Smith slaloms his way to success

Ben Smith. wk 05.
Ben Smith. wk 05.

Ben Smith enjoyed success as he competed at the Welsh Championships in Champery, Switzerland, at the weekend.

The 15-year-old Bedford School pupil from Eversholt raced in the U16 section, which attracted skiers from as far away as Patagonia.

The meeting consisted of two Giant Slalom and two Slalom races that were held in near perfect snow conditions.

The first of the Giant Slalom races was spoiled when he ‘hip slid’ out of contention, but in the following races he went on to record two excellent fourth places.

He said: “I’m especially pleased with my slalom result because so far this season I’ve been strongest in the higher speed events like the Super-G.

“I’ve been working hard on my fitness, and the slalom course had 52 gates and was long and steep – I was able to get into a really good rhythm and keep pushing hard to the finish.

“I was under a quarter of a second off third spot - a couple of tiny errors makes all the difference between a medal and nothing at this level of competition. But my skiing is definitely moving in the right direction.”

The next event for Smith is the English Alpine Championships which are held from February 17-21 in Bormio, Italy, on the famous Stelvio world cup piste.

Smith started skiing aged three and discovered ski racing in the ‘mini’ category as a nine year old.

He now skis about 12 weeks per year with Ambition Race Academy who are based in Leogang in Austria, where ski training starts at 7.30am each day, followed by an afternoon in the classroom doing work that has been sent out by Bedford school.

His race season consists of three Home Nations championship events, with the British championship at the close of the season in Meribel, France, as well as several international invitational events.