SKIING: IT WAS a pleasing start to the season for for Ollie Weeks after a rollercoaster 2017 English Alpine Championships for the Leamington Spa skier.
Weeks brought the curtain down on his week-long Bormio adventure by finishing 19th in the Under-16 Super-G on Friday.
That was a marked improvement from 24 hours previously as the 15-year-old failed to finish in the opening Super-G, while he also recorded finishes of fourth and ninth in the Slalom and Giant Slalom respectively.
All-in-all Weeks ended as the eighth best under-16 Brit overall and he insists his Italian adventure has shown him what he needs to improve from here on out.
“I was pleased with my Super G to finish, I skied a lot better than the day before!” said Weeks, who attends North Leamington School.
“I had a bit of a rollercoaster week. I have had some great runs, but I have also been making some mistakes as well.
“It has been really good experience though, and I just need to try and get that consistency at a high level now – both in training and racing.
“This season has been good. I have got some podiums, mostly in GS. My Slalom hasn’t been as good, but overall I am happy.
“My next races are the Ambition races, which I am looking forward to, but I also have my GCSEs coming up, so I am trying to get the balance between skiing and studying right.
“I train out in Austria, but my school is really supportive and gives me work which they seem happy with. They definitely make my ski racing possible.”
The Championships were celebrating their tenth year in Bormio, with over 400 of the country’s most talented skiers – ranging from under-10s to senior racers – flocking to the Italian resort to battle it out for the coveted English titles.
Most of Britain’s most revered racers of recent times competed in the Championships during the early stages of their careers, including four-time Olympian Chemmy Alcott and current racers Cara Brown and Dave Ryding.
Ryding is enjoying the season of his career so far, with the 29-year-old consistently inside the top ten on the slalom circuit and becoming only the second British man to achieve a World Cup alpine podium at the Kitzbühel slalom last month.
And having competed at the Championships between 2003 and 2007, claiming the English slalom title in his final year, Ryding believes that for the likes of Weeks the competition is a vital stepping stone.
“I have always targeted specific races as goals during the season, depending on the level I was at that particular time,” he said.
“When I was in my teens the English Alpine Championships meant absolutely everything to me, and at the time I valued it on par with how I value the World Cup events now.
“I did everything I could to do as well as I could, and it was a great stepping stone to how I will be valuing the world champs in a week’s time.”
<b><i>Follow the English Alpine Championships on the Snowsport England Facebook page and get live updates on Twitter @SnowsportEng.
Full results will be available at www.snowsportengland.org.uk while you can find your nearest slope offering value-for-money GO SKI GO BOARD sessions at www.goskigoboard.org.uk.</i></b>