Katie Summerhayes, 18, from Sheffield is one of Team GB’s freestyle skiing stars who puts the style into Slopestyle. She has an impressive - and stylish - trick or two up her baggy sleeve, as she tells STYLE ALTITUDE.
After snapping her ACL and nine months off skiing, Katie Summerhayes has came back to win a silver in the World Cup in Silvaplana, take second in the Austrian Freeski Open and finish fourth in the X Games in Tignes. And, this January 2015, she slammed it, taking silver in the World Champs.
What is your best trick?
It’s a Switch 12 at the moment – I’m the first girl to ever land it in competition.
And for those park-virgins, who don’t know what a Switch 12 is?
You go up on a kicker backwards and you do three and a half spins in the air and land forwards.
Can you do anything the boys can’t do?
The girls are starting to catch up with the boys and do the same tricks as them. But they can still do a lot more tricks than us.
How did you get to be so good at skiing, living in Sheffield? Not exactly Chamonix.
We started as a family when I was six and my little sister was four. We skied outdoors at Sheffield ski village. It was two or three years before we went on a proper skiing holiday to Kimberley in Canada.
Last year you damaged your ACL and had nine months off after reconstructive surgery. Does this effect the way you ski and do tricks now?
Obviously I am aware that I have had surgery on that knee but I try not to think about it when I am skiing. When you start thinking about it too much that’s when it plays on your mind.
What do you wear when you are competing?
Basically, you can wear whatever you want – baggier styles, skinnier styles - but a massive part of Freestyle sport, whether skiing or snowboarding, is looking good. If you look and feel good then you ski better. I like to wear skinnier trousers (but not too skinny) and a baggy, longish coat.
Wouldn’t Lycra be more aerodynamic? Or tighter gear?
Sometimes if stuff is too tight it’s really restricting and feels uncomfortable. So normally bigger is better. Being baggy doesn’t affect your style.
What’s your favourite piece of kit that you couldn’t ski without (apart from skis)?
My helmet. Obviously it’s important for protecting your head. But I would never do tricks without my helmet. I wouldn’t even go skiing without it.
Do you have a motto/thoughts that keep you going when the going gets tough?
What I remember when I am skiing is that I am just having so much fun and loving every moment of it.