If you’re keen to progress your freestyle skills this season, these are the events you need to know about.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find a list of freestyle events, and when you do, it’s hard to know what to expect if you’re not a regular on the UK circuit. So here is a list for y’all, with everything you need to know.
The Charity Jam
It’s one thing having fun at a freestyle event, but it’s even better when you’re doing it all for a good cause. The Charity Jam does exactly that. Its a freestyle jam to raise money for Sports Aid, a charity that supports young athletes. It’s presented by Justin Taylor-Tipton, and has now moved venues from Stoke Ski Centre to Kidsgrove Ski Centre. It’s a relaxed jam session that holds a great atmosphere year on year, with lots of prizes up for grabs. Find out more here.
Planks Grassroots Tour
3, 12 & 19 October, various locations
For the second year running Planks Clothing is bringing the Grassroots UK Tour to Bearsden in Glasgow, Chill Factore in Manchester and The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. You’ll find a mix of coaching from the UK’s top pros and NUCO for the ultimate student experience. The format is a jam session with big prizes up for grabs and the opportunity to compete at the London Ski Festival finals. They’re set to be the perfect event to kick-start your university snowsports season, from north to south, beginners to full time rippers.
This event takes place is at Snowtrax down in Dorset, and they claim that fun is at the core of the event, which it is! So much fun that it runs not once, but twice a year. With a relaxed format, it’s a great event for all abilities, so get down and attack the air. More here.
Fridge Bangers Movie Premiere
For those of you that don’t know, Fridge Bangers is a group of skiers dedicated to producing UK ski content. Recently they have been producing a movie, which they will be premiering at Tamworth SnowDome. To celebrate they are hosting a jam session, which will set to be a banger. Find out more here and get involved.
Go Big or Go Home
Following on from the first round at Bearsden, the event’s birthplace, round two is set to be just as sendy. There’s a reason this legendary competition holds such a bold title, with big air competitions on the UK’s best SnowFlex jumps. As a result, a display of annual astronomical action that never disappoints. More here
The 5th annual Oatcake Jam is back for 2018, at Kidsgrove Ski Centre. It’s another event with a relaxed and fun format for you to throw down at your own pace. They will also be serving fresh oatcakes (a traditional food from Staffordshire), to keep those ski pistons firing all day long. More here.
Skiwear brand AfterJam hosted their first snowsports event back in February at Gloucester dry slope, aptly named The AfterJam. As the name would suggest, it was jam packed with snowsports madness and race and freestyle events with a super relaxed format, plus plenty of spectators swimming in slope-side drum and bass. Once the sliding was wrapped up, everyone headed into the boot room for a mix of DJ sets, with a headliner from DJ Hazard. This is set to be an annual bash, so keep your eyes peeled for round two. More here.
University Snowsports Events
This isn’t freestyle, but it’s one to look out for. Kings events are great for practising competitive ski and snowboard racing, with fancy dress, spectators getting wobbly on the bubbly, and raves at the slope side. They include team events to give you the opportunity to really bond with your snowsports club and are usually run with a series of knockout rounds. Whether you’re an experienced racer or complete novice, Kings is for you. Even if you’re not winning the race, you’ll still have a face splitting smile throughout the day. Follow Kings Ski Club on Facebook for event details across the season.
2 & 3 November
The big boss of the university snowsports calendar is the notorious BUDS (British University Dry Slope Championships). Snowsports clubs from far and wide all embark on the journey to the UK’s biggest dry slope, Midlothian Snowsports Centre in Edinburgh. The weekend is bursting with racing, freestyle and après revelry. Taking the reins this year, NUCO have promised to make the event bigger and better than ever, so it’s one not to be missed. Make a note of this one, if nothing else. Although be warned - it’s a marathon of skiing all day, then party all night. In most cases your university will offer a package deal for the whole weekend.
November to March
The be all and end all for all you fridge fanatics, again with a mix of race and freestyle competitions. This is another opportunity for you to put your snowsport skills to the test, and earn yourself and your club BUCS points, to climb up those rankings. These events will consist of open qualification runs, followed by 2-3 individual semis and final runs. In comparison to relaxed competition formats, these will be packed with a little more competitive pressure, so it’s your time to shine. All or nothing. Dates include:
28 November, Castleford Snozone
12 December, Milton Keynes Snozone
6 February, Glasgow Snow Factor
27 February, Milton Keynes Snozone
20 March, Castleford Snozone (finals)
University Alpine Championships
Last year the University Alpine Championships, (formerly known as Main Event and BUSC) were cancelled. It broke the hearts of many, but not to worry, NUCO has come to the rescue. So get ready to pack your bags and drag your skis and boards all the way to the French Alps this spring. This is the real deal, the chance to prove yourself as a university snowsports enthusiast, by winning more BUCS points. Although this time on a real mountain, so you’ll be getting super speedy and seriously sendy. It’s just like a uni ski trip, but you're up at the crack of dawn to compete, after a long night out - although everyone is in the same boat. The location is yet to be confirmed but the price is usually the same as a uni ski trip, plus competition fees (which can be subsidised by your university).
BUCS Spring Dry Slope Championships
Last season Main Event was cancelled, but Mt. Stoke hosted a dry slope event to fix that heartbreak, and the spring fun continued in the sun on home soil. Racing and freestyle events took place throughout the day, cheered on by supporters basking in the spring sun. There are rumours that the event may become a fresh annual addition to the university snowsports calendar, but we’ll have to wait and see…
Find out what went down at the Spring Dryslope Championships here and keep your eyes peeled for updates on BUDS…