Three very happy girls flew back from Switzerland to the UK late on Monday night, one smiling a little wider than the others. The weekend had seen the final of It's a Girl Thing ÃƒÂ¢?? a search for a female ski star with the ultimate prize of sponsorship from The North Face, Nordica and Adidas Eyewear.
The gamble of an early season trip to Europe's hidden gem, Engelberg, almost backfired with the terrain park not opening due to a lack of snow. The solution was a lot of kicker building up on the Titlis Glacier by the Dark Summer crew. The girls were not marked just on the jumps ÃƒÂ¢?? all aspects of their skiing technique was considered before the judges made their final decision.
Warren Smith, organiser of British Freeski Camps, headed the judging panel and sponsors were present to keep tabs on their investment. Eadaoin Hutchinson from The North Face said "We know that the UK boasts some extremely talented female skiers and they don't always get the recognition they deserve. We chose to launch this competition to raise the profile of this vibrant sport as well as further endorsing our commitment to female athletes."
With bodies sore and aching from two days of constant hiking and lugging of gear, the winner was announced during an awards dinner on the Sunday evening and it was 22-year-old Lorna Carmichael, a student at Edinburgh University, popping open the Champagne.
Though the girls showed a lot of camaraderie on and off the snow, the final was a closely fought affair and all three girls excelled in different areas. Beanie Mine-Holme, a 20-year-old student at Northumbria University in Newcastle and 18-year-old Beckie Hammond from Sheffield pushed Lorna all the way, and all three impressed many onlookers who stopped to watch the girls hucking themselves off cliffs and kickers.
"I think the girls surprised everyone around, not only with their skiing, but also with their fearlessness in tough conditions. They are going to set a great example to other budding female freeskiers in the UK and will doubtless have the respect of their male peers." Said Daniel Crawford of Dark Summer magazine, organisers of the competition.
Dark Summer magazine would like to thank Switzerland Tourism and X-Dreams in Engelberg for their fantastic hospitality; The North Face, Nordica and Adidas Eyewear for their commitment to the girls market; Warren Smith of British Freeski Camps and Ross Woodhall for documenting the action during the weekend.