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AIM Series, Halfpipe Championships
The fourth of the AIM Series events includes all disciplines, but will feature the Halfpipe Championships.
This was our first ever trip to Sheffield, let alone the SSV. Don't ask us why. I know we're not big into dryslopes, but we'd always wanted to have a look at that SnowFlex oasis, but never quite managed it.
As always the rain that had been forecast decided to hold off for the day as Stu and Spence emerged from the chalet dripping chickens blood and saying the nice weather was set to hold for the rest of the day, despite ever threatening dark clouds scudding over the slope.
The local riders were impressive as many of the visitors struggled with the "it's no use trying to use your edges, this is SnowFlex" slope. The stuff also seems very forgiving, with many escaping what seemed certain to be horrific heel edge catches. There was only one nasty little incident, when Paul Whitham came off worst against the landing of the rainbow and dislocated his elbow. Shame, as the actual hit was spot on. He came back later in the day and is apparently notorious for damaging himself at SSV.
The BoarderX was the first competition of the day. This came down from the top of the slope, across the moguls, which alone saw the end of many a challenge. Then it took the riders through some gates along the length of halfpipe, up an incline and over the main booter and down to the bottom of the slope. One real standout was David Griffith who, faced with Rob Yeoman collapsed a couple of feet infront of him on the incline, took a pretty shrewd route over the rainbow rail to take the race.
Next up was the slopestyle, which included a good length gas pipe, the half pipe, rainbow rail, cornice, quarter pipe, various kickers and the Soul Sports rail. For the first time it was decided that the results would be based on a rail run and a kicker run, so we saw great riding on both. Tom Bridges was really impressive with his local skills, hucking over the incline up to the cornice and he even threw down a 1080 attempt (1.6mb MPG), although sketched out on the landing. Others worth mentioning were Rob Yeomon and Terence Thompson for the locals and also Sam Cullum who was hucking with the best of them. Laura Berry was also riding super smooth and in the end scored 3rd highest mark of the day, just behind Stu Edwards and Rob Yeoman.
The main event of the day was the Artificial Halfpipe Championship and the locals were always going to rule this one, with Tom and Rob going far bigger out of the pipe than anybody else. Adam Senior (who is a Junior, much to the mirth of the the MCs) was also riding well on both walls. Liz Osbourne also rode well, although she was outridden by Katie Young.
The prize giving saw Ed Leigh congratulating the winners and Jamie Nicholls younger sister handing out the prizes. Nikita joined the long list of sponsors and some Nikita clothes were thrown dow for some of the ladies prizes.
DJs for the slope were TonyB, Christian Stevenson and Scott Nixon. Played gentlemen.
The evening transformed the place as the Homegrown event took hold of the SSV. The place was pretty packed and there was much dancing and drinking. I have very little memory of the details of the evening, but I'm told I was well behaved and a credit to my parents. A late night was had by all.
The next AIM Series is at Halifax and it may also be worth noting that the Castleford Xscape opens the day before.
Local talent cleaned up when the best of British returned to Sheffield Ski Village for the fourth UK leg of the AIM Series 2003 – The Artificial Halfpipe Championships 30/ 31 August 2003.
During a sunny Saturday 50 snowboarders from across the country came to Sheffield Ski Village to compete in the third Artificial heat of the AIM SNOWBOARD Series 2003 (Artificial, Indoor and Mountain). As one of UK’s most developed dryslopes, including Britiain’s only artificial Halfpipe and static funpark, Sheffield Ski Village is known for its strong freestyle scene. The slope is the training grounds for many of UK’s absolute top snowboarders and freestyle skiers; therefore the standard of riding over the weekend was excitingly high.
After warm-up competitions in Boardercross and Slopestyle, the snowboarders got ready for the serious business; the battle for Halfpipe Champion. All snowboarders were judged on best run out of two. In the men’s run the eight best scores across all age categories then qualified into a Super Final to crown the overall champion. It quickly became apparent that it’s all down to practice, practice, practice when the local posse was trashing the pipe and wiping out the competition. Sheffield’s Tom Bridges outshone everyone after performing the day’s highest air as his first hit (9.5 feet), followed by a frontside 540 and a stylish backside 540, earning him the Champion title. With only one point Dave Griffiths, Sheffield beat another local Adam Senior to the second place with a run of a frontside mute slob and a frontside 540. Senior did not complain though when his run of backside indy to big frontside alley-oop to backside 360 won him the Salomon Best Unsponsored title and £200 worth of Salomon equipment.
In the women’s competition the very talented Katie Young from Sheffield can add yet another Champion’s title to her portfolio after successfully beating Liz Osbourn, London and Laura Berry, Milton Keynes.
The weather stayed dry on the Sunday for the AIM SKI Series and the 30+ competitors that entered the Freestyle Ski Halfpipe Championships.
With Britain’s top 4 skiers all being South Yorkshire locals and using the Ski Village for their main summer training, it was the ultimate combat-of-tricks in the pipe. The tension soared when a few of the favourites all messed up their first run of the super final, apart from Andy Bennett, Sheffield who was pretty solid throughout the competition. In time for second runs the crowd was hanging on in excitement when, one after one, the skiers seemed to be able to keep their cool and all perform smooth runs. Most spectacular was ‘the king of the inverts’ Mike Wakefield from Wakefield, who after falling in his first run eased through a run of a high McTwist, to an Alley-oop flatspin (540°) to finish with a perfect flatspin, leaving him unbeatable to his fellow contenders. Second place went to Sheffield skier Tom Last who also took revenge with his second run of; straight air parallel grab, followed by a flair (backslip 180) and a 540 safety. Bennett finished third with a smooth run of 540 safety, alley-oop opposite and an air to fakie.
All in all the weekend was quoted to have been the best AIM event so far on the 2003 competition circuit with remarkable high standard of riding and skiing, as well as great atmosphere around the slope, much to the help of superb DJs and compares that entertained the masses in between practice, heats and finals.
The AIM Series is the highest level of competition for snowboarding and freestyle skiing in the UK, following international rules and regulations for judging and course design. A competition circuit of six UK based events grant direct qualification into the British Snowboard and Freestyle Ski Championships in Les Deux Alpes, France, March 2004.
The next event on the AIM Series calendar will be the Artificial BIG AIR Championships in Halifax on the 27th and 28th September 2003.
The organisers Soul Sports Events would like to thank following sponsors:
O’Neill, Trespass, Helly Hansen, Vans, Nikita, Thirty Two, Protest Clothing, Xscape, Salomon, Ride, K2, Ellis Brigham, Whitelines, Falline and Snowlife.org.uk.
The AIM Series, Halfpipe Championships event page can be administered by dunx (Dunx), stu (Stu Brass), spencer (Spencer Claridge) and office (Office).
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