I know it is long overdue so here is my season blog!
January was a rough month, I knew what I wanted to do on skis and I could visualise myself doing it but when it came to actually doing it on race day I was lost. It was so frustrating having a good run here and there but never being able to stick two good runs together. It was also a constant frustration watching good race opportunities pass me by and beating myself up definitely didn’t help. However, slowly but surely a few more races started to come together until I scored a result in GS. It wasn’t the career changing result I was looking for but it was an important day for me because I managed to put two good runs together.
I actually did a couple of slalom races in my season too. My aim was to get my points down for the British Championships where my goal was to reclaim my overall title. Funnily enough, going into a race with no expectations and actually not really caring about the result meant that I scored my second best ever slalom result… not too bad considering it was my first slalom race in a few years! It was interesting to see what a few encouraging words from a coach did to my confidence in slalom too.
My favourite part of the season was probably the last 6 weeks. Mainly because I got back on my Super G skis! My first races were in Pila, not my ideal slope as most of it is as flat as a pancake but it felt so good to be doing speed again! Next up was the Europa Cup Super G Finals in Sella Nevea, Italy. I had never been and I had no idea what to expect of the hill and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how technical it was. I was also surprised to see that the slope was the iciest I had ever seen a speed track. Despite perfect weather, the race was pushed back a day due to the snow not having frozen enough and the race organisers were worried that the icy surface could crack to reveal slush underneath. The good part was that this gave me another day to memorise the technical course. On race day I was nervous but confident. I knew the course perfectly and I was determined to prove my place in the Europa Cup standings. My confidence paid off as I crossed the finish line in 19th place from bib 45 making my best ever Europa Cup result, my first top 20 and my first Europa Cup points in Super G. It was a really cool race. My teammate, Alice, came second and the best part was that the night before, in the ski room, all the other teams were looking at us like we were a joke because we were brushing our own skis and then when it came down to it, we beat a lot of those girls in the race!
After the Europa Cup there was just time for a few more Super G races in Italy where I took a win and 2nd place and then it was time to head over to France for the French and British Championships. On the way to France I stopped in at my bikini factory to pick up my newest product, sports bras. There are only a limited number of sports bras left, which you can buy here, but they were such a hit that I will be producing more!
First up were the French Championships. I didn’t ski well in the first run pf the GS which is why I’m proud that I got my butt into gear to have a really good second run, just over a second off Tessa Worley! Knowing I could do better in the Super G I was ready to go. The super G didn’t look difficult, it was a nice mixture of steep and flat and the snow was perfect. It was a lot faster than I expected. I think it was probably the fastest super g I have ever done and I’m not afraid to admit that I felt like I was going too fast on a few turns to actually turn my skis! However, I stuck with it and actually did ok, finishing in the top 10 amongst the best French racers in the world. Luckily, we had a second super g race and I knew I had to really go for it. The snow had melted a little so the speeds were lower and I’m really proud of the way I skied, finishing 9th and scoring a 37, which takes my points to the lowest they have ever been! This season I really trusted my coaches and I know they know what they’re talking about when it comes to speed so despite doing less speed training than ever before during the winter, I’m better than I’ve ever been before.
In between the French Champs and the British I raced in Val Thorens. I took a win in the GS which was a great feeling, especially because I got to share the podium with one old Orsatus team mate and one new ISRA teammate! Unfortunately, I then became very ill, just a good old dose of the flu but I had it bad. In the second GS I had to go to the van to nap between inspection and the race runs and despite winning the first run by over a second, I couldn’t keep it together and I skied out just 5 gates into the second run. I needed some serious rest and medicine to make it through the last week of the season!
