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In all professional sports half the battle is in the mind and skiing is no exception. Despite winter only lasting five months in the northern hemisphere I chase the snow down south in the summer and train on glaciers in Autumn and Spring. I spend about 40 weeks a year with my skis on and the rest of the time I’m in the gym working on my fitness. Doing a sport professionally really runs you down but you know you’re waking up every morning to do something you love so you pick yourself up and keep going. My dream comes in the form of a shiny metal disk, an Olympic medal; that moment when I can stand on that Olympic podium in front of the world and tell myself that all the hard work was worth it because I finally did it.

Unfortunately there is never any glory without making sacrifices. Alpine Ski Racing is a pretty dangerous sport. We strap our feet to planks of wood and then throw ourselves down a mountain at up to 130km/h with almost no protection. The first thing you overcome in skiing is your fear. You have to have complete confidence in your equipment and in yourself. I still get the shakes at the start of a steep race or if there’s a massive jump. You need to learn to control your fear so you can use it as an advantage. As soon as I push out that start gate all my fears are gone, the only thing I focus on is going as fast as possible.

Crashing is a big part of the sport. It’s nearly always your fault when you fall over but you have to learn to pick yourself up and learn from the experience rather than beating yourself up over it. I used to be told that if you weren’t falling over you weren’t trying hard enough. Although, I still try to keep the crashing to a minimum!

Since the ski season is pretty much all year round you have a lot of ups and downs. I find it hard to tell myself that I won’t win every single race. I’m still learning to turn my anger from doing badly in a race into something positive to take into the next competition. I find that it’s often in the races that you don’t think you will do well that you do! It’s pretty easy to “psych yourself out” in ski racing: you get yourself so wound up about a race and its outcome that you forget about just trying your best and enjoying yourself.

Big, better, best, don’t ever rest, until your bigger is better and your better is best.