Naomi Edmondson was one of the best freestyle skiers of her generation, but how did she get to that point and what was it like competing at the highest level? Hannah Engelkamp finds out in the latest piece from our Women in Skiing series.

Back in the noughties, when British freeskiing began fizzing with excitement, Naomi Edmondson was on fire. She had a quiet intensity and purpose, and stormed through the park with real smouldering ambition. Sure enough, she racked up a whole load of impressive wins at competitions across the world, writes Hannah Engelkamp.

(HE) How did you get started as a skier? How did you get so good?

(NE) I went on my first skiing holiday with my family when I was about five, so I don't fully remember learning to ski. When I was 19 I went on what was going to be a gap year season, but loved it so much I ended up spending five years living abroad. For my first two seasons I worked in a building that housed a hotel and a pub, and lots of the staff rode the snowpark. I started doing a few jumps and entered my first freestyle competition, the British Ski & Snowboard Championships, during my second season.

So you used to compete as a freeskier. What were your biggest wins and favourite moments?

I think my first win at the British Championships might still be my favourite. I had no expectations of doing well, it was my first competition and I had no idea what it'd be like. I landed my first spin on a big kicker and I can still remember the intense excitement of progression and possibility. I went on to win the NZ Open, British Championships Big Air and Slopestyle the following year, placed 2nd in the European Open and 10th in the US Open.

Were you living the dream, travelling the world, skiing all over the place? Or was it hard, poor, rootless and competitive?

I think there was always a balance of both. It was undoubtedly my dream to be living in the mountains and skiing with my friends and it was so exciting that I was getting to do exactly that. I think the hardest part for me was how injuries could halt my whole reason for being there, and eventually change my attitude to the risks I was taking and the amount of fun that I got out of skiing.

Where were you based? What was the lifestyle like?

I travelled round a lot. The longest I spent anywhere was in Val d’Isere for my first two winters. After that I was in a different resort, and often a different country, each year. My other seasons were in Morzine, France; Wanaka, New Zealand; Verbier, Switzerland; Whistler, Canada and Mayrhofen, Austria. I moved a lot as I was always looking for new terrain, snowparks and nightlife to explore. Friends moved around too and it was exciting starting out in a new town and figuring out everything there. I felt like I wanted to see what it was like to actually live in these places, rather than just visit for a competition.

Where did the money come from?

My first three seasons I worked full-time in resort, in jobs where my accommodation, food, lift pass etc was part of the employment package. After that, the money from my sponsors paired with working and saving all summer would just about see me through a winter.

Any particular lows?

I had several season-ending injuries, but the disappointment of having to miss the New Zealand winter of 2005, due to a badly broken arm, was huge. I'd been out there the previous year and loved everything about the country and the community of skiers and snowboarders that headed down there for the snow.

What's best, big mountain or park?

I think the park was always my secret favourite. I felt that you were supposed to like big mountain more, it was more of an indication of being a better skier, but I always loved the feeling of skiing through a crisply groomed park and hitting the big kickers

We live in a not-very-snowy-or-mountainous country, so what is so good about the British ski scene?

Everyone that's part of the scene has made a very conscious decision to spend as much time as they can skiing, because there's just no way of casually dabbling in the sport. I think the atmosphere and vibes are so positive because everyone's always so excited to be there.

But what happened next? Click here to find out what happened later in Naomi's career and what she's up to now.