30th March 2023 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Even before the season was over, British skiers and snowboarders had, for the first time, won medals in every discipline at elite level competitions. Now it’s a wrap and they’ve made it to the big FIVE-O. NEW
The 50 podiums in 2022-33 have come in the World Cup, World Championships and X Games.
It’s particularly impressive – surprising even – when you consider where they were little more than a year ago.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was not GB’s finest moment.
After so much promise and anticipation there was not a single medal for the GB Snowsport team – and only two medals in total.
The ambition of becoming a Top 5 winter sports nation by 2030 was looking less likely than ever before.
But the athletes, coaches and bosses at GB Snowsport did not lose faith.
“After the heartache of the Beijing Games last year, to see the team bounce back like this has been a real vindication of everything we’ve set out to achieve for British snowsport athletes,” the GB Snowsport Chief Executive, Vicky Gosling, told PlanetSKI.
“I think we all understood the questions we were facing after the way that things went in Beijing, but we’ve always been confident that our athletes and coaches have the talent and the ability to make a real mark, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
“What maybe got lost in the aftermath of last season is that other countries have been taking notice of what we’re building for a while now and, in some ways, there’s maybe been more surprise back home than around the world at just how strong the team has been this year.”
The star of the season was undoubtedly Charlotte Bankes in Snowboard Cross.
She topped the podium 6 times and was 3rd once.
Not surprisingly, she ended the season with the Crystal Globe as the overall winner.
And while she failed to defend her individual Snowboard Cross world title in March, she did become World Champion in the team event, alongside Huw Nightingale.
Bankes is, however, just one of many whose success contributed to the final season tally of 50.
Sixteen athletes – along with their guides in the case of GB’s visually impaired para skiers – made it onto elite podiums (see below for the full list).
Among them were ‘veterans’ such as Dave Ryding, who earned his 6th Alpine World Cup podium with slalom silver at Kitzbühel in January and Andrew Musgrave who was 3rd in the 10km Classic Cross-Country in Beitostølen in December.
And then there were the new young stars like 16-year-old Mia Brookes, who was too young to compete at the Beijing Games.
In her first year on the World Cup circuit she was 2nd in Snowboard Slopestyle in Laax in January.
She followed it up by becoming the youngest World Champion in the discipline’s history.
The record-breaking season followed the decision in 2022 by the funding body, UK Sport, to reduce the amount of money it allocates to snowsports.
As a result, GB Snowsport took the decision to end its support for the Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic Europa Cup teams.
It left some of those aspiring to compete at the top level out in the cold and bitterly disappointed.
“The review process we all put ourselves through last summer was a tough experience, but it was the right one for the sport, and some of the adjustments we made then have given us the edge that we needed to really push for the top spots this season,” Vicky Gosling says.
“When you look at the breadth of the success we’ve had – a World Cup, World Championship, or X Games podium in every discipline we manage – that doesn’t come without talent, dedication, and hard graft, which the team has shown right from the start of the season.”
Now the work begins to see if GB can match or better the 2022-23 season.
And prove that Beijing 2022 was just a blip.
“There’s still plenty of hard work to do, and nobody’s going to be resting on their laurels after this, but we’ve learned a lot from the last couple of years, and we’re not planning on stepping back from what we’ve achieved this year,” Vicky Gosling says.
“On that point, there’s got to be a lot of credit to all of the athletes, the coaches, the support teams, and the whole team back in the UK as well.
“We’ve all had to ride with the punches a bit, but we’re coming through it stronger than ever before with a lot to celebrate, and a lot to build on.”
The next Winter Olympics will be held in Milan-Cortina in 2026.
That’s a long way off.
Can GB keep the momentum going, keep piling up the medals and become an Olympic snowsports powerhouse?
Let’s hope so.
Here at PlanetSKI we’ll be watching and reporting on progress.
50 MEDALS FOR GB
- Gold – Charlotte Bankes x 6 World Cup
- Gold – Charlotte Bankes & Huw Nightingale x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Charlotte Bankes x 1 World Cup
- Silver – Ollie Davies x 1 World Cup
- Bronze – Makayla Gerken Schofield x 1 World Cup
- Gold – Zoe Atkin x 1 X Games
- Silver – Zoe Atkin x 1 World Cup
- Silver – Zoe Atkin x 1 World Championships
- Silver – Kirsty Muir x 1 World Cup
- Bronze – Kirsty Muir x 2 X Games
- Gold – Mia Brookes x 1 World Championships
- Silver – Mia Brookes x 1 World Cup
- Bronze – Andrew Musgrave x 1 World Cup
- Silver – Dave Ryding x 1 World Cup
- Gold – James Barnes-Miller x 4 World Cup
- Gold – Ollie Hill x 1 World Cup
- Silver – James Barnes-Miller x 2 World Cup
- Silver – Ollie Hill x 1 World Cup
- Silver – Nina Sparks x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Nina Sparks x 1 World Championships
- Silver – Scott Meenagh x 1 World Championships
- Gold – Neil Simpson & Rob Poth x 1 World Championships
- Silver – Neil Simpson & Rob Poth x 2 World Championships
- Silver – Neil Simpson & Rob Poth x 1 World Cup
- Silver – Menna Fitzpatrick & Katie Guest x 2 World Championships
- Silver – Menna Fitzpatrick & Katie Guest x 2 World Cup
- Bronze – Neil Simpson & Rob Poth x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Menna Fitzpatrick & Katie Guest x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Menna Fitzpatrick & Katie Guest x 3 World Cup
- Silver – Jaz Taylor x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Jaz Taylor x 1 World Championships
- Bronze – Jaz Taylor x 4 World Cup
*Although Telemark is part of GB Snowsport, the discipline is largely independently run.