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60 Secs with Jade Etherington

In keeping with #supportourwinterolympians we are delighted that the awesome Jade Etherington had time to catch up with us for an exclusive a few days ago...

Jade is 21 years old, and a visually impaired member of the British Disabled Ski Team classified as a B2 (with less than four per cent vision in both eyes).

She recently competed in 20 races at international and European Cup level achieving 8 Gold, 9 Silvers and 3 Bronze medals.

Jade is qualified for World Cup Slalom, Super-g and Downhill and European Cup Giant Slalom. She is looking for a new guide to compete and race with her in the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.



Q1 – How is the search going for a new guide, and what attributes do you require from that person?

The search for a new guide is going well. I have had some very good responses, and I hope to trial a few candidates at an indoor ski slope. Obviously being an experienced skier is vital but the main attributes I am looking for are commitment, teamwork and flexibility off snow. I need someone with whom I can build a strong relationship so we can work as a team in travelling, training, racing, fundraising and talking to any media. Being a guide means you have lots of responsibility for my safety on snow, and need to be flexible in assisting me when travelling to training camps. It is a great opportunity for someone to be a potential medal winner and represent Team GB at Sochi 2014!

Q2 – How long have you skied for, and what made you decide to race?

I haven't skied for that long,  I started when I was about eight on a family holiday and since then have skied approximately 15 weeks of my life. This probably sounds like a lot but last season I raced 22 times and was on the snow for 24 days. So I am excited about finding a new guide and committing to full seasons of training and racing. However, unfortunately this does depend on any individual sponsors I can find to support me and my guide throughout the season to cover costs such as equipment, race fees and coaching. As a visually impaired athlete all costs are doubled (guide) and skiing is not the cheapest of sports, so I am hoping to raise £10,000 of sponsorship in order to complete a full season. I didn't expect to do so well in my first season racing part time, so going from competing in international meets to qualifying for FIS World Cup events in 22 different races was a great surprise. Since then everything has accelerated as well as the costs!


Q3 – How do you fundraise, and what support do you need to get you to Sochi 2014?

My funding comes from any individual sponsors I can find and this season I will be organising team (British Disabled Ski Team) fundraising events. For a guide and athlete pair £40,000 (£20,000 each) is needed to complete a full season of training, racing and equipment. For example I compete in 4 disciplines and each discipline (Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-g and Downhill) require a training and race pair of skis each. These cost approx £400 per pair, with 8 pairs of skis required for myself and 8 pairs for my guide. This is an example of how the costs rise so quickly without even taking into consideration accommodation, travel, additional equipment or coaching costs. Once you successfully compete at World Cup level you can receive funding from UK sport however, you need to train and race first to get there, so if you would like to help me please see or email me


Q4 – How did you have time to study for a degree and still manage to win World Cup races?

I am thrilled to have just graduated from my degree. To juggle both, time management and communication with the team and course tutor were vital.

Q5 – In addition to being chosen as an Olympic Torchbearer, you were subsequently involved with the London 2012 Paralympics. Tell us about your involvement.

I carried the Olympic Torch throughout Lincoln this summer and it was a real honour to experience the hype around London 2012. I was then nominated to take part in the Paralympic Inspiration Programme set up by ParalympicsGB. The aim of the programme is to have the best prepared team going into Sochi and Rio. For potential Paralympic athletes to experience the paralympic environment, through the programme I went to the holding camps, Olympic Park, Athletes village and spoke to some Paralympic medalists. I was involved in lots of workshops working with other sporting disciplines to ensure we gained as much knowledge about how to deal with the pressure, environment and what it takes to become a Paralympic athlete. I really enjoyed the experience and it has definitely had a positive effect on my preparation for Sochi.

Q6 – Where did you learn to ski, and what advice would you give other visually impaired people in getting involved with the sport?
I learned to ski with in France. For other visually impaired people I would suggest going to a resort with wide runs such as Puy St Vincent in France where snowbizz are set up. Contact Disabiliy Snowsports UK (DSUK) for lessons, information and then perhaps you could also become part of the British Disabled Ski Team!

Q7 – In the world of winter sports who has inspired you?
I have never really aspired to be anyone, just myself. There is a lack of British winter athletes that people can look up to and I hope to change that; but I am inspired by the Sledge Hockey team and how exciting their sport is, imagine wheelchair rugby on ice!


Q8 - What are your realistic goals for Sochi 2014?

My goals are to do my best and hopefully podium at Sochi 2014! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would be stupid not to take it and do everything I can to do my best!


Q9 – Who else in the British Disabled Ski Team should we be watching?

The next Paralympic games are at Sochi 2014 and BDST are really upping their game. Anna Turney, Tim Farr and Kelly Gallagher are all ones to look out for.


Q10 – You have already podiumed 20 times, but has a SnowVole ever got in your way of achieving a podium place?

Haha it could have but I would have not seen it... maybe it should be a new command word for my guide!


Jade thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us and good luck with your search for a guide!

VinceTheSnowVole · 1984 days ago
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60 Secs with Jade Etherington