Oakham skiing sensation Seamus O’Brien was left toasting a job well done at last week’s English Alpine Championships after flying to a Super G podium finish in Bormio.
The English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England, help provide an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.
And with 400 of the country’s best alpine skiers descending upon the Italian resort this week for the 20th running of the event, 13-year-old O’Brien had his work cut out for him on the fearsome Stelvio piste.
But the Oakham School pupil scooped a second-place finish in Tuesday’s under-14 Super G competition, seeing off Ambition Racing’s Toby Case into third but just being pipped by Evolution Racing teammate Jack Cunningham by half a second.
“I’ve done a few Super Gs before but it isn’t my strongest discipline so I was really happy with my result,” he said.
“My run was extremely scrappy and all over the places, but generally I am skiing pretty well.
“So I was really surprised when I crossed the line and saw my time; it was a lot quicker than it felt it would be.
“But I think I could have got closer to Jack, and maybe even have beaten him. It could have been possible and he isn’t necessarily completely out of my reach.”
The English Alpine Championships are an important step for any young skier, with British Olympians Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding both having competed at the competition.
Alcott, now retired from racing and coaching her own team, CDC Performance, is taking in the action all week from the sidelines, and she believes she has already seen several stars in the making.
She said: “Being here still brings back so many familiar feelings of wanting to race for me. Obviously I was English so these Champs were always such a big deal to me, and it’s great to come back in a different role. I think I’d still be racing if it wasn’t for my leg injury so I try to live vicariously through all of these kids now!
“The competition at this English Champs has been absolutely unreal so far. I’ve never seen such great skiing from British athletes of all ages, and I thank God I’m not racing in this age. The level is so high that these guys are all having to push themselves. It’s not just about finishing anymore and pushing the boundaries will reap the rewards.
“That’s what British skiing is about now and it is fantastic to see us trying to be the best.”
The English Alpine Championships, organised by Snowsport England, are run every year in the Italian resort of Bormio. Follow the action via www.englishalpinechamps.org.uk or @SnowsportEng on Twitter. Want to get into skiing or snowboarding? Find your nearest slope offering value-for-money GO SKI GO BOARD sessions at www.goskigoboard.org.uk.