Gold in Poland

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Continuing our Eastern Europe road trip from Krakow we arrived in Krnica Zdroj mid afternoon. At the race meeting we learnt that the next days race was going to be a good pointer as the whole of the polish team were there as it was their National Championships.

The next day we woke up to dreary weather and set off to the ski resort for the competition. Even though the course was only 3km away, we did not manage to find it and had to ask for directions from a petrol station on the main road, the reason being that the resort was not signposted from the road, and there was nothing indicating that an event was being held there. The surprises did not stop there, the was a giant slalom section in the course, and then a sketchy 70m straight section into a couple of kickers! This was not one of the best run events that we have been to this season! Everything ran smoothly though and we we done with both our qualifying runs by 1.30pm. The most difficult was trying to decipher the Polish speaker who would not tell us our times in English!

I qualified in 6th position putting me in a solid place for the heats. Myles McNeany and Marlies Neunner also qualified for the heats and finished 12th and 7th respectively, which was a good result considering the points in play.

In the semi finals, I went up against Ligocki and and stayed ahead till half way down the course, where he got past me. I moved into the finals in a good state of mind and was ready for a good battle.

The finals started in a good hearted fashion, and Ligocki and Jodko took off ahead and were at each others throats into the GS section. I had a bad start and was quite far behind watching it unfold. At the first GS gate Ligocki overtook his teammate and took the lead home, I managed third place, which I was pretty happy with given the people there. Thanks to this I now have 100FIS points the first requirement for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The second day they had made a few changes to the track and had added a few more GS gates making the straight line to the kickers slightly less dangerous! it was also raining which made it feel pretty cold and miserable especially with the drab surroundings. Most of the polish team had left for the university championships, and I managed to improve my time on the course by 2 seconds and took the lead of the qualifying by just under a second which I was happy with!

The heats were chilled until the finals, Myles and Tom Akass both came out in the first round, it turned out not to be their event, but Marlies rocked the girls final, coming third. All that remained was my final. In the starts I got streamlined by two polish, who got out ahead, but I managed to come back in the first turns and overtook the first just above the GS section on some rollers, and then went hard after the next guy, I came full speed into the last banked turn and powered through the rollers, and managed to finish just ahead, but we were so close the organizers had to check on the video feed of the finish line.

I am happy as this is my fist victory in a FIS event. All that remained was our 18 hour journey back to morzine for a week training before the World Cup in Valmalenco Italy.

Thanks to Norton Rose group, TASS, the BSS and The Skiers Trust.

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Podium in Czech


We left Morzine on the 22nd at 9am with a twelve hour drive ahead of us. Our destination was Prague where we spent a day being proper tourists and then went on to Dolni Morava, a slightly less known part of Czech republic, but where our competition was to be held. Our first day we spent training on the track and then competition started with the Czech championships. The light in the morning was beautiful, and the piste was golden with the light reflecting off it. I finished qualifying in 3rd but it took ages as every person had two qualifying runs and there was also an open race on at the same time.

The finals were good, the track was pretty nice allowing good competition, it got faster and faster as the day went on which meant that overshooting the kickers became a slight issue but otherwise it was fine. The finals started as the night was setting in and after a mistimed start, I was not able to catch the others up and finished 4th overall. It was a solid result but I was not super happy with it and wanted to get a better result on Sunday.

Sunday dawned cloudy and snowing, it had snowed around 10cm overnight which meant that the organizers had their work cut out but worked really well to get the course ready fast. I had the first bib, which wasn’t an advantage due to the new snow, but I got the best time in my first run, and qualified 2nd after both qualifying runs. Myles Mcneany also got a good qualifying time fifth. My final runs were better, and I was able to dominate my 4×4 all the way to the finals. My final run was solid, with a slight problem over the first section getting caught up with another rider, but managed to finish third overall and am happy.

We are now in krakow, which is a really nice city well worth the visit with a lot of monuments and open spaces good energy stones, and a really cool fire breathing dragon! Our next competition is in Krnica Zdroj for the Polish Championships.

Just wanted to thank Norton Rose group for their help this season.

Also thanks to TASS, the BSS and The Skiers Trust.

Thanks to Tom Akass for the photos

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Second place in Austria

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Just finished my latest competition in Austria Hohenems.

Whilst the rest of Europe was surviving a cold spell, we were in the Siberia of Austria racing in temperatures of -20C.

Because of the really cold temperature the place looked amazing with snow everywhere on all the trees. Hohenems is a really small resort with only 2 T bars, but loads of off piste and freestyle potential. The course was an interesting course, and a coupe of features had to be modified under the all observing eye of our coach Simon Whyte!

Once all the problems got ironed out, we begun with the competition properly, I had a good run in the qualifiers coming 6th which put me in a good position for the finals. However it was not to be, and in the finals whilst trying to overtake someone I took myself out and that was the end of the day!

Sunday dawned just as cold but everything was running much smother as everything was already properly set up. The weather had also picked up and although cold it was also really sunny which took the bite out of the cold. The qualifiers wen really smoothly getting my perfect line and managing to slip into first place which helped with my confidence for the rest of the day and also my starts, as our start gate choices depend on our qualifying time.

The Finals went pretty smoothly apart from in the quarter finals where, as James Foster our Canadian coach out it, “the only place you didn’t scare me was a the landing of the second kicker”! To be fair I did end up crossing the finish line on my back after a couple of mistakes the whole way down, but I still managed to qualify for the finals.

In the finals, my first turn line was not the best and I ended up third in the second bank, but Ivan Bracht ARG, didn’t make the second turn and I just managed to avoid him, but did not have the guts to hit the last kicker full speed to try and get first place. I am however very happy with second, my best result so far in a FIS event!

Here is the video of the finals.

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First competition of the season

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The first competitions for the European cup boarder cross took place at Puy st vincent this weekend.
There were over 180 competitions representing more than 20 nations. There were a number of competitors from the world cup teams ensuring a high quality field in both the mens and women’s events

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The course had been slightly changed from the previous years making it faster with some bigger more interesting modules which was really refreshing.

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The friday the competition got cancelled due to bad weather so everything rested on the Saturday and Sunday European cups.

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Thomas Bankes gained a top 16 place on the Saturday before being taken out in the quarter finals and on Sunday qualified with a better time but unfortunately came out of the heats in 29th position

Charlotte managed to come 1st on the Saturday and will got a 9th place on the Sunday so it turned out to be a great weekend.

Next week I will be at the first World Cup event in Europe to be held in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

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New year powder run

Happy new year to everyone!

Today was an amazing day and we decided to go and do one of our favorite local backcountry runs with my brother William Bankes. There was a bit of snow left from the snowfall two weeks ago so it was a nice day. The top of the run was slightly wind blown but further down the snow was nice.

Next weekend will be the Puy st Vincent boardercross with the first European cup of the season.

See you then

Tom

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