Francesca Lee has come a long way from beginner ski lessons at Kendal ski slope to selection for the England U21 Alpine squad. Lee, who currently trains with the British Ski Academy (BSA), has already had highs and lows throughout her racing career but has shown a massive determination to fulfil her true potential.
We caught up with Lee before the start of the 2017/18 Winter season:
How has your summer prep been going?
Summer prep has been going well, I spent three weeks in Cervinia with the British Ski Academy where I feel like I was able to make some really positive changes in my skiing. Last week I was in Stelvio with Podium Ski and it was awesome to start to see the changes coming into gates!
How was last season?
Up and down, I felt like I made improvements all the way through the season. It was definitely a learning curve for me, because I had never really been injured before. I was coming back from one injury at the start of the season and then I was out again after the English Champs with another one. However, I have learnt a lot and I feel like I am now a much stronger athlete.
BSA recently moved to a new home, how was it to train in a different area?
The new base is awesome! We have an epic Gym, ski rooms and the actual rooms are really spacious, ideal for when you are skiing! Being in Aosta is great, because we can simply get the bubble up to Pila to train and there are so many other resorts close by if we want to train on different hills. We also had snow all of last season, which was ideal! Fingers crossed for this season!
Do you have any aims for this season?
My aims for this season are sub 40 points in Slalom and GS, and sub 60 for super-G. Although, when I race the points are out of my control, so I will be happy if my training is going well and I can take it into the races too. So I would say my main aim is to get more consistent in training and racing.
How did you get into ski racing?
I learnt to ski at Kendal Ski Club, and worked up the levels to Junior Development, where we started racing. My first races were at the Rossendale Summer Race League and if I am honest I hated my first race, because I lost every dual slalom race. I fell over in a few of the races and generally didn't have a good time. However my parents had already signed me up for the second race, but I knew what to expect next time, so it went a lot better and I have loved it ever since!
Do you think dry slope is still a relevant part of British skiing?
Definitely, I love dry slope racing so much, it is so much more chilled out than racing on snow. It is more convenient, because you can easily do it all year around here in the UK. You never have the problem of getting freezing cold, and it is nice to be able to race in in a long sleeve T-shirt and trackies. You can also get a bacon roll between runs and take your boots off and socialise.
What World Cup skier do you most admire and why?
That is a tough one! Probably Dave Ryding, because he has come up through the sport by starting on dry slope and has worked his way up to where he is now.
Want top race results like Lee? There are many ski race products available on the Wellsnowsports store!