Now that the winter season is over, I can finally sit back for a minute, take a breath and say this has been an incredible year for the GB Freeski Team. No season comes without its ups and downs, but this season there have been more ups than downs…. we’ve had record-breaking results, numerous medals, new tricks, up and coming athletes as well as uncooperative weather, injury, falls and a crazy competition schedule. With nine months to go until Sochi, it’s non-stop for us and the summer isn’t holding us back.
It’s been a record-breaking season. Great Britain may be an unsuspecting snowsports nation, but this season’s results are an encouraging glimpse of Great Britain as serious contenders at Sochi aand beyond. Our very own James “Woodsy” Woods was crowned 2013 World Cup Champion, picking up the FIS Crystal Globe at the last World Cup event of the season in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Since the end of the competition season, we’ve trained in the USA, taking advantage of the last of the season’s snow. After a short, well-deserved break, the summer is going to be busy. We have lots of performance goals to achieve, strength and conditioning programs to work through and recovery from injuries that have been picked up over the winter. The next round of on-slope training starts in Whistler, Canada in June and then on to Zermatt, Switzerland in July. It’s not long before the competition season kicks-off again this August in New Zealand.
Although the team trains and competes around the world, our athletes are “homegrown” and our “home territory” is still artificial slopes and indoor snow facilities in the UK – it’s not surprising that the team are internationally known as the “Fridge Kids”. It isn’t a substitute for the real thing, but whilst back in the UK we still use these centres for training. Training doesn’t just happen on the slope; our off-slope and indoor program is key - strength and conditioning, trampoline work, analysis, as well as rehabilitation and recovery.
In my mind, there is no doubt that from a country without ski resorts, where our athletes have learnt to ski at indoor centres and on dry-slopes, the dedication, passion and commitment is obvious. The Freeskiing legend Mike Douglas once said Great Britain is where to find the “soul of skiing”…. I won’t disagree.
After London 2012 there is even more of a buzz about the Olympics… it reminded us how great the Olympics are, how the event brings the country and people together and how sport does that. With eyes turning to Sochi 2014, the GB Freeski Team has some exciting prospects and the desire to compete and succeed under the Team GB banner is huge.
With a few athletes already meeting Sochi qualifying standards and others very close, next season and the four qualifying World Cup events before Sochi are going to be full on.
There is no prouder coach in the world and I’m super excited and very positive for the next few months of training. There is work to do, but we are in the best position to smash it heading into the next season and the “Big Event” in Sochi.