Monday, November 22, 2010

Returning to PORTES DU SOLEIL on Monday- Yeah

Well, its official, Im heading back to the Portes Du Soleil on Monday next week. Its been a long and tough summer since the Olympics for one reason or another but Im finally getting to go back on snow, I cant wait.

The best part for me is the Portes Du Soleil, Its been my base now for several years and it just has the absolute best training facilities for me and has great skiing / snowboarding opportunities for all types of recreational holiday makers - Ive snowboarded their loads with my friends and family.

Im even lucky enough to know quite a lot of people who live their including my nutrisionist in Chatel!

If you missed it, Ive also written two articles this season for Wave finder specifically resort guides for the Portes Du Soleil - Morzine and Chatel.

Anywho, I need to pack... See you all in the PDS soon (you know who you are!).

Please follow me on twitter:-

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mexico, Cenotes, Jet Skiing, BMW & Westfield London 22nd-24th October!

Finally, after what seems a lifetime - ten months to be exact, the new 2010/11 season is about to start in Austria in December. It’s not all been plain sailing though, I have had to deal with 2 major operations (one on my left foot and one on my knee) which has meant a great deal of rehab in the gym. The operations went fine and I've been ready to get back on snow for a while, I'm now just waiting for my program to start.
Since the Olympics I have managed to take some time out to do the things I really enjoy – I took my first summer holiday in five years just recently to Mexico – it was brilliant and I'm now a qualified PADI open water scuba diver. The highlight of the holiday was diving in the Cenotes (fresh water underground caverns) which are only found in the state of Yukatan in Mexico. This mixed with jet skiing, swimming with dolphins (I got to kiss one!) water parks and visiting one of the new seven wanders of the World – Chichen Itza - made it the best holiday ever!
BMW have been absolutely brilliant since I started with them last year and they have taken me on some excellent corporate do’s (as well as supplying me with the ultimate driving machine – I'm not kidding!). I've just received an invitation to the culmination of the ATP World Tennis Tour Finals at the stylish BMW suite at the O2 Arena in London in November. Not only will I get to see the singles and doubles finals but it will be the first time I get to meet the other BMW brand ambassadors. I can’t wait.
Before that though, from the 22nd-24th October I'm going to Westfield London for a jam packed extreme sports weekend featuring stunts on the BMW extreme ramp in the atrium. It’s not all just for watching though, if you come down to the event you will get the chance to have a go on the climbing wall, take a skills training workshop and coaching geared towards teaching you how to skate, scooter and BMX as well as test drive the new BMW X3! If you are free, come down to the event, it will be great fun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BMW driving day & Im now on Twitter!

Recently I was invited in my role as a BMW ambassador to attend a driving day at Oulton park race track.

There were about 100 customers there on the day having a go in a variety of BMW’s and minis on the track and on the off road course. I was a bit nervous though as I knew I was going to be interviewed in front of all the customers and present them all with signed certificates at the end of the day.

I got to take an X1 out on the track which was really fun, that’s the car I normally drive so I was very familiar with it but have never got to drive it around that fast before! Speed aside, I really learnt a great deal about the vehicle, its handling, the affect of the 4 wheel drive (X drive) system and using the steering wheel paddle shift. I finished the laps with permagrin solidly imprinted on my face! It really is the ultimate driving machine!

I also got to take an M3 around the track which is officially the fastest car I have ever driven. I wasn’t just driving around the track all on my own though, like all the guests there I was getting tuition from instructors as I went along so I was learning the proper racing techniques as I drove. It was like being back on an snowboard cross course!

I sat in with racing car driver Mike Wilds as he drove a racing mini around the track and also with Rob Collard, also a racing driver as he drove the M3 around, both were like a mixture between sitting in a car and sitting on a rollercoaster. I loved it :)

I really enjoyed representing BMW and talking to all the guests, listening to their stories and seeing them all having a good day, I know how they feel as I learned loads from the day as well as having a really good time. I finished the day off with the presentations which went really well, everyone was really nice and I'm now looking forward to the next event.

