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Luca Mai Hopkins Season Highlights

April 24, 2017

Welsh freestyle snowboarder, Luca Mai Hopkins has worked incredibly hard this season. This is a great read to find out more about one of SSW's brightest stars and the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. 

Luca Season 2016-17 2.JPG

"My pre-season training started in October for two weeks on the Hintertux glacier, where I competed in the first of the Valley Ralley Tour events placing third. The park was really good and it consisted of two kickers and a rail, I enjoyed this set up, my run was a backside 360 melon grab into the cannon rail with a big air out. I spent November at home back in school before heading back out to Austria in December for the second Valley Ralley Tour at Kaltenbach. Again, it was two kickers and a rail, unfortunately I didn't have a clean run so I didn't podium but placed fourth.

Christmas was spent at home then I flew back out to Austria just before New Year to start my first season with Why Ain't You Jibbin. We train six days a week, Monday to Saturday at Kaltenbach, with Sunday as our study/rest day. We join the GB Boardercross team to do fitness sessions three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Every morning we start with our combos, for example front 180, cab 180, back 180, switch back 180 all the way up as far as we can go on the small jumps. Then we move onto the medium jumps to repeat our combos and improve on what we have been doing on them. If the day is nice enough then we can hit the (18 meter) Pro line. I haven't been able to spin of it yet so I do straight airs and grabs.

My first World Rookie Tour was in January in Livignio, Italy where I placed 8th, a few days later was the third stop on the Valley Ralley Tour at Gerlos where I placed 4th. In February we headed off to Trentino, Italy for the next stop on the World Rookie Tour where I placed second and secured my place in the World Rookie Tour Finals. There were five rails and one kicker. My run was front side 50-50 onto the first rail to front lip down the second shotgun rail to frontside 50-50 180 off into the cannon rail switch with a switch 50-50 on to cab 180 off, then into the kicker where I spun a back 360 off into the last rail where I did a 50-50 into back board.

Luca Season 2016-17.JPG

I competed in two of the QPark tours in February, in the first in Kitzbühel I placed third in the Women's overall category, I thought it was a really fun competition as there were no rails but three kickers. In the Gold and Glory QPark tour I placed 1st in my age group and 3rd overall with a 50-50 front 180 off the rail into the first jump with a switchback 360 into cab 180 off the second jump then a tail grab on the hip.

March started with the Shred Down Masters at the Boarders Playground, Kitzbühel where I placed 4th. The last and final Valley Ralley of the season was in Mayrhofen but I wasn't able to compete because I hit my head, however I watched and supported everyone else competing. I was excited to be able to compete at the Junior World Championships at the end of March in the Czech Republic, representing Great Britain in Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air. It was really fun as it's the biggest competition I have done so far. The park was different from the other parks I have ridden before it looked bigger and there were bigger jumps and rails with cut outs under them, so if you fell off them you would fall down the drop under the rails. We started off with a few days of training and then we had the Big Air followed by the Slopestyle qualification runs. I was so gutted that I didn't get through as I fell on both runs in both events on my back 360 which was really annoying as I was landing them in practice, however it was good to see the standards of everyone else competing. It is also really good that I will be able to go to this competition for another four years getting more competition experience and better tricks. Luca Season 2016-17 3.JPG

I then had a fun end to my first season at the World Rookie Tour Finals where I competed in the Slopestyle and Halfpipe. The run I intended to have was 50-50 front 180 off to cab 180 over the first jump into back 360 over the second, up to the wall ride and then down onto front lip, come off switch onto the last pipe. However the weather was really bad and we couldn't really see and it was cold so I messed my run up. The halfpipe was just for a bit of fun, I placed 10th overall but again the weather wasn't great it was windy and foggy but it was still fun. I found out that at the end of the 2017 World Rookie Tour Groom Girls I was ranked 18th out of 179 riders. 

A big thank you to Why Ain't You Jibbin for helping me so much this season I would never have got this far without your help and you believing in me and taking me to all these competitions and everything basically! Thank you to Cardiff Ski and Snowboard Centre for your support and helping me out with my set up and everything else! Also thank you Snowsport Cymru Wales for your support."

We can't wait to see what Luca comes up with next season! 

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