It was time for the British Championships that this year, were held again in Tignes, France. It was nice to be back to racing in such a familiar resort. Due to the weather the downhill was up first. It was my first and last one of the season! The last time I had skied a downhill had been in Tignes the previous year… when I had broken my leg. It didn’t inspire me with confidence so thank goodness for the training runs. I have to admit that I threw my skis sideways before the jump in the first training run though! It was a big jump and I wasn’t ready for it. I had two good training runs and I knew what to do for the race run. The downhill race was really good. I skied well, I got my line right and I took the win! It was a nice feeling to be able to get my name back on that trophy. I was over the moon when I took the win in the Super G too meaning that for the first time I was British “speed” champion, taking the win in both disciplines in the same year.
Next up was the slalom… I was starting bib 45 with 147 points. Not ideal! But it was a fun day and I fought my way to the finish in 10th place and 5th Brit. The last event of the championships was the GS. I was so nervous, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for a race. This resulted in me skiing the most cautious GS run of my life which left me 4th Brit and not where I wanted to be! I knew I needed to fight my way back up the rankings for second run and with nothing to lose I did, finishing 2nd Brit behind Tilley. This result also secured me the British Overall title for the 5th time; what a relief! I also won the Victor Ludorum, always a good one to win because it meant I beat the boys too!
Looking back at my season I’m pleased with my super g skiing although I don’t think my results yet reflect the level I can be skiing at. My relationship with GS was very up and down. The frustration of not being able to race the way I train was huge and I’m determined not to make the same mistake in this coming season. After the winter it was time for a break and I was so excited to head to the Caribbean for 3 weeks of sailing. Being away from skiing does great things for my head and although I do struggle to leave behind sailing to go back to the snow, I know it’s where I’m meant to be for now. The next time I’m on snow will be in Mammoth in California for a two-week training camp. It’s exciting to be skiing somewhere new and I’m looking forward to starting the 2019/2020 season.
As the New Year approaches its time to look back on the year left behind. 2018 was a year for growth in which I accomplished a number of things outside of the skiing world, you could even say that it was the first year where I discovered a world outside of skiing!
Last season ended on a low with a crash in the DH at the British where I broke my leg. The most painful part was knowing it would be impossible for me to defend my title again, which I was well on my way to do before my crash. It’s one of those things that I can’t change though and it’s a part of skiing. The only thing to do is to look forward and insure that I coming back fighting fit and healthy. Ending the season on an injury is so frustrating because you’re so ready for a break after the winter but your body needs you to push through rehab. I spent as much time as possible in the gym and out on the bike trying to get fit and strong again.
At the beginning of May I flew to the British Virgin Islands for a much-needed holiday. It was also the launch of my swimwear line which I had worked so hard for throughout the previous year. I’m very proud of my one-woman company and what it has become in 18 months. Pouring my energy into something that wasn’t about racing down a mountain was really eye opening. When my time in the Caribbean came to an end, my mind struggled to comprehend that I had to leave behind bikinis and beaches and head back to the mountains. It was the first time in many years tha I was completely detached from ski racing and I could see what else the world had to offer.
However, after a few days back on the snow I knew I was back doing something I loved and could excel in. Training was difficult as I was still experiencing pain from my bone break and my frustration grew knowing that what I really needed was more rest when all I wanted to do was ski faster. Changing from Orsatus to ISRA was a good step for me. Different coaches, different teammates and a change of environment gave me a new mind space to evolve in.
After a few weeks back on snow in Europe I was off to the UK to give back to the British skiing world by coaching with ATC. Always a rewarding experience! I had also signed myself up for two weeks of water sports on the Isle of Wight with UKSA. Once again, my eyes were opened through meeting people my age that hadn’t dedicated their life to sport. I also fell in love with dinghy sailing, the best part was that so many skills from skiing like balance, strength and coordination really helped me! I learnt that you can make a career for yourself on the seas, sailing around the world. Becoming a charter skipper on yachts in the BVI has now become a long term goal of mine. Although it’s going to be very difficult to do while skiing is still a part of my life, its nice to have a future plan I’m really excited about.
Back to the snow in Chile and once again I was surrounded by the world I knew so well and loved. I was skiing fast, my knee wasn’t painful and I was happy. One of the biggest changes to skiing with ISRA was the amount of time I spent on snow compared to previous years. It meant I was never exhausted on skis like I had been in the past and I could always train to my full potential. It felt brilliant.
