Monday, 4 December 2017

Recent Coverage

So recently things have started to get a lot more hectic with the Olympics coming up in February. The media attention has increased massively and it is getting very exciting. I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of some good press which is great.

Team GB Green Screen

A lot of the media came in the space of a couple of weeks. I ended up doing all my green screen bits and pieces for the Olympics with Team GB and before I knew it I was on News Round, BBC Breakfast and BBC Sport. It was all pretty new to me and being on live TV all that was going through my head was don't swear.

New Round

BBC Breakfast

BBC Sport
 After the TV stuff I found myself doing a few interviews over the phone for a couple of newspapers. The first up was The Herald. I was interviewed by an ex athlete called Susan Egelstaff. She competed at the London 2012 Olympics so it was really cool to speak to someone who knew what it is like to go through the stress of qualifying and she was very sympathetic with the whole situation about being unsure if you are going or not till last minute.

The Herald
 The Scotland on Sunday was next. It was a massive article that just came out recently. It was a longer one so it touched on a lot of things that I have to deal with as an athlete. Trying to juggle training and work, the inclusion of lottery funding and also the benefits of the Scottish Institute of Sport.

Scotland On Sunday

Scotland On Sunday

I have really enjoyed doing all the media. And I hope I have the opportunity to do a bit more in the future before the games starts. Fingers crossed everything goes to plan and I make it!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Stomping Grounds

Last week I went to Saas Fee for a halfpipe camp. It was a private camp called Stomping Grounds and they have put on a few different parks around Europe throughout the winter. So in early October they decided to run their first halfpipe camp. I am not the biggest fan of Saas Fee as a place. I don't think there is much going on off of the mountain and it takes an awful long time to get to the glacier. 2 gondolas and a train to be precise. 45 minutes up and 45 down. But. There is always a but. I was incredibly impressed with the park this year. The halfpipe was close to perfect. The lift lines weren't too bad and the accommodation was good albeit very expensive. 

The first few days are always rough just because of the altitude. You are skiing at roughly 3500meters so the air is very thin. I got into the swing of things pretty early on as I only had a week. Started off by doing a few tricks. Easing into it. Some 900's and some flares. Everything was coming along nicely. 

I went to Saas Fee with one goal. That was to land my right side double 900. There was a few other side goals along with that. Such as film a good few clips for a little project with Freeze Pro Shop. I was really excited to work with Lewis McLean and shoot some good stuff. Unfortunately day 3 didn't go to plan. I had spent the second day prepping the right flare. On day 3 it was great weather, the halfpipe was soft and very forgiving. I knew that the time was right to try it. I had tried 8 before now, and I had landed one. I knew that I would never feel totally ready, but in my head I knew I had prepped enough to do it. As it is a fairly new trick and a double I was scared and nervous. Which for me is normal and I think it is a good thing. It means I am not complacent. It didn't go to plan. On run 1 I took off slightly early and clipped the coping. I got the rotation slightly wrong but I got away with it. I was lucky. On try 2 I told myself all the things I needed to change. I prepped it in my head again and again. I had done all the right things. I made the mistake of rushing the take off. Big NO NO. I took off too early meaning I was sent over the edge of the coping and onto the flat part on top of the halfpipe. I landed on the coping and bounced into the middle of the halfpipe. My ski and 1 pole shot off as I crumpled. I think I got away with it very lightly. It could've been much much worse. On a positive note, my rotation was much much better. Just messed up the take off.

I hurt my right knee pretty badly. Which was not ideal. It is still causing some problems 2 weeks later. But it doesn't seem like anything serious. Just a quad strain. Which is good considering the circumstances of the crash. Thankfully the mountain was closed the next day due to weather. So I felt like I didn't miss out on too much.

After the mountain was closed I had one more day to film with Lewis before he headed back to Edinburgh. I managed to get back on my skis but I wasn't able to do much at all. My knee was really unstable but I did some airs just for photographs. I felt bad that he had come all that way to film me for a project and I had hurt myself and was unable to do anything. It was like I had just wasted his time. The only saving grace was that it added to the story a bit as it is not always clean skiing. It is a dangerous sport and people do get hurt all the time. Sometimes it can be a lot more serious so I was fairly lucky. 

Overall it was a great trip. I had a great time and although I didn't get as much as I wanted from it I still managed to get some small things. Progress was made and it was well worth it. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

End of Season

The end of season was time for the Brits and a bit of spring skiing. I was out in Laax from the end of March till mid April. I had the best trip of the whole season. It was amazing weather and a lot of fun with my friends. The first week I was out it was just a bit of skiing. The second week was the British Champs. After a long season of competing I decided I wanted it to be a fun end to the season so I just had a cruisey run in the contest.

The first week was really productive for me. I managed to learn a couple of new tricks including the start of a new double. I ended up trying 3 and landing 2. The last attempt didn't go so well which was unfortunate but I was happy I was on the way up the ladder. That was the main reason in me going out to Laax was to progress and try and learn some new stuff for my run. Which I thankfully managed to achieve.

Overall it was a great spring and I am hoping for more of the same in the summer. There is a few camps coming up. The first in Les Duex Alps in France and then one in NZ for another World Cup. At the moment I have some time at home to work and also get back in the gym.

Friday, 17 March 2017

World Championships

Rolled into Sierra Nevada on the 13th of March and it was dumping with snow. The previous week had been glorious sunshine and almost summer weather. But since it was another contest the weather was destined to be rubbish. The first training was cancelled due to winds up to 80km/h and heavy snowfall. The second day it was slightly better but the wind was still high. It didn't cause to many problems at practice though. The pipe was great. It was the most fun halfpipe all season. It wasn't too long and it was very forgiving. I really enjoyed myself. I tend to get a lot from practice when it is limited training before an event because the pressure is on and I just have to get my head down and get my tricks down.

