GB Snowsport today announce the team who will be competing at the 18th Freestyle World Ski Championships between 8th – 11th March in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The moguls and aerials teams go to Kazakhstan with some strong results with Makayla Gerken Schofield coming 6th at the Deer Valley World Cup, a career best result for her, Tom Gerken Schofield winning silver at the Krasnoyarsk World Cup last season and Lloyd Wallace who placed third in the Aerials Europa Cup in Airolo last weekend.

Moguls & Dual Moguls

Will Feneley

Leonie Gerken Schofield

Makayla Gerken Schofield

Thomas Gerken Schofield

Mateo Jeannesson

Skyler Nunn – pending medical sign off

Max Willis

Aerials

Lloyd Wallace

The World Championships will be broadcast by BBC on the red button from 8th March – follow GB Snowsport social media channels for updates

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month we caught up with Makayla Gerken-Schofield, GB Snowsport Moguls Athlete and passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ community.

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History month we first wanted to ask you what being a member of the LGBTQ+ community means to you?

I am proud to say that I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community, trying to educate myself about the community more each day and be there to help others who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality or in any way.

Do you think being your authentic self has an effect on your sporting performance?

I think that taking responsibility helps on a daily basis, if it’s to do with your relationships, your activities or your sporting performance because you feel liberated, you can just be yourself, and not to be constantly trying to play a role in the presence of your relatives. 

What do you think that landscape is like for LGBTQ+ people is like in snowsports currently? Is there more than can be done in terms of inclusion?

For this subject in particular I could not say much because I actually came out not long ago, many people call me bisexual but I consider myself as pansexual and I never really had the occasion to talk with a lot of athletes but I would be delighted to meet more people in the LGBTQ+ community in snowsports and to bring my support for someone who would need it.

Is there anyone in particular from the LGBTQ+ Community who inspires you or who you want to spotlight?

I haven’t really looked up to anyone as I never really thought about it if that makes sense, I didn’t really do any research about LGBTQ+ community but looking into it I realised I missed out and I enjoy learning about it so maybe one day I will find someone I look up to. 

What would you say to someone within or outside of the snowsports community who is struggling to come to terms with their sexuality?

To take all the time you need to figure it out, it isn’t a race! do whatever you feel the need to do at your own pace. Don’t force yourself to give yourself a label because at the end of the day if you don’t feel the need to label yourself, don’t! That it is okay not to be sure. Protect yourself without hiding (being someone you are not, thinking you need to change who you are to please someone else) and to never forget that you are not the only one to experience this! you are NOT alone. 

You can also watch this video: https://youtu.be/vB9M0f9FDiE

Are there any LGBTQ+ causes you would like to highlight?

Fewer than 30 countries recognise same-sex marriage. The first country to recognize marriage equality was the Netherlands, in 2001.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of issues that need to be highlighted, but the problems that sadden me the most are that in 11 jurisdictions in which the death penalty is imposed, 72 jurisdictions around the world that criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex. 

Where women are not specifically criminalised, lesbians and bisexual women are often arrested or threatened with arrest. I also believe that schools should teach us about LGBTQ+ community because it shouldn’t be hidden anymore.

There are many more that I could highlight –  it is something that society needs to work on and improve.

My best party trick is… “Mum says, I’m a brilliant mimic” 

The geekiest thing about me is… “I swot crystals”

Tell me you’re a snowsports athlete without telling me you’re a snowsports athlete… “I compete in Moguls World cup events representing GB” 

A shower thought I had recently… “Should I shave my head again?”

Best dance move… “One shuffle dance move” 

When I’m not training or on snow you’ll find me… “In the gym, going places with my camera or giving someone a fresh tattoo!” 

Guilty pleasure… “Vegan truffle chocolate” 

Best travel story… “I had a training camp in Dubai, yes you read that correctly Dubai! Got to the airport to check-in and they would not let me go as my passport was invalid within 3 months (had to be 6) so I had to get a flight to London, get a new passport all in one day then finally fly to Dubai!” 

Biggest fail… “Knocking myself out on a skateboard” 

Typical Sunday… “Meditate for at least 10 minutes, write down what I am grateful for in the moment, yoga for at least 20 minutes with my Mum and Sister then watch a bunch of Netflix while I draw new tattoo designs” 

Weirdest gift I have given or received… “I recently received a fluffy unicorn from my girlfriend, it’s about my size! But I love it” 

Two truths and a lie… “I broke my collar bone water ramping, I never answer calls from unknown callers, I love tomatoes” 

I won’t shut up about… “Equality for all genders including LGBTQ+ community” 

The pandemic has taught me… “That it is ok to not have good days, to be more present moment, to take it day by day” 

Catch up with Will Feneley, GB Snowsport Moguls Athlete with one year to go until the Olympic Winter Games, Beijing 2022.

How are you feeling with one year to go until Beijing 2022?

It seems a long way away, but the year will go quick. Qualifications for the Games has already started, so the focus is on putting down performances this season, and then getting ready and prepped for the next season. I’m trying to stay confident and working hard to get the best out of the year.