Also, ive just taken the plunge and gone onto twitter, please follow me at where ill be keeping everything updated as well as facebook.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Laa columb killey

On 24th June I got to open the Laa columb killey festival which is held every year about 5 minutes from where I live in the Isle of Man so it is the most local event as possible for me!

I sang the national anthem along with everyone else and made a short speech opening the festival before crowning the festival princess Becky Corkish who looked very pretty in her dress and cloak.

After all the official stuff was done I had tea and cakes in the tea tent then had a look around all the stalls and tents.

It was really nice to spend a day just wandering around and checking out all the entrants into the competitions for hand writing, best looking vegetable, painting, loads of stuff. It made me feel like a kid again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what I have been up to

Since the Olympics I have been doing lots of stuff.

I went home to the Isle of Man for while where I did a couple of school visits. I went to Arbory school last year to talk to all the kids about my life as pro athlete so it was great to go back there after the Olympics, all the kids had loads of question and were really interested in what the experience was like.

I then went to Queen Elizabeth II where I did a talk for the 6th form students, they also were super interested in what I get up to day to day and asked loads of informed questions.

I have been doing a lot of rehab for my knee which I injured at the Olympics, I have been getting loads of physio. I must say a big thank you to Scott Physio in the Isle of Man who have been great through all my rehab! Also thanks to Neurotech who leant me a kneehab to help me keep my left leg strong while I was limited by how much training I could do on it.

I also went to the BOA/EIS rehab centre at Bisham Abbey for two weeks of intensive rehab, I have to say my legs have never been as tired as they were by the end of that!

After that I went to Marrakech for a friend’s wedding, it was my first time there and although it was great and totally different from anywhere I have been before but I was quite glad to get back to the UK again and be able to drink water out of the tap again.

Last week I was in Nottingham at a Pokerstars event and I am going to Wentworth tomorrow for an event with BMW at the BMW golf village.

I am heading back to the Isle of Man tomorrow where I am for a week before heading to Bath where I will once again be based for the summer.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Olympics - Vancouver 2010

On Tuesday I competed in the biggest event of my career so far, the winter Olympics, out here in Vancouver. The snowboarding event was held at Cypress mountain which is just on the outskirts of Vancouver.

The day started early for me when I got up at 5am in time for an 8:30am competition start. When we got up to the mountain the competition then got delayed by 2 hours due to fog. I made the most of the time and found a quite spot to have a nap.

Once we got going at 10:30 the sun had come out a bit so we had a quick inspection of the course then 40 minutes training before qualifications began.

I was 3rd to go on the first qualification run and when I got into the start gate the cloud came over again, they held the competition temporarily thinking it would clear in the next few minutes. This was pretty nerve wracking as I was at the biggest comp of my life and I am stuck in the start gate (with a camera looking at me the whole time) waiting to go. Somehow I managed to keep myself relatively calm until I was allowed to go a whole 12 minutes later, those 12 minutes felt like about a year!

I had a solid first run, the visibility wasn’t perfect but I had raced in worse before. That run put me into 5th place.

On the second run I had perfect visibility, I was having a good run until I caught the front edge of my board as I landed awkwardly over a jump and did a front flip! I remember realizing I was about to face-plant very hard into the ground and my gymnastics training from when I was younger kicked in making me tuck my head in and flipped over to land on my back, I have been told by a few people since that it was one of the best saves they have ever seen, although I am yet to see it myself.

After everyone had completed their second run I was then in 8th place which gave me 2nd lane choice in my first heat. I had a good start and did the first few features well to settle into second place behind Mellie Francon who had won the qualifications, with the other two girls behind us, we crossed the line in that order meaning I and Mellie progressed through to the semi finals.

In my semi final heat I had last lane choice so I was stuck with the far right gate. My start was good again (it looks like all that dry slope start gate training in the summer helped) but I didn’t do the first few features quite as well so I was back in 4th around the first turn, I clipped boards slightly with Mellie going off the second jump which caused me to land too far down the landing and lose some speed. Then Mellie made a mistake around the next corner and I overtook her putting me into 3rd place and needing to get into the top two to get through to the final. I of course went for it with everything I had! I was going as quick as I could to try and overtake, then I went off one of the doubles and overshot the landing because of the extra speed I had, I managed to stay on my feet but on the landing I had landed on my back foot on the up ramp of the next roller then got kind of slingshot onto my front foot twisting my knee quite badly. I carried on riding but my knee just wouldn’t let me push into the turns to make up speed meaning I couldn’t catch the other girls up and finished in third putting me into the small final.

