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Ash Clayton Blog Jan/Feb 2023

Ash Clayton Blog Jan/Feb 2023

Georgina Clark |

For me, 2023 kickstarted with my first solo trip away to France. For the first 3 weeks of January, I was in the Morzine / Avoriaz area of The Alps. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much snow due to the fact that they had loads of rain around Christmas time with a few basements being flooded. This meant that not a lot of the surrounding ski area were open, so it was extra busy in the spots where there was snow! Even with no park, I still got out for the first week for a few hours a day to polish my piste skiing, and to enjoy bombing it down the slopes not having to wait for anyone! Around mid Jan, the call for more snow was answered, and it snowed for 5 days straight. It was amazing to finally see everything covered in snow. In the next few days, the park was built and it was time to get on the good stuff. I was getting up the mountain for first lifts, and skiing til the sun began to set. The jumps were small, but still a size that I could practice my basics spins up to 720, and become super comfy in landing switch and spinning to the right (my unnatural rotation). Also beginning to bring in new grabs to make each spin more stylish, which is something that judges look for in competition.

For the last week of Jan / first few days of Feb, it was off the La Clusaz to compete in a Europa Cup. I was joined by my coach Bobby and another athlete Lara. The course was a technical one, with jumps that were much bigger than the ones we have in the UK (around 18 meters). It took a while for me to settle into the jumps, but once I went off them both, it was all systems go. First up was the slopestyle. I qualified 2nd for finals and finished 3rd, which I was super proud of for my 2nd Europa Cup. It was then onto big air, one jump to do your best trick. I qualified 5th with a switch 720 tail grab. For finals, you have 3 to do 2 different tricks, then your scores are added together. My 2 tricks were switch 720 tail grab and 720 safety grab. It was a very tough competition, and by the end of it, I was unsure if I’d done enough to podium. It was tense waiting for the results to come through before prize giving, but I wanted it to be a surprise for me. When 3rd place was announced, I was convinced I’d come 4th. Then the announcer said, “from Great Britain…Ash Clayton!”. I was super shocked and proud of myself, I even shed a little tear of joy! After coming down the mountain, it was time to pack up and get ready for a night out to celebrate our results. The only downside to podiuming is trying to take the prizes home. Having won 2 clocks, 2 rather large posters and some other small bits, it means buying a extra bag to fly home. When I was collecting my bags back in the UK, and my extra bag hadn’t come through. This got me a bit worried, my hard earned prizes being left behind in Geneva. Thankfully, the day after, it was delivered to me :)

Ash Clayton prize

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