Born and bred country boy from Mansfield in North East Victoria, I started skiing at the age of two. Hanging between my dad’s legs as he shared his love for skiing with me at Mt. Buller. In the following years, as I grew I started to play more and more sports but skiing was always a weekend ritual that my dad and I shared. When I was 11 I decided to stop playing footy so that I could keep skiing, this allowed to spend weekends having fun with my family at Mt. Buller.
I started taking my love for skiing seriously when I was 11 when I started Team Extreme, a program run by the Mt. Buller Ski School for young skiers who didn’t fit into either Race Club or Team Buller Riders. I learnt a Great deal from coaches like David Berçot and Josh Laney who taught me the fundamentals of skiing and also a love for every kind of skiing.
When I was 13 I joined TBR to join the Freeride Program, some how I thought Freestyle was my calling although I was a gangly 180cm 13 years old. This became a busy year as I had also started playing football again. The opening of the Mansfield Secondary Collage Annex the following year made it a lot easier to keep skiing even with other sports going on such as football and basketball. Even today I still try to do a lot of sports outside of skiing when I can, I cannot do them to the same level but it good cross training and something you can use to take you mind off the stress of high performance sport.
In my time at TBR I was competing in Slopestyle, Moguls and Freeride events with my coaches Watkin McLennan and Tom Lovick. With Watkin and Tom I was training a lot on jumps and rails, but the thing I learnt from them that sticks out is work ethic. When you want to learn a new trick you have to work hard. Starting on the trampolines then working to snow, slowly, and you have to be ready to crash and its going to hurt, but you have to push though the crashes and pain if you want to progress.
During this time, I was also starting to take my football to the next level and I had been selected for the Murray Bushrangers under 15’s squad and the following year the under 16’s squad, where I played in the V/Line cup in Melbourne for the 15’s, the AFL Victoria Under 16 Country Carnival and was even was selected to try out for the Vic Country under 16 state team.
I stayed with TBR till I was 15. In my last season with TBR I travelled with my brother to an SSA Children’s Ski cross event at Hotham, it was a huge turning point for me with a 3rd place finish and a new found love for Ski Cross and Alpine Racing alike.
The next year, at age 16, was my first year of Mt Buller Race Club and my first ever formal race training. I went into the season with the soul focus of getting my fundamental skills good enough that I would be able to compete in Ski Cross at an acceptable level. I was so far behind the 8 ball my coach, Chris Mcknight. Didn’t have time to take me off on my own and teach me these skills with the other athletes like Katie Parker and Jess Haslu needing his time in the gates, so it was very much a trial by fire for my first year of ski racing. Mentally, one of the hardest seasons I have done, the resilience that learnt from Chris pushing me so hard I carry with me to this day. Now, that resilience keeps me going when injury’s occur, niggles flare up or results aren’t going my way.
The following season (15/16) where filled with coaching changes, broken skis but solid progression with good results and some decent skiing at FIS level competitions, this string of good skiing got me selected for the 2016 Lillehammer Youth Olympic Games where I was representing Australia in Ski Cross. the Games was after a really tough time where I had broken my hand right before the selection race at Hotham where I finished 3rd even in a cast with my pole duct taped to me hand. After that I suffered a back injury within my first week in Europe just 8 weeks after getting out of the cast and really had trouble skiing for long periods of time. When I look back at Lillehammer the Games, results wise, were not a succuss for me. I went in wanting to win and maybe be happy with a podium, however the dice didn’t roll in my favour. The games were an eye opener into the Olympic life and just showed me how special these events can be, not just for the athletes but everyone involved to the Games.
The rest of the 2016 season was a lot better with the pressure of the games lifted but my back injury still plagued my season and limited on snow time. I finished off with some good spring results in Sweden including my first Europa cup top 32.
Northern winter 16/17 was whole different kettle of fish. I had decided to do a reduced season and focus a lot on my Alpine skiing and only compete in one Ski Cross event due to year 12 school commitment. I deemed the 16/17 season a success because I managed to make the improvements I needed in my technical skiing, which translated to the results at my one Ski Cross race weekend (21st & 9th) and filled me with confidence to come back to school and focus on my physical training and finishing year 12.
The Australian season of 2017 was a bit of a break out season, getting podiums in three of the four ANC races and winning the ANC overall title. Although the month before my flight to Europe was like being an umbrella in a hurricane. The stress of Exams and having to find a new coach at the same time became a bit much. I had called every coach that I knew and asked if they were willing to spend five months in Europe coaching with very little success, but AOWI head coach Shawn Fleming waved his magic wand and then Fritz Mayerhofer appeared. Fritz is one of the best coaches Ski Cross has ever seen, Fritz spent 6 years coaching the Russian World cup team, two years as assistant and four as head coach, and one year as the assistant head coach of the Austrian World Cup team. His knowledge of Skiing is amazing and his experience in World Cup is unparalleled and a great asset. Fritz helped me fix the small things that were loosing me the precious time in qualifying, and these little fixes took my skiing from good to great. With 15 top 30 results and two podiums this season in Europe. These coaching changes and technical improvements have prepared me for the challenges ahead in World cup.
I hope you will join me on this journey for the Olympic dream and World Cup glory.