Read all about it!!!

More Ambition news....

30 June 2012 AT 16:04:34

More news.... thanks to Jo Ryding for posting about the biking.... we are keen to run a few bike camps from the new base next year for the athletes (and some of the serious parents) so sure there will be alot of competition there.

Got a few things that are urgent!

  • Little Sarah Glasgow is now a Brown belt in Karate (with a white stripe). She also has a few older brothers, which probably means she is the hardest girl at Ambition.
  • Ella Ward absolutely killed it in her school exams and end of year report. Having combined an extensive program at Ambition this year with her school commitments, it is great to see the hard work by Ella along with our teachers; Rik, Simon and Justine has really paid off. Ella got the highest levels for effort & attainment in every subject (except for English and i blame Aaron's south london accent rubbing off on Ella for that).

Now off for a little drive through a few european countries.... here is Sarah in action (looks like a black belt here?!)

Top Tips from Top Athletes...

New blog feature....

28 June 2012 AT 11:58:11

Over the next few weeks, months and years we plan to make the blog more than just a place for chit chat and updates but somewhere that parents and athletes can look to for inforamtion and know-how on what is going on within the sport of ski racing.

In the last few weeks we have been doing some research and asking some of GB's top alpine athletes and staff for their 'Top Tips'. Its not all about getting the info from athletes, its about using physio's, S&C coaches, psychologists and learning bitsized info from them...

Here's a taster from someone who is fixed up and raring to go for the 2012/13 season; Team GB's Dougy Crawford!


1.  Top tip for ski tuning?

"Keep Brushing. For race day you need to brush until no more wax comes out. It seems counterproductive but can make a huge difference to how fast your skis run, especially on dry snow."


2. Top Tip for summer fitness. 

"Get a programme then stick to it. Its much easier to train if you know what your supposed to do that day, following a programme you trust means that you know you're doing the right thing and takes out any decisions or laziness. Put the hours in!"


3. Top Tip for boot fitting.

"Don't let bone spurs or bunions get out of hand. If they start to develop get your boots ground or blown out quickly! Don't wait until they get really bad or stop you from skiing because then its too late and becomes more difficult to fix...just ask Marc."

We have loads more of these stored away, asking for Tips in the same categories from other athletes - it will be interesting to have their perspective.


Dougy is right now looking for sponsors which is damn hard in the current financial climate. He's not looking for 1 big one, he is running a 'raffle' style competition to win the advertising space and become his head sponsor. To me it seems a great idea and we really hope that people reading this will know of someone that could be interested in having a punt and become involved with supporting Dougie through the 12/13 season and beyond.

Dougie is GB's No1 is Super-Combined, an event we hope to see him competing at the Olympics in Sochi 2014!

Check it out here -

Coaches and Fitness???

Surely not....... or do they?

27 June 2012 AT 09:01:33

So you may be wondering as the Ambition athletes get stuck into their summer fitness programmes and finishing off school … what is it that the coaches do??? 

I know what I used to think when I was an athlete............. Nahhhh 

Here’s the answer

Fitness training as an athlete is incredibly important over the summer months but as a coach it important to keep up the fitness levels not only so we can push the athletes in the gym but make sure were giving them 100% on the slopes too! So a long with all the planning and indoor/dryslope coaching going on were squeezing some fitness where we can!

For me it’s all about the cycling in the summer, with it taking the strain off the joints but still getting a great cardio work out. One thing I struggled with as an athlete was cardio training alone, spending numerous long hours on the bike, it can be tough and easy to op out of half way through but there are ways of combating this!!

I have Garmin GPS system for my bike which allows me to get out training without worrying about getting lost wondering where to go or what pace etc.. I can plan rides depending on how far I want to go, pick out minor roads to stay away from traffic. The device also features a virtual training partner who you can set at a certain pace and will push you to go faster if you fall behind!

Recently I came across a great website called Strava which allows you to upload you training activity whether it be cycling, running, rowing etc from either a GPS device or a Mobile phone and lets you track and analyze your performance and compare with friends and other athletes in your area. There’s tonnes of great features to help you keep track and make sure your improving, along with sprint segments where you can win king of the mountains be awarded kudos from other riders or runners and the best thing.………. its all FREE!!!!


So if your struggling to get yourself motivated or find it hard to push yourself to the next level this summer check it out!!! 


Weekly round-up

Jam packed week...

