Sunday, 23 April 2017

2016/2017 Season Reflection

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.
Thank You!


Thursday, 23 June 2016

2015/2016 Season Reflection

So its been almost two months since the end of my skiing season and I've been extremely busy with my AS exams and revision. But now that all of my exams are over I've had a lot more time to think over and evaluate my season. So this is the long prolonged blog about my 2015-2016 season.

Competing in the Super Combine

The Winter Youth Olympics


In February I had the honor of being the only female selected to compete in the Youth Olympics for Alpine Skiing, and I simply cannot put into words how amazing and incredible this experience was.

The Winter Youth Olympics for 2016 were held in Lillehammer, Norway, where the 1994 Senior Winter Olympics had also taken place.

Everything from the Activities Center to the Ski Resort was perfect. It was very surreal to stand in the Olympic Village and realise that Senior Olympians which I look up to had also been here. But nothing compared to the night before my first race event, when I stood in the Ski Jump Arena, watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony (which you can watch here) and finally see the Olympic Torch be lit, and realising that I was officially an Olympic Athlete.
The Super G Start
However, this was only the beginning of my trip, and the following day my events began. The first race was the SG, and this was the event which I was most apprehensive of. Sadly I did not finish this race, not taking enough direction over one of the jumps, I completely over shot the landing point and did not make the next gate.

This was devastating for me as I considered it to be a silly error and one which could have been easily avoided. But I was determined that this would not defeat me, and the next day in the Super Combine, I attacked the SG with a new level of determination. As I came through the finish I was very pleased with how I had done, and I was even happier when I realised that I had positioned in 19th! My goal was to achieve a top 20 result in my best discipline, so to achieve this in my weakest discipline was amazing. To add to this, I had a great Slalom run, and my rank was boosted up to 13th position. I couldn't believe it, this was everything I had wanted and more.
Meeting Lindsey Vonn
From there on, I was only spurred on to perform better at the rest of my events, and challenge myself as much as possible. Sadly in the GS, which I had the highest hopes for, I crashed over a blind roller and did not finish. But I wouldn't let that hold me back and the next day in the slalom I finished in 19th.
I came away from the Youth Olympics with not only an incredible experience, but also with some great new friends.
I also had the pleasure to meet and interview my all-time biggest inspiration, Lindsey Vonn. When asked previously in the week who my biggest idol was I replied in an instant “Lindsey Vonn”. That was incredibly surreal and to ask her some of my biggest questions about how to aspire to be like her was really awesome. 


The British Alpine Championships


After the Youth Olympics I went back to Reiteralm to train in preparation for the British Champs. Last year I had a really successful year at the British Championships, so I was determined to uphold any titles I made last year.

Downhill in Tignes
Credits to Vanessa Fry//BSS
The British Championships was held in late March in Tignes, France, and was 10 races stretched over a period of 7 days. And this year, like every other year, was exhausting.

The week kicked off with two downhill training days and two race days, and these were the races I was most apprehensive of. Last year at this race I had crashed in the downhill and torn ligaments and tendons in my knee and hamstring and although I continued to race in the rest of the championships, it left me with a long road to recovery. To everyone’s surprise, not only did I finish all 4 downhill races, I also won the Overall U21 and U18 Championship. 

Slalom in Tignes
Credits to Vanessa Fry//BSS
The rest of the week was also nothing but positive.At the end of the week I walked away with 9 trophies, including the Overall Junior British Title, and 16 medals. 

"I am now the Overall and Junior U18 and U21 Downhill Champion, the Junior U18 Super G Champion, the Junior U18 Giant Slalom Champion and the Overall and Junior U18 Slalom Champion."

Leaving Tignes, I felt that I had achieved everything which I had wanted to achieve and so much more. I had lowered all of my FIS points throughout the season and was ready to head back home and focus on my pre season training.


The Chichester Rotary Club


Shortly after I got back from my season my Grandma asked me if I would like to do a speech at the Chichester Priory Club about my skiing. Naturally I am quite a shy person and was quite apprehensive of doing a speech to a large crowd, but with a bit of convincing I agreed to do it.

