Laurence Willows is a prime example of how to follow your dreams whilst also studying to prepare for the future. The 20 year old is on the British Ski Cross Team and is currently doing a degree in Economics, Finance and Banking at the University of Portsmouth. Willows has a clear drive in what ever he does but also a grounded attitude to both his sporting aspirations and career choices.
Wellsnowsports caught up with the London based skier to talk about his ski cross achievements so far and how he’s going to prepare for this coming season.
How did last season go?
“Last season was the best overall season I have had. My world ranking dropped to 152nd. I also started two Europa cups for the first time at the end of the season and managed to finish 31st and 32nd place. I was really happy with those performances.
“I was disappointed to make a mistake in the World Junior Champs but my results in the Nor-Am were really pleasing because that’s where I managed to drop some of my ranking points.That has really set me up for this season”
What has your highlight been so far in Skier cross?
“I would say one of the highlights was when I was in Canada and I got to train and race against their national team. There was a World Cup race on before that I got watch and then I was up against some of the same guys in the Nor-Am Cup, because they ski the same course. It was great to see the best guys in the sport up close.”
How far are you off the world’s best?
“If I was to look at things realistically, I would look at the top 10 and say I’m about six per cent off their time. At the moment, because I have not skied much this season I have no idea where I will be. I have just been focusing on power work in the gym.
“I have also changed skis from Stoeckli to Salomon this year and I have new boots, so all that will be new to me. When I head off to Italy in a month’s time it will be clear how far I will be off the top guys.”
How many races are you doing this season and what are your goals?
“I have got two FIS races in Italy at the end of November lined up. Then I am going off to train in Austria just before Christmas. Early January I am off to Sweden for more FIS races. Then later in January I will be back there for the Swedish National Champs and more FIS races.
“In February I am off to Kazakstan for the Winter Universiade where I hope to finish top 10 and break into the semi finals. Later on in March I will go to central Europe for the Europa Cups, then move across to the world junior champs in April and hopefully break top 20.”
What are your long term ambitions?
“Long term aim is to make it to the 2022 Olympics. Although I do not like to look too far ahead. I like just want to take each season as it comes. If I feel I can really reach that pinnacle of the sport then that is when I will be able to look two or three seasons ahead.”