When I was just a year old I had an infection in my right eye and lost the majority of sight in that eye. Five years later the same thing happened in my left eye. So my sight is now pretty rubbish.
I started skiing at this time and really got the bug and ended up being a little obsessive about it. I contacted the charity, Disability Snowsports UK and spoke to Sean Rose at the ski show in London 2010 and it snowballed from there on.
I was invited on to the British Disabled ski Team, Development Squad in 2011 and started racing in November 2012 with my Mum as my guide.
I now ski with a professional guide in front of me and we wear a Sena bluetooth head set in our helmets and communicate between each other. My guide will tell me what the conditions are like on the piste and if there any lumps, bumps and obstacles on the snow.
“When I was much younger I thought I had perfect vision because I didn’t know anything different. So I used to just follow people without even realising they were guiding me”
People always ask me if it is scary, but it isn’t. I don’t really see all the hazards that are on the slopes, I certainly don’t see the gate and that is why a good guide is so important. I have had many guides over the last few years but I am now skiing with Brett Wild from the Royal Navy and he will be with me until the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea and hopefully beyond.
I was lucky enough to go to The Sochi Paralympics in 2014 and compete for Great Britain in The slalom and Giant Slalom, where I came 5th in both. I also carried the flag at the opening ceremony.
This was an amazing experience for me and one I will never forget
…but that was just a rehearsal for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.
I have so much support from my Mum and friends, not to mention from DSUK, The Team (British Para Snowsports) and all my coaches who have been so brilliant including Euan Bennet, who was also my Development Squad coach. He has been instrumental in always keeping it fun for me. Then there is James Redpath, who deals with all our team admin. There are lots of other people who have been instrumental in my development as an athlete. My school, Kings School Canterbury, have been amazing too, they have supported me in many aspects of my education and sporting life. It has been quite difficult for me to juggle my GCSE’s and A’levels with skiing but they have made it possible.
It is hard work sometimes; there is a lot of travel and it’s difficult to juggle school. I do get very tired but it is the best fun I have ever had. It really is a great experience, even getting up early when on a training camp; Skiing hard all day, doing some sort of recovery, waxing skis, a Physio session, video analysis, School homework, supper and then to bed to do the same the next day but I am so lucky to have found a sport that I love.
“It’s not long now but there will be a lot of hard work in the build up to the 2018 Winter Paralympics but the preparations are going well, Brett and I promise to work hard and enjoy every minute of it and make you proud of us.”