The conditions for the contest were fine. No complaints. It was a night event which was cool as I hadn't done one since the Olympics. Practice went well. I managed to land a safer run and a harder run. There was no point really in doing a safe run because it wouldn't make much difference. I did what I usually do and had 2 goes at doing a hard run.  It went really well. I ended up 16th with a score of 67(ish). Which was a good score. I was pumped to finish the season as top Brit. I also managed to get a switch 10 in my run at the end which is a relatively new trick for me. So it made it even sweeter after crashing hard on it in practice. Next up is some spring skiing in Laax and the British Champs.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Tignes and Swiss Champs

The last World Cup of the season was in Tignes. I drove from Laax with the rest of the guys. It was a long day. 8 hours in the van. We arrived to terrible weather. It was absolutely dumping it down and the first practice was looking very unlikely. But so was the whole contest.

Unsurprisingly the first day was a no go. But there was a small window to run a contest the following morning. There was not much practice. We had an hour with sled laps. It was far from ideal. But it was the only chance to run the event as it was utterly garbage for the rest of the time we were there. It was very difficult to get used to the halfpipe seeing as I had just come from Laax where it was pretty perfect. But I managed to at least get something down. It wasn't great. But I decided I would rather have 2 shots at my hard run than do 1 safe run and 1 shot at a hard run. It turned out very well actually. I managed to land my first run and I also managed to up it and get a better score on my second run as well. I ended up 19th which I was really pleased with as it was a seasons best. But after the qualifications finished it started to snow again. And didn't stop for 3 days. I have never seen so much snow fall in one go. It was pretty mental and there was a few avalanches.

After the long drive back to Laax, it was time for the Swiss Freeski Open. There was some good points up for grabs because there was some good riders doing it. But it was about Europa Cup level. So not even close to a World Cup. At first I didn't want to do it. But as soon as I saw the weather was good and the halfpipe was perfect it changed my mind and I decided it was worth it.

I thought similar to Tignes. There is not point in trying to do average. I may as well try my best and either go for all or nothing. No point in being safe. I went all out in finals. I tried my double and landed. I also went large on my right 5, bigger than usual anyway, so it gave me a bit of a fright. My right 7 was good with a solid tail grab which the judges seems to like. I changed my run a bit. Instead of doing a switch 9 to switch rodeo, I ended up doing switch 7 to flat 540. On my second run I thought I should maybe step it up and try a new trick. I ended up doing a switch 1080. I had never done one before so it was a great feeling doing it in my contest run and landing. It wasn't the best. But it was a step in the right direction.

I ended up coming 3rd overall. Which I was really pleased with! I didn't expect it as there was some strong skiers at it. The guy who won has been on the podium a few times at World Cups already this season. So it was cool to share a podium with him.

I am currently in Spain for the World Champs. The weather is terrible and the first practice has been cancelled. It will be lucky if it happens tomorrow as well.

More updates coming soon!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Long Time No Post!!

It has been a while. After a long time of no posting someone managed to convince me that it is worth posting, if not for all 2 of the readers, for me. It is a diary almost. It is something to look back on and see where I have been and what I have done. 

In the last 2 months I have been all over the place! I started off the season in Colorado which was a bit of a disaster. There was no snow and out of 3 and a half weeks I managed to get 6 days skiing. 2 of which were contests. So that isn't ideal. It was productive though because of Woodward and some S&C work. There is always positives to be taken from trips like that. The result wasn't what I hoped for in the World Cup but it was still ok. I ended up 23rd. So it was one step in the right direction for qualifying for the Olympics in South Korea. I really don't want to be in 23rd as I would like to be pushing for finals. But it is extremely hard as the standard is so high! 

After Colorado it was home for Christmas. As always it was relaxing to spend some time at home with no agenda and without having to work. After 10 days at home it was time to get back on the road. Early January it was off to Calgary for a camp. That also didn't go to plan. I ended up getting a concussion a 4 days in. Meaning I was out for a week. Which also resulted in the camp being over by the time I got back to skiing properly. It was a very frustrating 2 weeks. So next was Mammoth for a World Cup. This one went a lot better than the previous WC. It was a much harder field and tough conditions with a lot of wind. Training for me didn't go very well. I didn't managed to put my run down once. So going into the event I was very nervous. Thankfully my last training run on the day of the competition I managed to squeak one to my feet and I was very happy. So it put me in a good frame of mind for my runs. I managed to land 2 from 2 getting a higher score on my second run. So I was pleased I progressed. Unfortunately though my placing was far from ideal but it was a step in the right direction. I ended up 23rd again which was annoying as it was the same as Colorado. 

Korea was up next. I wasn't sure what to expect. But it was an interesting place and great to see the Olympic venue. The halfpipe was perfect and everything went smoothly. I was very surprised at how many people went for the event. They all must've wanted to see what it was like and get a feel for the place. My run was similar to Mammoth. But I thought a lot cleaner. My score wasn't as good but each event the scale changes therefore it doesn't matter too much about the score at each event but instead on how the run actually went. I thought mine was fairly clean. Grabs are improving as always and so is the amplitude. I felt I was underscored slightly but it happens sometimes. It is a judged event. It can't always be perfect. 

I am now currently in Laax. It has been great. But the weather has rolled in now. So it is snowing/raining. I have another 3 days here. Hoping for good weather before heading to Tignes for a World Cup. I will keep updating all of my social media and letting you know how I get on(if you are interested).