09 February 2017

British Ski Cross' Emily Sarsfield: One Year to Go to PyeongChang 2018 #1YTG

The 9th February 2017 officially marks one year to go until the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang 2018. We're celebrating this exciting milestone with a series of British Ski & Snowboard athlete interviews from across the disciplines, giving you an insight into their pre-Olympic aspirations and plans.

In this interview we speak to British Ski Cross racer Emily Sarsfield who vows to stay positive this season despite the challenges facing a professional Ski Cross athlete.

Emily Sarsfield

How is this season going? What have been the highs and lows? 

The season is going well. It was a little tougher to the start of season than my peers, as I have to work full time converting shipping containers into bars in the summer and didn’t manage to get as much pre season training in as I had hoped, but I am definitely starting to feel the positives in my skiing now. The speed is there in training but I am not quite converting it into the race run… its definitely coming and I am looking forward to it when it does!

It has been a lot of fun with some new tracks and locations, but its definitely been a busy season so far with the introduction of the Ski Cross ‘Cross Alps Tour’ 6 World Cups, 4 countries, 14 days! … think I have slept in 30 different hotels or beds in the past 10 weeks! Although it's tiring, it's exciting and keeps me on my toes. I just have to ensure I am recovering well, having the right nutrition and preparing correctly before the competitions.

It has been a tough one for Ski Cross this year with a lot of injuries and the sad news of Anna Holmlund, one of my peers, who is currently in a coma from an accident in a comp in Italy. The Ski Cross community is a very tight nit group, so an accident like this really has a huge impact of the sport and shows how dangerous it can be, we are all praying for Anna’s recovery.

What are your ambitions for the remainder of the season?

To keep that smile on my face! …And of course keep on improving! It's amazing, even after many years in the sport, it is always evolving, and I am always learning new techniques and tactics. There is always a challenge and I love tackling them and learning from them, becoming a stronger, fitter and faster athlete. With these progressions I aim to constantly be in the top 16 of World Cups, making the finals every race and getting to race head to head … this is where the real fun starts! 

Tell us about your funding and how people can help support you? 

I have some great sponsors and supporters like Head, 2Pure Active, Profeet, Peak Performance, RockTape, Panache and Sorel, so I know I will be wearing and skiing on the best equipment, which is crucial. This year I was lucky this year to receive a Solidarity funding from the International Olympic Committee, this helps me be able to get to the Olympic qualification events, however it doesn’t allow enough to ensure I have a coach. I am still the only athlete out of 80 on the World Cup Ski Cross circuit without a coach or any support staff … now that's tough! Although it's tough, it shows how determined I am, and makes me think a little differently to all the others, and, of course, adds more ‘hunger’ to it all! However, for me to really achieve my true potential and break into the World top 10, I need a coach and still looking for sponsors and supporters to assist with that, people can contact me via my website: www.emilysarsfield.com if they have any ideas. 

Have you started thinking about PyeongChang 2018 yet? 

After a huge disappointment around the Sochi games, my attitude shifted and I have tried not to make PyeongChang my main focus. My goals now are a lot more short term: training session by training session; day by day; race by race, and the focus is on becoming a stronger, faster athlete, better skier. With these steps I am sure the Olympics will go hand in hand! 

What will you most look forward to if you make it to PyeongChang 2018? 

Being able to represent my country on the ultimate sporting stage would be a dream. I think just taking in the atmosphere and sharing it with peers, family and friends would be amazing. But ultimately I will be there to put in my best possible performance, I skied the track in PyeongChang last season in the test event and it was great fun, getting to battle it out back on that track will be sweet! … and hopefully making some Brits super proud! ;-)

What other sport would you most look forward to watching if you make it to PyeongChang 2018? 

I love winter sports, they are all so diverse and extreme. It’s great to watch GB Park and Pipe … especially with our amazing GB Team at the moment who are one of the best teams out there! Also, watching Slalom skier Dave Riding do his thing - we used to train together on a few camps when I did Alpine skiing (in fact one time I think I coached him back in the day…I was obviously a very young coach, haha), so seeing him would be sweet!

Why should young people consider taking up your sport? 

It is the ultimate downhill sport - it is so much fun! You get a huge adrenaline rush every time you complete the course and racing head to head is awesome! Ski Cross means you have to be a versatile skier, having technical alpine ability, yet being able to ski all terrain, moguls, jumps, everything - it's always different. If you enjoy skiing the whole mountain and racing your mates, you would love ski cross!

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