Even a torn anterior cruciate ligament has not been able to stop Kings Langley’s Eleanor Scranage-Harrison from returning for a fifth consecutive appearance at the English Alpine Championships in Bormio, Italy, this Sunday.
The 16-year-old, who trains at Hemel Ski Club and Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City, tore her ACL on the slopes last April while representing the British children’s team in Abetone, Italy.
She said: “I didn’t realise that I’d done it at first. I didn’t realise how severe it was.
“I thought I’d just bruised my knee, so I kept racing for another week at the British Championships in Tignes.”
The English Alpine Championships are organised by Snowsport England, the national governing body for snow sports in England that is responsible for growing participation in snow sports through direct funding from Sport England.
They work closely with snow centres, artificial slopes and clubs around the country, as well as managing English squads and athletes across all snow sport disciplines.
Scranage-Harrison performed particularly well in 2016 in her final year of competing in the U14s age group, coming second in the slalom.
And returning from such a serious injury, she could be forgiven for playing down her chances this time round, but two podiums in recent races have given her the confidence that she can do well in Bormio.
“I was very positive through it all because I knew I was on great track to get back for the start of the season,” she said.
“Going into Bormio, I’m hoping I do well in slalom because it’s my strongest discipline, so my main aim is to get at least one podium during the week.”
Scranage-Harrison first tried skiing at the dry slope in Hemel Hempstead and progressed into racing as she grew older, now competing for her clubs in England and for Ambition Racing in Austria.
Her ultimate goal would be to compete at an Olympic Games, but she appreciates that there are several steps to reach along the way.
She said: “I’d like to see how far I take it. I’d like to start by doing FIS events and then to try to get into the Europa Cup and, maybe eventually, the World Cup.”
But for now, Scranage-Harrison is continuing her positive approach to her recovery and comeback at the English Alpine Championships.
She added: “I really love Bormio. It’s such an amazing place and the races are all really well-organised by Snow Sport England.
“There’s a lot of competitors as well, which gives you a good idea of where to rank yourself.”
Scranage-Harrison is hoping that rank will be the top step of the slalom podium.
n For this Winter Olympics season, Snowsport England has just launched ‘PyeongChang to Piste’ (www.pyeongchangtopiste.org.uk), which features events and taster sessions run by various clubs and slopes throughout the country along with handy downloadable resources for schools.