British Schoolgirls’ Races 2015, Flaine 26th & 27th January 2015

Chemmy Alcott after her second training run in Sochi - COPYRIGHT ZOOM AGENCE (Alt)
Chemmy Alcott after her second training run in Sochi - COPYRIGHT ZOOM AGENCE

The British Schoolgirls’ races takes place annually and has been running for over 55 years, organised by the Ladies Ski Club. Every year the country’s top schools send teams of exemplary athletes to the resort of Flaine, France for two days of racing, including a slalom, giant slalom and the hotly anticipated parallel slalom events. … 

The Parallel Slalom did not disappoint. The straight knock-out race saw the young racers go head to head in their school teams. Drama occurred when Godolphin & Latymer teams A and B ended up going head to head in round 3, with the girls from B beating their own A team, as well as many other school teams to reach the Parallel Slalom final! In the end Richmond School, North Yorkshire were victorious and all the racers, teachers and parents went home with sore throats from cheering. Mind the Gap Year Insurance provided organisers, parents and teachers with some warming van chaud during the Parallel Slalom, for which all spectators were most grateful. 

Our gold sponsor Skiplex were also there to watch all the drama and excitement of the day unfold, with CEO Patrick Taylor saying that he’d never imagined that the standard of racing would be so high. The support we had from the local Flaine Club des Sport was exemplary as were the resort themselves, insuring that all racers were safe and happy and that each race was completed successfully.

After the hugely successful first day’s Giant Slalom races the tempo changed with a two run Slalom race. All the competitors arrived bright and early ready for course inspection at 8:15am and the race was underway by 9.30. Both first and second runs were kicked off in style by forerunners Chemmy Alcott and her husband Dougie Crawford. 

Chemmy’s arrival caused much excitement among the young ladies competing, resulting in a frenzy of photographs, selfies and helmet signings. Dougie and Chemmy set a golden standard on the course which was followed up by overall podium winners Honor Clissold of Richmond School, North Yorkshire who achieved first place, Genevieve Baird representing Loretto School A team in second and Katya Bingle-Williams of Kandahar in third, perfectly replicating the Giant Slalom results of the previous day. 

As the day drew on many hugs were exchanged between the girls who were competing at the event for the final time. One racer, Amber Buckland of Surbitan High A team, said: “it is actually really emotional to be leaving after competing for the past four years. It’ll be strange to not return next year.” Many of the older racers, including Amber have decided to do a full season on snow before heading off to university and our silver sponsor Basecamp was there to advise the 17 and 18 year olds on how to go about gaining their ski instructor qualifications, ready for a winter season’s teaching at their favourite resorts. Basecamp provides a variety of courses to qualify skiers and snowboarders of all ages as ski instructors in resorts all over Europe and the rest of the world.

After the final racer had completed the Slalom course, all involved descended on the Flaine Auditorium for the much anticipated prize giving. The high achievers were presented with their awards including the Novice Cup, Club Des Sports Cup, the Lees-Jones Salver and the Eve Alcott Cup (among many more) by their hero Chemmy Alcott. It was an emotional moment for Chemmy when she awarded the Eve Alcott Cup as it was donated in memory of her late mother. Other prizes were donated by Uvex, Basecamp, Flaine, BASI, BISS Racing, Snow & Rock, Rinskis, Cotswold Outdoor and every racer received a £30 voucher for Skiplex, something which the competitors were incredibly excited about, with many schoolgirls and parents alike vowing to be on a Skiplex slope within the month.

After prize giving a drinks reception was held in the Flaine Auditorium foyer, with drinks kindly provided by Nimrod and Erna Low. Soon the racers, teachers and parents were bidding each other a fond farewell in order to travel home and back to everyday school life, all saying that they would be back to see each other at the British Schoolgirls’ Races 2016. 

Picture – Chemmy Alcott – copyright Zoom Agence – all rights reserved