Marie Reports On Winning Silver At ESF Ski Contest

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This year’s ESF Ski was held in Chamonix in France over the February half-term, and it was fantastic.

The ESF (English Speaking Ski-Schools in France) ski teams were made up of over 200 children aged between 8 and 18, all of whom were competing as parts of different teams depending on where they ski. I, for example, am part of the ESF ski team of Argentière.

As part of the contest, we all competed in different categories depending on gender and age, and I competed in the cadets.

The competition lasted for a day, with two rounds of events including giant slalom, slalom, Super-G and ski jumping. Each round lasted approximately 90 seconds, with this contest being part of a ‘Ski Tour’ which sees teams participate in up to 10 competitions per year, all around France.

It was a very stressful and exciting weekend for me. It was amazing to be heading back to my native town of Chamonix and I was very happy to see the snow and mountains again. 

The following day, I woke with the wildest smile on my face realising it was the first competition day of the season. I felt anxious, but heading out to meet my team and seeing familiar faces again, made everything feel very exciting.

We headed to the ‘recognition’ where our coaches talked us through the slalom, the positions to adopt, and when to change our attitude towards the slope from gentle to aggressive.

As I was one of the oldest, my turn came last. I had time to cheer the youngest members of my team but had to stay focussed, allowing myself time to prepare and go over everything in my head.

I then started to warm up, running up and down the snowy hill with my ski boots on!

My turn finally came and I put on my skis. I was ready. I went into the depart house, waiting for the countdown and to see the doors open and the slalom reveals itself to me. I could only hear the sound of my heartbeat and my breath. Then, I was off.

I love the feeling of freedom. You are on the slope, just you and no one else. You are competing against yourself, for yourself, and are racing with the mountain. I put into practice everything I had been taught.

I was very proud of my accomplishment after all the tiring days of training. I came second, returning to Bede’s with my silver medal feeling triumphant.