Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

On your marks, get set, CHEESE ROLL! Manchester’s Chill Factore plays host to wacky winter sport

On your marks, get set, CHEESE ROLL! Manchester’s Chill Factore plays host to wacky winter sport

By David Watkinson

One of Britain's most eccentric pastimes took an unexpected twist today as a number of daredevils took part in the world's first Winter Cheese Rolling Championships.

Held on the UK's largest indoor ski slope at Chill Factore in Manchester, skiers, snowboarders and cheese fans alike risked life and limb to compete in the inaugural tournament.

Organisers said they hope the light-hearted event might one day become an official Winter Olympic sport.

A British tradition since the 15th Century which draws thousands to the village of Stilton, Chester and the infamous Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire every year, its latest evolution saw hoards of adrenaline junkies throw themselves down a 180m indoor ski slope in the hope of catching the eight pound wheel of Cheshire Cheese.
ROLL THAT CHEESE: Cheese rolling has been a British tradition since the 15th Century, apparently (picture courtesy of Cavendish Press)

It was the first time that the great British sport has ever been performed on snow. With the wheel reaching speeds of up to 40mph, contestants chased the cheese on skis or snowboards and grappled down the piste, in order to secure the title of the world's first Winter Cheese Rolling Champion.

After tussling with fellow competitors, snowboarder David Chapman, 33, from Blackpool, was crowned champion and secured his name in British cheese rolling history after catching the wheel of cheese near the bottom of the slope.

Along with the title, David also took home the illustrious trophy which tradition dictates is the wheel of Cheshire Cheese used during the competition.

The event was held to promote the Ski & Snowboard Show, which takes place in the North West for the first time this weekend.

Ski & Snowboard Show marketing manager, Suzi Sibthorpe, said: "With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics only a few months away, there's even more excitement about the 13/14 Ski season ahead, and one of the missions of the Ski and Snowboard Show is to make skiing just as much a British pastime as something as traditional as Cheese Rolling.

"With superb facilities such as Chill Factore available there's really no reason why more Brits can't hit the slopes than ever before this year, even if it's just for a bit of Winter Cheese Rolling fun!  Who knows, maybe the sport will make the Winter Olympics one day!"

David Chapman said: "It feels awesome to have won. I've raced my mates plenty of times down the slopes before, but never after a wheel of cheese. It was good fun and really competitive, I took quite a few knocks but can't wait to defend my title in 2014!"

Pictures courtesy of Cavendish Press, with thanks.

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