By Scott Meenagh, GB Snowsport Para Nordic Skier
I was introduced to the world of Para Nordic Skiing when spectating at the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games in 2014 where I was inspired by the skill and physicality of the Para Nordic skiers. I also loved the excitement of the racing. When I returned, I decided to turn my attention and focus to getting involved.
I love it that there’s a variety of physical and mental skills required to be successful in our sport. You need high levels of physical fitness as well as technical skiing skill and the ability to make good decisions under pressure, often at high speed. I also love the camaraderie between nations as we travel around the World Cup circuit and the incredible places we get to train and race around the world. No two days ever feel the same.
In terms of getting in the zone before events, I have found that the more relaxed I can be the better. I don’t get too pumped up before racing. I enjoy some good chat and a laugh with my teammates (and competitors) and keeping things nice and relaxed until it’s time to switch my focus. Normally once I’m on snow my focus begins to narrow.
The toughest athlete I’ve met is Oksana Masters from the USA, she inspires me every day. Her desire to win is like I’ve never seen. She is a true champion and I feel privileged to have witnessed some of her best recent performances. She is also a fantastic person off the snow and has a passion for helping others around her grow.
My favourite moment on snow has to be the 2018 World Championships, on final day I came 6th in the 15km Cross country race. The feeling when I was racing was so special. It was one of those days where everything fell into place. I felt brilliant throughout the race and the elation when I crossed the line knowing I’d given my very best that day was so special.
I would really encourage anyone interested in skiing to just get involved! Our sport is fantastic for competition but it’s also an amazing lifestyle sport and something that once you’ve tried it once, you’ll want to do forever. Remember to recognise the power of the journey and don’t too caught up focusing on results and end goals. The lessons you learn on the way are the most important.