25 June 2012 AT 22:30:07

It's up and down with this blog im afraid, last week i had a fair few meetings on with a variety of athletes and new coaches... there is lots of exciting stuff happening that i'll try and get out on here over the next days & weeks. Sadly, that has meant less talking/blogging in the past few days.

Last week we had Aza get his boots sorted at Bartletts, i'd not previously seen Fischers Vacuum fit in action so it was good to head over there and make sure everything was set up perfectly for the little man (who seems to be growing finally)!


Next up it was onto see 'Mousey' Emily Evans to work out how her coaching Calendar. As one of Ambitions most successful athletes, we are looking to aid and launch Emily's coaching career by helping her gain experience with placement opportunities and working out a strategy for her to gain the experience and qualifications in all areas of development over the next 12 months. It's not just about snow time and coaching courses but driving safely and with the knowledge of what to do in different stuations on winter roads, as well as learning about child development in the crucial years from U-10's to U-16 ages. Emily will be posting about her progress on the Ambition blog in future months.

Saturday saw a host of Ambition skiers take to the slopes of Milton Keynes where titles were fiercely contested! Anna Henderson and Yaz Cooper continued their summer battle (friendly of course), seperated by just 0.01 of a second on their fastest run in favour of Yaz. Little Sarah Glasgow showed what she's capable of in the stubbies, posting a great time to edge stay ahead of Sarah Woodward (also a great skier) in the U-12's category. Again having sat and watched the race, skiing the stubbies is promoting better technical skiing from the little guys, that is crystal clear. Ambition new-comer Alex Lillywhite was also on good form, taking 2nd place in the U-14's category ahead of some very strong skiers! It was fun at the top in the boys race with myself, Peter, Kieran & Barney all starting in close proximity, and finishing close enough too, with 4 Ambition skiers in the top 7.

Lastly, but hugely importantly, we need to welcome Rachelle Rogers onto the Ambition Junior program, Rachelle is Britain's No.1 U-18 technical athlete and we are pleased to have her with the team this season while she continues her studying. Rachelle will start start with the team in Stelvio before moving onto South America with myself and Jo Ryding for the La Parva trip.

What's next for the blog? - Top tips from Dougie Crawford and a chance to become his head sponsor for the 12/13 season, we'll reveal more in the next few days.

BASI at Ambition

Level 1 coaching courses.

19 June 2012 AT 10:02:47

Some great news on this lovely Tuesday morning!

One of the things we try to do at Ambition is consider every aspect that could help to improve our athletes ability to ski, race and ultimately learn. Part of that process is for the athletes to understand what it is like to be on the other side of the fence - as a coach, teacher, leader or instructor. Some already have experience of this but for many it is completely foreign at junior age.

One of the developments for this season has been that we are now in a position to run the BASI Level 1 Coach courses from our base at Ambition, open to all BASI members over the age of 16. From our perspective this will increase the athletes' ability to analyse and make sense of what is going on. It will give them an idea as to the 'whys' behind what we as coaches do and it will also stop the classic 'i wish i knew that when i was racing' scenario which happens to all of us once we have stopped skiing and actually learnt a little more about what is going on in this sport!!

So, after the British Champs this year, or Scottish or 'Courchevel Ecosse', we will be heading back to base and running the Level 1 coaching course alongside an open training / free skiing week for the Children and ski testing the 2014 regulation skis with the juniors. (Provisional course dates 8th-10th April 2013).

Lots to fit in & lots of planning - seems mad talking about it all in June, but once we head for Stevlio in July, we will be full on with the junior FT team until the middle of next April!!!!

Weekend Warriors.....

Ambition Skiers competing over the weekend....

18 June 2012 AT 16:04:03

Busy weekend by all accounts!

We had new Ambition athlete Paul Henderson along with Peter & Sarah Glasgow competing up in Glasgow while Marc & the Ward sisters were busy living it up on the plastic.

Its been a mixed weekend really - Olivia skiing fast on Saturday at Norwich to place 2nd CH1, before Ella snuck back in front of her on Sunday's more open course at Ipswich to place 3rd. Marc was 2nd on the Saturday at Norwich to a rapid Mike Molloy! Will have to get back on the plastic training to get ahead of him.....

Sarah Glasgow meanwhile was busy collecting most of the medals from the prize-giving table by the looks of it - 2nd both days and 2nd team in the dual!!! Brilliant job by Sarah who looked to be skiing great when we saw her at MK on Tuesday. It all bodes well for her home race this weekend at the MK ERSA. Pete was just off of the podium in 4th - using his new Fischer equipment in preparation for an assault on this weekend too.

