Ed Drake, Vancouver Olympian, explains his reasons for quitting

Skiing racing has been my life for as long as I can remember. From my first memories of racing aged 7 until today. Living, breathing, training, sleeping; all of it has been about making me a better and faster skier, but now I feel it is the right time for me to walk away. 

The challenge of funding myself to compete for Great Britain in the sport that I love has got the better of me. The uphill battle of working as hard as my peers, training on and off the slopes whilst working as my own PR and Sports Agent, my own Performance Director and Programme Manager, alongside earning money coaching, working at events, labouring and after dinner speaking has meant that the playing field on which I compete isn’t level. This is a situation I have known for a long time and have been fine with it because I love ski racing, both as an Alpine and a Ski Cross athlete. However, after being comfortable with this for 11 years, the negatives have now finally outweighed the positives – it is therefore, that I must announce my immediate retirement from competitive ski racing.

Bormio Day 3 539264One of the things that frustrates me the most is that we have talented racers in this country, but they are not given the chance to show how good they can be. This all comes down to the same old issue – funding.

How often have I heard or read about the benefits of sport in life, from health to work ethic?
What use is inspiring the next generation of British skier if the ceiling of the level you can progress to is down to the size of your wallet?

I’m tired of hearing about racers in the UK being ‘big fish in little ponds’. We have the opportunity to be big fish in the ocean! Had I been Austrian, French or the like, when I was at the peak of my Alpine racing career at 27 years old being ranked inside the Worlds Top 50, I would have been on a funded programme where I could have focused on going faster. Not worrying about if I could afford to finish paying for my season.

At that time, I was beating people who are the same age as me who are now getting World Cup podiums – who knows where I could have been?

Now, our focus needs to be on how we support the up-and-coming racers, learn from our mistakes and build on our successes to help the next generations of skiers enjoy and thrive in the best sport on the planet!

I feel very proud and privileged to have been able to represent Great Britain during my competitive career, I will miss the thrill of throwing myself down World Cup tracks, but I’m really looking forward to the next new and exciting chapter in my life.

A huge thank you has to go to my parents, family and friends. I will be forever grateful for your support, advice, understanding, and the sacrifices you have made, it is my name on the results, but without you guys there wouldn’t be any results, and I wouldn’t have been able to live my dream.

Thank you to my sponsors, a lot of whom have been such a big part of my journey we have be- come close friends; Rossignol, Dynastar and BSA in my early and formative years, Atomic and Ski Bartlett, Scott Dunn and The Snow Centre, Wallis Shipping, Kandahar Ski Club, and Elite Physical Medicine for continually putting me back together, the generous individuals who chose not be named, again without you I wouldn’t have had this crazy journey.

Main picture – Ed helping out the Kandahar Race Team at this years Bormio English Alpine Championships Night Race. Both pictures Racer Ready – all rights reserved