Meribel 2018

How To Cope With Taking On A 'Scary' Event At Your First Meribel

Amongst the forces athletes to get off to a flying start at the Inter-Services Snow Sports Championships was one new to the tournament...

Amongst the forces athletes to get off to a flying start at the Inter-Services Snow Sports Championships was one new to the tournament.

Taking part in Meribel's boardercross race was Flight Lieutenant Fi Stubbings, who only joined the RAF team a matter of months ago.

It is a fast and furious event, with riders' ability to stay in control put to the test - and crashes common.

Meribel 2018 boardercross event

The course is typically narrow, with turns, jumps, rollers, drops and both steep and flat sections.

Flt Lt Stubbings told Forces Network how she copes with the nerves:

"I'm feeling pretty nervous, butterflies are going. But you just have to try and relax and think about the job in hand and just get on with it really."

The forces athlete also spoke highly about the quality of coaching she has received, describing it as 'phenomenal'. 

RAF Snowboarding coach Lewis Sonvico said a number of qualities are needed to succeed in boardercross:

"You've got to be a good snowboarder. You've got to be agile - and you've got to have some 'cojones' about you. When you're riding down there with three other people, it's scary."

Fi is one of the few new military snowboarding women.

According to Squadron Leader Nicky Duncan – the first-ever women's team captain back in 2000 – it could be due to the natural rise and fall of the popularity of different sports.

Sqn Ldr Duncan, who remains the RAF team's snowboarding manager to this day, said:

"Some of the younger generation that are coming through are seeing the cool freestyle skiers - and it is cool - and they're getting into that rather than the [snowboard] racing."

Flt Lt Stubbings ultimately got off to a slower start than she'd hoped in her race, coming fourth out of four riders.

Meribel 2018 boardercross event

She was keen to point to the positives, however:

"One of my priorities was pretty much to stay upright throughout the run, which I succeeded on!

"There's a lot of room for improvement, so hopefully I can come back next year and do a little bit better."

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