With a gold medal in Giant Slalom, where she was nearly three seconds ahead of the rest of the field, fourteen year old Honor Clissold from Richmond, North Yorkshire, defended her British Children’s Overall Ski Champion title in the face of tough opposition in Meribel last week.
The three part competition was a challenging week for Honor, who is a member of the British Children’s Ski Team and trains with Team Evolution in St Johann, Austria. In her strongest discipline, the SuperG, she missed the gold medal by 0.2 of a second in what was supposed to be the training race. The Championship race, where she had planned a more attacking approach, was cancelled because of poor snow cover. Slalom is Honor’s weakest discipline, however she skied really well and in to third place in the tight technical course of the first run. The second, more open, course was less suited to her abilities so she finished the race in a disappointing sixth position.
On the final day of the championship, the Giant Slalom, which is the most important and technical of the three disciplines, the snow was hard-packed and icy. Several of the stronger skiers in the competition fell or made line errors and others chose a more cautious approach. Determined to retain her title, and putting everything she had learnt in training into practice, Honor skied a strong and fast line, not fazed by bumps and ruts, and finished the first run two seconds ahead of the field. With encouragement and guidance from Team Evolution coach Sega Fairweather, she held her nerve and repeated the performance in run two resulting in a clear win in both the Giant Slalom race and Overall Championship points.
Honor has now won three British Children’s titles as she was Children’s Champion in 2011 and was Children One Overall Champion in 2010; this season she also won three titles: the British, the English and the British Schoolgirl’s. And Honor had a third ‘hat trick’ on the international stage with three silver medals in Andorra in January.
Due to a change in FIS regulations, Honor has one more year in Children’s ski racing. This will be spent mainly working on technique, especially in slalom, and of course, defending her titles one last time. She comments: ‘I have really enjoyed ski-ing this year. My coaches have really helped make it happen and I am fired up to work hard and get results again hext season.’