The Midlothian Snowsports Centre hosted Snowsport Scotland’s Scottish Dryslope Alpine Championships, part of Snowsport Scotland’s Summer Alpine Series, this past weekend and it was a great success!
The event ran with both a Slalom race as well as a Dual Slalom on the Saturday and a Giant Slalom race on the Sunday. With 147 competitors participating, the event saw a host of top talent taking part.
The podium held many racers from different clubs around Scotland including Glasgow Ski Racing skier, Nicole Ritchie, who ranked first for both the Slalom and Giant Slalom for the Overall Ladies.
Ross Gardner, Performance Manager, comments, " Saturday was the Slalom where local skier, Clare Winthrop from LSRA, put up a great fight but Nicole Ritchie, Glasgow Ski Racing, still came out on top. Isla Ward, also from Glasgow Ski Racing, had a great performance coming in 3rd Overall in her first ever seeded event!"
Ross Nesbitt, from Glasgow Ski & Snowboard Centre, ranked first in the Overall Men’s Slalom on Saturday, while Adam Hay, LSRA, displayed impeccable talent as he took the number one position for the Overall Men’s Giant Slalom on Sunday.
The Bairns and Lassies races had forty young athletes competing in the U10 and U12 categories. The races saw great upcoming talent from the likes of Aberdeen Snowsports Centre racer, Claudia Ritchie, who came in first for the U10 for both the Slalom and Giant Slalom.
The event sponsors, including Blues Ski Shop, Rossignol, Ski Racing Supplies, Ski Bartlett’s, and Dynastar/ Lange, provided much appreciated support and prizes for the event and its competitors.
Rob Claridge, CEO, commented, “It was a great two days of racing, and a big well done to all the competitors for making it such a great event. Of course we have to thank all the volunteers and parents for their support over the weekend and I hope we can grow the event in years to come.”
Snowsport Scotland would like to thank Midlothian Snowsport Centre’s staff, our volunteers, clubs, sponsors, and of course, the competitors for putting on another fantastic event. A special thanks to Cheryl Johnston, our Chief of Race, and Paul Trayner, the Technical Delegate.
Neil McQuoid, Racer Ready, gives a further insight in both the Female & Male categories of the two day event:
Nicole Ritchie returned from a summer training camp in Argentina to one of her favourite hills to successfully defend the Scottish National Dryslope Championship title. Ritchie was the leading female racer in the field and while Claire Winthrop took second it was Isla Ward in third who had most of the large crowd talking about: Ward was racing in her first Scottish Championship races in the Open field.
While much of the talk in the weeks leading up to the races had been on the clash with the English Championship race, Ritchie is one of the leading racers that competes on the Indoor snow surface as well as on the dryslopes as well as successfully on snow during the winter. Ritchie had it all to lose by competing but she did give the rest of the field a measure of just how far they still have to go if they want to be successful in ski racing.
The first run saw two of the expected challenges to Ritchie crash out as both Eilidh Ryan and Carla Gardiner both made errors on the infamous wall and saw their chances of a result in the only zero penalty race in Scotland this summer evaporate. The Hillend slope can be very harsh to racers but it is a supreme challenge to the racer that is not seen anywhere else in the UK. It is the longest and steepest slope in the country and a challenge when trying to ‘tame’ the hill at breakneck speed!
Ritchie took a lead of over nine-tenths of a second into the second run with Winthrop chasing her. The perfect conditions were great and provided promise for attracting and keeping racers in the sport. The field may not have been great in terms of numbers but gives the sport a solid foundation for the future.
Isla Ward had made the jump up to the Children’s age group from Lassies (Minis / U12) racing with ease and in posting the third fastest time on the second run she moved ahead of Jemma Clarke and Beth Whatford and onto the Overall podium, not bad for an Under 14 racer! Whatford crashed on the second run dropping her out of contention and Clarke finished fourth with Holly McKey taking fifth.
The promise Ward has shown is great for the future. The problem for the sport is to keep athletes like her involved in the sport especially when bigger sports come calling with their larger budgets. Ward is one of the leading snow racers from the Lassies age groups and will be a force to be reckoned with on the snow scene this winter.
The gap between Delancey British Team athlete, Nicole Ritchie who won the race, and the rest of the field may be large to the naked eye, the watching Finlay Mickel, ex World Cup downhiller and now coach explained, her performance gives the younger racers a heads up in showing them how much more work they have to do to get to the same level.
The age groups were won by: Under 14 - Isla Ward (3rd Overall); Under 16 - Jemma Clarke (4th Overall); Under 18 - Sophie Ross (10th Overall); Under 21 - Claire Winthrop (2nd Overall) and Seniors - Nicole Ritchie (Race winner)
Ross Nesbitt produced a performance that was very much worthy of winning the Scottish Dryslope Championships at Hillend. In a year that had no Henderson on the start list and other leading racers from the Scottish scene in the form of Zak Vinter and Euan Kick also not racing, this was one of the most open Championships in years. Nesbitt put in the performance that merited the win and he was joined on the podium by two other rising talents in Scott Waitt and Adam Hay. Ross Taylor and Robbie Anderson rounded out the top five finishers.
Nesbitt is a member of the British Children’s Team but this is the biggest race win of his career to date, The Under 16 racer from Glasgow was the only racer to go under 31 seconds on the first run and this was the basis for his winning performance. With older racers left floundering in his wake, Nesbitt was able to ski with a little caution in mind on the second run.
Ross Taylor had had hopes of looking for the win coming into the race but a poor first run and seen him two-seconds off the pace of Nesbitt. Taylor posted the fastest second run time that saw him jump up from ninth place into fourth. Hillend is one of the few slopes, if not the only, in Britain when you can make serious inroads into a time deficit on the second run. Taylor knew he had nothing to lose after the first run and put an impressive second run together that left him with a ‘what if’ feeling. It takes two runs to win a race but you can lose a race on one run.
A lot had been hoped for Owen Vinter coming into the race but after having broken his wrist racing in the Twin Peaks race in June, this was the first time the Overall Under 16 British Champion had been back on the Hillend slope and maybe he was a little cautious. Vinter will be back and produce bigger performances during the winter you can be assured. A disqualification on the second run was the end of his challenge.
If Under 16 racer Nesbitt was a surprise, Scott Waitt used all the knowledge gained from training with the EDEP group during the winter to good use in taking second overall. Waitt has returned from racing in his first FIS races this summer and is now showing the promise from the hard work he has been putting in. The Edinburgh based racer is definitely one to watch this winter after putting some solid FIS results in Thredbo this summer.
Adam Hay was another to raise his game for the Scottish Dryslope races and he only raced in two snow races in Europe last winter, finishing tenth in the Slalom at Les Houches as well as 17th and 23rd in the Giant Slalom. The promise is definitely there for the future. It is great for the sport that racers come into results from off the radar.
The second run was a much tighter affair with Taylor posting a much improved time but he had too much to catch up to make the podium. The future of the sport in Scotland is looking very bright with the new generation of racers coming through.
The age groups were won by Under 14 - Robbie Anderson (5th Overall); Under 16 - Ross Nesbitt (Race winner); Under 18 - Scott Waitt (2nd Overall); Under 21 - Ryan Jamieson (15th Overall) and Seniors - Ross Taylor (4th Overall).
Full results on britski.org
Picture - Nicole Ritchie - credit Racer Ready - all rights reserved
Action shots will be on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com