EDINBURGH skier Anna Vincenti insists she is confident her quest to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics will get off to a flying start after attending a GB training camp in America.
The 17-year-old spent six weeks away from home on the slopes of Colorado over Christmas and New Year in a bid to convince GB Freeski coach Pat Sharples she is ready for a place on the world freestyle circuit.
The George Watson’s College pupil has 12 months to nail down a spot on the GB team for Sochi, Russia, and after putting her skills to the test in the US, Vincenti is desperate to put what she has learned into practice.
“I have got a lot more confident,” said Vincenti, who benefits from being a member of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes programme.
“We don’t have the big jumps in the UK, so it is great going away to America, practising tricks you thought you had lost and learning new stuff.
“Training with the professionals as well is great, because they push you on and give great advice.
“Most of my competition will live in areas they can practise more and that gives them an edge, but going to Colorado has helped me close that gap.
“I have been trying new tricks and I hope to use them in competitions because not many girls are doing them right now.”
Vincenti, a member of Bearsden Ski Club, first ventured out on the snow as a three-year-old and took up ski racing three years ago, focusing on the half-pipe and slope-style disciplines of freestyle skiing.
But despite the pressures of balancing her training regime with her education, the talented teenager – who has also represented Scotland Under-15s and U17s and Hibs football teams as a goalkeeper – can’t wait to return to the US to soak up more knowledge.
“It was good to be home, but some of my team-mates are still out in Colorado and I just can’t wait to go away again,” she revealed.
“I have exams to take care of and I have been e-mailing my teachers with any questions or asking for any help I needed, but it has been difficult to balance with skiing.
“Going on the mountain and having six weeks skiing as well as concentrating on school work is hard, but it’s something I have to do.
“The plan after exams is to do some Europa Cup events and get some good results. If I do that I can qualify for the World Cup events and get the two top-12 finishes I need to qualify for the Winter Olympics.
“There is the Austrian Open at the end of February that I am targeting as well as ones on France and Switzerland. There is a lot of pressure on me because you are skiing knowing you need to get a result, but I do it because I enjoy it.”
n Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, has supported 170 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes. As part of Bank of Scotland’s commitment to helping future sports stars prosper, the programme will continue in 2013. Follow future stars at facebook.com/bankofscotlandlocalheroes