Just a quick one today as off to run a session at Hemel!

Ciao for now.

Is niiiiiiiiiiiiice.....?

A few words from some of GB's legendary skiers....

15 June 2012 AT 10:30:45

We had a few GB and ex-GB athletes stay with us in June during our testing and renovation project. Here's what they thought about Ambition's new base, Haus-Tirol.


Chemmy Alcott, Current GB Team Skier, Ranked 8th in World Cup SC standings;

''Starting my comeback after a 17-month injury induced break was always going to be daunting. I wanted to make sure i was in the perfect environment with motivating, uplifting people. My boyfriend, Dougie Crawford himself coming back from injury accompanied me on the hill on the return to ski exercises. We decided to call our friend and Dougie's ex teammate Marc Telling who runs a world class training centre and environment near to the glacier. Haus-Tirol catered for our every need - we cooked up nutritious, healthy food and worked out on either the surrounding bike-only tarmaced roads or in Marc's specifically designed gyms. Then for fun we played many hours of table tennis competitions. It was the perfect place to start my skiing career and pathway to Sochi 2014. Thanks Ambition. Thanks Marc. x''



Dougie Crawford, Current GB Team Skier, multiple British Champion;

"I visited Haus Tirol a few times and think its an amazing facility, it has everything a training centre needs, from comfortable rooms and living areas to an awesome gym and fitness suite. The ski room is incredible and there is a really nice atmosphere to the place, I can't wait to see it buzzing with excited young racers! Make the most of it!"



Finlay Mickel, Ex- GB Team Skier, 11th at Bormio World Champs 2005;

Haus Tirol reminds me of all the best things about the BOA (British Olympic Association) Training Centre in Lofer. It has a home away from home feel and has all the essential attributes of a great training centre. The huge ski room is spot on with electricity points everywhere and its warm, the Gym has all you need to train but needs to be shared at if the house is full due to size. It is in a great area for Skiing & Mountain Biking and I look forward to returning soon. 







The root of it all....

Like the olden days.....

14 June 2012 AT 12:21:43

We have been taking Ambition on a little UK tour this week..... Really enjoying coaching and competing on a more regular basis during this month!

It started off when i came back from Austira Friday night... we headed to Brentwood on Saturday to set up the Ambition tent, promoting the summer camps and running our 'Guess the Fastest Time' competition.

Following that, we went onto Hemel for the ERSA race, just for fun really and to represent Hemel (and Ambition) at the ERSA. 

Next came the normal Monday training again at Hemel....

Tuesday saw us skiing up at Milton Keynes, testing skis with one of the Ambition athletes alongside the SMK training session....

Wednesday - last night - filling in for Stuart Riches at Norwich, we ran the national session with a great group of athletes from the Norwich club. Hopefully we'll be up helping Stuart out on a more regular basis at Norwich.

Thursday - DAY OFF

Friday - Back to Norwich for some sneaky practice (i'll need it).

Saturday - First race back on plastic for a while!! Seen Ella & Olivia Ward from Ambition on the start list too.

Sunday - Ambition Tent up at Ipswich running the 'Guess the fastest time' competition. Come see us at the tent to get your entry in. (It's free).

Lots of good stuff going on, sure we will see lots of you about!

Short Swings & Tic-Tacs before the Suicide course at Norfolk last night....

The Molloy brother battling it out in the Dual..

Blame the dog...

Bear with us....

13 June 2012 AT 17:20:50

Just a quick post as nothing exciting has really happened except for us accidently hi-jacking the MK training last night while testing skis with Freya. Hadn't realised it was all happening on the same night!

If anyone has booked places online for the Suffolk, Hemel or Pendle Atomic-Ambition camps and paid by BACS (and therefore waiting for a confirmation), then please bear with me as this morning i woke up to this.

Looks cute, but sadly, my wallet and contents were shredded by my girlfriends dog. He took a liking to my business card in particular which now means no online banking for a few days while i await a new card - therefore reducing my ability to check and confirm payments.

Sorry for the inconvenience!!!!!

Blowing smoke.....

My god i'm tired....

