PUBLISHED: 10:09 12 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2013
Two local hopefuls for the Winter Olympics
Norfolks slope stars
With the Winter Olympics only two months away, Mark Nicholls looks at Norfolks winter sport stars and recommends six resorts for
a ski holiday.
Despite the lack of snow and mountains in Norfolk there is strong interest in alpine sport in the county. Many people regularly fly off to the Alps or the Rockies for a ski holiday, there is an excellent dry ski slope on the outskirts of Norwich at Trowse, and Norfolk is also nurturing some of the winter stars of the future.
Among them is TJ Baldwin who, at just 19, is already proving a highly-talented skier, while 24-year-old Kerry Morgan, who until recently was based at RAF Marham, is a member of the GB womens bobsleigh team.
Norfolk already has an Olympic ski pedigree. In 1968, Sheringhams Roger Bean finished a credible 16th in the biathlon a combination of cross country skiing and shooting at the Grenoble winter games.
Teenager TJ Baldwin is one of Britains rising ski stars. He holds four out of five British junior championship speed titles including Downhill and Super G, and is a member of the British Europa Cup team, the tier below the World Cup Team.
With a string of stunning performances in races over the past two seasons and now confirmed as the best British junior alpine ski racer the 19-year-old has eyes on top 10 finishes in the World Junior Championships in France in February.
At junior level he is currently world ranked 28th in Super G and 31st in Downhill.
Europa Cup racing could even open the door to a GB Olympic slot in Vancouver in February if he clinches a top 20 place within 3pc of the race winners time; though with a move up
to senior level from April, his longer
term focus is the 2014 winter Olympics in Russia.
TJ Thomas learned to ski at the Trowse dry slope when he was six when his father Andrew, a keen skier, took him along. Within four years young TJ was competing internationally.
The family home is in Tharston, near Long Stratton, where he lives with his father and mum, Angela. He has an older brother, Matt, aged 24, and 15-year-old sister, Alice.
A former pupil of Long Stratton High School, he is now away skiing nine months of the year, having launched the current season in September with races and training in Chile.
TJ says: I had a really good season last season, despite getting a knee injury which kept me out for six weeks, but I came back and got some good results.
For this season my main goal is to get two top 10 places in the World Junior Championship in Super G and Downhill and compete in the Europa Cup team.
It would be a bonus to qualify for the Olympics, but realistically, I am looking towards Russia in four years time.
Kerry Morgans dreams of heading to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010 received a setback when she had to undergo an appendix operation in September.
Already part of the womens GB bobsleigh team, she has now missed a crucial part of this season recovering, but is hoping to be back on track as the driver in one of the teams two-man bobsleighs next month.
And her Olympic dream is now also focussed on the 2014 winter games.
Kerry, 24, is a physical training instructor and Corporal in the RAF and until earlier this year was based at RAF Marham. Now she has moved to the Headley Court military hospital, training to be a rehabilitation physiotherapist.
Her first encounter with a bobsleigh came after a casual conversation in a military gym. I was working out on the weights when one of the instructors asked if I had ever thought of bobsleigh. I hadnt, but decided to give it a go, explains Kerry.
On my first run I was scared stiff and said never again when I got to the bottom. But I did give it another go and the second time it was more exciting.
She persevered and in autumn 2008, with less than a years experience in the sport, Kerry was selected for the Great Britain Bobsleigh Team for the British Championships in Italy.
She started as brakeman in the two-man bob but has moved on to driving.
Driving can be very hard. It is all concentration and visualisation, as the tracks seem designed to try to turn you upside down, says Kerry, who grew up
With support from the RAF, she will be back in training soon, racing down the icy 1.5 mile track at 80mph and working towards the 2014 Olympics.
For TJ Baldwin, the dry ski slope at Trowse is where it all began. And it is where many Norfolk skiers hone their skills and train before heading off to the ski resorts.
In addition, the Norfolk Ski Club holds competitions and races of its own, as
well as offering a range of lessons to
help beginners learn the basics before
a winter holiday or for intermediate skiers to improve further.
Norfolk Ski Club offers various taster sessions and lessons, from complete beginner to advanced, including moguls on both skis and snowboards on the 180m-long artificial slope. There are also supervised sessions with instructors present to assist skiers in progressing further, and advanced lessons available for those requiring further tuition.
The club hosts active racing teams and the Norfolk race team successfully defended its overall Eastern Region Summer League Championship status as the best club in the region this year.
For more information about the
Norfolk Ski Club and the Trowse dry
slope call 01603 662781 or visit www.norfolkski.com
If youre considering a skiing holiday this winter, there are several factors to consider: Do you want good terrain for beginners; a lively aprs-ski and party scene; family-resorts; spectacular and romantic scenery; altitude; challenging runs; or a spot of glamour?
Ischgl: For that lively combination of excellent skiing and aprs-ski action, Ischgl in Austria is a glitzy, glamorous party resort with great slopes and bars
Aspen: Fantastic hotels, a great atmosphere and one of the most stylish and classiest of American resorts, with great skiing too.
Lake Louise: Near Banff, this Canadian resort transports you back to a time of elegance and luxury, where skiing combines with sleigh rides, fabulous food and ice skating on the lake.
Portes Du Soleil region: Covering France and Switzerland, this offers the big resorts such as Avoriaz or Les Gets plus a number of smaller, quieter locations, and is ideal for a ski-drive break.
Andorra: Somewhere a little different, but a location that has much to offer. Along with the ski terrain of Vallnord and Grandvalira, the accommodation and restaurants are of high quality and several hotels have wonderful spas.
Hemsedal: Norways second biggest ski resort, this is uncrowded and family-friendly, with a range of easy to difficult slopes, off-piste opportunities and plenty of other Nordic activity from cross-country skiing to dog sledding through beautiful trails.