After Chile, I headed back to the sea. I learnt a huge amount about the yachting industry in Annapolis, Maryland for a week helping Horizon Yacht Charters at the boat show. My journey onwards from Annapolis was on a new catamaran which needed delivering to the Caribbean: 1500 miles, 2 weeks at sea. If you ever need time to think, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean surrounded only by blue skies and water is a pretty quiet place to go. My mind skittered between the sea and the snow as I tried to work out which life I loved more. A difficult decision to make when you’re watching dolphins play in your wake at 2am, lit up only by the moon and stars.
Soon the sand once again became snow as I headed to Colorado for the next month. Training was getting better and better and I ended the month with some great results in GS and SG. I was ready for winter.
The last month in Europe has been a real struggle, I felt tired, slow and a bit “all over the place”. The Christmas break couldn’t come soon enough. I’m now enjoying the last few days of the break before I go back to the mountains for the rest of the winter. As I sit here reading back over this blog, I realise it might reflect someone who is 100% commited to their sport. It might sound like someone a little unsure of their future and the next path they want to commit too. I rather look at it as an amazing year of opportunity and growth. The point is that I’m still skiing, I still want to win races and be the best in the world. Maybe I am reaching one of those crossroads in life where you have to make a choice. But until the day I’m stood at the top of a mountain and I can say I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I’m happy to leave behind the world of ski racing, you can bet I’ll still be fighting for the top spot.
I’m finally back in Europe! I’ve been away for two months and I was so ready to come back home. Even though I’m not quite headed home just yet… I’m off to Val Gardena for two super gs and then I’m going to come home for a few days to relax before another block of racing and training before Christmas.
I rounded off the camp in Copper Mountain with two GS and two Super G races. I was nervous for the races, it felt like a lifetime ago that I had last pushed out a start gate with a bib on! This was fairly obvious from my results in the first GS. My first run wasn’t terrible but I wasn’t in race mode and I had skied too cautiously. Second run the course had chopped quite a bit but I was determined to up the intensity, unfortunately I also pinched the line and ended up going straight through a panel, both feet between the gate!
I knew I could do so much better and luckily I had a second GS. After first run I was sat in 5th position, just under a second off the winner. Before second run I was a bit worried about blowing out the course again but I was more worried about crossing the finish line and being slow because I hadn’t given it my best shot. I really went for it and moved up 3 places to finish 2nd overall. I was second on the run. The girl who ended up winning the race also won the run and smashed it so I was further off than I would have liked but I scored 22 points which is a PB result for me!
After the GS it was time for the SG. Originally the SG was going to run across two days with one run per day but due to the weather they put both runs on the same day. I wasn’t too nervous for the super g because the piste was easy and the set of the course was very easy too. I just knew I had to be as clean and smooth as possible because every tiny mistake would be costly. When I crossed the finish line I was happy with my run, I thought I had skied the course well and hadn’t made any mistakes. I was surprised when I saw I was winning though because I knew there were a few other really good speed skiers there. I was really happy to take my first win of the season and score a PB of 33points! The score was extra special to me because it’s the first time I’ve scored something lower than before I tore my ACL.
I just needed to do the same in the second race, which was the same course. Annoyingly I pushed out the gate a bit too focussed on keeping my skis smooth and caught an edge on the last roll at the top of the course before the long flat. I knew it would have lost me the win but I was very happy with my skiing on the rest of the run. I ended up in 4th but I knew my skiing was fast without the mistake and I couldn’t be disappointed with my day!
The races were the end of skiing in America and we had a day to pack up our stuff before it was time to fly back to Europe. I really enjoyed the camp in Copper and I thought it was a great pre-European winter base. The conditions were brilliant and now I feel ready to start the European race season! If you haven’t read my ISRA blog about the differences between skiing in Europe and the US you can read it here. Make sure you’re following my Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with my news!
