JACK GOWER has scored a stunning success at the British National Alpine Ski Championships.
The Donnington youngster recorded his first major championship win at the prestigious Delancey-sponsored event.
The men’s giant slalom didn’t escape the poor weather which prevailed in Meribel, France, but Gower seemed scarcely troubled by the heavy falling snow and poor visibility which rolled across the race pistes for much of the competition.
Gower was delighted to record his first ever major championship win at senior international FIS level. He paid a rich tribute to some of the older, more experienced British skiers, such as Dave Ryding, who recently became the first British skier to win the Europa Cup, TJ Baldwin and Dougie Crawford.
In the foundation discipline Gower set up a comfortable lead with a mature, smart first run which allowed him to consolidate on his second run, finishing with an aggregate 1.2 seconds cushion over Baldwin (Norfolk). Scot Crawford (Glasgow) – winner of the Super G and Downhill already – finished third.
“I am so pumped - I am really just over the moon.” Gower grinned as he spoke straight after his victory.
“I did not ski well yesterday but today I skied smart on the first run which gave me a big lead going in to the second run. I really focused on working hard, not taking any unnecessary risks, skiing the right line on the right snow. It worked out well.
“The second run was in difficult conditions which I don’t really excel in, so it was nice to come through the finish and see that I had won.
“I never thought about winning before I started today, but I did know I had the capability to win races, especially giant slaloms, before this. But this is the first race I have ever won since I started as a senior. So this is a really, really big day for me.
“TJ and Dougie have been amazing with me this year. I got to train with them in the summer. They are role models of mine, as of course is Dave Ryding. I am the young guy and they have been so good to me.”
The first runs of both races were blessed with the better weather. But as the cloud rolled back up the valley and the snow started to fall heavily again, it was not easy for the racers to maintain the same sharp focus.
Gower skis with a private training programme which has mostly been based in Norway this winter.