After school on Tuesday 9th February, my parents and I set off for the Italian town of Bormio.
Bormio is situated in the province of Lombardy, north east Italy close to the border with Switzerland, at an elevation of 1225 meters. It is in a glacial valley, the Adda River runs through it and down into Lake Como. The town hosts an annual World Cup ski race where athletes tackle the notorious Stelvio piste, on which I would also compete.
A medieval spa town situated on the main historical trading route from Venice to Switzerland. The Roman aristocracy were frequent visitors to Bormio where they enjoyed the famous thermal baths.
The trip was to attend the 20th English Alpine Championships where I would take part in three races: –
- Slalom – A highly technical event consisting of short radius turns and two runs down different courses.
- Giant Slalom – Also a highly technical event consisting of longer radius turns over two runs.
- Super Giant Slalom – A speed event consisting of long radius turns and speeds of up to 60mph.
Although I have raced on artificial slopes in the UK for the last four years these would be my first set of alpine races.
We arrived at our destination on Thursday 11th February after a long journey of 1000 miles, with an overnight stop in France to break the journey up.
My first race was on the Sunday, so I had two full days of training. It was a 6.30am start on the Friday for my first training session with J R Racing – this is run by Jo Ryding , the sister of British number 1 slalom skier Dave Ryding. I left the apartment at 7:15am as we had a short drive to the neighbouring village of Santa Caterina, which also hosts an annual World Cup race.
My goal for the week was to achieve qualification for the British Championships in Tignes, France to be held at Easter. The minimum qualification is 400 seed points or less in any one of the three disciplines. As I had not raced on snow before I had to start from the back of the field with seed points of 999.99 – this meant the courses would be bumpy and rutted from all the earlier racers.
For my first race, Giant Slalom I finished 29th out of 64, Super Giant Slalom I finished 50th out of 124 and in Slalom I finished 9th out of 66. In the Slalom I scored 208.10 points which is a massive achievement, in Giant Slalom I scored 290.95 and in Super Giant Slalom I scored 282.10 points.
A great week, I exceeded my targets and am now looking forward to competing at the British championships.
*If there any students who are interested in taking up ski racing then please come and speak with me, I’m in form M16.
by Thomas Upton, Y10