For many people winter means cold dark nights, frozen windscreens and slippery paths, but for snowboard enthusiasts it’s time to head for the slopes.
Snowboarding is enjoyed by thousands of people recreationally and professionally and is one of the fastest growing sports.
For us Brits, this season kicked off with a bang as the best snowboarders competed at the Freeze Festival at Battersea, London. This festival is not only a sports competition, but also brings some of the best music acts to its stages and the latest tech and gear on sale.
The Big Air Competition attracted many of the biggest names in Snowboarding, but also allowed the top three Brits to progress from the Battle of Britain Competition.
“Veteran” Dom Harrington stunned London with his impressive backside 900 landing him 1st place, with 2nd and 3rd going to Cody Heirons and Scott Penman.
These three should have progressed to the illustrious line up of International Boarders in the main invitational Big Air event, but with Harrington and Penman pulling out, it left Nate Kem and Jamie Trinder to take their places alongside fellow “invited” Brits, Billy Morgan and Jamie Nicholls.
An injury to the Icelandic rider Eiki Helgasson also allowed Sean Tumilty to step up despite fishing 8th in the Battle of Britain.
After finishing 4th last year, Nicholls would probably be disappointed with his 8th place finish, exiting in the semis but Kem must be pleased with his 6th place finish, narrowly missing out on the finals.
As the night grew darker and the cold started to bite, the conditions were set for the five man final. With Billy Morgan as the only Brit representative, the crowd anxiously waited in the desperate hope of a first time Brit winner and Morgan obliged.
He took the title with his first two runs, laying down a huge, stylish backside rodeo followed by a backside 1260 leaving his third and final run a formality and he pleased the huge crowd stomping a sweet slow-mo back flip.
These last 12 months have been fantastic for Morgan. After winning Battle of Britain last year he then became the first rider in the world to land a triple backside rodeo, and now taking the coveted Freeze Big Air title, the future’s looking bright, and he must now have his sights on the Winter Olympics 2014.