It's been a whirlwind season for British skier Iain Innes, who capped off a fine campaign by retaining the British Junior title he won in Tignes, last year, and going on to win the British Championship. All at the age of 19. Iain takes us through the last few weeks...
The last month of the season is always hectic and this year mine has been non-stop. My big event was of course the Delancey British Alpine Championships in Tignes, France. I'd set my goals high coming into the championships; I wanted to defend my titles from last season and add some new ones to my collection.
A few days before the British Championships, my confidence was boosted in an elite GS race in Courchevel where I went from rank 37 into 6th and scored a PB of 31 points. I also did a lot of speed races in the run up to Tignes which was great preparation. The championships began with the Super G races, my goal was to defend last year’s senior title and I managed… but this year I had to share the top spot with Charlie Raposo as we both finished in exactly the same time! In the Junior (Under 21) race however, I got to stand on the top spot of the podium on my own!
Next up were the two downhill races and despite the weather looking snowy the races ran smoothly. Unfortunately, In the Senior race I missed out on the downhill title by just 0.06 seconds so had to settle for second place but I won the Junior title to add to my collection. After these high speed events, the program switched to the technical races, Giant Slalom and Slalom. Due to bad weather the program changed and gave me a day off in the middle which was great to recover and catch up with some of the other British guys who I only get to see once a year.
The tech races started off with the Giant Slalom. I struggled with the soft snow conditions, just missed out on the podium and had to settle for 4th place in the British standings. It was a disappointing result in what I hoped could have been my best race of the week but the races weren’t over and I still had the Junior GS to come.
Next up was the Senior Slalom race featuring Dave Ryding from Lancashire, ranked 11th in the world. I haven’t done much slalom this year so wasn’t expecting too much but I knew it was important to put in two solid runs as I was staring to look good for the Senior Overall Champion title. I was happy to finish in 4th position just behind Britain’s best ranked slalom skiers. The slalom marked the end of the Senior Championships and I was really happy to win the Victor Ludorum for the first time, (an award presented to the skier (male or female) with the most points scored across all four disciplines). Of course winning this award, naturally meant that I picked up the Men’s (Senior) Overall Champion title for the first time too!
Last up were the Junior (Under 21) Giant Slalom and Slalom races. I had some fortune in the bib draw, being drawn 3rd, and therefore getting a clean course. I skied two solid runs and scored a massive personal best of 24 points. I’m really proud of this result and it also means I will start next season with under 30 points, (each skier has a points ranking for each discipline that is based on his two best results in the season). Finally the Junior Slalom came around, I must admit after seven races in seven days I was feeling low on energy and not expecting much, but in the end I scored a personal best result in Slalom! It’s crazy how sometimes results come when you least expect it and especially when you put no expectations on yourself.
To sum up my British Champs, I came away with:
It was a pretty good week!
This week I competed at the Belgian Championships in Val Thorens, the conditions were tough, hot weather and soft snow but I’m happy to have had a brilliant second run in the Giant Slalom race, being the fastest for the run and finishing with a second best ever personal score in the 20s to add to my score from the British Championships.
I’m now heading home to Scotland for a short rest before I compete at the Scottish Championships at the end of the month at Nevis Range and Cairngorm.