Louis Hatchwell Squad: British Telemark A Squad Y.O.B: 1993 Hometown: London, UK data.fis-ski.com @LouisHatchwell @louishatchwell Career Highlights: 9th - World Cup, Parallel Sprint, Hintertux, AUT, 2016 15th - Junior World Championships Classic, NOR, 2014 16th - Junior World Championships Sprint, NOR, 2014 17th - World Cup Parallel Sprint, Hintertux, AUT, 2014 I am incredibly lucky to have been popped on skis as soon as I could walk. My brother and I grew up skiing in Valloire, in the Vallée de la Maurienne, where we skied as a family until I was 14. My parents taught us to ski and being a French speaking family we grew up skiing with French locals and naturally pushing ourselves to keep up. In the hunt for change and more challenging skiing, we made the move to Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, a little resort just down the road from Tignes and Val D’Isère, in the Tarentaise Valley. Not too many London boys are lucky enough to ski at least three weeks a year for 20 years and for that I am hugely grateful to my parents. As a kid I dreamed of being a ski racer, but the closest I got to racing was a dry slope inter school competition and a pair of black, padded Hestra racing gloves (yes you know the ones) that I pretty much wore to bed. After leaving school, I worked as a ski-man in SkiSet in Sainte-Foy for a season. Towards the end of my season, inspired by a good friend, I decided to try my hand at telemark skiing. I’d be lying if I said I immediately fell in love with it… I absolutely hated it for the first couple of hours, which were spent on my face, but it didn’t take long before I started to fall for it. There was something very new about it; it was different, freer and much, much more exciting. It was strange after 20 years to find completely novel sensations that were quite quickly beginning to feel more natural than those that had grown so familiar. I did what the ‘internet generation’ do best and I ‘youtubed’ ‘Freeride Telemark Skiing competitions’. I found myself watching videos of telemarkers tearing through forests and down spines, and as my skiing history has always been focused on backcountry and offpiste, I figured that this was my calling. To cut a long story short, some emails were sent to GB Telemark, some emails were received from GB Telemark and I was invited to a GB race-training week. I also learned, much to my disappointment, that the team had no knowledge of, and nothing to do with the Freeride Telemark World Tour in places like Alaska, that I had envisioned myself taking part in, not that I was getting ahead of myself or anything…. I of course attended, with all the wrong kit, and tried my very hardest to not embarrass myself too much. As of two years ago, I had never raced before, I had never even been in gates before, but there I was, in my skins (I didn’t own a catsuit), on cable bindings, with 100 underfoot twin-tips. Needless to say, I looked like a proper tool, but I was having the time of my life. This chubby little boy’s dream of becoming a ski racer seemed to be coming true, just as I had started to forget about it. Following the training week, I was invited to attend the British Championships (January, 2014). I finished second overall as a junior and I was made a development team member, much to my surprise. I also made a fantastic friend in Jaz Taylor, who has shown me the ropes and taught me an awful lot about training and competing at the top. For those of you who have made it this far (thanks), I am referring to roughly two years ago, when I was in my second year at Nottingham University and not so artfully balancing studies and sport. Following the British Champs, I was allowed to race as a Wild Card at a few World Cups, and the Junior World Championships at the end of the 2013/14 season. I had some decent results and I was steadily improving but I had contracted a horrible and very expensive case of gate fever. To those of you unfamiliar with the condition, it is a psychological illness that manifests in an unhealthy obsession with anything ski racing related. It did however lead me to attend the 2014/15 British Championships in Rauris, where all the hard work seemed to pay off. I finished 3rd, I was awarded World Cup Team status, and I was made team captain, which was/is pretty exciting. Funnily enough however, all those weeks of skiing had taken a toll on my studies and I found myself with three essays, a dissertation and 4 full year exams to do in an impossibly short amount of time. A lot of begging and as many extensions later, I was awarded a 2:1 and my BA Geography Degree (September, 2015). I am now competing full time on the World Cup Circuit with the aim of getting to the very top of the sport. I train 7 days a week, work as much as possible to fund myself, and continuously push to find both team and individual sponsorship in order to make this a sustainable lifestyle. Being an athlete is not straightforward, but it is everything I ever dreamed of and some. The thought of a 9 till 5 office job terrifies me far more than any icy slope ever could and I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of those around me, especially my parents, that has allowed me to chase my dreams. Outside of the world of competition, my loves are family, friends, the outdoors, sport, health and fitness, and classic cars.