I had made it through that round on pure adrenalin but by the time I got back up to the top I had serious doubts about my knee. I got advice from the BOA doctor and physio who were there with me and then I had to choose if I was going to race in the small final or not. I think if it had been the big final I may have taken the risk and tried racing but as it was I was unable to hold the pressure against the snow around the corners and more concerning I couldn’t move my knees up quickly on the take offs of the jumps to suck them up and prevent myself from flying to far or out of control, so I decided not to race and prevent myself from injuring myself even worse by riding without being able to handle the features properly. I pulled out of the start gate in the small final to secure my 8th place but stopped after 2 metres.

All in all with all the problems I faced in the last 12 months on the run up to the games with my governing body going bust and closing my training program down over the summer I am very happy with the result, I was trying to get a medal as I always am but I did everything I could in the preparation and on the day that I could possibly have done and that’s all I can ever ask of myself.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, BOA, UK sport, EIS, IOM sport, and of course my personal sponsors Pokerstars, BMW, BA, Sno!zone, Donek, Sony, Briton engineering, my whole family who were in the stands, and last but not least everyone who was watching the competition on the TV or over the internet and was cheering for me:)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stoneham World cup, Calgary prep camp and Snowsport GB

I just competed in my last world cup before the Olympics. I finished in 13th which I wasn’t very happy with as a result, but as 5 girls had been stretchered off the course due to injury – including Tanja Frieden the current Olympic gold medallist – The thing I was most happy about at this competition was that I got through it injury free. To be honest I don’t think I was riding as hard as I usually would just because the last thing I want to do now is get injured 3 weeks before the Olympics.

I am flying out today to go to Calgary where I am staying for a week at the British Olympic Association (BOA) preparation camp to hopefully get some good training in.

You may have read some articles in the newspapers and on websites about Snowsport GB possibly going into administration and that affecting if any of the GB skiers and snowboarders will be able to compete in Vancouver, because athletes need to be representing a national federation to compete in the Olympics. I know the BOA are fully aware of the situation and are putting things into place in case the worst should happen to allow all the selected athletes to compete. The BOA have been very helpful with my entire programme throughout the problems which have been going on since last April and I have complete confidence in them. I would like to say a massive thank you to the BOA by the way, because I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the help they have given me over the past 12 months.

In regards to the entire funding situation with Snowsport GB and everything, I am not using it as an excuse, there is nothing I can do to change it so I am focussing 100% on using everything I have left to do the best I can in Vancouver.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Bad Gastein world cup 2010

Today I competed in the first world cup in 2010, it was held in bad gastein, austria.

I had finished 18th in the last world cup which was held just before Christmas so my confidence was knocked a bit and I really wanted to get a solid qualification in here if nothing else. I got 2 good runs in and qualified in 4th yesterday so that was a very nice start to the competition.

In the heats today I started off in a nice heat, I got into second out of the first turn and then took a tight line over the final corner jump to pass into first just before the finish line to win the heat.
My next heat wasn’t so easy. I got out of the gate well but then lost a little speed over the first jump so I was then in 3rd going into the first turn. I was chasing all the way down and got close near the end so tried my trick over the last jump, I got very close but it didn’t work quite as well as the last time and I didn’t manage to pass.

After that I was in the small final with Faye Gulini, Mellie Francon and Maelle Ricker who has won the last two world cups and about four of the world cups last season. I got out of the gate fast and into second possition behind Francon, I was chasing her all the way down while at the same time working to keep Ricker behind me. I went for my inside line on the last jump and got so close to Francon I think the tip of my board went over the finish line at the same time as her front foot!

This race was one of the tightest at the finish line that I have competed in in a while.

After my result in the small final I had finished 6th over all in the competition. A big confidence boost the month before the Olympics not too mention beating the girl who’s just won a load of world cups!