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WATCH: Plenty of praise for Cairngorm Mountain from The BRITS

By Gavin Musgrove

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THE BRITS made a winning return to Cairngorm Mountain after an absence of more than three decades with competitors being blessed with calm weather.

The GB national championships for snowboarding and free-skiing attracted a large field of entrants with the competition back on home snow following the Covid pandemic and an extended tour of some of the leading destinations in the Alps, most latterly Laax.

Despite the recent spell of warmer temperatures, the dedication of the resort's staff ensured there was plenty of snow in the Ptarmigan top bowl for the two days of competition.

The snow conditions were heavy and wet but the slopestyle course looked superb, the banked slalom course remained intact despite its exhaustive use and there were the best set of rails ever seen at Cairngorm.

George Bloomfield, from Leeds, finished sixth in yesterday's slopestyle competition and was competing in today's rail jam.

He said that that six hour drive north had been worthwhile and he had really enjoyed his first ever visit to Cairngorm Mountain.

He had just taken a rather heavy fall off one of the newly installed jumps but that was not putting him off.

Bloomfield said: "It is my first time to Cairngorm Mountain – the last BRITS competition I did must have been in Tignes six or seven years ago.

"I was not in it to win it so was delighted with my sixth place in the slopestyle."

He added: "I have a mate by chance staying here at the same time so linked up with them and hiked up to some bothies and doing all sorts."

Todd O'Brien had made the comparatively shorter journey from Dundee: "I managed ninth in the slopestyle but I'm over 35 so I won the legends category!

"I've got a nice plaque and medal to show for my efforts."

He continued: "I have been up here quite a few times but I have never hit jumps in parks this good.

"It would be nice if they had The BRITS here every year."

One of the interested spectators was GB Winter Olympian Katie Ormerod who was watching on with crutches as she recovers from a bone infection.

At 15 years old, she became the youngest girl to land a double backflip on a snowboard and at the age of 16 did the world’s first female backside double cork 1080.

Ormerod fractured her heel in training at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang in 2018 and therefore missed out on competing.

However, at the end of her outstanding 2019/20 come back season she was crowned Snowboard Slopestyle Crystal Globe winner, the first British female as well as first British snowboarder to complete the feat.

She competed for Team GB at the Beijing Winter Olympics finishing 25th in qualification at Big Air Shougang on her Olympic Winter Games debut and also missed out on the Slopestyle final.

Ormerod said: "I've been to Cairngorm a couple of times; the very first time was for the Dawn of Shred contest 12 years ago. I loved it and it was really good times. It was spring and the sun was out.

"I never got a chance to come back until earlier this year when my mum and I came for a day trip. I was really impressed by how great the mountain was and I told myself I would have to come back and luckily they put the BRITS on so I have an early excuse to return.

"I'm absolutely loving it. Obviously I can not snowboard at the moment as I am recovering from a bone infection but it's nice to be here and have the British snowsports community brought together again which we have not had for a few years.

"It is really nice to see old faces again. I'm loving it."

Stuart Brass, one of the two main organisers of The BRITS, said that he was delighted with how well the champs had gone.

He said: "There has been such a good vibe from the new and old riders as well as the locals. It has been really nice.

"We have been blown away by the number of people that have come to spectate."

He said that snowboarding numbers were up on previous competitions pre-Covid and freeski numbers had held up.

Related articles:

Major coup for Cairngorm Mountain as resort lands GB snowsports champs

Cairngorm Mountain gears up for the return of The BRITS

Brass admitted that the success of the weekend had given organisers food for thought.

He said: "I think we should come back and do this again even if it is a different version. Here we have banked slalom and a rail jam which we do not have at a normal championship. It may be that we continue with these and do the bigger skiercross and boadercross and big air in Europe.

"It has been amazing what they have built for us at Cairngorm Mountain."

The full results for The BRITS 2023 were not yet available.

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