How do you keep motivated in the short term?

I have short term goals that I’m striving for, which are separate to the Winter Olympics. The focus is to accomplish these goals. We’re lucky to be able to be skiing and competing at the moment, so I’m making the most of every moment, and having fun skiing as well. It can be difficult to be motivated all the time, and especially this year with new obstacles to overcome, But I think it’s important to recognise when I’m feeling less motivated, and use it as a challenge to motivate myself in some way. 

What is the toughest part of your training schedule?

At the moment, it’s definitely all the extra measures that are making travel more stressful. We’re not always sure if we’re able to go somewhere or what we’ll be able to do. It can be uncomfortable but it’s something we have to do at the moment, to ensure covid rules are being followed and that we stay as safe as possible. Outside of the current situation, the hardest part is constantly coming and going. I don’t really have a permanent base, and home (in the U.K.) has no mountains and not really any snow, so I use it as time away from skiing, but not somewhere that I can spend much time each year. 

What is your favourite part of training?

The best feeling is when you accomplish something you were struggling with, whether that be a new trick, or a finals or a podium. It’s definitely a big rush when you succeed at something you’ve been working towards for a long time. I also just love the fact that I’m able to travel all over the world to ski, see so many places, and be around really talented athletes. With training, I love being out in the mountains, after a fresh dump, on a sunny day, in some powder bumps, dicing and slicing. 

Do you listen to music when you train?

I tried listening to music for the first time, during a competition about five years ago. I crashed on the first jump, and from then on have decided that music while skiing is not for me. I know a lot of people that do use music and it seems to work for them.

How are you preparing mentally for competition day?

My mind can easily run into all sorts of scenarios for how a competition might pan out. What could be, what might go wrong, will I do my best? It’s important for me to try and clear me mind, relax, and remind myself that it’s just skiing, and by worrying and stressing, I’m just making it less enjoyable for myself. If I concentrate on the fact that I’m getting ski, then at the end of the day, it’s just another day skiing, and what will be will be. I’m more likely to ski my best, if my mind isn’t stressing about possibility A through Z.

Are there any big milestones that you are working towards between now and the Olympic Winter Games?

We haven’t had too many competitions this year. One of my main goals this year was to make finals in a World Cup. I managed this at the last event, so now the next milestone is to consolidate that, carry on putting down good performances, and carry the progression on into the next season. I’m hoping that I can put down a great performance at the World Championships which will now be held in Kazakhstan at the beginning of March.

What do you do to unwind at the end of a long training day?

After a really long training day, it’s a great feeling getting off all of your gear, and getting into a nice warm shower. I’m a big fan of long showers. I also like to chill out with my teammates, just chatting or playing some kind of games. I’m also studying for a degree in mathematics, so if I’ve had a bad day training, then focussing on something else like my maths, takes my mind off whatever I had done during the day. Overall, to relax, I just like to chill out as much as possible, not put too much energy into anything, other than a great dinner to finish off the day!

By Will Feneley, Moguls Athlete

I have been skiing since the age of six, in a range of disciplines as I’ve been growing up and started Mogul skiing full time around five years ago. When I was fifteen turning sixteen, I headed out to Australia, to join a team over there, where I ended up spending five seasons worth of Australian winters, the last two of those years being full time with them year round. They took me to NorAm level events, which are the North American equivalent of Europa Cups. Over the last two years I’ve been transitioning to the GB squad, competing in one World Cup in Tremblant, Canada (the first place I ever skied!) and the World Championships in Deer Valley. Finally, over the last year, I’ve fully transitioned and am now full time with the GB team.

I did alpine racing for five years, from eight to thirteen years old, spending most winters in Les Houches near Chamonix with the BSA. Later on, between eleven and fifteen years old, I got interested in park skiing. From fifteen years old, I have been involved in Mogul Skiing primarily. Mogul skiing is great, as it involves a lot of different aspects that I have grown up doing in different disciplines. Alpine Skiing is all about fastest lines and being able to turn the ski smoothly. Park skiing is all about style and jumps (and rails: not in mogul skiing… yet!). Mogul skiing is a big jumble of everything, and that’s why I love it. You are constantly on your feet, with no time to relax. You’ve got to be fast, you’ve got to be technical, and you’ve got to have a good jump package, with two jumps placed in the course. It is such a great sport, which is so hard to get right that it makes you want to keep pushing to get that impossible perfect run.

When competing, you travel to many places around the world, and spend many chairlifts with international recreational skiers. The one thing that is always asked when they find out we do moguls is: “How are your knees??”. It’s true that mogul skiing is a high impact sport, and that injuries are not uncommon, but we prepare our bodies so that they can endure year-round impact. We train to make sure our bodies are strong enough, and also nimble enough. When you’re skiing bumps, you’re trying to reduce impact, but even with strong bodies, and good technique, things can go wrong. I’m lucky enough to be fairly injury free, having only suffered a small torn meniscus in 2016, requiring a minor surgery. You have to rely on a good mental attitude and your physical preparation, so that you can push your body to limits, not hold back and send it!

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