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Over 90 of Britain’s top snowboard and ski freestylers will descend on Snow Factor at Xscape Braehead, Glasgow this Saturday (19th May) for the 2nd annual Scottish Indoor Freestyle Championships.
The championships, organised by Snowsport Scotland, will welcome members of the British Snowboard Team and the newly formed Scottish Freeski Team and top skiers and snowboarders from across the UK, all showcasing a host of freestyle skills including tricks, big air jumps and flips.
Freestyle is fast becoming one of the UK’s best snowsport disciplines with many British competitors making a significant impact at both national and international level.
As the heats progress, competitors will attempt increasingly more challenging manoeuvres, with the aim of impressing the judges to secure top position. And with competitors each undertaking two runs, spectators are assured of spectacular and compelling action as they watch free of charge from the Snow Factor bar and gallery overlooking the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope and adjacent beginner and training slopes.
Danny McCormick (Glasgow) © Stevie McKenna
Among the competitors aiming to impress the judges with spectacular ‘big air’ manoeuvres will be 19 year-old British no.1 freestyle snowboarder Danny McCormick from Bearsden near Glasgow. Having first taken up freestyle boarding at the age of twelve, earlier this year the graphic design student at Dundee Art School won the British Indoor Slopestyle Championships in Castleford (near Leeds).
In the separate freestyle skiing competition, 19 year-old Chris Wadsworth, from Dunlop, Ayrshire will be aiming to retain his status as the reigning British and Scottish Indoor Freestyle (Ski) Champion.
McCormick, whose younger siblings Matt (aged 15) and Chris (aged 13) will also compete in the snowboarding and ski competitions confided he has been training hard in the hope of grabbing the snowboarding title this coming Saturday: “There will be a lot of tough competition from guys all over the UK but I’ve been training hard, including putting in three sessions a week at Snow Factor.”
Asked if his brother Matt, a member of the GB Snowboarding Team is a competitive threat, Danny responded: “I guess it’s healthy to have sibling rivalry – but I obviously want to win! That said, I’ll be proud of Matt if he manages to beat me – he’s done it before!”
While the snowboarders aim to secure maximum points and progress through the heats by consistently producing spectacular jumps over the (kicker, rail and ‘barrel tap’) ‘obstacles,’ Wadsworth revealed his own winning formula in the freestyle ski category: “The secret is to be fluid and controlled – to try and make the tricks look easy and to really accentuate your style on the rails and ‘sliding boxes.’ I will be going all out to win.”
With many of the UK’s top riders in action, Jamie Smith, owner of Snow Factor, anticipates a fantastic atmosphere on Saturday: “As Scotland’s only indoor real snow facility, Snow Factor is very proud to be hosting this prestigious event in the British snowsport calendar. There will be a tremendous atmosphere – one that will appeal to young and old snowsport enthusiasts alike.
“Since acquiring the business last year, we have made great progress in the production and quality of snow, grooming and ski lifts. We propose to accelerate that programme with the creation of a permanent Park and Freestyle area and the development of a new Park Academy for teaching people of all ages the various techniques required.
“This is part of a progressive overhaul of the business, which will see Snow Factor employ the biggest team of year round instructors in the UK, making Snow Factor the perfect place to practice, train or learn snow sports.”
Jane Harvey, Chief Executive at Snowsport Scotland, added: “We are delighted to be hosting the Scottish Freestyle Indoor Championships at Snow Factor – a resort that delivers year round snow and perfect conditions for riders to practise and compete on. It’s a real benefit to skiers and boarders in Scotland to have this facility on their door-step. In fact, Snow Factor has really helped develop the freestyle discipline over the last few years.
“With more and more youngsters specialising in freestyle skiing and snowboarding, there are an increased number of UK riders making a real impact on the sport both nationally and internationally. These events help us nurture and celebrate home-grown talent and with the recent launch of the Scottish freeski team, we are sure to see this sport grow ever bigger in the future.”
At Snow Factor, Scotland’s 6th ski resort, fresh snow is made throughout the week and blown onto the slope from state of the art snow making equipment. Over 1,500 tonnes of real snow is groomed around the man-made freestyle features to serve-up a jaw dropping spectacle.
Organisers regard Snow Factor as the best venue of its kind to showcase talent, host competitions and practice throughout the year.
Full details of this Saturday’s event, including entry list can be found at www.snowsportscotland.org
Competition and format
The Scottish Indoor Freestyle Championships take place between 9:30am and 5:30pm on Saturday 19th May at Snow Factor Braehead. Part of the main slope will remain open to other skiers and boarders during the (9:30am-5pm) competition.
Competitors are allowed two runs on the course, with each marked by top Scottish judges. Only the highest score out of the runs counts. In awarding points, judges look for how the run progresses and flows, including amplitude (height of the tricks performed), difficulty (both the tricks performed and the placement of the tricks and the combinations used), variety (a good mix of Standard Airs and Rotations, performed on each feature) and execution (the stability, fluidity and control of manoeuvres performed).