My journey since Chile has been a little all over the place, really all over the world. I spent a few weeks at home in Italy before flying to Annapolis in Maryland for the annual boat show. I was helping out Horizon Yacht Charters, a yacht charter company based in the Caribbean, at the show. It was great to be able to learn more about the sailing industry and get my mind off skiing for a while. At the boat show we had a brand new catamaran that needed to be delievered down to the British Virgin Islands from Annapolis and I was lucky enough to be part of the crew. This was my first long offshore trip. We sailed a total of 1600 miles. It took us 5 days to reach Bermuda from Annapolis and then another 5 days down to the BVI. We were lucky with the weather and had fair winds and relatively calm seas. I also had a few days to explore Bermuda in the middle of the trip which was great fun. We arrived safely into the BVI and I had another week there before my flight was booked to fly back to the snow in Colorado. I made the most of the end of my summer before it was time to get back into skiing mode.
My journey to Colorado was interesting. I took a ferry from the BVI to the USVI and then I was due to fly to Fort Lauderdale and then onto Denver but unfortunately my first flight was delayed and I missed my connection. I had to spend the night in Florida and then the next day I flew onto Denver via Dallas. It was cool to be able to see more of America though, even if it was just out of the window of a plane!
My first day on skis was a bit of a shock to the system. Suddenly it was snow not sand under my feet and everything was going much faster than “island time”. However, I settled back into the training routine that I knew so well. We are staying in Frisco and training up at Copper Mountain. I really like the grippy American snow and so far we’ve had great training conditions for GS and SG. My skiing feels very different to the way it did last season and I think that can only be a good thing. It feels like a lot of things that I’ve been working on for the past few years are finally falling into place.
The plan is to be in Colorado until the end of the month so I still have another week of training and then I’ll take a few days break over Thanksgiving, experience my first ever American Thanksgiving, before the races start at the end of the month. On the calendar are two SG’s and two GS races which is ideal for me and I’ve been training on the race hill for the last few days so I’m really looking forward to the races!
I fly back to Europe on December 1st so the season will be in full swing when I land in Italy. I’m looking forward for the season to begin and to be settled into my new mountain base in Pozza di Fassa!
That’s it, summer skiing is over for another year! Having skied less in Europe I was well rested and ready for Chile. This year I was based in La Parva. It was great to be able to train on different slopes and stay in a new resort.
I flew out to Chile on the 23rd of September, 24 hours of travelling and 600euros in excess baggage (thank you Air France) I had landed in Santiago. After a few days of free skiing we were straight back into gates. The focus was on GS, where I had started to make some important changes in my skiing. We trained on super flat slopes, steeps and rolls. The snow was perfect every day. Due to the high temperatures we got perfect melt-freeze conditions meaning that one set of edges was definitely not enough for a training session!
The first set of races seemed to come around very quickly. I decided with my coaches that I would compete in the Giant Slalom in El Colorado, skip the downhills in La Parva and then maybe compete in the Super Gs. I was really excited for the GS as I knew I had been skiing fast in training. However, my run was a good wake up call that I was not ready to race. It was that feeling of suddenly being in a start gate and thinking OMG what am I doing here?! I didn’t ski well and got late on the line coming of the steep and missed a gate on the flat. A silly mistake but one that showed me that I needed to head back to training. I was really keen to compete in the Super Gs in La Parva and was ready to go but we found out at the meeting that the Super G would be going off a jump and since the last jump I had done I had broken my leg, it was best to stick with training until I was really ready.
We had another training block in before the speed series in El Colorado. I skied GS or SG every day: it was great! I got to train GS with the WC French speed guys too which was really fun. I had become so comfortable training GS that almost didn’t want to train SG! But I had so much fun training SG on the race hill and I could feel myself gaining confidence every run. The El Colorado speed races came around and I felt really ready to race in the Super G. I waited for my coaches to return from the meeting but when I went to see them they told me that they’d decided to pull me from the race! I was annoyed but they said that all the top girls had pulled out because of the poor snow conditions so I guessed they made the right call… they even got to say “we told you so” the next day when the race was cancelled! Rather than hesitating to race the next few days we decided to stick to training.
