Cairngorm Gears Up for The BRITS

Preparations are well under way at the UK’s biggest ski area for the British Snowboard & Freeski Championships which take place this weekend. The BRITS is returning to its roots and our Scotland reporter, Rod Frazer, has been checking out progress.

Cairngorm Mountain was an early home to The BRITS but 32 years have passed since it was last held in Scotland.

Most recently, it’s taken place at Laax, the resort in Switzerland, known as the freestyle capital of Europe.

PlanetSKI went there several years in a row to watch the cream of the UK’s freestyle talent compete alongside up-and-coming youngsters – many of them now stars in their own right.

Mia Brookes, now a World Champion, competing in Snowboard Slopestyle at The BRITS 2019. Image © Motionstoppers

The last time The BRITS was held was in April 2019, before Covid, so to say the organisers are excited ahead of this weekend is an understatement.

“Preparations are going incredibly well,” one of the organisers Stuart Brass told PlanetSKI.

“Cairngorm Mountain have been busy pushing snow around to build some amazing jumps and rails that haven’t graced the slopes before, so it’ll certainly be a great platform to showcase the British talent.

“With almost 200 competitors, combining the older generation and young talent, mixed with plenty of Olympians, it is shaping up to be a fantastic weekend of freestyle snowsports.”

Part of the Rail Jam course. Image c/o The BRITS

Rail Jam course builders. Image c/o The BRITS

The 2023 event will look a little different.

There’ll be no halfpipe or big air competitions.

The skiers and snowboarders will contest slopestyle, banked slalom and a rail jam.

Where it’s happening this weekend. Image c/o The BRITS

One to watch looks like being the Men’s Masters (Over 30) and Legends (Over 40) categories in the Snowboard Banked Slalom with more than 50 riders competing over the two categories on a course around 500m long.

I headed up Cairngorm on Monday to enjoy the blue skies and see for myself how preparations were coming along.

The Park construction is ongoing, with an excellent set of jumps already complete and a separate rail/box run being constructed and shaped by a team out with shovels in the sunshine.

Preparing for The BRITS 2023, Cairngorm. Image © Dianne Frazer

The BRITS 2023 Slopestyle course, Cairngorm. Image © Dianne Frazer

The BRITS 2023 Slopestyle course, Cairngorm. Image © Dianne Frazer

Although conditions were pristine, the forecast for the week ahead is milder with a bit of snow followed by some rain.

Hopefully this won’t result in too much snow loss.

At the moment it looks like The BRITS will be taking place on ‘spring-snow’, which is to be expected in April.

Fingers crossed that the weather gods will be kind for The BRITS home-coming this weekend!

Cairngorm on Monday. Image © Dianne Frazer

Cairngorm, despite the unseasonably mild season, is currently faring the best of the Scottish resorts as far as snow cover is concerned.

Ptarmigan bowl and Ciste were in great shape on Monday- wide open corduroy and a light covering of fresh stuff off the sides.

It’s still possible to ski down to mid-station; the top of the Cas is in good shape, but the Gun Barrel is pretty narrow to access the M1 Poma.

Skiing on Cairngorm Mountain. Image © Dianne Frazer

I’ll be on the mountain at the weekend to report on The BRITS’ homecoming so check back for my report.

For more information visit www.britssnow.com

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