UK freeski champion and Team GB member Becky Hammond has come a long way since she hit the dry slopes as a beginner at just 14. In the winter months she travels the world to compete whilst the summer sees her work on the Salomon Grom Freeski camps, coaching children. So what’s life like for a freeski champ? We caught up with the 25-year-old while she was training halfpipe in Colorado to find out.
So, another new year, what does 2012 hold in store for you?
At the minute I’m in Breckenridge, Colorado, training halfpipe. This season is going really well and for the first time ever Team GB have an official coach, Pat Sharples. I’m heading to Switzerland for March and April and for the summer hopefully I’ll be in Saas Fee.
What would you say was your top moment of 2011?
2011 was a good year, it’s hard to pinpoint one moment. Every day is a good day when you’re in the mountains. In terms of competitions coming second in the Verbier Ride with a superman front flip was a good moment.
Can you talk us through your training and competition diary for the next few months?
I have the Aspen Open coming up in February, The Brits in March and some FIS Halfpipe competitions.
As you say, The BRITS are just around the corner now, how’s your prep going?
I arrived in Breckenridge one week ago and have been doing loads of pipe training. I’ve also joined the local gym to keep my strength up. I’m looking forward for GB coach, Pat Sharples, coming out for one month of solid training.
And what are your more long-term future goals?
I’m aiming for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Freeski seems to be really picking up with regards to female involvement; do you think the gap is slowly closing between the girls and boys?
I think there’s still a big gap between girls and boys but the girls have really started to push things in the last few years.
What would you say is the main difference between the two sexes in Freeski? Is it a strength thing?
The girls really need to be strong doing this sport. It helps prevent injury and you have to be strong to stick your trick and ski away.
If so, how do you ensure you stay in peak shape and build your strength enough to stay at the top of your game?
Regular gym sessions is a must, you really notice the difference with your skiing when you get stronger.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got involved in Freeski – why this sport? When did you turn pro?
I used to ski at Sheffield Ski Village. Freestyle was big on the scene so I decided to start skiing through the park and trying things rather than just skiing down the main slope. I started to enter local competitions and followed The British Snow Tour (Aim Series back then) and got noticed by Animal and Head.
And when you’re not training or competing you’re coaching? Can you tell us more about that?
I’m a coach for Salomon Grom Camps. The camps run throughout the UK for total beginners at freestyle to Pros, all ages are welcome. We separate everyone into groups according to their ability and at the end of the session we have prizes for every group for Hardest Working, Best Trick and Most Improved. The website is www.salomongromcamps.co.uk.
What’s the Freeski scene like for girls? Is it easy to get involved?
We have loads of girls coming onto the scene now, all the girls make new freestyle girls welcome so don’t be intimidated girls, get involved.
What are your top tips for beginners?
- Always wear a helmet
- Learn park etiquette
- Don’t look down, always keep your vision up and spot your landing.
- Don’t ski back seat, flex your boots!
You’re sponsored by Cushe footwear – what would you say are your après ski style preferences from the brand?
I love the Fireside WP and Wildtrip WP boot (www.cushe.com). They go great with skinny jeans; feet stay warm and, most importantly, dry.
Holly Patel and Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine