Six months ago he was carrying the flag for Team GB at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games after winning a bronze medal in the snowboard big air event – this week Billy Morgan is hoping to inspire the next generation of freestyle skiers and snowboarders at Chill Factore in Manchester.
To cater for the increasing interest in freestyle disciplines, inspired by the likes of Morgan and his teammate Izzy Atkinwho also won bronze at the Games (in ski slopestyle), the UK’s longest indoor ski slope is launching a new terrain park challenge.
The new park will span one half of the main 180m-long slope and will run from Thursday to Saturday most weeks. It’s aimed at guests of all ages who want to try out different terrain park features on a regular basis. The idea for the new concept, known at Terrain Challenges, was inspired by guest feedback, which called for more freestyle facilities and events.
The Manchester-based slope began offering terrain park features on the real-snow slope during the run up to the Pyeongchang Games in February. After receiving positive feedback from freestyle fans the Terrain Challenges concept was developed to make the park a permanent fixture.
“Since the Winter Olympics, everyone’s eager to get on the slope and try out new disciplines – Pyeongchang got everyone excited about winter sports,” said Morgan.
Features of the new terrain park will change on a regular basis and include moguls, table tops and rails. After each visit guests can send feedback and suggestions for the follow week’s park by emailing Chill Factore. Organisers hope this approach will help keen freestylers develop their skills and tricks, with no one week being the same.
Morgan is no stranger to trying new and ground-breaking tricks – in 2015 he became the first person to land the biggest trick in the sport to date – the quad cork 1800.
“When I heard about the Terrain Challenges I was really keen to get involved. There’s so much potential in Great Britain’s young athletes and I’m really proud to do my bit to help them shine,” continued Morgan.
The Winter Olympic star will be at the indoor snow centre this Thursday 16 August for the launch of the challenge, meeting members of the public and taking to the slope with fans between 4pm and 6:30pm. The bronze medallist will be joined on the slope by a group of Chill Factore’s sponsored athletes, including rising stars 13-year-old Bradley Fry (skier) and 11-year-old Mia Brooks (snowboarder). Both of them stood on the top of the podium at the British Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Championships in April.
For those wanting to take things further, Chill Factore, like many of the UK’s other indoor snow centres and dry ski slopes, offers freestyle skiing and snowboarding lessons throughout the year. The summer months are a popular time for snow-sport fans of all abilities to either take part in lessons and camps at UK centres or simply practise their technique before the winter season begins.
Access to the terrain park is included in a main slope lift pass, with prices starting from £15. Terrain Challenges will run most weeks, apart from when other events make use of the slope – details of running dates and each week’s planned features will be announced on Chill Factore’s website.