Unfortunately, the next day as I was sliding down with two sets of skis on my shoulders I bashed my knee off a rut which set off my bone bruising. My bone is completely healed around my break but there is still bone bruising so it remains delicate. Rather than inflame it more I took two days off. There were just two days left at the end of the camp and the coaches decided I should finish off in GS rather than push my knee in speed training. The last two days were pretty cool, I had a whole GS hill to myself which meant the resort had to run two extra lifts just for me. They even slowed down the chair when I was skiing and then sped it up just for me when I needed to go back up!
Not racing in Chile this year was a really smart decision. I got an extra 8 days of training in and I now feel really confident in my skiing for my next camp in Colorado in November, where I will hopefully be racing. A huge thank you to Chris and Jeff at ISRA for running an amazing camp and for setting me up with GS and SG training every day. (My slalom skis didn’t even touch snow!)
I am now at home for two weeks before I head off on my next two-month adventure…2 weeks in Annapolis, sailing from Maryland to the BVI, 10 days in the Caribbean and then flying straight to Colorado to ski! Back to the hard life 😉
There’s loads of photos from Chile on my Instagram and you can watch my skiing video on Facebook.
In just a few days I will be heading down the Chile and my summer will be coming to an end.
Taking a step back from skiing this summer has been really good for me. I’ve had the opportunity to do other things and think about other things aside from constantly skiing and hitting the gym. I’m now ready to put my skis on and head back to the snow!
Since my last update I enjoyed a short amount of time back at home in Italy. If you thought the UK heatwave was bad then you should have tried the Italian one. With temperatures well over 40 degrees in the sun I spent my days either in the pool, in the lake or in the shade! The heat was short lived though as I flew to Manchester for a 4-day camp in Chill Factor. I was coaching for Ambition but as the camp was sponsored by Atomic, I was also there representing Atomic. It’s cool to see so many younger kids trying out Atomic skis and enjoying them. Even at the level of skiing I am doing now, it is extremely difficult to get to try out skis so Atomic UK are giving the kids a great opportunity by letting them test out their skis. Although I wasn’t exactly looking forward to being indoors all day on the ski slope, the camp was really good fun! I could see the kids progressing and enjoying themselves and it was great to see so many of them on the podiums at the British indoor races at the end of the week.
After Manchester I headed up North to Glasgow for a few days where I was visiting my ex-team mate and best friend, Nicole Ritchie. Nicole was working at Glasgow ski racing for a few days while I was visiting so I asked if I could help out too. It was my first-time skiing on a plastic ski slope! I expected it to be more like skiing on snow but I managed to only fall over once… and by the end of the second day I was going off the jump and tucking down the slope so I was pretty proud of myself! It was cool to see so many young kids loving skiing on plastic and coming down from a 7 second long run with a big smile on their faces.
I’m back in Italy now for a few days to pack up all my ski gear before I head to La Parva in Chile on Thursday. I will be down in Chile with ISRA for three weeks for racing and training.
I’ve been pretty busy since my last update. I went back home for 10 days after Val D’Isere for a rest and to start working on my fitness again. It was nice to be back in the gym and recovering more of the muscle I lost when I broke my leg! The weather in Italy had also started to heat up so I was also out on the lake wakeboarding as much as possible.
I flew to Edinburgh to do a week of coaching for ATC in Braehead, Glasgow. It’s always nice to be able to give back to the next generation of British Alpine Skiing and the kids make the work fun. The only downside was being in the indoor ski centre in sub-zero temperatures when Scotland was having one of their hottest summers ever!
