York University Snowsports proved that although the University may be small, it is still strong, at the British Universities Indoor Snowsports Championships Finals recently.
The competition saw York skiers and snowboarders pitched against the biggest and best teams in the country at an all day event. The strong field proved too much for York in the team dual slalom events, with the ski team failing to place after a fierce first race against Napier University.
The snowboard team of Thomas Beviss, Ben Ward, Tom Farrow and Captain Marlies Neuner fared better however, finishing a commendable joint fifth in the knockout style tournament. They were knocked out by Herriot Watt University, who went on to win the competiton.
The individual results were mixed, but nevertheless produced some great successes. Opening the day was the women’s ski slalom event; Steph Campbell-Woodward, the only female skier York had who qualified for the finals, skied hard down a difficult course, finishing in an excellent 15th place out of 40, just missing out on the second round by less than a second.
This was followed by the men’s ski slalom event. Four of York’s racers – James Lodge, Matt Thomas, Mike Perkins and Dave Tee – had finished in the top 16 at the regional competition a month earlier in order to qualify.
The standard at the finals however was much higher, and only Tee qualified for the second round, finishing in third place after his first run down the course.
YUsnow took to the slope to cheer him on as the top 15 university racers in the country prepared for the second run, just in time to watch him blast down the slope in 12.93 seconds, to finish the competition in second place overall.
Pleased with his performance, Tee said: “It was a great race with some really good skiers competing with only hundredths of a second in it. I was aiming for a top five finish but after being third of the first run, I really attacked the second run, having the fastest second run out of all the racers and to finish second overall.”
Lodge, Perkins and Thomas finished in 19th, 27th and 38th places respectively, out of more than 60 racers.
After a quick break for lunch, it was time for the boarders to take to the slope. The only individual snowboarder for York who had qualified for the finals was Marlies Neuner.
In the female competition, ‘podium regular’ Neuner brought home another medal for York, finishing in second place after a seeming effortless, smooth and confident run.
Commenting on the day, Neuner said: “Coming fifth is a very satisfying result, especially as the team members weren’t able to train together prior to the event. Team duals heavily rely on practicing starts together and co-ordination of performance.
“I am pleasantly surprised to have left Castleford with a silver medal, proving that weekly training has paid off, and now I cannot wait to compete in a BUCS race in the French Alps this easter.”
YUsnow are now concentrating their efforts towards the British University Snowsports Council Main Event, a week of racing and freestyle competition in the French alps at the end of March. They will be entering ten skiers and four snowboarders for a range of events.
This is one of only two opportunities for snowsports teams to earn BUCS points for their universities. After already bringing 12.5 points home in November, YUsnow has high hopes for more podium positions.