University of Stirling sports scholar Nicole Ritchie produced a brilliant performance at the International Welsh Alpine Ski Championships earlier this week.
Despite limited time on snow this season, Ritchie performed strongly as she placed third overall in the Welsh Championships Slalom at the event in Champery, Switzerland. This was closely behind Swiss natives, Sophia Lea Mettler and Svenja Pfiffner. Ritchie was also placed 11th in the Giant Slalom race as part of the Arnold Lunn CIT World Cup.
Combining her studies whilst continuing her sport has brought a fresh lease of life to the 23-year-old from Glasgow. Although she now has limited time on snow through the season, she is able to combine racing with her Sports Studies degree as part of the University’s high performance individual scholarship programme.
After finishing the races in Champery, Ritchie explained that she is in a much better place than she was last year.
She said: “Last year, I would always know that I had another day of training the following day. This year, I know that I have to make every run and every day count.”
Training and racing with some of the top British racers of her generation is also pushing Ritchie on to improve herself on the snow and in the gym.
With this outlook on her racing, Ritchie’s performances have picked up. “I am really happy with the way things are going – and to be scoring the same points as I was last year is a real benefit to me,” Ritchie continued.
While the Slalom result was more eye-catching, Ritchie’s performance in the Giant Slalom was maybe more encouraging. With time of the essence this season, she has not had a great deal of time to train on the GS skis and to finish 11th in a strong field was a positive response. With two more Giant Slalom races to come over the next two days in Villars, Ritchie is smiling and enjoying her programme again.