Fetcham teenager Abi Bruce is relishing the chance to return to one of her favourite hills as she gears up for the English Alpine Skiing Championships.

The skier has had a mixed bag of results so far this season, with competition and consistent form high on her agenda.

Previously, Bruce has competed at the European Youth Olympic Festival and been British U18 national champion, while becoming the English giant slalom and alpine combined U18 champion at a Championships she has attended since age 11.

However, the former St Johns School pupil doesn’t want to over-analyse her race or set herself any major targets.

“Bormio is one of my stronger races so I’m pretty confident there,” she said.

“I really like the hill and I really like the whole race in general, it’s really well run and I’ve always performed pretty well there.

“Especially at this race for me, it’s not really a technical thought process when I go into the start, it’s more just ‘don’t think, just race’.

“I don’t try and set myself targets, I just try and race each race as it is, trying to ski my best and whatever comes out of that does.

“Hopefully I can win or podium but if I think about it too much I’ll probably stress myself out, but I just try and go as hard as I can and race as best as I can.

“At the moment, I will be doing the first giant slalom race and then I will be doing the speed events.

“I don’t believe I will be doing the slalom because I will be at World Juniors at the same time, so I’ll have to be crossing back and forth.

“But I’m really happy I’ve got to the World Juniors and then from there we’ve got the British Champs after, that I’m aiming to ski well at.”

The Championships, where Olympian Dave Ryding started his career before competing in the World Cup, is one of the biggest annual competitions in the skiing calendar and begins on February 17.

Bruce finished school last year and has a renewed mindset after not taking part in summer training and having more free time available.

“I haven’t had the easiest season so far and I decided to skip out on the summer training to take a bit of a break,” she said. 

“It’s far less stressful having to think about exams or not doing exams or how well I’m going to do in exams. It’s much easier not having that and just stressing about one thing.

“In slalom I’ve been skiing well, a couple of mistakes each run cost me quite a lot of time, but I know it’s there.

“In training I’m skiing really well and everything, so I know it will come eventually, it’s just a bit of mixed results so far.

“I think my mindset has changed this year. I’ve been a lot more focussed, a lot more determined really and it’s definitely showing in my training, I’ve just got to be more patient with the racing.”

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