Ski champion hits the US slopes for World Cup
Following on from his success in finishing eighth overall in the FIS World Halfpipe Championships in Austria in January, James, who graduated in Sports Performance from Leeds Beckett in 2013, is currently in Utah, preparing for the competition with the support of his brother Rob, a 2014 Sports Coaching graduate of the university.
Speaking about his experience of the World Championships, James said: “When I arrived in Kreischberg in Austria there was no snow in the village, just a patch of snow where the event was. A few hours later I headed straight to the night training session. It took me the whole session to adjust to the shape of the halfpipe as it was a little different to the U.S halfpipes I'd been training on.
“After the long travel day, I had 24 hours before the next session so I used this time to rest. The next two training sessions went really well, I had the support of the GB park & team coach and physio as well as my brother Rob. I used every minute of the training sessions to maximise my training time. My strength and conditioning coach, Dave Hembrough at Sheffield Hallam University, has helped get me in the best physical condition so I could maximise on the time without becoming fatigued.
“The day of the qualification went really well. I was really pushing myself and landed two solid runs which put me in tenth position going into the final. The final was the next day, and each athlete had three runs, best run counts. I landed my first run with a score of 62, then 65, then 67 which placed me in eighth overall.
“I was really pleased to have increased my score on each run and ski consistently in the final. It is the best result of my career so far. I had a similar run to the winner, I just didn't quite get the amplitude and execution so I have to work on this in the next few weeks. I flew straight back to Park City, Utah, where I am now preparing for the World Cup. Thank you to my sponsors Volkl, Dare2b, Wosskow Brown, Nordica boots & UK sport and everyone who has helped me along the way. Potential sponsors can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
James represented Team GB in the 2014 Olympics and has won five consecutive British Halfpipe Championships. He is currently ranked in the top 15 by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals. He and his younger brother Robert have been competitive skiers and part of the GB Park & Pipe Team since the ages of 13 and 15.