Skiers from Castleford-based Lions Ski Club were in magnificent form in the British individual and team championships.
Kirsten Walton. Maisie Burton, Jacob Sundin, Lucas Ellis and Elliott Bennett were all crowned British champions. The Lions Club also won the team event in the championships organised by British Alpine Racing Ski Clubs at Manchester Chill Factore.
The Lions Club, run by volunteer coaches and race organisers, have won trophies on indoors and outdoor slopes in recent years. In the last two years, the club has further improved its structure, resulting in Elliott Bennett being selected for the English Alpine under 14 ski squad.
They recently recruited the help of Jo Ryding, of JR Ski Racing, who is head coach for the RAF men’s and women’s teams who are services champions.
Jo, the sister of top UK slalom skier and Olympian Dave Ryding, has worked with the Lions coaches to take the Castleford skiers to the next level.
All the hard work paid off in the championships at Manchester. The results for Lions skiers were -
Female: Lucy Hanson (third, U10), Brace Bennett (second, U12), Mya Walton (fourth, U 12), Maisie Burton (first, U14), Kiorsten Walton (first, U16), Grace Ramsden (fourth, U18).
Male: Jacob Sundin (first, U10), Jacob Hodgson (third, U 10), Zach Haweridge (seventh, U10), Lucas Ellis (first, U12), Joseph Brown (seventh, U12), Elliott Bennett (first, U14), Nathan Davey (sixth, U16), Luke Thornton (sec ond, U18).
They were tremendous results for Lions skiers on a difficult course that many competitors could not complete.
The four-person Lions team of Dave Freeman (over 21), Kirsten Walton (U16), Elliott Bennett (U14) and Lucas Ellis (U12) won the team event in which over 20 teams competed.
In a three race final, Lions took on SZ Racing.
Lions won the first race, SZ won the second and Dave Freeman led Lions to victory on the final run.
The Lions coaches were delighgted with the result after a magnificent team performance under a lot of pressure.
Jo Ryding said: “Working with Lions has been very exciting for me as a coach. They have one of the largest grass root bases of young racers in the country I have seen in a long time.
“We are working with athletes who have shown the commitment needed to take their skiing to the next level. Winning the club national shows they have strength in depth within the club.”
Lions members race train on Mondays (7.30 to 9pm) at Snowzone at Castleford’s Xscape.
They ski on Sundays (8 to 10am) with Lions recreational groups. They complement skiing with lots of fitness training to get ready for the Alpine race season.
For more information about the club contact Kenny Walton on firstname.lastname@example.org