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22 March 2011

Celebrities hit the snow in Courmayeur

Vanessa Fisher shares the slopes with Damon Hill, Colin Jackson, Marcus Brigstocke and Graham Bell at the City Ski Championships

Damon Hill (image credit: Yolanda Carslaw)
Damon Hill about to race in bib number 1
(image credit: Yolanda Carslaw)

Whilst our British freestyle skiers and snowboarders were competing in the Winter X Games Europe in Tignes, there was a smaller event taking place in Italy with some top class celebs (and City regulars) in action.

Formula 1’s Damon Hill, Olympic athlete Colin Jackson, comedian Marcus Brigstocke and two of Britain’s best Downhill skiers, Konrad Bartelski and Graham Bell all attended the City Ski Championships in Courmayeur.

Held for the last 12 years in the Aosta Valley, the event supports Damon Hill's young people charity Halow and on the Friday evening Damon himself outbid everyone in the auction to take bib number 1 and ex-British skier Finley Mickel's suit to ski the Giant Slalom course in.

Damon flew down the course in a brilliant 39.44 seconds but this was soon beaten by first time attendee and ex-British Development Squad member Michael Colyer racing for Accenture’s 1st team in bib no 10. He claimed the fastest time of the whole event, 30.92 seconds, and a bottle of Ferrari sparkling wine in the process.

Regulars Lloyds of London won best male team with their first squad but the Ski Club's own girls team, which I was racing on with journalist and Ski Club leader Yolanda Carslaw, were beaten for the first time in two years by the girls team from Accenture.

Racing on a pair of brand new pair of €3000+ Zai skis lent to her after her binding broke and on hand for participants to test over the weekend, Yolanda went on to win the fastest journalist title and second fastest female with a time of 37.6 seconds.

After a morning spent race training with the Warren Smith Ski Academy, Ski Club rider Emily Sarsfield was spotted on Friday when her team, First Energy, went on to beat the Ski Club girls (and journalist Toby Heelis) in the Mixed Dual Parallel Slalom. Lloyds of London 1 also won the open team award in this fun event which took place in beautiful sunshine under the stunning Mont Blanc.

Over 120 skiers took part in the main Giant Slalom race on Saturday morning. Fresh snowfall and bad light first thing meant the course was shortened and only left time for one run for each competitor but soon after the race started the sun came out for the rest of the day and gave wonderful conditions for the rest of afternoon.

The Ski Club team for the Mixed Dual Parallel Slalom
The Ski Club team for the Mixed Dual Parallel Slalom

Aside from the hard-fought battles on the slopes, the biggest success of the weekend was the €12000 raised for Halow with the main fundraiser being an auction hosted by a very funny Marcus Brigstocke at the award ceremony on Saturday evening.

For a full list of winners download the City Ski Championships 2011 results. The Championships move to Crans Montana in Switzerland in March 2012, so look out for more news next season.

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