After Glasgow I headed back down south to London where I had a few days off before going even further south to the Isle of Wight for a 2-week water sports course at UKSA in Cowes. I’ve done a lot of yacht sailing with my family but I had never sailed a dinghy so I was a bit of a fake sailor… My course consisted of a week of dinghy sailing and a week of windsurfing. I absolutely loved the dinghy sailing. My plan is to come back to Cowes the next time I have time off to do my dinghy sailing instructor course so I’ll be able to work as a sailing instructor in my spare time. I’ve just finished my week of windsurfing, I really enjoyed it as well and I wasn’t too bad at it, I just didn’t get quite the same buzz as from the sailing. Unfortunately, yesterday it was too windy to windsurf but instead we went surfing. Despite doing quite a bit of surfing in the past I’d never actually managed to surf a wave so I was really excited when I finally managed to get up on the board! I now understand why people love the sport. If anyone is interested in getting into the water sports or yachting industry then UKSA on the Isle of Wight is the place to be!
The past two weeks have been a great experience and it’s always a good thing to take a step back from the world of skiing and see what happens outside the bubble once in a while. My next time of snow will be in Manchester next weekend where I will be coaching for Ambition and Atomic. My on-snow training starts up again at the end of August when I head to La Parva, Chile!
Summer is officially here! Those long nights, warm temperatures and getting up at 5am to go skiing…
Due to breaking my leg and ending my season earlier than planned, as soon as I was off crutches I was back in the gym working to get back all the muscle mass I had lost in my left leg. I had no pain in my knee during this time and really enjoyed being able to go to the gym and go out on the bike again. Earlier this year I had planned an end of season family holiday in the British Virgin Islands for 2 weeks. However, I recently released my very own swimwear collection, Corallina Swim, which is inspired by the British Virgin Islands. I decided to fly to the Caribbean a week early to sneak in a photoshoot of my collection with some local models! Having not taken more than 2 weeks away from a gym or a pair of skis in over 6 years, 3 weeks off was exactly the rest I needed before starting my summer training.
My holiday flew by and it was soon time to head back to the ski slopes. I have spent the last 5 years training with Orsatus in France. They brought me from a 130 point skier to the racer I am today and have taught me so much about team work, hard work and perseverance. I cannot thank them enough! However, it was time for a change and just as I was starting to look at other options, International Ski Racing Academy came along. The team was set up by Chris Knight who has years of experience working with some of the top American racers in the world. I met Chris to discuss the program and I liked the way things sounded and before I knew it I was headed to Val D’Isere for my first camp with them.
There was so much snow in Val that for the first week of training we were training on the top of the women’s Downhill run at La Daille. Having spent the last three weeks lazing around the Caribbean my knee felt great so I overdid the skiing in the first few days which unsurprisingly, considering I was 10 weeks post a fractured tibial plateau, left me with a pretty sore leg! After a good day of rest and some ice baths in the glacial river my knee was good to go again. As with previous injuries, I need to learn my body’s limits and as much as I hate it… stop before it gets sore!
The coaching style was different to Orsatus but it was exactly the change I needed and I felt really good on my skis. Actually, one of the hardest things to get my head around was the language… After training only in French for 5 years I was missing quite a bit of skiing vocabulary in English!
I am now back home in Italy for a week before I head to Glasgow to do a bit of coaching with ATC in Braehead. I won’t be back on snow training again until August when I head down to La Parva in Chile. I’m going to use my spare time wisely in the gym to insure I am as fit as I can be for next time.
Of course, I have to write a little bit about my bikini company which has become a huge part of my life that I’m learning to work alongside my skiing. I started Corallina Swim in 2017 as a way to earn money for my skiing and also give my brain a break from all things skiing once in a while! I started from nothing except a love of bikinis and spent 6 months sketching, designing and researching how to start up a business. My first collection is inspired by the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean and it went on sale on June 8th 2018. All pieces in the collection are reversible, sold separately so you can mix and match sizes and styles and 100% made in Italy. The theme is unique prints, bright colours and styles that suit everybody! You can follow Corallina Swim on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and of course www.corallina.com Check out my blog on the website too! If you have any questions about my bikinis feel free to message me and I look forward to seeing everyone skiing in my bikinis next season!
It has been far too long since my last blog update! I’ve been doing a huge amount of racing over the past months so it’s probably time to fill you all in on my ups and downs.
