In my last year of primary school, we were given a project on mountains. My parents suggested going to my chosen mountain on holiday so we had some ski lessons at the Suffolk dry ski slope. I loved it and from there I got in to the race team and was spotted by the director of the British Ski Academy who took me out on snow to train more seriously.
I tried telemark skiing for the first time at 17. When I finished school, I really wanted to go for it but at that age, I had no real experience or financial backing and with no results to get a sponsorship, getting started was tricky. My mum put an ad in our local newsletter, ‘please donate unwanted items to skier for car boot sales’. My dad got us a van and we were selling the stuff people had given us. From that, I managed to pay my way to the British Championships where I won and sealed my first sponsor.
The real challenge isn’t winning; it’s the day when it doesn’t go well. It’s suffering disappointment and frustration and coming back from that, because it can really knock you down. I’m lucky to have a really good support network. When I first started, my whole life was about skiing but now I recognise the importance of my family, my friends, university and my hobbies - all these things that make up my life. You need to have a balance.
As a skier, you do it because you love it and to be on the snow every day. That’s why you’re there, everything else is a bonus. It’s obviously awesome to do well and to take my first World Cup victories. It was a weird feeling on the day - waking up in the morning and thinking it’ll be good no matter what. I wonder if your day goes well because you decided it would, nothing seems to distract you on days like that - you have already won. I don’t necessarily mean a ski race, but maybe life is already pretty cool which automatically takes the pressure off. I apply that to my studies, I enjoy them so if I do well; it’s just the cherry on top.