This past season has been a rollercoaster for me, with many ups and a few downs, it has also been one of my favourite seasons so far. I was very fortunate to not only be sponsored by Artemis, but to also be sponsored by SkiTeam4, which is a company focused on school ski trips in Austria, Andorra, France, Spain, and Italy. Without their support this season it would not have been possible, and I am ever so grateful for the opportunities which they gave me.
The early season took me to Zermatt, Chile and Hintertux where weather conditions on all my training camps with the British Ski Academy were excellent with bluebird skies and sunshine. This continued into the Aosta Valley where we were based from December with very few non ski days due to the weather.
On the 22nd December I kick started my European FIS season with my first ever FIS overall win, following on the next day with an overall win in GS. Both of these races scored PB’s and it was a really exciting start of the season.
After a short trip home for Christmas to visit family and to collect school work, I returned to the Aosta for a training and race block where I scored a PB in Super G and my first sub 50 result in GS. I knew I had made some big mistakes during my second run and that I could push myself harder, these were positives to take through the rest of the season with me.
My week in Bormio at the English Alpine Championships kicked off to a positive start, I was the 2nd fastest Junior British Girl in the first slalom and then I was the Overall English Slalom Champion on the second day. This was a really great result for me, I had always wanted to win the Overall English Title in Slalom.
These slalom races were followed the next day by the Super G. Super G is one of my favourite disciplines to ski, I love the speed and adrenaline you get out of it whilst coupling it with the technicality of a GS. It was also the first time that I had raced the Super G in Bormio because two years ago I was injured and last year I was competing at the Winter Youth Olympics in Norway.
There is one point in the Super G called Chuck, it goes from a high speed flat into a near vertical pitch which not only gives you air, but also gives you no indication of where the next gate is. You have to inspect this part of the course perfectly, knowing exactly where the gate is can be the make or break turn in this course.
As I stood in the start gate for this race I was so excited to finally ski this hill and as I pushed out of the gate I was ready to go fast and be quick. The same situation happened in the Alpine Combined the next day, except this time I wanted to be quicker than before. Overall I was two seconds quicker on the second day than the first, having grown confidence overnight from completing this challenge.
I came 4th overall in the Alpine Combined and received the English Alpine Combined Title for the first time ever. I was really happy with this, mainly because slalom is not my strongest discipline but I made up many places in the slalom to triumph in the overall result.
These races in Bormio ended in a bang for me, but not necessarily a good one. On the first day of GS a couple of mistakes pushed me back to 3rd overall Brit, and on the second day I was determined to do better. After a great first run I was feeling confident for the second run. The sun was shining and the snow was perfect underfoot. In my haste to get to the bottom of the hill I hip slid on the first pitch and was about to ski out when I heard some of my teammates cheering me on from the lift, telling me to push back in and keep racing.
I continued the course knowing this was not going to be a good result for me and that I would not win any medals. It was actually very lucky that I did finish this GS, the points I claimed through finishing the race gave me enough to claim the Overall English Alpine Championship Title! I couldn’t believe it when I heard my name and I was so happy to be back on the podium. This year was the first in which I won the English Title and I am super pleased with doing so because even from such a young age, it was one of my goals in ski racing.
During a short break at home, the realisation that I had made the criteria for the World Junior Ski Championships 2017 started to sink in! To attend the WJSC WAS another one of my skiing dreams and to hear that I would be competing in two events there was really exciting for me.
This year the WJSC were held in Are, Sweden, and my trip was exclusively sponsored by SkiTeam4. Without SkiTeam4 I would have been unable to attend this incredible event and I am ever so thankful for their support in these races. They helped my dream become a reality and I loved every single second of it.
At these races I was competing against the very best in the world, and everyone was going for the win. Unfortunately I let my nerves get the better of me in these races and I did not perform at the level which I know that I am capable of, but with that said, these results only made me want to train harder and be better and to put everything into the last leg of the season. Hopefully I will be given the opportunity to compete in these races next year too and prove to myself and everyone else that I am capable of so much more against the best in the world.
In preparation for the Delancey British Alpine Championships in Tignes we attended some local races. These local GS races had some surprises in store for me which I had no idea about. After the GS races I was informed that I was runner up in the Overall Citizenship World Cup GS Circuit in Italy. This was a really great boost for the final segment of the season, and exactly what I needed to hear in those crucial weeks leading up to Tignes.
At the British Championships my luck from the rest of the season seemed to vanish. The first Super G race was moved days because of the 50cm of snowfall which occurred overnight, and then in the Super G races I struggled in the soft snow to get a good line and I did not finish my first ever Super G.
As well as this, in the downhill a few minor mistakes and line errors here and there in the first race caused me to lose lots of time, but in the second race I was able to take a more direct line and take more risks which resulted in me coming 2nd overall in the British Downhill Championships.
My GS results reflected the soft snow and on reflection I know what I need to do to combat these types of errors which I made. Unfortunately for the main slalom event I had a great first run but then crashed three gates from home on the second run, I had put everything into the run and was so disappointed with the result.
So although these races at the British did not go as well as I had hoped, I am still really happy with all of the progress THAT I have made this season. I lowered my Downhill, Super G, Alpine Combined and GS points and I am already excited for what the next season will bring me.
The season may have ended, but my next season has already begun. Wish me luck!
I would just like to give another massive thank you to SkiTeam4 for all of their support this season. I couldn't have done it without you.