Aged 5… It Began Here!
I started skiing aged 5, after a friend’s party at Torquay Alpine Ski Club near to my home. I loved it from the start. I loved the speed as much as the fun from falling over! Back then, it didn’t hurt as much as it would these days! After several family ski holidays, racing began in 2006 in the Gloucester Summer League, which gave me a great introduction to the competitive world of ski-racing and led to the start of national competitions in 2007.
Living in the South West and competing on the UK circuit means lots of travelling, with races across the country on ‘artificial’/plastic slopes to indoor snow-domes. From Pontypool, Gloucester, Norwich, Manchester, Sunderland to Glasgow and Dublin (to name but a few!), it takes a lot of time, commitment and balance with my school work.
Several years competing as a ‘Mini’ gave me great racing experience, along with some good results. I trained hard and continue to have fun and great support from my local slope, but also at the British Ski Academy’s (BSA) summer camps in Norwich and at their base in France for a limited time. I learnt a lot, including how to prep and wax my skis – what to do…and what not to do! The learning never stops…
Aged 12… What A Year!
2009 was a huge year for me, winning the overall Celtic Cup Series in July in my age group and 22 podium places during the season. I felt as if I was on a roll! I was 2nd overall in the British Indoor Grand Prix series of snow-dome races and won 6 consecutive National Championship Titles, including the English, Welsh, Irish and British Championships. This led to a nomination for the BBC South West Young Sports Personality of the Year Award in November 2009 and I was proud to be runner-up to Diving Olympian, Tom Daley. A great end to a great season – have a look at my results!
I then trained for 3 weeks with the BSA in early 2010, followed by my first ‘real’ snow races. With only limited training, I still achieved good results and top 10 places across Slalom, Super G and GS disciplines with 5th and 6th places in the Giant Slalom and Super-G at the British Championships in France.
Summer 2010 meant a move up into the CH2 category. Racing against those up to 18 months older, I still managed 8 podiums out of 23 races and achieved 1st/2nd placings at nearly all events in my year of birth, as well as 2nd place in the overall BCVS Celtic Cup Series in CH2.
Aged 13… Perseverance pays off
Winter 2010 proved a challenging time due to the rate I had grown over the last 12 months. It meant significant changes to my technique on snow. After a hard start to the season, my confidence began to grow and results gradually improved. Still competing in the younger year of CH2 and with around 100 racers competing overall, I was generally pleased with my results. I managed 6 top 20 places and was within the top 5 in my year of birth.
Summer 2011 was a very busy time, with lots of racing and travelling up and down the country. However, it was well worth the effort and long hours! With 19 podiums out of 25, including 7 x 1st places, I also secured 2 National Championship titles, won the overall Celtic Cup Series in my age catergory and came 2nd in the Slalom at the British Dry Slope Championships in Scotland.
I have also been working very hard over the last year to improve my fitness levels and am really pleased with my progress and my race results overall.
Aged 15… and my last year in the Children’s category
After some pleasing results in the alpine races with 9 top 10 overall positions and in spite of a pretty nasty crash in Super-G training, I was really feeling the benefits of all my fitness training. No sooner had the winter races finished, the summer circuit had begun. It was a great season, winning both the GBR Indoor and Outdoor Series in the U-16’s and 5th overall male across all races combined, proving my ability to adapt to all surfaces.
In July, my alpine training continued with the BSA Zermatt camp, which was a brilliant opportunity to work on my technique with Scott, my coach. He, and I, were really pleased with my progress and also my level of fitness which I have been working hard on. We also were lucky enough to meet and ski alongside several World Cup skiers, including Marcel Hirscher and Eric Guay! What an awesome experience! I ended the summer season with 16 podiums out of 18 races, some great overall positions and was runner-up in the Torbay Junior Sports Personality Award 2012.
Now aged 16… The move to Juniors and raising my game
The season unfortunately started much later than planned due to a knee injury from coming off my bike during a competition in November. It was my first real injury to date which put me out of action until February and I was frustrated to miss the English Championships. After a few weeks of training, I raced at the Interschools, Scottish Ecosse races and the British Championships.
With 4 top 10 places in my category at the Interschools and Scottish, I felt I was doing ok, but then had a nightmare! The British Championships in Meribel saw some of the most spectacular crashes, including for me, when I landed on my back in SG training. I was pretty lucky. The crash shook me up for sure and this was reflected in my results during the rest of the Championships – a frustrating season, but I had done enough to qualify for the England Alpine Squad fitness assessments. These went really well and in August I was proud to be selected for the National Squad!
I decided to do less summer races in 2013 so that I could focus on my fitness. I have since worked really hard and got involved with several new activities and fantastic people helping me. From circuits, running, biking, core, strength and agility, I am loving it all and would like to say a big thank you to Tom, Grant and Kory for pushing me when I need it! The Zermatt training camp also went well in August and I am now feeling in good form as I look forward to the challenge of Juniors and FIS races this winter! Bring it on!
For this year, my goals are:
- To train hard and ski fast – full gas! In FIS, I’ll be starting at the back of the pack, so I’m simply aiming for steady progress..
- To continue to improve my fitness levels..
- To keep a good balance with my school work, and
- To find a corporate sponsor to help with the costs of my alpine training and future development. Please get in touch if you would like to join me on my journey – I’d love to hear from you!