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Pilgrims' skiers take to the indoor slopes


12 keen Pilgrims' skiers recently took part in IAPS indoor ski championships. 

At IAPS indoor ski championships, held at the Snowdome in Hemel Hempstead, the U13s (years 7 and 8) were represented by two teams: Ben A, Barnaby D, Olly P, George S in Team A and Conrad B, Dom KS, Orson and Orlando in Team B. The U11s were Ralph M, Nick M, Tommy Q and Nick U.

The competition comprised two runs over the slalom course, and then two runs over the giant slalom course.

Accompanied by Mr Reid and Mrs Short, the boys arrived in time to gear up and participate in free practice, getting used to the slope. The slalom poles were then set in place, and the boys were given an opportunity to inspect the course.

The U11s all completed two runs. Tommy Q was the fastest of the Pilgrims' bunch, featuring in the top 15; Nick U stumbled on his first run, but made a huge improvement in his second.

As for the U13s, several of the boys are new to ski racing but showed great promise. Barnaby D made short work of the course: who knows what he might have achieved if he'd been permitted to borrow his father's catsuit? Orlando justified his last-minute call up with a tidy performance. The U13 slalom team competition was a tense affair: two of Pilgrims' most experienced ski racers, Dom and Orson, each went for speed on the first run but failed to register a time after missing a gate. Under the pressure of needing to complete the course on their second and final slalom run, they both performed well under pressure. Dom's time was good enough for 4th place in the U13 boys' competition (Pilgrims' top finish of the day) and Orson went into the top 15.

After an opportunity for lunch, the competition then moved on apace to the giant slalom. By now, the organisers were behind schedule. The course inspection was a somewhat cursory affair, and the races took place in a flurry of activity. This time all the boys successfully completed both runs and registered two times. Dom was again Pilgrims' fastest finisher, with Orson 0.37 seconds behind.  The speedy pair's consistency over the two events meant that, when all the results were combined at the end of the day, the Pilgrims' B Team came second - a great result.

Between races, the boys sat together in the viewing gallery and watched and supported the other Pilgrims' boys. They were all a little tense at the start of the day, but as they successfully navigated the races, the atmosphere became celebratory.

Pilgrims' inaugural participation in this event has been a great success. The boys have been inspired by the opportunity, and keen to commit to more regular race training, making use of the local facilities and (perhaps) on some real life snow if that proves to be possible. There is a sense of excitement, motivation and a depth of experience in the team which promises great things for the future.

Rebecca Shivji


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