By Kirsty Crawford
'What an experience it was!'
My pathway through the ski industry isn’t the most conventional. I’ve been afforded opportunities through personal contacts to qualify as a Technical Delegate (like a referee or umpire) for ski racing. Most recently I was invited to become a candidate for my FIS international qualification. This meant getting experience at the ‘big ticket’ races. With 1,500 members of staff for the Courchevel Meribel 2023 FIS Alpine Ski World Champs, the federation had a lot on their plate. Despite attempts to come on board as part of the team I wasn’t able to secure a place. This is where I owe my thanks to the guys at BASS (British Alpine Ski School). I’ve been on their B.E.S.T. L3 & L4 BASI training programme for my ski instructor qualifications. They hooked me up with their contacts in resort and via the ESF office and the Head of the Meribel Stade, I finally had my way in to get experience!
2023 FIS Alpine Ski World Champs
What an experience it was! We had a day of training learning how to replace screw in slalom gates with a key, drilling the holes for the gates and replacing the race panels. Easy during training, but a whole other experience when there’s a downhill ski racer coming at you at 80MPH and you’re fixing gates between athletes! This was my job during the Alpine Combined race (a combination of Super G and Slalom) where we saw Fredrica Brignone take home the Gold Medal. The following day I was allocated to the slip crew. This involved moving any soft snow off the race track to ensure the safety of the racers. Which at high speeds can be make or break.
'All in all, an incredible experience'
I was lucky enough to get access to the timing hut on my final two days. The technology they had in place for World Champs was next level. Specifically I was in Video Control where they are able to watch out for gate faults. They have the ability to rewind the ski race and watch it back in slow motion to check for a straddle or anything that might cause upset! The best part however was getting to see the racers split times through each sector; getting to analyse line choice, changing snow conditions and spotting mistakes. There were a few thrills and spills but thankfully no injuries.
All in all, an incredible experience getting to work on the hill for one of the biggest events in the Alpine World Cup circuit. A massive thanks to BASS for helping to get me a spot on the team!