Thea Fenwick: The Skier Trained By Snowboarders
When your coaches are snowboarders your style is laidback, you ski without poles and quickly become the hottest young GB freestyle skierShe skis like a snowboarder and at 15 Thea Fenwick is the English Slopestyle and British Moguls Champion now training via a scholarship in Oregon. Co-Editor, Loulou Baylis catches up with the young GB Slopestyle phenomenon, Thea the Skier, to check out her skiing style and future in the 2022 Winter Olympics...
Q. You've been training with snowboarders in Austria and Italy for the last three winters. How has working with snowboard coaches helped your training and has this ultimately affected your style?
I love riding with snowboarders because they're laidback. I think it's made my style unique and, also, I always ski without poles. Being trained by snowboarders has made me more chilled out. I also get on well with them because you can be team mates without any sense of competition.
Q. Who are your icons/ whose riding style do you admire?
Daniel Hanka (below) from the Czech ski team – I love his style and floatiness and the way he tweaks his spins. He, also, does really creative transfers, nollies and grabs. I like it when someone's different. He'll nollie onto a rail from the side not even think about doing what everyone else does – just out of the box thinking.
Q. What do you wear and what do you ride on the mountain?
I love Snooks clothes because their girls' gear and not like everything else out there. I used to get really cold but now I have thermals I designed myself from Burnt Custard. I also love a Thug Rug. I don't like being a sheep – I like to change it up. Off the slopes I like wearing an old fashioned Yorkshire flat cap!
Q. What's your most impressive trick?
I started doing 9s last year so I'm working towards getting grabs on those now. I've always been comfortable doing switch and unnat spins so I'm quite proud of my switch unnat 3. I'm, also, working on double fronts and double backs on the trampoline.
Q. What's been your best moment in competitive skiing?
Mayrhofen Freeski Open, last winter – I was the only girl who didn't pull out. I loved skiing with the pros. Also the Qparks Tour was awesome, last winter. I managed 2nd overall against some World Cup skiers.
Q. Where's your favourite place to ride? And why?
Kaltenbach near Mayrhofen. The park is amazing because there's something to do whatever the weather. That valley is great because it's easy to get around to different parks resorts like Tux, Hof and Zillertal Arena.
Q. How did you get chosen for a scholarship to study at the prestigious Windells Academy in Portland, Oregan so you can ski all year round on the only private snowpark in North America?
I got a message on Instagram from Wynn Berns who is the Head Coach at Windells Academy. He had seen my posts and taken an interest in my skiing. They want to get more girls into freestyle skiing and to raise their profile in the UK so I'm going to help them with that.
Q. What's the dream? Have you got your eyes set on the 2022 Winter Olympics?
I'm very determined to compete at the 2022 Olympics and the X games. These have totally been my long term goals since I was little. But it's not all about competing I get a kick out of learning a new grab, getting out on a powder day or just riding with friends.
Q. One piece of skiing advice to look/ski better?
Loosen up and be confident. Put your tunes on and ride like you're a boss.
Q. What one bit of kit can you not live without (apart from your snowboard and bindings, of course)?
I couldn't live without comfortable feet so I love my boot fitter, Colin Barnes from Solutions4Feet! Decent goggles are also essential – I use Head Horizons. I love them because you can change the lenses and straps for a different look.