Wandsworth skier Angus Wills is hoping opting not to compete in the Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships to focus on his studies will pay off in the long run.
Wills, 17, is not competing due to the increasing pressures on his schoolwork but says his omission does not mean he is taking his focus away from his skiing.
Far from it – Wills’s dream is still to represent Team GB in the Winter Olympics, but the teenager wants to make sure he succeeds in his studies before focusing full-time on his racing.
“At the moment I’m still very young and in terms of full-time sports, it’s very difficult to keep the hours on skiing ticking over,” he said.
“I’m in my last year now and next season I can go full time and really compete at the highest level for the top spots, which I’ve still been doing but it’s been harder!
“Some of the other boys are out there full-time, but it’s the right thing for me to be still at school and I’m hoping it will pay off in the long run.
“It’s a matter of staying positive with my ability, and it’s a matter of staying competitive, with the reduced time I’ve had on the slopes – it is encouraging.”
However, despite having no doubt he has made the right choice, Wills said seeing the coverage of the upcoming championships will be tough.
The Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships take place in the world-class ski resort of Tignes, France from March 25 to April 7.
The Championships are set to be the biggest event of the year for the British Ski racing world, looking to build on British Ski and Snowboard’s best season to date on the path to Pyeongchang.
“It’s definitely hard, the days of the races where you do compete, you know you could have been up there and challenging for titles,” said Wills, who is studying economics, physics and maths at Dulwich College.
“It’s quite painful watching compete when you can’t but I’m happy to put more time into school now if in the future I can go as a full-time athlete.
“But it’s all about the bigger picture – I’m confident in my skiing and confident in my ability. I feel that with a full season I can really make my mark.”
Wills also spoke of his pride in representing Team GB in February’s European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey, and thinks the achievements of David Ryding – who won Britain’s first Alpine World Cup medal since 1981 earlier this season – is a sign of things to come for the future of British skiing.
“Turkey was incredible,” he said. “It was the first time I was skiing with Britain as a team and the support, facilities and the whole event was extraordinary.
“Going to an opening ceremony and wearing your country’s flag on your chest was really surreal and really nice.
“And it’s one step closer to achieving my dream of competing at the Olympics. Brits are not considered strong in winter sports, so to go there and to do as well as we did is really encouraging.
“We’ve got Dave Ryding who is eighth in the world in slalom, which is crazy when you think about it.
“The future is bright for British skiers.”
To follow the Delancey British Alpine Ski Team visit www.teambss.org.uk or follow @teambss on Twitter.
As Principal Sponsor of British Ski and Snowboard, specialist real estate investment and advisory company Delancey is proud to be able to support British athletes – visit www.delancey.com