2023 saw the return of the British Schoolgirls’ Championships in Flaine, France, since before the pandemic hit. You could feel the buzz around the resort as the teams arrived and the Surbiton High School skiers were excited to be racing again.
The skiers had two days training before the races started with the Giant Slalom on Monday. Super performances from all, but the outstanding mention goes to Emily M, who went from bib number 106 into 6th overall, and picked up 3rd in the U14 category.
Later in the afternoon, it was the Dual Slalom race. This is always super exciting as two teams race against each other side by side. Unfortunately, this year only the A-teams got to race, but this didn’t dampen the B-teams’ spirits as they took on the role of chief cheerleaders. After three comfortable wins we were through to the quarter-finals against Reed’s. With two ex-Surbiton High School pupils in their team, we knew this was going to be a tough race, and this it was. Off they went neck and neck, Surbiton High School getting a small lead, then Reed’s catching up, with the final racers starting at the same time, fighting all of the way. Half of the crowd were holding their breath and the other half were cheering them all on. After a tense few minutes while the finish line video was checked (as it was too close to call by the eye), Surbiton’s A-team were announced as winners (whoop!), but there was no time to celebrate as up they went again. Beating Aiglon College in the semi-finals, we were then up against Wellington School, including the winner of the Giant Slalom race that morning. We knew that our girls had been training hard for this moment and they completely delivered, coming away as Dual Slalom Champions.
There was no time for celebrating though, as the team went back to the apartment to prepare their skis for the Slalom race the next day. The weather was slightly warmer, making the snow softer and bumpier, so conditions were a little tricker. But this wasn’t going to phase our pupils, who always show an amazing bout of resilience and determination. This time, Ella B gets herself on the podium as 2nd in the U18 category, with the rest of the girls finishing comfortably in the top 30 out of 132 starters.
We then had the tense wait until prize giving for the overall combined results. Finally, it was announced – we had won the Eve Alcott memorial cup for the fastest combined B-team. With alumni skier, Chemmy, there to present her mother’s trophy to the Surbiton High School B-team, this was a special moment for all involved.
“Congratulations to all who competed! All racers who attended came away having been on the podium – it really does show that hard work does pay off. The teamwork and support from the skiers, both on and off the slopes, was absolutely fantastic. They are a real credit to the School. I was immensely proud to be there with them.” Taryn Archbold, Head of Skiing
A-team: Charlotte V, Ella B and Jenna M
B-team: Ciara M, Emily M and Alice G
U14 Giant Slalom – Emily 3rd
U14 Combined – Emily 3rd
U18 Slalom – Ella 2nd
Eve Alcott Memorial B-team Cup – Surbiton High School
Dual Slalom Winners – Surbiton High School