Arthur Bartlett reports
I have had the most incredible opportunity this season to improve my ski racing. I qualified, somewhat to my surprise, for the ESSKIA (English Schools Ski Association) junior squad, on the basis of the dry slope races that Woodbridge took part in last September. I was invited to join the ESSKIA squad training in Pila in Italy from 13 to 20 March.
The week in Pila was a great chance to meet ski racers from other schools and parts of the country. It was a full program of race training, competition, ski preparation and fitness, and some school work too. I was really pleased with the progress I made during the week – I won the Giant Slalom competition and came third in the Slalom.
At the end of the week I took a taxi from Pila to Tignes in France to join four time Olympian Chemmy Alcott and her CDC Performance team to prepare for and compete in the British Alpine Championships. This was the biggest ski racing challenge I have ever faced and just qualifying gave me a huge sense of achievement.
The program was intense, fitness, activation, skiing, ski prep, and homework but great fun and the camaraderie of been part of a small team – just nine racers – was amazing. I was pleased with my placings, although a way off the podium, I had made real progress. The most thrilling thing I did for the first time was the Super G, a race with very long turns on very long skis, and although I crashed out in the race I cannot wait to have the chance to do it again. I am delighted that CDC performance has invited me to join the team training in New Zealand for four weeks in the summer.
The support of my teachers in providing school work and help while I missed a week and a half of school, and of the sports department in helping me to build my strength and fitness have allowed me to make the most of this amazing opportunity. Thank you.