|Create a free SCUK account and get access to the forums and our regular newsletter.||Dec 12, 2013|
Coventry-born snowboarder Lewis Courtier-Jones is back on the path to recovery, after breaking his collarbone during training last month.
Courtier-Jones – ranked as the fourth best snowboarder in Great Britain – was preparing to compete in the Halfpipe, Big Air and Slopestyle categories of the British Championships in Laax, Switzerland at the end of March when he suffered the fall.
The 16-year-old said: "I was in the half-pipe when it happened. I just landed deep and went over on the nose of board and straight onto my shoulder and this has meant that I have missed the British Championships, the Junior World Championships in Spain and the Protest World Rookie Fest in Austria. I have been out for around six weeks now, but it is starting to heal and I should be back in action soon."
It was a bitter blow for the youngster, who has gone from strength to strength over the past year. After fending off the challenge of several rivals to qualify as Great Britain’s only snowboarding representative at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria earlier this year, Courtier-Jones made the finals of the Slopestyle format and the semi-finals of the Half-Pipe event, an experience which he described as "utterly inspiring". The teenager followed that up by clinching first-place at the World Rookie Fest Half-Pipe event in Monte Bondone, Italy in February, en route to being ranking 97th in the world for March – his current highest ever position.
Courtier-Jones was born in Coventry, and was inspired to start snowboarding at just three years old through his parents – Claire and Pete – who run Pleisure Holidays, a package holiday company based in Courchevel, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. He permanently moved to France at the age of eight in 2003 and his talent was spotted two years later by Team Great Britain, who ran a summer snowboarding camp in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. A year later he was rewarded with his first sponsorship deal, and last year he moved to Head snowboards and O’Neill clothing, an arrangement that was courtesy of Courtier-Jones’ manager, Dan Wakeham.
It isn’t the first time Courtier-Jones has suffered an injury that has kept him off the slopes – he fractured his wrist following a fall in November – but he couldn’t hide his disappointment after discovering the extent of this injury: "I was really gutted when I found out how badly injured I was. I had been in such good form since the start of the year, and that injury had come at such a bad time for me. I have never snowboarded in Spain and the Junior World Championships were held near Malaga on the coast so I couldn’t wait to try somewhere new. Also, the level of competition at the World Rookie Finals is generally world class, so I was looking forward to testing myself out against such promising and successful snowboarders."
Despite that setback, Courtier-Jones is fully focused on getting back to full fitness and preparation for quite comfortably the most significant event in his career; the qualification programme for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: "I have been back on my snowboard for the past couple of weeks, although I will probably not be trying tricks until the start of May, then maybe I will be able to ride properly later in the month. Hopefully this injury hasn’t affected my schedule too much, and I should be fine for the qualification period in the summer."
[Words: Jon Hooke. Photos: Team GB, www.willbphoto.com and www.OneSnowboarding.co.uk]