I could not have enjoyed it more. Everyone was extremely kind and welcoming and I felt like I had nothing to worry about. After my speech they gave me a huge round of applause and congratulated me on what I had achieved this season.

The Rotary Club has also been incredibly generous and have donated a bursary to me to help achieve my Olympic Dream. I feel honoured that the club believe that I can achieve my dreams, and I can't wait to do another speech there after my summer training!
My 18 Medals and 8 Trophies

The Future


First things first, I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who supported me this season, including Salomon Racing UK, SkiBitz, SkiBartlett, Uvex and Delancey. I would also like to give a huge thank you to all of my new sponsors in preparation for the upcoming season like Panda Optics and The Chichester Rotary. Thank you for everything you have done to help support me!

This season has taught me a lot about myself and what standards I have come to expect of myself. I realised, especially with the downhill, that if I put my mind to it, and go in with a clear and unhindered view, then I will achieve what I want to achieve.

My training this summer kicks off on the 11th July with the British Ski Academy in Stelvio, Italy for 2 weeks, before travelling over to Cervinia for another week. I have never been to Stelvio, so I look forward to training there.

After this my training begins again in La Parva, Chile for five weeks. Last November was my first time out of Europe, and this will be my second! In Chile I plan to focus more on enhancing my speed events like Downhill and Super G, and will also be competing in some races there in September.

As well as this, I plan to also focus on my school work and A Levels next year. My schooling would not have been possible without the continuous support from Chichester Sixth Form and all of my teachers involved.

Fund Raising


Very shortly I will be releasing a fundraising campaign to help support my Olympic Dream. Skiing is an extremely expensive sport, and although I work a lot to pay for it, it will never be enough. Any donation would be extremely appreciated and I will be so grateful for everything!

My Winning Downhill Run in Tignes

Thank You for Reading my Blog! 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

A New Year

A lot has happened since my last update! January started with a tide of new beginnings. It was my first time training in Reiteralm with Team Evolution, a short 10 minute drive from our base in Radstadt. Following on from my summer training with Team Evolution in Hintertux, I have been working on my line, trying to make it more direct and less round. This has been coming on really well, and every day I can feel improvements in my skiing, especially in my GS.

video

Being able to train in Reiteralm was also really exciting. Reiteralm is renowned for being a huge training hub for many world cup teams and athletes, due to its ability to make plenty of snow and accommodate many teams for training. This meant that during my training I was alongside the likes of the Austrian Male Team and the Swedish Female Team, like Marcel Hirscher and Frida Hansdotter. (Very Cool!) Because of all the World Cup Teams training there, the pistes are always hosed to make the snow as solid as possible. This means that training is very tough and challenging, testing athletes to the best of their abilities. I personally found the hard, slick snow very beneficial, as it encouraged me to be more active in my turns and have increased pressure on the outside ski.

As well as this, the Scottish FIS Races were being held in Reiteralm, on the pistes which I was able to train. This was greatly beneficial, giving me a good feel for the skis and how the hills terrain worked. These races were especially important as they partially determined who would be selected for this years Winter Youth Olympics. Previously in Canada I had scored a personal best in GS and Slalom and I was feeling positive with my training, so I went into these races with an open mind and good feelings.


The races started with Slalom, and unfortunately these races did not go so well. The tough snow combined with the difficult course sets made the races so much more challenging than I could have anticipated. Major mistakes on 3 of my runs caused me to have huge setbacks on my times. However, on the one run where I did not make a mistake, I beat my bib number by almost 20 people and pushed my way into the top 30, giving me a prime start number for my second run. This run also gave me the position of top British Female.

However, in comparison to the slalom races, I could not be more pleased with my results from the GS races. In my first run, I skied one of my best GS runs ever. I can remember coming over the ridge onto the pitch and being determined to run the ski as cleanly as possible. I came through the finish and couldn't believe my time! This positive streak continued throughout the GS races, and I scored two personal bests in GS.

Although I had these new personal bests, I was still apprehensive as I did not know whether I would be selected for the Winter Youth Olympics.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

First Race of The Season!

