Wengen and Flaine 2019

At the end of January, the Wellington skiers left the snow and slush of Berkshire and headed for the slopes: six girls left to take part in the 60th anniversary of the British Schoolgirls’ Races in Flaine, France, while a squad of 11 boys headed to Wengen, Switzerland, for the British Schoolboys’ Races.

British Schoolgirls’ Race Report

The girls started their campaign with two training days, during which Impulse coaches prepared everyone for the prestigious Giant Slalom and Slalom races to follow.

Snowy, cold conditions meant a soft Giant Slalom course where ruts quickly formed and put later start numbers at a disadvantage. However, the girls pulled through and finished with competitive times, despite fierce competition. Ophelia Vesely (4th, C) finished in 5th, Margaux de Pourtales (4th, Hn) in 9th and Lucy Bryer (4th, C) in 16th in the U16 registered category. Margaux Gathy (U6, W) came 9th in the U18 unregistered category. These results set us up well for the following races on Tuesday.

The snow stopped for the Slalom but the cold posed an issue for the racers and the timing equipment, where the numerous break downs led to long delays. The reward for finishing was sunshine at the bottom, which brought out strong performances from everyone: Margaux de Pourtales came 8th and Lucy Bryer came 16th in the U16 registered and Margaux Gathy came 10th in the U18 unregistered category.

Much to our disappointment, ‘dangerous conditions’ prevented the parallel slalom from happening. Nevertheless, the team were a credit to the school on and off the slopes, and all performed to the best of their ability, promising an even more successful year in 2020.

British Schoolboys’ Races Report

A squad of 11 boys from all year groups travelled to Wengen, Switzerland, to compete in the annual British Schoolboys’ Ski Races. The races were in three formats: the team Parallel Slalom and the individual Giant Slalom and the Slalom. After two days of intense training in excellent conditions, including fresh snow on the second day, the boys kicked off the competition with the Parallel Slalom in the centre of town. Three Wellington teams were entered. The first U16 team of Oliver Turner (5th, Bn), Max Moffat (5th, M), Henry Starmer-Smith (4th, L) and Jago Brooks (5th, T) lost unfortunately due to uneven course setting. The second U16 team of Gus Sutherland (4th, T), Fergus Moffat (3rd, M), Charlie Dunn (5th, R) and an honouree Wellingtonian from Sherborne were knocked out after some hard racing in the first round of the Plate.

In the Seniors category, the team of Cosmo Osmond (L6, T), Charlie O’Connor (5th, Bd), Seb Batchelor (5th, Bn) and Will Beardmore (U6, Bl) breezed through the first round, beating Millfield and moving on to the Cup, but unfortunately were selected to be on the slower blue course and after a photo finished loss in the second round. Although the results were not in our favour, all the boys put in a great deal of effort and showed great Wellington spirit.

Day 2 of competition saw the boys move up the mountain to the start of the infamous Lauberhorn downhill run, where the fast-paced Giant Slalom competition was held. The course was quick but demanding with a few tight turns and flat sections. All the boys put in a great performance, particularly those who hadn’t raced before. We had fantastic results from Charlie O’Connor who came second in the U16 category and Cosmo Osmond who came third in the U18 category. There were notable times too from Seb Batchelor and Jago Brooks.

The final day of competition was the Slalom, held on a lower section of the Lauberhorn due to poor visibility and high wind. With the ever-changing weather, the course had a new challenging dynamic in addition to the need to preserve speed from the top for the flat section. The headlines again go to Charlie who finished first in the U16 category, defeating some of the very experienced racers from Reeds and the Swiss school Aiglon. Other great times were put in by Henry Starmer-Smith, Max Moffat and Seb Batchelor.

Overall it was a brilliant competition. All the boys gave a great account of themselves, both on and off their skis and put in tremendous effort and enthusiasm. They were a credit to Wellington.

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