How's married life?
Well so far so good. I've definitely been finding myself in slightly steeper situations that I'd anticipated.
What one thing would you change about the ski industry right now, if you could? What has been gained and what is lost in the increasing professionalisation of the sport?
Well I think more snow would help! It has been pretty bad the last two seasons, and when there is snow the snow pack has been really unstable making it very unsafe. Climate change? I can't really comment on the competition side as I am so out of that aspect now, but I feel very lucky that I got to compete with so little pressure, and we all just got to learn by playing around. Towards the end of my competitive skiing I got to ski with Team GB. Pat Sharples was my coach and I really enjoyed being part of that family, so although there is more pressure with the Olympics and everyone has to train much harder to succeed now, I think the fundamentals of the sport stay the same. People do it because they love it.
Is it important to make kit, events, magazines etc for women, or is it more of a statement to choose not to define yourself as a woman skier, just a skier?
A very good question, and something that we discussed at Faction a lot as half the staff were female. I think that well-designed gear can make a big difference to female skiers. For events and magazines, I think again that yes, women interact differently and learn differently and generally the "action sports" world is not set up for them to improve and grow. I think women don't feel confident unless they know what they are doing, so events catered to women, for example learning about being in the backcountry or riding in the park, would encourage a lot more women to enjoy the mountains. Not in a "yay, we're girls and we can do this" but in a "here are the skills/knowledge you need to safely go into this environment, have fun"; kind of way. For the higher-level competition, it's a tricky question. I think it is hard for the women to shine when the level of the boys is much higher, so it diminishes what the girls are doing. If the girls had their own competitions, with female specific sponsors like they have in tennis I think the girls would improve a lot and really hold their own. But I love to see the likes of Kelly Sildaru kicking ass, she holds her own on the big courses, making it look easy and stylish.
Can you nominate any other excellent skiing or snowboarding women of the noughties for me to pester with questions?
You should talk to Naomi Edmondson - she was hands-down the best freestyle skier from the UK, and would have dominated internationally but unfortunately had too many injuries, which is often the story with skiing. But she is now a graphic designer in London and totally happy with that, painting lots of cool motivational wall murals for something called Survival Techniques. Look out for an interview with her coming soon!
In case you missed them, click here to read part 1 of my interview and click here for part 2.