three years. 

"I didn't win it last year or the year before... I've been injured the last couple of years. It was my first day in the pipe today, this season.

"I did my ACL and I did my wrist as well so it feels just good to be back on the board this season and to win The BRITS at the end is nice, isn't it?"

Lewis Courtier-JonesLewis Courtier-Jones - photo

Liam Tynan (13) was second and the BBC's Ed Leigh third, adding the overall bronze to his masters' gold. 

In the women's event there was also a broad spread of age and experience on the podium.

An Under 12, an Under 18 and a Master shared the medals.

Taking the win and an unprecedented fourth podium of the week was Maisie Hill, who added another overall gold to the Boarder Cross title she won on day one.

With two titles plus a silver and a bronze, she leaves Laax as the most-decorated athlete of 2018.

Maisie HillMaisie Hill - photo

Silver went to the British snowboarding legend and three-time Olympian, Lesley McKenna, who is now the GB Park & Pipe Programme Manager.

11-year-old Mia Brookes was third.

We have been speaking to Mia Brookes and to Kirsty Muir in Laax and our report on two of GB's greatest young talents is now online:
Lesley McKennaLesley McKenna - photo

Women's snowboard halfpipe podium - the Brits 2018Women's snowboard halfpipe podium


The ski and snowboard edits are now available so have a look and maybe get inspired for 2019?

The ski film is by Jack Williams, the snowboard film by Ben Howells/Pilchard TV.

Read our earlier reports from this week at The BRITS:

The BRITS is supported by LAAX, Picture Organic Clothing, Swiss International Airlines, Swiss Travel System System, Switzerland Tourism and British Ski and Snowboard.


See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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