Alice Blake is a UK name that you will be hearing a lot more of in the future. Aged only 18, she has already experienced winning Gold at the Brits boardercross and freestyle comps, came 1st at the Burton Hi 5 Tour at Milton Keynes and rode at the Nike 6.0. Stair Battel Tour. This year is her last year at college, after which she will go straight to the mountains and we’ll be expecting to hear big things about her soon, so fellow fridge chick Catherine Peck hooked up with her for a chat before she’s running away with her big love…
When you were 16 you got selected for the Junior British Snowboarding Team, which is a major achievement. How did that feel?
I was really stoked. It made me feel supported and optimistic that I could live the snowboarding dream. But the wow factor was short lived when I learnt about the funds that are required to be part of the British Team and unfortunately I couldn’t raise the funds which was very disappointing for me.
What happened next?
I realised that there were other options to take my riding to the next level and not joining the British Team did not mean that I could not go on to become a pro rider. By focusing and riding with my talented guy friends I knew I could progress quickly if I listened and practiced. There is a great community at the Hemel snowdome, for example the snowboarding Freestyle Nights and I have many friends there that I can ask for help and who push me. I practice in Hemel every Thursday and Friday night, enter as many UK competitions as possible and go to the mountains as much as money and time allows.
How has being sponsored changed your attitude to riding?
It has made me love it even more. I take it more seriously now and I am very focused on improving, I feel supported and this makes me want to achieve stuff both for myself and for the ones that support me. It has also made me more aware of the importance of diet and eating the right foods before and after training/competitions, as I learnt that this massively helps performance and recovery time.
Being part of the Junior British Team would have meant you get at least 5 weeks of mountain time in the Alps. Have you still been able to get away and practice on big kickers?
Last season I managed to get away 6 times, and thanks to my sponsors Bonfire and Salomon I got a season pass to take advantage of for 6 full weeks. The Bonfire Team took me on their board testing week to Kaunteral in Austria as well, which was great fun as I was able to ride with my team mates and get a bit of footage. Having friends on seasons is great as I can stay with them at low cost.
That’s still not much mountain time compared to fellow shred heads from the Euro mainland and the US. How’s the competition with them?
Well, it is hard! It’s alright for rails and boxes as we can practice to the same standard in the fridges, but you can’t practice going over big kickers in the UK. However, you can learn and nail all the tricks over the smaller jumps in the snow domes and then take these moves to the bigger kickers, which I want to do during my first season this year. I help myself by doing gymnastics and trampolining in the UK to keep fit, keep core strength and body awareness. I also strap a skateboard to my feet on the trampoline which helps to practice the snowboarding moves. Next winter I’ll also be old enough to do seasons and can take it from there.
After you finish college, where do you plan to do your first season?
It’s not planned yet but either Morzine or Avoriaz as they have lots of pro riders there and lots of parks, or maybe Mayrhofen as they have really big kickers. I’ll have to see!
How are you going to fund the season?
I am working 3 days a week for Conspiracy, a snowboard shop in St Albans and saving all my pennies. It is great experience working for them as I’m learning all the technical stuff about the kit, boards and brands.
And finally, what’s the biggest risk you have taken so far?
I hit the Pro Lines in Mayrhofen on a rocker board last season and it did not quite workout as planned. I hit the three kickers in a row and the first two were fine but on the third I caught an edge on the run in and literally flew through the air for 18 meters with arms flapping like crazy. I hit the landing with my board going up the slope, I was crying as I thought I was dead or at least broken! But I wasn’t broken or dead, which was a true miracle. I was a little more cautious after, as I realised I’m not invincible!
Favourite rail trick? Tailslide to front board.
Favourite kicker trick? Big grabbed backside 180s.
Pow or Park? Park.
Riding with girls or guys? Guys, as they constantly find secret side hits on features in the park.
Favourite board? Salomon Gypsy.
Favourite food before training? Weetabix and then Macoroni cheese and broccoli mmmm!
Alice is sponsored by Salomon, Bonfire, Dragon, Forcefield Protection, Conspiracy and The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.