Interschools Alpine Race 2017 Pila – Race Report

Adam (year 6) and Laura Harrison-Smith (year 4) and Daniel Hutchings (year 7) raced at the Artemis Interschools Race in Pila this week, representing the school.  As a member of the English Schools Ski Association (EESKiA) Junior Squad, Dan had already had a packed week of training in Pila,  so was excited to be putting what he’d learnt into practice,  (but a also little tired)!   Fabrizio Ghislanzoni, their coach from their ski club,  SASA,  joined us as team coach so the group were able to apply some of the drills that they had learnt on the dry slope to the alpine environment.

There were two days of racing – on the first day,  Giant Slalom,  with Adam and Dan racing in the U12 boys race.   The field was enormous,  with about 200 children competing from Switzerland,  France and Italy as well as the UK and standards were very high.    Laura came 12th in the U10 girls,  Adam 28th and Dan 63rd in U12 boys, so all three came at least middle of the field or higher.

On the second day,  it was the slalom racing.  Laura skied a blinding first run,  showing the importance of planning her race with her coach and skiing that plan and beating very good skiers who didn’t have the benefit of Fabrizio’s expertise!  That performance got her third place on the podium.

By the time the boys came to race,  there had already been about 150 runs through the soft course and by the time 80+ U12 boys had charged down it,  it resembled more of a skier cross course than a slalom one.  For both boys,  getting down in one piece was dominating their thoughts, so we were very proud to see Adam get 24thand Dan 46th.

We all had a great time in Pila – it was a fantastic opportunity for the skiers to race against some very accomplished skiers and to experience racing in spring snow.  The children were very proud to be representing St Mary’s and we think that they were great ambassadors for the school.

If any skiers would like to know more about racing for St Mary’s,  most of which is on dry slopes,  please contact Tony Smith ( or ask the ski team (Adam, Laura and Dan,  plus Hannah and Nicole Groves,  Carla Lopez, Runica Kermani, Alannah Webb).  If you can ski in a controlled manner down a gentle (blue) slope,  there are opportunities to ski as part of the school team. Being a member of the school ski team opens up amazing training opportunities such as the training that Dan has just attended.  If you have never skied but would like to learn,  we can put you in touch with SASA,  who run beginners lessons.  Some of our current ski team have come through this route.

There is a schools ski race at the Southampton Alpine Centre dry slope on Sunday 14 May 2017 – more details will be out soon.