Name: Thomas BANKES
Discipline: Snowboard Cross
I first started skiing aged three in the southern french alps, but at the age of six was already looking for a more adventurous discipline and so I took up snowboarding.
Moving to the French Alps permanently in 2000 when I was nine, allowed me to be even more in contact with winter sports and I took up racing at a local level, still snowboarding for myself whenever possible, for the most part off piste, which is where my interest in Boarder-cross was ignited.
When I learnt about Boarder-cross I knew that it was a sport for me, it linked the racing attitude with the technicality and sensations that I got from snowboarding off-piste. For me it is an amazingly visual sport – you know whether you are in front or not !
I started racing in 2009 and managed to finish on a high with a 7th place in a national competition in France.
In 2010 as-well as working teaching skiing I trained for most of the season all around Europe competing in the Swiss and French National events as well as the European Cups. I also became the British men Snowboard-cross Champion at the end of the season and was selected for the British SBX team and the 2010 Junior World Championships which were held in August in New Zealand were I placed 22nd.
Last season season I progressed a lot. I competed in the World Championships, qualified for the World Cup and achieved a podium finish in a FIS event; the first ever British men’s podium in a Snowboard Cross FIS event. In the last World Cup I qualified for the Finals. My qualification run was within 2% of the fastest time, a good performance for my third World Cup start. The finals were the first to be carried out with a six man start and I managed to finish 40th.
I also had the opportunity to compete in the Winter University Championships where I placed 17th. I feel that this event prepared me very well for the rigours of the Olympics as its organisation is similar and is run in very much the same manner.
I am currently studying for a BA Hons Business degree with French with the Open University.