Returning from international duties, our international racers and budding amateurs have fought it out for the national titles.

Every year the British Alpine championships are held towards the end of the season after the World Cup and Europa Cup tours have finished. The first week saw the senior championships with a highly competitive field of Olympic and World Cup skiers trying to claim British ski racing’s top prize across all disciplines. 

Day 1: Men’s and Women’s Downhill

After a couple of days of training, the highest ranked Downhill skiers battled it out on the first day of competition at the 2019 Delancey GB Alpine Championships.

Cara Brown from bib 1 set the fastest time of the day which the rest of the field couldn’t get near. The 25-year-old won comfortably by over more than a second and a half to beat Jess Anderson and Abi Bruce. 

“I did what I wanted to do and what I planned to do so that’s good and I’m just glad it’s over,” said Brown. “I definitely like the piste here – it was a bit of a surprise that there was a jump this year because there’s not usually a jump, and that’s not exactly my strong suit in the downhill.

“But it’s a good piste, it’s a fun hill and the weather’s amazing, so it’s cool.”

After his first full season on the World Cup circuit, Jack Gower showed his class by winning the men’s Super G by over a second ahead of Roy-Alexander Steudle and Ian Innes. Gower hasn’t competed in the British Championships in some time, and this was his first ever Downhill National title.

“There are good racers here from Britain and from other countries, so it’ll be good races and I’ll be pushing pretty hard to try and make things happen,” Gower said. “It’s always lovely and it’s always something that you dream of, to win these titles.

“I’m very patriotic and it’s great to come here and get that done.”

Photo Gallery, photos by FRApic / Vanessa Fry

Day 2: Men’s and Women’s Super G

It was race day again for the speed specialities in Tignes. The course that was set challenged a lot of the best skiers in the field.  

Brown continued her impressive form by continuing her perfect start to the Championships. Brown won the Downhill title by over a second ahead of 16-year old Daisi Daniels and Abi Bruce.

“Yesterday I wanted bib 1, but today I did not want bib 1 because the snow really changed between inspection and the race starting, so our line actually changed at the bottom,” said Brown.

“Obviously I didn’t know that because I was bib 1 so I threw away more speed than I wanted to and when I came into the finish I thought ‘no, that’s never going to hold’.

“I guess it was a bit of a fight and I managed to get it in the finish today.”

Gower looked set to win another British title with impressive pace on the first two-thirds of the course but skied out the course three gates from the finish. This meant Ian Innes claimed his third straight national title by beating Roy-Alexander Steudle and Owen Vinter.

“I don’t know if it’s the added pressure or what, but every year I seem to come here and do well,” Innes said. “This season’s been good; I’ve been skiing really well in training but not really got many race results. I got a few scores in China at the start of the season but in the European winter, I’ve really not managed to get everything to come together.

“There are so many things that need to line up in a race, everything needs to be working perfectly like a well-oiled machine and I just hadn’t quite figured it out. Maybe when I come here there’s a little bit of pressure and it ups the ante a little and things have clicked the last few days.”

Find out what Bode Miller’s advice is to up and coming racers when he talked to The Ski Club this season!

Day 3: Men’s Giant Slalom and Women’s Slalom

After the speed events, it was time for the technical specialists to compete in the Giant Slalom and Slalom races.

In the men’s Giant Slalom, Charlie Raposo won the Ski Club of Great Britain Challenge Cup which is awarded to the GS national champion. Raposo second run charge meant he took the top spot on the podium ahead of Downhill champion Gower, with Super G champion Innes third.

“It was a battle – I’m not going to lie,” Raposo said. “Naturally I want to win and probably should win so it is a little bit stressful and I only just got it.

“I was pretty geed up – I had a big mistake in the first run just off the road and had a flashback to last year, missing that gate and I just made it this year.

“The second run I charged – I’m happy with the skiing. What’s really nice for me is that this event is now the ‘Howden Giant Slalom’, and Howden are a personal sponsor of mine so it’s a nice win to take.”

In the ladies’ Slalom, World Cup skier Alex Tilley opted to concentrate on the Giant Slalom the next day and former champion Charlie Guest was not on the start list due to injury. This meant a new name would take the Slalom national title.

Jess Anderson and Daisi Daniels had identical times after the first run but it was Anderson who took the top spot on the podium after the second run was completed. Anderson beat Daniels by just under half a second, with Nicole Ritchie claiming third.

“Slalom’s been quite painful in training, but in the race, I didn’t really think about it,” said Anderson. “The first run was a bit sketchy, there was a lot of people coming out so I just took it a bit more cautious than I should have, so I thought I’d send it a bit more in the second run and it paid off.”

When the Ski Club met Marcel Hirscher

Read the full interview here.

Day 4: Men’s Slalom and Women’s Giant Slalom

Missing the Slalom a day prior paid off for Alex Tilley as she won the Ski Club of Great Britain Challenge Cup in the ladies GS race.

Tilley was over a second ahead on the first run and doubled her lead when she completed the second run. Downhill and Super G winner Cara Brown was runner up with teenager Sarah Woodward claiming third.

Tilley is now one win away from equalling, The Ski Club’s Honorary President, Chemmy Alcott’s record number of British Giant Slalom titles.

“Honestly a couple of years ago I didn’t know if I could last that many, feeling like I was broken,” said Tilley. “Of course it’s nice always to have a record – what Chemmy did for British skiing is incredible and you can never really eclipse that but if I could at least get level with her, that’s a cool achievement.

“It’s not been an easy month or two for me now. I’ve not had the highest confidence, so to come here and do what I needed to do was enough for me. It’s my only win this season which is the first time I’ve ever had that.”

British number one, Dave Ryding, opted to miss the Championships after a packed World Cup and World Championship season. Olympic skier Laurie Taylor was then-frontrunner and started off with a three-second lead after the first run. Taylor, unfortunately, crashed out midway through the course on the second tun, dashing his title hopes.

It was Rob Poth who took advantage of Taylor’s second run error to win the first national title of his career. Poth beat Owen Vinter by just under half a second with Fraser Middleton third. 

“Coming into this competition everyone knows it’s always a bit of a fight, some tough sets, and today proved it again,” said Poth. “I was annoyed with the skiing but somehow I’ve been quite well-rewarded for it.

“Everyone knows you’ve got to fight to get down and its who can survive the best really. I’m pleased with the outcome.

“It’s my first senior podium – I’ve been waiting for that for a couple of years. I’ve been in contention but never got it but it’s worth the wait really to get that national title.”

Junior and Children races

It wasn’t just the senior championship titles up for grabs in Tignes. The up and coming racers from U10s through to U21 age categories had a series of races in the Junior and children races. There were some fantastic performances across the disciplines and age categories in Tignes.

For the full results click here.