It was a wet day in Rossendale last Saturday. When the NUSSC race squad and supporters arrived at the (ironically termed) dry ski slope, racer Claire Russel went as far as to describe conditions as ‘sopping’. Each competing team selected a team from the winter Olympics to dress as, and for Newcastle this was chosen to be the Jamaican snow sports team.
The Kings’ contests take the format of a relay race down two parallel slalom tracks. Two teams compete at a time, and when each racer passes through the final gate, a flag is waved. Provided visibility isn’t too compromised, the next skier of that team will see this flag and set off. In the event that a racer falls or misses a slalom pole, they must make their way back up to it before setting off again in order to avoid disqualification. This happened a number of times on Saturday in all teams.
Team Newcastle consists of a mixed first, second, and third team, ladies first and second teams and snowboard first and second teams. Last Saturday’s event was the fourth and final of the northern rounds, the results of which determine qualification for national finals. Fantastic performances saw Newcastle’s mixed first team win the round and steal back first place in the league from SKUM 1. Newcastle ladies asserted themselves, also taking home first prize in the round and increasing their dominating lead in the league to six points clear of second place. The snowboarding 1s closely missed out on the victory in round four, but three previous performances gave them affordability to do so and they were able to secure their place in national finals with a joint first league position with Sheffield. Race captain Ryan Jamison said “all teams were skiing great – Cameron Brown in particular was looking fast”. It is also worthy of a mention that Ella Beresford-West performed astonishingly well for the mixed third team. Stepping in as a substitute at the last minute in the unforgiving conditions Beresford-West was instrumental in the securing of their 20th position in the mixed northern league. Whilst they narrowly missed out on qualifying for finals this year Beresford-West and the team did the Jamaican flag proud.