Rising star Glen Ironside admits the snowboard cross slopes of next week's 2015 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOF) will prove the biggest challenge of his career to date.
Ironside is one of two British snowboarders heading to the festival – along with 15-year-old Ayla Thidling – and part of a 15-strong British team competing across four disciplines.
The festival will take place between January 25 and 30 and Ironside says the competition will be his biggest to date.
The 15-year-old was born in Munich and lives in Unterhaching, Germany but qualifies for the team because of his Scottish father and spends time training with Team GB in Hintertux, Austria.
And the three-time British Junior snowboard cross champion says he is relishing the chance to represent his country.
“It is definitely the biggest event that I have competed in and one that I am really looking forward to,” said Ironside.
“Of course for me the big goal would be for me to go there and try and make it to the final but I know how hard that is going to be. My main aim is really to go there and make it into the top 16 and then go from there so if I do that I’ll be happy.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for me but I feel ready and am looking forward to it because it will be my first multi-sport event.
“In the long run I want to go on to the next youth Olympics and then one day to the Winter Olympics so this is an experience that I am going to learn from.
“It will be a huge learning curve for me and I really want to go and do well and soak up the atmosphere as much as possible.”
For Thidling the chance to compete at the Festival is an opportunity to follow in the tracks of her hero Jenny Jones.
Jones, a bronze medallist in Sochi, is a big inspiration to the 15-year-old who says she can’t wait to sample her first multi-sport event.
“I want to do my best and hopefully I can get a top five result. It will also be good to meet the rest of the team and get a chance to watch them in action too,” said Thidling.
“When you are competing at other competitions, you don’t get a chance to do that but with it being a multi-sport event, there will be lots to see.
“Jenny Jones is a massive inspiration. I follow her on Facebook to see what she is up to. What she did in Sochi was great.
“I’m really looking forward to it. The format is quite close to the Olympics so it will be a great experience and I’m going to try and take it all on board. It will be a good step up to represent Team GB as my goal is to one day make the Olympics.”
© Sportsbeat 2015