The beast from the east may be gone, but that didn’t stop hundreds of students from skiing in a heat wave last week! For one year only, the Alpine Championships looked a little less Alpy and little more homegrown as Stoke on Trent hosted the event.
With no Alpine festival offering students the chance to gain BUCS points, clubs from across the country headed to Stoke Ski Centre to lap up the sunshine and throw down their best tricks and racing form.
Good god it was warm.
The University of Manchester Ski and Snowboard Club (SKUM) and University of Bristol (UBSC) were both out in force, bringing plenty of talent to the competitions and giving the event a festival feel, with BUDS-style gazebos and soundsystems pumping out naughty tunes. Competitors from Edinburgh and Glasgow even made the trek down to the tropical south for the occasion, factor 50 in hand.
Skiers weren’t taking any chances with the races and lots of clubs brought waxing stands to keep their kit in prime condition. Some supporters even went all-out to mark the occasion, sporting tropical fancy dress and fur coats, because why the hell not?
After a morning of racing and qualifications, the sun came out and competitors got to work on their goggles tans (sans goggles) with a packed afternoon schedule of racing and freestyle across two slopes. The rail jam set up included a variety of nine boxes and pipes for everyone to get creative and they did not disappoint! Over on the kicker, sending was happening and there were a few double backflips attempted along with plenty of spectacular bails.
As the competition heated up (quite literally), spectators headed further up the slope to get the best front row seats in the sun. Maybe it was the heat making people giddy, but freestylers seemed to have no fear whatsoever despite numerous comedy falls and one particularly outstanding double ejection – which we caught on film. As the sun beat down, the hose got whipped out to keep the dry matt in prime condition and staff threw buckets of water on the sizzling park features to help keep them slippy.
It's safe to say that in the absence of hills covered in snow, committees and competitors still did what they do best, they came and they sent it. Which resort will the champs be in next year? We can’t wait to find out.
Check out the results over on the BUCS website and stay tuned for a Facebook photo album and edit coming soon