10 June 2012 AT 19:08:41

To cut a long story short, Emily Evans used my GoPro at Brentwood yesterday (and im in no way balming her for this), which i forgot to recharge..... well actually i did recharge it, then like the walking dead turned it on at 6am to check it had charged and left it on in the van all morning. To my surprise it was dead by the time i came to use it at the ERSA race today. The reason i mention this...? I didnt take any photo's today as i was planning on a video, but as the plan went wrong, im back to the 1000 words instead. Damn.

Anyway, the race went well - anyone who talks about lack of participation need only go to an ERSA.... i dont think there is a lack of interest in ski racing! Was the norm - blue, red, blue, red & the rest, results are online to see in any case.... So what's my angle for the blog? Something other than Ambition today.

John Reidy. I have little respect for a large number of coaches. Sad but true. However Jon Reidy taught me most of what i know (many will say that's not much) but that guy is a legend and stands for alot of what i believe in as a coach -  sharp tongued, quick to the point, completely abusive in his feedback but always doing so with a laugh. Does he seem a little insane? Yes. But that's what i like - i still listen to him and talk about my runs now the same as i did when i was a cheeky little 16 year old at Wycombe. Not much has changed really!

ERSA Race Structure. 28 years old and that's the first one i've been to. It wont be the last. 200 people racing each doing 4 runs and all finished before 12.30. But that wasn't the most impressive thing - it was the thought behind the race; there were stubby courses, full gates & the GS. Really showed what can be done in the UK even on our artificial 'mountains'. And with the competition structure set to change in some way shape or form, ERSA are trying a few things out and seeing what happens - i thought the race today was awesome and creative.

The debate is stubbies or gates for U-12's and U-10's? What age do we bring full gates in? How will it affect the kids? What about the hardcore minis who love the gates? We could start a long facebook thread with hundreds of coaches and parents all giving their views on it. Ultimately there will be different views on it but today, i saw a lot of decent skiing in the stubbies & GS from the nippers (it's my job to watch and analyse skiing on a daily basis so i have a little experience in this) and I saw a lot of average skiing in the full gates from the same athletes. Is this because they havent practiced enough? Hell no - they are practicing like crazy every week!! It is just that they are kids and for every 1 guy thats 10 years old and loves to smash the hell out of the gates, there's another 9 guys who are scared and confused of the whole thing with their brain capacity already consumed with trying to ski technically well & remember the course, without thinking about what is actually quite a complex skill. Changing the competition strucutre is a long term view & whatever your opinion i think everyone will agree that regardless of age, it is without doubt a good idea to get certain skills and movements autonomous before moving onto more complex ones.

Anyway, that must be close to a thousand words.... i leave it now with 2 comments.

1 - It was great to compete again. I love coaching but it sure was fun to race again.

2 - The title of the blog is 'blowing smoke.....' so before you vomit at the back-slapping, think about whether you should have read it in the first place!!

Around the world....

Austria, England, LSERSA, ERSA..... then rest.

09 June 2012 AT 23:39:29

Yesterday i said goodbye to a scortching Austria, ridiculously hot summer days over the past few days, not that there has been much time to enjoy it. I did get some snaps of the summer facilities before the thunder storm set in as i jumped in the taxi on Friday night.


Then it was straight back into Ambition mode today. In our 2nd year of LSERSA sponsorship, Ambition have been supporting the various LSERSA events. Today we headed down to Brentwood where just shy of 100 racers were taking part. Along with prizes for the overall series winners, Atomic have provided us with enough prizes to promote the Atomic-Ambition camps at the various events. 

Today's 'Guess the Fastest Time' competition went well, with Rosey Convey winning an Atomic Slalom helmet with the exact fastest time guess! 2nd place for a free training day on an Ambition Camp was Nickie Turner and 3rd place went to Karl Moore. No-one went away empty handed though with a whole stash of Atomic & Ambition stickers getting handed out!!

We'll be back to run some more competitions and give away more awesome prizes at the next LSERSA event at Bromley on the 23rd June!

The golden oldies......

Atomic clothing for 3rd placed 'Karl'....

2nd place gillet & training bursary.....

Sarah Wilkey collecting ms Convey's brand new helmet, courtesy of Atomic!!

Special thanks to Emily Evans for running us through the dual slalom with the Ambition GoPro, we'll get another video up asap.

Skiers Trust.

That's at least 1 sponsor for each & every athlete

07 June 2012 AT 21:00:56

Big Malc once said to me, 'Discount? Good luck! They dont even use the skiers Trust.' or words to that effect anyway. I wasn't so in tune with how it all worked back then, but i do know more and more people are using it now. And Malc was right anyway, as skiing's last shining light when it comes to funding, it is something every parent should be looking into. 

