While many sports-mad children find their athletic obsessions from watching Match of the Day on Sunday mornings, Harpenden skier Olivia Herries took a very different path. 

The 14-year-old, who is preparing to compete at the English Alpine Skiing Championships in Bormio later this month, would always plump for Ski Sunday over the offerings of Gary Lineker and co, as her fascination for all-things alpine took root from a tender age. 

Now, as a member of Evolution Alpine Racing team – with whom she trains in Austria – Herries has gone from watching her idols on a screen to brushing shoulders with them in the flesh. 

“I don’t turn on the TV and watch football, I turn on Eurosport and watch skiing,” she said. 

“I’m a Mikaela Shiffrin fan; she’s pretty amazing, you can’t really not be. And obviously Dave Ryding as well. 

“The team that I ski with actually hosts him for a couple of months of the year, so he actually lives with us when I’m out in Austria sometimes, which is great because I get to see him train. 

“It’s a great inspiration just to see him walking around!”

The English Alpine Championships, where Olympian Ryding started his career before competing in the World Cup, is one of the biggest annual competitions in the skiing calendar.

Taking place in the Italian resort of Bormio, racers will compete across slalom, giant slalom and Super-G disciplines, with the Championships running from February 17-22.

Herries is a relative veteran of the competition, with a pair of appearances already under her belt, and has come to relish the opportunities that the championships provide. 

But after spending last year on the treatment table, a torn ACL causing her to miss out on the competition, the teenager is relishing a return to the Italian slopes. 

“It’s always great; the atmosphere’s really nice; Bormio town’s amazing – it’s such a nice place,” she added.

“I’ll be doing slalom, giant slalom and two Super-G races; I’ll have a busy few days.

“I like the race atmosphere. It’s great training – training’s amazing – but racing, you get to meet your friends; healthy competition’s good and I like seeing where I am in comparison to the rest of the field.

“Obviously I missed last season because of my injury, but I’ve made a pretty strong recovery and my physio says that I’m back to full health.

“I’m probably going to be expecting a top-three in the slalom, maybe a top five in GS and maybe another top five in the Super G.”

Snowsport England is the national governing body for skiing and snowboarding in England, aiming to inspire as many people as possible to try snow sports. Find out more about Snowsport England’s affiliated clubs, athletes, competitions, coaching and campaigns here: www.snowsportengland.org.uk