Skiing has always been a bit of an obsession for my family, and pretty much as soon as I could walked, I had a pair of planks strapped to my feet and was pushed off down a hill on the local golf course at my grand motherâ€™s house in Nethy Bridge. …
From there, as soon as I was deemed â€˜grown up enoughâ€™ I was allowed to hit up the slopes of Cairngorm with my parents on the weekends. I have to admit that I wasnâ€™t always that thrilled to be up on top of a mountain in gale force winds during freezing temperatures but come a nice day, I couldnâ€™t get enough of it. Then the best change came: At the age of 7, my sister Katie and I were signed up to join the Scottish Ski Club Race training group and under the watchful eyes of Tony Kuwall, a small group of us spent the winter weekends bombing around the mountain, and generally causing as much chaos as possible. These were probably some of the best moments of my childhood, and I remember vividly the first time that I got to wear my catsuit. I had obviously spent hours prancing around the house in it, and working out the combinations of clothes that I could fit on under it, but it was a pretty unforgettable day when I was able to put it to the real test! It was a great suit; a lime green, purple and orange spyder masterpiece that has since been passed down my entire family and has been loved by all. I canâ€™t really recall the result of the race â€“ but there was one fateful day when I got beaten by my little sister. An event that I am always keen to forget, but for some reason Katie always brings it up when she has the chance â€“ here is to hoping that it never happens again.
I spent a huge number of years up at Cairngorm with SSC and in 2006 I was kindly awarded a Rannoch Bursary and was therefore able to travel out to the British Ski Academy in Les Houches for 6 weeks and then the same again for the following two seasons which carried my through to FIS. I again had a fantastic time at BSA and there was nothing better than being out at school in France and getting to spend half of your week skiing with a race put on every Friday. In my first year at BSA I made it onto the British Childrens Team, and then with time onto the Scottish Alpine Team which lead me to where I am now with the Delancey British Senior Team.
Ski racing is something that I am so thankful to have grown up with. I have learned a vast number of skills and have made some of the best friends in the world. Most importantly though, it has given me confidence and taught me to just go out there and work as hard as I can to achieve my dreams regardless of how ridiculous everyone else around you thinks you are. That you can do anything you want, if only you take the advice presented to you and never let yourself have any excuses for a bad day, but instead use it to motivate yourself for the next.
At 21, obviously I am still learning from every single training session and trying to figure a number of things out, but I have never forgotten the first days that I spent on skis, and there was nothing better than putting them back on for the first time after breaking my back last month at the place where everything really started for me at Cairngorm.