Taking place just a week after the Dryslope Championships, Kings Ski Club's monthly race meet rolled into town for it's second round of the season last week. Gone are the 1000 students, the 450m slope and the 48 hours of almost nonstop action. In are blink-and-you'll-miss-it course lengths, incredible fancy dress and a slightly more bearable minibus journey.
I don’t know a single student skier or snowboarder for whom Kings doesn’t have a special place in their heart.
The second Midlands round took place at Ackers slope in Birmingham, with teams from 8 local unis competing in mixed, ladies and boarding relays. Dual slalom, or duals as it is affectionately known, is a simple form of racing popular with spectators. The head to head racing style has one simple goal: beat the other team down the hill.
There are two things you’ll notice as soon as you get to Kings. First is the fancy dress, based on a set idea but individually chosen by each uni. This time round we had princesses and villains, Toy Story characters and dinosaurs among others. These costumes often don’t exactly improve people’s skiing performance to say the least – one guy was sporting full side Donkey inflatable as Bullseye rather than using any poles. This is the second difference between you’ll notice between Kings and BUDS – the racing itself is definitely more of a casual affair – people are always happy to win but fun tends to take priority.
After course inspection the competition itself got underway, with race captains frantically grabbing together teams, shoving helmets on their heads and getting them hyped for glory. The races themselves are over in a flash, for the 1st teams at least. They often don’t go quite as smoothly as planned, with false starts and plenty of flailing fancy dress crashes livening up the affair.
After 2 rounds and finals, the competition is over and it’s down to the bottom of the slope for the highlight of the night – prize giving. Exactly zero people are surprised when Loughborough take first place, though Brumski (University of Birmingham’s society) 1st and 2nd teams make a return to form with second and third place, as well as winning ladies and boarders. Nobody walks away disappointed however, mostly because of the bottle of booze for every team who entered, as well as more goodies for the best fancy dress.
All over, the teams board their buses, back to their respective university towns to celebrate or commiserate, and that’s Kings over - until the next round...