• Caitlin Kennedy

The Monoski World Championships

Updated: Apr 1, 2019


As a sport that has suggestively been described as “one ski, more pleasure”, monoskiing truly deserves its spot in the limelight. Which is where the Monoski World Championships comes in. On this day 15 years ago, a pioneer decided to bring back something that lurked only in the misty depths of the memories of old French men.


His vision: to bring into the light the gift of flight aka the Monoski. The obstacles he faced: mockery, derision and the fact that the snowsports world had moved on from violent hip swinging. But his gusto (and boxed wine) won the day and now, every April, we honour his bravery and foresight in bringing Monoskiing to this town and beyond.


This man was Mark Beattie. Armed with nothing but a sea of neon, very un-waterproof ski wear, and a dream that refused to die, he organised the very first Monoski World Championships , a competition for the trojans of the ski world (read: literally anyone with a pair of ski boots). The day has gone from strength to strength and now takes pride of place on the official Monoski Wikipedia Page. We caught up with him to find out about its origins.


When did you discover your love of monoskiing?

Way back in the 80s, when Nevica suits were all the fashion (not that they’re not now), and bumps were still cool.


How did the first ever WMC come about?

Where else? The pub!


Advice for first time monoskiers?

It’s all fun and games until you click the second foot in! At that point make sure you have poles in hand. Like all good sports, feel the flow.


What does Spirit of the Monoski mean to you?

The person who has the best day at the WMC is ultimately the winner and some people put so much effort in, its great. That’s what the Spirit of the Monoski means to me.


Has Monoski changed much?

I can honestly say: no. It’s still a great day on the hill followed by a fun evening in town in loads of 80s gear with maybe a bit too much rosé involved. It did however get a lot easier to convince people to get on one after the first year or two.


Who’s your favourite to win this year?

Jono of course (you got this Jono)!


What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at Monoski?

There are a couple: Julian Ball back flipping the black jump was up there. Jono’s sunburn flowers (that were still there 5 years later), or maybe just the odd stray competitor lining up for the Olympic in the morning on their own wondering if anyone else will be dressing up.

Actually, it has to be Big Stephan with a giant Mohawk in a mankini straight lining the course to a disastrous end.



This year, the day will be the 10th April, the place, Val d’Isere Snow park, and the time, 11am.

PRE-COMPETITION

If you would like to take a monoski out to practice, we have a selection, which can be taken out from Snowberry Slopeside (Val d'Isere). The rules:

  • You will need to provide your name and a contact number.

  • All Monos MUST BE returned to Snowberry the Monday before the event to be serviced.

  • Sharing is caring people. Please only take one out for a day or two.

  • A donation must be made to Snowberry’s charity of choice.

  • You can’t shotgun the monoski you practiced on. There are only so many and they must be shared on the day. Having said that, some people do own their own, so check before taking one.

The Blue Note Monoski Catwalk is being held on the 4th April. Come down with your finest 80s attire and show off your sassiest strut. It will also act as a Bring, Buy and Sell where you can pick up suitable gear, or pawn yours off if you have too much. Prizes for the best walk and raffle for tickets bought at or prior to the event.


COMPETITION DAY

The competition takes the form of a knock-out side by side slalom. When the call is made to “3-2-1, MONOSKI!”, two mono skiers wind their way down a specially made gated slalom course as fast as possible and the first to pass through the finish line progresses to the next round, until just one is crowned the winner. Sign up starts at 10am at the Park. NB: It is by no means necessary to compete. You can also come along and laugh at people falling over from the bottom.



This year, Murray and his crew (the team that do the Step Up nosh) will be providing the food up at the park, which is sure to be incredible and will come with a beer or glass of wine.


AFTER PARTY

Prizegiving will take place on a podium on the snowfront, with amazing prizes for the winners and the crowning of the person who most embodies ‘The Spirit of the Monoski’. And for the first time ever, we’re putting on an after party on the snowfront, with the legendary Norman J MBE, bringing the funkiest tunes to the stage from 6pm to 8pm. So limber up the hips on the monos before Norman’s funk and soul sounds get you two stepping to China. We’re also chuffed to have teamed up with the Vie Val d’Is who will be running the Man & Wolf Bar, keeping your thirst quenched throughout.


Do not bring your own alcohol to the after-party stage area, it will be confiscated by Security. Please respect the fact that we are trying to put on an awesome event and don’t litter the area, piss where you shouldn’t or get so rat-arsed that you have to be removed from the premises. We want to be given permission to have this next year so it’s vital we don’t trash either the park or the snowfront. On that note, if you bring down a binbag of rubbish from Monoski to the bottom of the hill, you will receive two drinks tokens for the Man & Wolf Bar.

15€ Earlybird Tickets are now available to purchase either in Blue Note (ask behind the bar), or on our website www.valecho.co.uk/monoski. At the Blue Note Monoski Catwalk, we will have a list of everyone who has bought a ticket and you’ll need to come and pick up a wristband. Tickets will also be available on the day but will be more expensive.


The Monoski World Championships and After Party are being supported by Planks, Man & Wolf Beer, Avancher Hotel, Snowdrone, Snowberry and The Vie Val d’Is. We are still looking for more sponsorship! Please get in touch (contact@valecho.co.uk) if you would like to support this event. We’re also looking for a couple of volunteers for various jobs that need doing throughout the day. In return for a few hours of your time, you’ll get a free ticket and 2 drinks tokens.


Thanks also to The Pisteurs, Park shapers and The Mayor’s Office for their support.

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