Off The Slope with Alex Tilley


by Pete Davies October 10, 2016

Alex Tilley is the top ranked female British skier in slalom, giant slalom and super G. Last year she mixed it with best on the international alpine stage whilst competing on the World Cup tour.
 
Tilley talked to Wellsnowsports about how last season went for her and how she can progress in the future.
 
Tilley was first entered in a World Cup race in Maribor, Slovenia back in 2013 and before last season struggled to get in the top 30 to qualify for the second run. This season saw her step up a gear and at times she was competing with the very best on the World Cup circuit.  
 
Tilley explained that last season was a major learning process for her: “Last season was a bit of a rollercoaster, there were some hugely exciting moments mixed with some incredibly frustrating ones too.
 
“I didn't achieve all the goals that I set out to do, but it was still a big step forward for me and so I think it was a successful season in that respect. I feel I learnt a lot about how the World Cup tour works and feel better-equipped going into this season.”
 
Soelden was a moment of mixed emotions for Tilley. A fantastic first run in the giant slalom placed her in joint 24th position with the chance to record her first World Cup points on the second run. Unfortunately for the Brit she caught the inside of her boot on some loose snow towards the bottom of the course and skied out.
 
The British number one recalls how she felt during the World Cup opener: “Soelden was definitely tough, I didn't really know whether to be delighted to have made the second run for the first time, or to be devastated not to have finished it.
 
“There was definitely a mix of tears and smiles at the same time. It was a bizarre feeling! I made a deal with myself as I left Soelden that I would only leave with the positives, and take confidence from knowing that I can mix it with the best.”
 
Six races later on the World Cup tour and there was a great breakthrough for the Scottish skier. Tilley had managed to qualify for the giant slalom second run in Lienz. This time the 21 year old held her nerve and produced a solid and smooth run that bumped her up to 19th position on the second run.
 
Tilley can’t quite put her finger on why Lienz performance was so different but does know how she has learnt a lot from that day: “Lienz was definitely my highlight! It's actually really difficult to look back and say ‘that was what was different’, because truthfully I was skiing terribly the day before and lacking any confidence at all really.
 
“But I think I had hit a point where I told myself ‘who cares what happens, go for it, have fun and the results will take care of themselves’.
 
“I had spent a while getting too stressed about my skiing and trying to force changes, while things were getting worse. I learnt a lot about my skiing that day and what frame of mind I should be when I’m entering a race situation. Now it's just about putting it all into practice.”
 
The 23 year old from Torphin is now preparing for another World Cup season and the season opener for the women starts on October 22nd. Tilley reveals how her summer training is going: “Summer preparations have gone really well. Having sponsors like Pyhrn-Priel, Delancey and Uvex UK have allowed me to spend lot of days on snow and feel really good about where my skiing is at, in GS and slalom.
 
“After struggling with the form that I had last season, it was important for me to really strip it right back to square one and build up again, which we did.
 
“We spent time in Hintertux, Stelvio, Wittenburg, Saas Fee and Pitztal, so we have worked on a lot of different pistes and terrain. It's never easy getting ready for a hill like Soelden, there are very few like it in the world, but I feel great about it and can't wait to get back into the races!”
 
On Tilley’s backroom team is former Olympic and World Cup GB skier Noel Baxter, who has built up a strong working relationship with her as a coach over the years. Having Baxter’s previous experience on the World Cup has been very valuable to her preparations for big races.
 
Tilley describes Noel’s impact and hard work ethic: “Noel is a great coach to work with, he is incredibly passionate about his job and works immensely hard to make me better and whilst trying to improve British skiing as a whole.
 
“I knew Noel a bit when he was still a ski racer, I really think seeing him in that situation and looking up to him back then, gave me an immediate respect for him that was important for me at that stage in my career. I needed to step it up in a few ways, and he really helped me to do that.”
 
Tilley also has a new addition to her team: “This year we have a new assistant coach/serviceman that has joined us on the tour, Kenny Morton. He's done some great work and picked up the trade well over the summer so I'm excited to see what the season brings.”
 
Tilley has some exciting targets set for the coming season: “It's World Champs year so of course I have an eye on that, it would be great to make some points there. To do that I need to finish in the top 15 so that's my goal for GS and slalom there.
 
“As for the World Cup season, I want to make the World Cup finals in Aspen. To do that I need to finish in the top 25 in the seasons standings, so it won't be easy, but it's what I am working for this season and I definitely think it's a big possibility if I perform to my ability.”
 
Wellsnowpsorts wishes Alex Tilley the best of luck for this season and hopes she reaches her targets at the World Champs and World Cup!
 
Has all this ski racing talk got you excited for the winter season? Why not check out our latest ski kit at the Wellsnowsport store!


Pete Davies
Pete Davies

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