The skier from Dorridge, Scott Johns tells us about making the switch from alpine to ski cross that saw him selected for Team GB and how he stayed in tip-top shape during lockdown
Scott Johns took up skiing at the age of just three at the Snow Dome in Tamworth and 13 years on was selected for Team GB at the Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland this year. Having switched from alpine skiing to ski cross only recently, it was a heck of an achievement and testament to his hard work last season to have bagged him a spot on the team.
Family skiing holidays as a child whet Scott’s appetite and when his older brother Owen, who is also a brilliant skier, got into racing Scott followed in his footsteps. Racing from six-years-old at indoor competitions initially in Milton Keynes and Castleford, Scott progressed to competing in the Alps. Although he knew he always wanted to be a sportsman, Scott says he didn’t initially look to skiing, but having won the English National Championships in the under-16 category believed it was possible. Supported by Solihull-based Prime Accountants Group throughout his skiing career, last year Scott was also crowned England alpine Super G champion.
Having stepped up to the adult category, the global competition is tough. Scott explains: “It’s a bit of a leap. In the under-16 category I was racing only British racers my age. In the adult category I’m competing against anyone in the world at any age. It’s really great to see where I am in comparison to the best in the world and how much I need to improve to be up there.”
Scott moved from alpine to ski cross after trying out the discipline at a camp followed by a couple of successful races. Ski Cross is action packed and very physical. Four skiers start at the same time and race over a one-kilometre course which tests their skills, including turns of different types and sizes and jumps of varying size. Scott particularly thrives in the conditions. He says: “You’re going at speeds of up to 30mph and you’re on the edge sometimes pushing to take a corner or jostling for position. It’s never violent – you’re just letting your competitors know you’re there. Occasionally there’s the odd bit of contact, but everyone races fairly.”
Training involves spending roughly 10 weeks in the Alps or Norway or Sweden and over the summer, three to four weeks at fitness camps. Juggling school with skiing can be tough. Scott is given schoolwork while he’s away plus he has to catch up in his own time once he’s back. There’s normally a lot of travelling but obviously at the moment that is out of the question and any training camps are off.
Scott is maintaining fitness by running and cycling a couple of times a week plus sprinting around cones, jumping over household objects and lifting weights. It’s not ideal, but he’s quite philosophical about it. He says: “I’m just making the best of a bad situation and trying to limit losses. Everyone in Britain is in the same boat.” The Norwegian national team on the other hand are training on their own mountain!
Scott’s ultimate ambition is to compete at the senior Olympics. He says: “Normally skiers peak in their late 20s, early 30s, so I’m about six to 10 years out. For now, I just want to improve every season.”