Last weekend I competed in my first race of the season, and my first ever race in Canada with the British Ski Academy on their Artemis Ski Camp. I have been training in Panorama, Canada for the past 4 weeks, and on the 5th and 6th December was finally able to compete. The races were at Mount Norquay, which is a short two hour drive from Panorama.

The races started bright and early on the Saturday and I was so nervous! I have always found the first race of the season to be to most nerve racking, but also the most exciting, and this race was no exception. The Norquay race piste was also the steepest slope I had ever skied. So as I stood at the start, looking down on the course below, I was scared, but full of adrenaline. I pushed out the start with the full intention of being as fast as I possibly could! It started well until about 7 gates down the course where I made a huge mistake. I was certain I was going to ski out but somehow I managed to push off of my hand and pull myself around the gate, and as I went to push back into the course, I suddenly realised that I had dropped my pole!  However, I was determined to finish my first race of the season and cross blocked every gate with my palm!


The second run was much better, I went from 15th after the first run to 7th after the second. So at the end of the day I finished 9th and scored 79.2 FIS points, which although was not the result I had wanted, it was encouraging to see what I could do! I went into the next day full of positivity and a huge sense of determination!
video
Day 2 started just as day 1 had. I was going down Bib 14 (which was a terrible draw out of the random top 15) and was ready for another day of slalom! My first run despite some mistakes was one of the fastest runs, putting me into 7th. But I knew I could do more! As I pushed out of the start gate on run 2 I had one word in my head. “Charge”. Looking back at the video, it is one of the scrappiest runs I have ever done in my life, but I stuck it out and didn’t give in and finished with the 4th fastest run time and a personal best result in slalom with 56.20 FIS points.

I didn’t realise that I was the U18 female winner until after my run. I couldn’t believe it. One of my dream goals whilst out in Canada was to return home with a medal, but I didn’t think it would happen! As I went up onto the podium I couldn’t stop smiling as I could never have imagined to have such a great season opener.

A huge thank you to Artemis for making this camp a possibility, Ski Bitz for making sure I always have the best ski tuning kit, and Salomon Racing UK for helping supply me with my new sandwich ski construction! I absolutely love it and proudly took it on the podium with me! And I now return to training in preparation for my next Canadian races, I am so hopeful and inspired for the upcoming season! 
Thank you to Artemis for helping fund this camp!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Canada with The British Ski Academy!

I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to train in Panorama, Canada with The British Ski Academy until Christmas eve. Panorama is located in the Rocky Mountains and is a small ski resort, which is used as the main training base for many Canadian teams throughout the Winter season.

The weather has been incredible and the conditions are the same. My days are long, starting with the moon setting over the mountains and ending with a vast expanse of blue sky. The sunrises each day are beautiful and I absolutely love it!

Over the time which I have been here I have been focusing mainly on one objective, which is rolling onto the ski at the top of the turn. This is difficult to do and is taking long hours of training to fix, but two weeks in and I can already feel a difference! As well as ski training my days also include fitness, generally consisting of spinning on a bike or recovery plyometric sessions with my coaches.

I would also just like to mention how great the food here is, we have a private chef called Marcel  and he has been keeping us in tip top shape with so many great meals!

As well as this I am also studying hard and prepping for my approaching mocks in January for my AS Levels in Chemistry, Biology, PE and Classical Civilisation. As always, my school has been super cooperative with my schooling and being incredibly supportive of me.

From what I have seen of Canada, I absolutely love. Everyone is incredibly kind and everywhere is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of it! I hope to compete in a series of races soon, and I am looking forward to skiing at more Canadian resorts.
Overlooking the Valley
Once again, thank you to everyone who made this camp a possibility, and a huge thank you to Artemis for giving me this incredible opportunity!
The Early Bird gets the Early Worm!
            

Friday, 13 November 2015

Welcome!

Welcome!

Hi there, and welcome to my athlete page. My page will be for sponsors or anyone else who is interested in my skiing. I will be trying to post as frequently as possible with how everything is going. Thank you so much for viewing my page!

     
Yasmin 
Tignes 2015
Photo Credits: Chris Howarth and Vanessa Fry BSS