In February I headed to Crans Montana for the Europa Cup speed races. Despite difficult conditions with a lot of wind, cold (-28!) and fog I had a really great week. After some solid training runs I managed to grab 27th place in the Downhill race which were my first ever EuropaCup points in speed. I also had a good super g run and I just missed out on top 30 finishing in 33rd. After having skied the piste numerous times during the week, I decided that I would compete in the World Cup Super G at the end of the week. Competing in a World Cup is always a brilliant experience. I was starting bib 54 and had a good run, including a top 20 speed at the speed gun! I finished just 2.7 seconds off the winner and 1.3 off the top 30. It was the first time at a World Cup that I really felt I deserved to be competing amongst the best in the world.
I headed back to base in France for one night before a long drive across France to the Pyrenees. I was straight back into racing with 2 GS in Font Romeu. I was in speed mode and hadn’t had my GS skis on for a while so I was really surprised to perform well and score a second best result this season at 26 points. It’s no where near where I want to be but it’s a step in the right direction! After Font Romeu I drove over the border to La Molina in Spain for 2 Europa Cup GS. La Molina didn’t come together the right way for me. The first day was my chance to get into the top 30 after first run and I missed my shot. I managed to sneak into the top 30 on both days but it wasn’t the results I was looking for.
It was time for the EuropaCup finals! I was really excited to get back to doing some speed races. I performed ok in the speed events. My downhill was good except I was soooo slow on the top flat and then skied the rest of the course well. It’s so frustrating being slow on the flat sections but at least I knew I could hold my own against the other girls on the steeper and more technical parts of the course. The super G suited me much better as with a lowered start it started at the end of the flat! I skied well and just missed out on top 30 by 0.5. It was the run where I had the most fun all season though so I was really happy to be there. The giant slalom at the finals was probably the most difficult day this season. With big mistakes first run I finished in 31st by 0.01. Second run unfortunately I caught an edge and was thrown out the course on the top flat; that’s ski racing!
My last speed races in Andorra were the Andorran National Championships. I frustratingly skied really well. Much better than I had in the Europa Cup finals on exactly the same hill! I finished second in both the Downhill races and won both the super g races. The first one by 3 seconds and scored a result to take my super g points into the 30s. I was feeling really confident and was happy that my skiing was coming together just before the British Championships in Tignes.
I couldn’t believe it was already time for the British Championships. My aim was to win the speed events, do my best in what would be my first slalom race of the year, and have a good shot at winning the GS trophy and defend my Overall title for the 5th year in a row. My week started off really well with a victory in the Super G, defending my title from the previous year. I was really excited for the Downhill race, there were a few more jumps in it this year than previous years which have never been my forte but I had really worked on them this season so felt really confident. My training run started well, I was 0.75 ahead at the first split and then over a second and the next time split and then it all went a bit wrong. The last part of the course in Tignes is a sort of road that traverses the hill before turning sharply to the left over a roll onto the last steep. As I came up to the roll, my line was to go tight on the gate but with my skis heading to the right where the roll was smaller and I would be better set up for the next turn. As I got to the gate it was really windy and the gate was lying across the line which I wanted to take so I threw my skis sideways to avoid the gate… unfortunately as things tend to happen quite quickly in a Downhill this meant I was heading off the jump, backseat, and facing completely the wrong way. I felt like I flew pretty high, a lot higher than expected and with my bum on my heels there wasn’t much I could do when I hit the ground. I closed my eyes as I fell and waited for that all too familiar snapping sound in my knee. At one point in the crash my leg hyperextended and I felt a burning sensation in my left knee. When I finally stopped there had been no snap but oh my god was I in pain. I decided to ski down (not my smartest move) and head straight to the medical centre. An X-ray showed no fractures so I needed and MRI. The verdict was my meniscus had been damaged. The next day I woke in agony with my back, knee and ankle. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t hold down any food. We headed to the hospital in Bourg (which took a while as I thought I was going to be sick all the way down the road!). The hospital staff were amazing doing every test on me possible including X-rays on my back and ultrasounds on my internal organs. I was very bashed up but nothing serious. After my MRI the doctor told me my knee was fine, which was a huge relief but I have a small compression fracture on my tibial plateau. When I felt my leg hyper extend my bones basically squished each other another to crack! It was very frustrating to have not been spotted on the X-ray on the day off the accident as I then walked around on it for a week. I’ll be back on skis on time for summer though!
