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Top Guns – The legacy lives on

Great Britain has produced some remarkable aerial skiers in the past. They were trailblazers for the sport and a source of inspiration to our current crop of athletes. We recognise their contribution to British Aerial Skiing and showcase some of their achievements.

Sarah Ainsworth

A former British Team trampolinist, Sarah achieved distinction jumping full-full on snow in international aerials when competing for Britain from 2007 to 2011. Sarah achieved four top 15’s in World Cup and placed 3rd in the 2011 Europa Cup in Meiringen (SUI). At the Deer Valley (USA) World Championships in 2011 she finished in 13th place and achieved 22nd place in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (CAN).

Sean Curtis

Another product of the Skistylers Freestyle club in Southampton, Sean competed with the British aerial team from 1993 – 98, first competing in Europa Cup where he was runner-up in aerials in 1992, before joining the World Cup where he finished in the Top 25 on five occasions.

Jilly Curry

By most measures Jilly is Britain’s most successful skier ever. She won an incredible 29 World Cup medals, including three wins during her competitive career spanning 1984-94. Jilly competed in combined freestyle and was British Champion many times in ski-ballet, moguls, aerials and combined. An accomplished aerialist, Jilly jumped up to full-full, earning three World Cup podium places in aerials and a further 36 Top 10’s. Her career highlight was 4th place in aerials at the 1992 Albertville Olympics held in Tignes, her second home and still her favourite resort, where she also placed 6th in aerials at the 1986 World Championships. A true legend in British freestyle skiing.

Mike Whealey

A combined skier who learned to ski on the dry ski slope in his home town of Southampton and was the first ‘home-grown’ British aerialist to perform triple somersaults on snow. Mike first competed for Britain at the International Youth Championships in Avoriaz (FRA) 1980 where he placed 10th in aerials, before progressing to become Overall Europa Cup Freestyle Champion in 1984, during which time he even made it onto the podium in the mogul event with a 2nd place finish in Santa Maria Maggiore (ITA). He finished in the Top 15 in World Cup aerials on five occasions between 1984 – 1986 and placed 7th in aerials at the inaugural Freestyle World Championships in Tignes 1986 before spending two years touring professionally with the Volvo Ski Team. He later became a coach and Manager to the British Freestyle team and took athletes to the Olympic Games in Albertville 1992 and Nagano 1998, where he also coached the Italian and Finnish aerial skiers. Mike still remains involved with the sport as a member of the Selection Panel for British Freestyle.

Kevin (Milky) Harbut

Kevin, who once worked with his father as a milkman (hence the nickname), jumped for Britain in World Cup from 1993 – 1997. Kevin’s best World Cup result was 15th and he achieved another five Top 20 places. In his last competitive season, he finished in 20th place at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano jumping a full-full-full. He achieved a personal best two-jump score of 177.91.

Richard (Raz) Cobbing

The World Games trampoline Champion in 1989. When Raz switched to aerials, his acrobatic ability and superb form progressed him quickly to the highest levels of the sport. Richard’s competitive career peaked with a remarkable 2nd place at the 1993 World Freestyle Championships in Altenmarkt/Zauchensee (AUT), Britain’s only medal in a ski World Championships! He also produced spectacular performances to gain a 2nd place in Europa Cup and five Top 10’s in World Cup, including one 2nd place. In the Winter Olympic Games, he placed 11th in Albertville 1992 and 10th in Lillehammer 1994. He still holds Britain’s aerial high score record of 229.75.

Robin (Wally) Wallace

Robin competed successfully in all freestyle disciplines since joining the Southampton Skistylers at his local dry slope as a teenager. Robin began his competitive career at junior level with a 2nd at the Junior Worlds in 1983 and then went on to represent Britain at World Cup, achieving 22 Top 10 places in World Cup over five years. By 1987 he was ranked 6th in the world and in 1988 he placed 9th at the Calgary Olympics. In aerials he peaked at lay-tuck-full. After competition Robin professionally toured with the Volvo Ski Team for five years as well as performing in many air-bag shows in the UK and abroad. He has since been a British Team coach and has mentored, amongst others; Raz, Jilly Curry (whom he married in 1990), and now coaches their two children Lloyd and Elodie.

Mike Nemesvary

After some initial success with the Canadian Ski Team, thanks to his dual nationality Mike chose to compete for Britain and was instrumental in raising the standard of British Aerials during the 80’s. In the period 1980 – 1985, Mike achieved 29 top 10 places in World Cup aerials including 12 podiums of which three were wins.