James Machon and Emma Lonsdale retained their titles in the SNO!zone halfpipe championships in Laax today with runs that did the sport of freeskiing proud.
Both Machon’s runs (pictured right) in the final were really strong and varied – he dropped into the pipe with back to back 9s, and continued with plenty of inverts and spins both ways that were full of flair and confidence.
Before dropping in, the 19-year-old was really nervous. Friends and family were watching, who hadn’t seen him ride for a year as he’s spent the winter in Aspen. There’s no time to celebrate this latest win however, as he’s competing in the slopestyle tomorrow and wants to spend the morning practicing – he’s mainly focused on training for the halfpipe this season.
Asked how it felt to retain his title, he grinned and said, “Brilliant”.
Emma Lonsdale, 25, who has won the women’s halfpipe every year since the competition started seven years ago, had a bottle of wine in her hand straight after the prizegiving and planned to start celebrating immediately.
“I’ve been in a grump all afternoon as I thought I’d come second and lost my title, so I’m so pleased to have won again. I’ll keep coming back until I lose it,” she said.
Lonsdale has spent the season in the States in Mammoth, where training for the pipe has been a little difficult as there’s been too much powder, so the pipe was always been full of snow. It didn’t stop her throwing down strong alley oops in both directions today though, while in qualifying she landed an alley oop 5 to allep oop 3.
Aside from the winners, the stand out trick of the day came from 18-year-old Murray Buchan. He landed a beautiful 1260, followed by a 1080 tail. Pat Sharples, who has been commentating on the freeskiing at the Brits since it started, had never seen anything like it. Full credit to Buchan – his final run in the pipe today was the first time he’d attempted the 1260. Luckily it paid off.
For more pics of the day, view our gallery here.