This season I competed in 8 different countries, a total of 73 races, my first Europa Cup points in Downhill and Giant Slalom and PB scores in Speed and GS. I’m proud of myself, I’ve had some really good performances in what was a difficult year. But I am no where near satisfied. This is just the beginning!
2016 was a difficult and frustrating year. I remember watching Laura Trott on TV after the Rio Olympics and her engagement was announced and she said that 2016 was the best year of her life. I couldn’t believe how my life could have been so different after hurting my knee and spending over half my year in rehab. However, it made me determined to appreciate 2017 as much as possible!
My year started off struggling through the winter season, making small changes in each race and slowly gaining confidence. I ended my season by defending my British Ladies Champion title for the fourth year in the row, despite not performing as well as I wanted in a number of events it was nice to know my skiing was still there.
After the season, I passed my BASI Level 2 in Hintertux, Austria. This meant that I could spend a few weeks coaching younger, up and coming British skiers with ATC. The camps were really good fun and even though I was worn out by the end of them, coaching was so rewarding. I also spent a week in Chill Factor in Manchester, coaching for Ambition and Atomic racing camps.
In my downtime this summer I learnt how to kiteboard on the lake by my home in Varese, Italy. There isn’t loads of wind but there was enough for me to get up and going! I’m definitely looking forward to more windy days next summer so I can practice more. When the wind was down I learnt to wakeboard and water ski too which made the summer go by quickly.
Before I knew it, it was time to head down to Chile for a three-week speed camp. The training was amazing but the races didn’t go to quite to plan… I kept making silly mistakes. It was so frustrating especially since I knew I had been fast in training throughout the summer months. Just before the final set of races in El Colorado, I hurt my knee landing off a jump. It made the final races very challenging as I struggled with pain and dosing painkillers so I could still attempt to ski.
While I was in Chile, the awful news of hurricane Irma and Maria came through. The hurricanes passed straight through the British Virgin Islands, where my family has a sailing boat and where I have spent weeks on holiday for the past 15 years. Unfortunately, our boat sunk during the hurricane. However, it was little compared to the damage the islands have sustained. Parts of the island still don’t have power and running water nearly 4 months later. If there was ever a time to take a holiday to the Caribbean, go now! The islands look like they did 50 years ago before they started to be developed.
When I came back from Chile I took a three week break to give my knee some rest, and although it took me a few weeks to realise it, my head also wanted a break. Even though I wasn’t skiing through much of 2016, I never stopped working towards being fitter and stronger and I just needed a time-out. I had become so tired and fed up with not getting the results I wanted in racing that I was ready to pack skiing in completely. Everything just seemed so much harder than before, I was done fighting and I had forgotten what it was that I enjoyed about the sport so much. I needed all the time off to get my head back to a place where I knew exactly what I wanted: I held onto that Olympic dream.
When I put my skis back on I started skiing faster than I had in over a year. I was ready to go again! The racing hasn’t stopped this season. I’ve done nearly 30 races and it’s not even January. I made my first ever EuropaCup points in Giant slalom in Norway and had some great runs and races. As usual the issue is putting two good runs together in one race… In order to avoid the two run problem, in January I will be focusing on speed which consists of only one run! There are still 3 weeks of races left before the Olympic qualification date and I’ll be keeping that goal in mind every time I push out the start gate.
I would like to thank my equipment and personal sponsors for standing by me for the past 12 months. My parents and coaches for always believing in me and pushing me every day. Thank you for reading my blogs, I hope you’ve found them interesting!
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