Meribel

Meribel 2022: Snowboarders provide thrilling action on day one

The first day of competitions saw the Snowboard Cross event take the headlines.

Snowboarders battled each other, as well as the unpredictable elements, on the first day of action at Meribel 2022.

The Inter Services Snow Sports Championships kicked off with the Snowboard Cross event, sponsored by Forces News' parent company BFBS, and the Alpine Super Combined event.

The fresh snow and intermittent visibility added to the difficulty for the snowboarders as men's and women's titles were decided.

In the men's event, the final was true to the seedings with the top four up against each other.

Flight Lieutenant Paddy Morris was victorious with Army pair Staff Sergeant Dale Gallagher and Colour Sergeant Sven Benevides in second and third.

The elated men's champion Flight Lieutenant Morris told Forces News: "Thrilled, so much good competition, nothing [is] certain in boardercross.

"Genuinely last night, going to bed, I thought I might be knocked out in the first round, but you never know."

Speaking about the difficult conditions, Flt Lt Morris added: "You're so much aligned on what you can feel through your feet rather than what you can see, so you know where the gates are but you don't necessarily know what the terrain's like between you and the gate.

"You also don't know where the ruts are - in one of the earlier heats I actually spun out, was riding backwards and had to come back round so was challenging."

The winner of the ISSSC Snowboard Cross event, RAF Flight Lieutenant Paddy Morris, centre, with second and third placed British Army Staff Sergeant Dale Gallagher, left, and Colour Sergeant Sven Benevides, right.

In the women's race, the number one seed Aaby Aldridge, from the Royal Navy, didn't make the final.

That left Army duo Major Jess Drew and Gunner Jordan Buckley to fight it out against the RAF's Corporal Jasmine Furber.

Tactics came into play and the Army came out on top with Drew taking the top spot.

"Wasn't really much to see either on the course because the visibility is so bad," Maj Drew said.

"I was quite lucky that I got the fastest seed so I could choose my lane, and then there was another Army rider which was quite good so actually Jordan was able to talk to me throughout the race - 'yeah, yeah, go, go, go, go!'

"I managed to hold the lead but keeping an edge and trying to figure out what the course was in such bad visibility was a real challenge and it could have been anyone that won. 

"Just lucky that it was me really."

The snowboarders compete again on Tuesday in the Parallel Giant Slalom - which you can watch live with Forces News - and then return to the snow park on Thursday for the Slopestyle. 

Elsewhere, Corporal Rachel Hughes of the RAF and the Royal Navy's Graeme Price took the titles in the super combined alpine event.