Freestyle skiers sparkle on the dryslopes

JUSTIN TAYLOR-TIPTON -- more success for the freestyle skier.
JUSTIN TAYLOR-TIPTON -- more success for the freestyle skier.

Freestyle ski-ing siblings Justin and Ella Taylor-Tipton, of West Hallam, have enjoyed a sizzling summer of success on the dryslopes.

For both picked up prestigious prizes at a day-long event called Overstoke at Stoke Ski Centre and then at a weekend event at The Farmers Jam at Norfolk Ski Slope that embraced both slopestyle and big air competitions.

The trip to Stoke came just a week after Justin had spent a month on the snow in Switzerland, training and learning new tricks, thanks to funding from the Sportsaid organisation and the Rob George Foundation, which is a charity that helps promising, young sportspeople. It certainly paid off because Justin carried off the skier of the day honour after a thrilling head-to-head with rival Row Emery.

On a day that started in sweltering heat but was later hit by lightning and thunderstorms, the competitors sent their tricks higher and higher.

Justin and Emery clashed with the gas pipe, each of them hiking up the slope to hit the pipe again, with Justin coming out on top by a head and pipping Emery at the post.

Meanwhile Ella, who was the last skier on the slope of the day, defied dark clouds and rain to throw down some lovely 360s off the kicker and went on to win the prize for the best female of the day.

The Taylor-Tiptons’ performances filled them with confidence as they headed to Norfolk. Slopestyle is a sport whereby the athletes ski or snowboard down a course of obstacles, while big air is a more extreme version, whereby the competitors ride a snowboard, skateboard, ski or motocross motorcycle down a hill and perform tricks after launching themselves off large jumps.

The slopestyle jam was first, with two-and-a-half hours of hitting rails, pipes and boxes, front-flipping over barrels and cars and hitting the kicker. A strong wind made the action even more fun to watch! After a short break, the big air started, with 90 minutes of continually throwing tricks off the kicker.

At the end of it all, the judges decided which top four riders in each category would go through to the final. Not only did Justin and Ella make it but, after another hour on the kicker, they emerged as two of the best on show.

Justin won the U16s’ male ski slopestyle and finished second in the U16s male ski big air, while Ella was crowned champion by taking first place in the U12s’ female big air. Both were quick to thank coaches Joe Tyler, Pat Sharples, Nick Lark and Becky and Andy Bennett.

Justin is now looking forward to a charity freestyle competition that he is putting on at Stoke Ski Centre on Saturday, October 17 (3 pm to 6 pm). The ski-ing action will be followed by a fireworks display.