How does it work? The link here will tell you everything you need to know but in a nutshell, you make your money and any income from sponsors, go further!

Why am i writing about this, well because we are in a time where every £ counts and also because one of our skiers, Anna Henderson, has been lucky enough to receive a grant from the skiers trust. Her mum has also mentioned to me that Anna has pipped me on BARTS points so there will be a showdown at Hemel this weekend.


Check this out....

07 June 2012 AT 08:33:47

We live and learn. Ambition is so much more than a ski academy; its an education, an experience, a way of life. It is also damn tiring, so when it comes to writing this blog, sometimes i lose my train of thought. As a picture paints 1000 words, i have realised that by taking more shots (glad i had spell check on there), that i can write less.

Today was pretty interesting as Chemmy and Dougie came round to use our state of the art gym again and along came Santa Claus lookalike to do some paper-mache. To be honest i was a little sceptical but having seen some of the other casts he has made for a few other skiers, i recon he maybe onto something. The casts are made & then put into a vaccum with the inner, where the inner is moulded around the exact shape of the cast, they use the footbed outside of the inner once the inner has been effectively wrapped around the foot and lower leg shape. Interesting stuff!

For those guys with breaks, screws, plates and more, all is not lost, for this guy will sort you right out - Shiffren seems to do pretty well and thats good enough for me!

Special foot massage......

Not so much ankle movement there.......

Im sure Chemmy will have a more in depth analysis on her facebook page 'Team Chemmy', for me it just was incredibly interesting and a very novel technique.


Luke Riddell joining the ranks....

05 June 2012 AT 22:22:34

And everyone thought Mancuso was their biggest summer signing...... 

Went up to test out the boots today, along with Imi and the GB girls testing Atomic, and Chemmy checking out her new Redster boot. The skies are clear tonight so we're looking forward to a solid day tomorrow! So much snow up there right now, still skiing down to the Big Apple AlpineCentre.

New Visitors @ Haus-Tirol

Chemmy Alcott & Dougie Crawford take a visit to Ha

04 June 2012 AT 09:15:42

I thought it may be a lonely week out here, rip out some rooms, make some adjustments, get some boots fitted. But already there has been so much going on and although Ambition has been based here for 6 months already, i have been using a bit of time to do a little reccy on next years summer plans.

'Team Chemmy' is back in action and anyone who has her facebook page will have seen the videos from Kitzsteinhorn which has a load of snow right now. Dougie Crawford also back from injury is also out here getting on the bike, on the skis, in the gym and kicking my arse at both crazy golf & table tennis. Both Chemmy and Dougie are now official guests of Haus-Tirol and we hope to see them using the gym again during the winter. Finlay Mickel is also now residing with us as he oversees the Atomic test going on this week up on Kitz.

There is alot more to offer in the summer here than meets the eye - with the snow getting softer as the summer goes on, its highly liklely we will running our main summer camp up on Kitzsteinhorn in May/June half term next year. Me and Riddell will check it out on Tuesday!! 



Education, education, education...

And... they're off!

03 June 2012 AT 14:27:57




I am pleased to say that the cogs of the Ambition academic machine have already started whirring and turning, with a welcome jump-start from Ben Smith and his family.  A meeting was arranged with Bedford school to discuss the logistics of next season, concerning the prospects of training in Austria during his all-important GCSE year.


I made the journey from sunny Southend to an equally bright and beautiful Bedford and was warmly welcomed by the Smith’s (not the band) and Bedford School.  The meeting went very smoothly, affording us the fantastic opportunity to not only meet face-to-face and go over the timetable for the season, but to explain a little about Ambition and the way we work whilst hearing (and hopefully allaying) any of the school’s concerns.


The outcomes of this meeting have helped forge a clear, positive path forwards, which shall, no doubt, benefit all involved.


Onwards and upwards.


"Understandably, worries about 'education' are at the front of many parents' minds, myself included. Rikki, Ben & I arranged to see the Academic Vice-Master, and two of Ben's tutors at Bedford School. This was a valuable opportunity for Rikki to explain to the school and us, how the Ambition academic support will work in Ben's GCSE year. All credit to the Masters involved, they had done their homework and had the evidence that the academic support given to Ben last season had really worked well. On that basis we have the school's support and blessing to a full programme for Ben next year - many thanks to Rik and his team.  Steven Smith"