Planning a ski trip this winter? Hone your technique with 2012 British Ski-X Champion Pam Thorburn’s tips to conquer those gnarly slopes
'If there’s a tough run on a slope that intimidates you, don't talk yourself out of it of it,’ says ski champ Pam. Instead, she suggests setting yourself targets. 'Set goals! Small ones each day. Be confident and take one step at a time. You will be amazed at the progress you can achieve.’
Yet Pam has also experienced the consequences of underestimating those goals. After countless injuries, she's had more metal implans than she can remember.
She admits, 'I’m a risk taker – there’s no doubt about it. I have been unlucky. Most of the time I am pushing my limits to try to get faster. There is a fine line and, unfortunately, one I have overstepped a few times.’
Pam believes that poor-vis moments or hidden ice patches shouldn't put you off-piste. ‘I take a step back and clear my mind. Otherwise fear can creep in and that puts you in an extremely dangerous position.’
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Pam calls upon this metal strength when standing at the top of a World Cup racecourse, watching as competitors take severe tumbles. ‘It can be extremely intimidating, especially when people starting before you have seriously hurt themselves and you just have to watch and wait your turn.’
'Don't let the men put you off,' she adds. ‘I have skied with a huge variety of groups and have found that more women pay closer attention to detail. They tend to be technically stronger than the men (although men would never believe that), so concentrate on yourself and believe!’
Pam suggests building stamina before a ski trip by bike riding, using rowing machines and going hiking. 'This will aid improvement in skiers of all levels. Practice makes perfect, so the longer you can last up there, the better you will get.’
In training, Pam works hard on her core but the obvious focal point of her workout is legs. ‘Do a lot of weightlifting like squats, lunges and also circuits to work legs to fatigue.’
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Ski kit can be ultra-pricey. Pam says if you're going to invest in one thing it has to be gloves. ‘Keeping my hands warm is a huge must for me. I am always stopping to take pictures so I wear touch-screen egloves so I can keep my hands toasty.’
If you suffer sore shins when wearing ski boots Pam suggests investing in good protection gear too. ‘My shins are particularly sensitive from landing jumps while competing, so shin shields take the pressure off the front of the leg and make it more comfortable to ski.’
Pam has been skiing since the age of three on family holidays and began racing full time at 16. Now 26, her favourite childhood location, Lake Louise, near Calgary in Canada is still Pam’s top-rated ski spot. ‘The people are so friendly and it's such a good family resort. It was a dream come true competing in the Alpine World Cup there, an unforgettable experience.’
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On the slopes, she burns high levels of calories training in freezing temperatures. ‘I take a shot of beet it (beetroot juice) before training. I mostly drink water but I mix it with protein for a shake after training. I always have a muesli bar to snack on in between runs.’ She loads up on carbs but sticks to gluten free – especially pasta, which she’ll eat with chicken to up her protein and keep fueled for longer.
Pam is now training towards the race season, which starts in Canada in December. ‘My 2012/13 goals are to lower my world rankings and qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.’
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She’ll be at the Ski and Snowboard Show with the Ladies Ski Clubat at Earls Court from 31 October, 2012. ‘Living away from home for most of the year, I tend to be stuck in my own little bubble so it's always good fun meeting up with skiers and boarders and seeing what is new in the industry.’
For more information on the show go to www.skiandsnowboard.co.uk or chat to Pam on Twitter @pamthorburn.
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