2019/20 Season Recap
It was sad that this season finished as it did with all competitions being cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had 36 hrs. notice to leave Austria before the Zillertal Valley closed down on 15th March. A last-minute flight was booked and I hastily packed as much as I could of my seasons belongings and left for home. We didn’t even get to enjoy our usual ‘last celebratory descent’!!I suppose you could say the 2019/20 season started in August when I was selected to the GB Snowsport Snowboard Park and Pipe Squad. In September 2019, I started the BTec Sports Course at Itchen College Southampton and after only 5 weeks left for Austria in October. The snow conditions were good for the first few weeks and I was able to get in some good pre-season practice. However, in November there was a spellof bad weather with high winds that meant we couldn’t go up to Hintertux at all. My first competition early in December, was the Audi Glacier 3000 in Switzerland and I gained some valuable FIS points being placed 5th. January was a busy month, VANS Groms Open – 4th, World Rookie Tour at Livigno in Italy – 9th. Then it was on to France for the Europa Cup in Vars. The FIS points I gained here meant I had reached the level to be eligible to compete at World Cup competitions. However, the escalation in the cases of Coronovirus across the Alps meant that several competitions were cancelled. Training was going really well and I was regularly landing switch back dub 10s ,switch back 12s and frontside 1440s. In February, I performed well in each of the three eventson the QParks Tour. I was 4th at Penken Battle, 6th and Best Trick at Junior Jam Ehrwalder Alm and in Kitzbuhel at Sick Trick I was placed 1st and won Best Trick again. It was even reported: “With an incredible Switch BS 12 Mute, the 16-years-old Ethan Smith (GBR) broke new ground at a QParks Tour Stop and obviously scored the Best Trick of the snowboarders”. It was back to training at the beginning of March and I landed several straight 14s before we travelled to Absolut Park for the Europa Cup. I qualified for the final, finishing 14th in the Big Air competition and that was it – the season was over. As no finals were held, the Points Lists became more important as at 7th May 2020:- 12th/466 2020 World Rookie Rank SS/BA Discipline Overall – Men 130th/1313 World Snowboarding Points List – all males in Slopestyle 114th/484 World Snowboarding Points List – all males in Big AirI was totally stoked to be the top male on the QParks Tour Points List. Since coming home, I have been shortlisted for the Elite Performer of the Year at Itchen Academy of Sport Awards and for Junior Sportsperson for Eastleigh Sports Awards 2019. I am also very pleased to be selected as one of the athletes to be supported by SportAid “Backing the Best” Scheme. This will make a real difference to me and take some of the strain off my Mum, who works so hard to support my snowboarding.During the lockdown, I have been catching up on assignments from College, running and cycling to try to maintain my cv and weights training for muscle strength.Then, last week it was announced that glaciers are opening up in Austria with Summer Skiiing at Hintertux.I am keeping my fingers crossed that training will be able to start as normal in October
Summer update 2019
I returned home at Easter after an exciting Winter Season. It started early in November when I travelled out to join my coach, Steve Addicott, and the Why Aint You Jibbin’ Team based in the Zillertal Valley in Austria. For the first few weeks I realised that I was still getting back to form after breaking my leg in February and an ingrown toenail operation in August 2018. However, I was determined to regain my fitness and by the time the competitions season got underway I was back on it and getting better results.
The four ValleyRalley contests are held in different snow parks in Zillertal Valley and we consider them our local competitions. Competitors have always travelled from the neighbouring countries but this year they came from further afield, and that included Japan. They certainly raised the bar!! I was stoked to be 1st in the Rookies category at the third leg in Penken Park and was also placed 1st as the overall male.
At the end of January, I received the news I had been hoping for, when I was selected as one of six snowboarders to represent TeamGB at the European Youth Olympics. This was an experience that I will never forget. We were kitted out in the Team strip at a Heathrow hotel, then travelled and stayed together in the Team hotel in Sarajevo. I took part in both the Slopestyle and Big Air competitions finishing 18th and 17th respectively. We had free time to socialise with our team-mates and to watch them competing in their sports. Exchanging pins with competitors from other countries proved to be a great way to make friends and it was good fun trying to converse with the different nationalities. The snowboarders even managed to fit in a sightseeing trip around Sarajevo and tried some of the local food.
I participated in 2 legs of the World Rookie Tour and gained my best result in Pila, Italy, where I was 3rd and qualified for the Tour Final. This was held in Kaprun Austria and I was 21st in Slopestyle and 8th in HalfPipe despite not having riden a halfpipe at all his season. The QParks Tour Final was at the end of the same week and I was stoked to get on the podium in 3rd place.
A trip to Sweden came at the end of the season, when GB Snowsport announced that I was one of four snowboarders to be selected for the Junior World Championship. A long journey to Klappen, was followed by the week-long Championship. The 96 competitors in both the Slopestyle and Big Air really did come for all over the world! It was great to see again, some of the friends I had made in Sarajevo. The conditions were difficult for everyone as it was very windy and I struggled to maintain speed on my Slopestyle runs and I just missed landing my switch back 9. However, being 57th and 41st in Big Air was an improvement from my previous Junior Worlds, so I am going in the right direction!
This season has given me so many experiences and has confirmed my commitment to continue and to improve. I just love snowboarding and all it entails. It has spurred me on to achieve the dreams I had when I first started snowboarding. Then it was just dreams, now it’s becoming a reality!
I really appreciate your continued support – it makes all the difference to me. Thanks
Now it’s time to concentrate on my school work as my GCSE exams start THIS week. I have been offered a place at Itchen Sixth Form College on the BTech Sports Science Course and TASS Dual Career Scheme so I shall be able to study for a qualification at the same time as I continue competing in the world of snowboarding.
Summer update 2018
I returned home, at the beginning of March, after spending my winter season away in Austria. This was earlier than planned as I broke the bottom of my tibia.
It was back to school to concentrate on my lesson and start preparing for my end of year 10 exams. Whilst my leg was in plaster, I still continued working on my fitness, mainly on my upper body plus a few leg exercises on my good leg. In April, my plaster finally came off and then the hard work began with physio. I have been working with Southampton Solent University to regain full movement in my ankle and leg.
Landgraaf to train on the rails and jumps for a week. After that it’s a relaxing summer holiday where I hope to do some scuba diving, swimming and probably some flips on the beach!