Diary of a British skicross champion
Nicholas B (pictured) is a British skicross champion and member of the Essex Ski Racing Club, he is also a Year 12 student at Moulsham High School.
Nick first started ski racing when he was seven years older, taking up skicross in 2014 at the age of 12. He previously competed in alpine ski racing (slalom and giant slalom) and moved to skicross because he found the racing more exciting; racing against other skiers rather than against the clock.
Nick is incredibly dedicated to his sport, each week he carries out four, two-hour gym sessions, plus additional cardio / balance and agility sessions - any actual ski training is limited to trips to the Alps.
Each year Nick attends four overseas training camps, two on the glacier in Saas Fee in Switzerland, one in Pitztal in Austria and another in Sweden – where he will be training next week.
In the past two years, Nick has competed in 27 races in seven different countries - France, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria and Australia. His immediate goals are to represent Great Britain at the Youth Olympics this year and again at the World Junior Championships in France in March, but these events won’t be Nick’s first time competing.
He was the British u16 skicross champion three years in succession and, in 2018, he became the first British boy to win the Audi Kids Skicross Tour - Europe's leading children's skicross race series - held at five venues across Switzerland. Last season he was senior British skicross champion. Nick’s best results in international adult races to date were second and third places in Greece last February. Quite the achievements!
It’s the adrenaline rush he gets from taking 20 metre jumps at high speed, the technical nature of the skiing and racing head-to-head with other athletes which make Nick love the sport so much. However what really drives him is doing the best he can with the limited resources he has available to him.
As a TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) supported athlete Nick has access to strength and conditioning, lifestyle and personal development support from experts at the University of Essex. He is one of only 600 English athletes selected to be part of the programme from 32 sports in 2019/20.
Here Nick tells us what a typical day looks like for him when he’s attending a training camp:
0700: I wake up early and pack my kit for the day
0715: Down to breakfast, time to fuel up ahead of training.
0800: It’s almost 8am so I head to catch the cable car which will take me and my fellow training mates up to the glacier. We tend to leave after the alpine skiers, freestyle skiers tend to be a bit more laid back.
We spend four or five hours training on the course up the glacier. A lot of the time we focus on skiing the more technical start sections, with the coach taking video. Luckily today the ski area isn’t closed due to bad weather or avalanche risk, if it was then we’d know we were in for a hard day of physical training.
If there is no course, as is often the case on summer training camps, we’d spend the morning training in the jump park.
1230: We’ve worked up an appetite after a morning of intense training so it’s time to head back to the hotel for lunch.
1330: Time for fitness training, this will typically last a couple of hours, it may be in the gym, at the climbing wall, or a cardio workout on the local hills.
1600: Free time, after fitness we have a couple of hours to relax, do school work and wax our skis ready for the next day.
1800: Video analysis, time for our coaches to give feedback to the group on the days' skiing.
1900: It’s time for dinner now which will be followed by an additional hour or so of free time, or school work, before bed.
2230: And sleep! We’ve another busy day ahead of us tomorrow.