David hopes to slay 'em on the Slalom

Most of us dream of having a white Christmas but for one Lancashire student it was always going to be a dead cert this year.

David Ryding, 17, is spending the Christmas and New Year holiday on the slopes with his England skiing team-mates.

The Runshaw College student from Bretherton, near Chorley, is the only representative from the north of the country in the England Alpine Ski Team.

He will spend the festive period on gruelling training exercises before competing in races over eight days in the Italian Alps.

David, a former pupil of Bishop Rawstorne International Language College in Croston, is relishing the challenge.

He said: "I don't know when I will get my presents but at least I got to see a white Christmas!

"The courses in Italy are very demanding but I think it is really good.

"The last week includes the Italian National Race so we will be competing against lots of top international skiers."

David is studying A-levels in business studies, PE, biology and geography and he admits balancing his skiing with his studying can be difficult.

He said: "As soon as I get homework assignments, I have to do them so that I can keep on top of things and you have to maintain targets.

"But I wanted to carry on with A-levels because my education is important to me too."

He also hopes to prove he is upwardly mobile in the downhill sport by starting his own skiing business on-line called Ski Racing Supplies. With the help of his grandparents Gary and Muriel Ryding, he aims to have set up the Internet-based business to supply ski racing equipment early in the New Year.

Eventually, profits would be put towards covering the costs of his skiing career.

David said: "Taking part in skiing is expensive because you have all the costs of travelling abroad and the equipment isn't cheap.

"I am setting up the business to support myself in my quest to continue skiing with England. I am very excited about it as it is a completely new venture for me."

David and his sister Joanna, 15, are no strangers to success on the slippery slopes.

Both are members of Pendle Ski Club where they train twice a week on dry slopes under the watchful eye of their father and coach Carl.

Earlier this year, the pair represented England at the World Ski Schools' Championships at the renowned Schladming stadium in the Austrian Alps.

David was called up to the England Alpine Ski Team in the summer after impressive displays. His selection came shortly after he finished third in the slalom and giant slalom events at the English Junior Championships in Puy-St-Vincent, France, at Easter.

He now travels to Milton Keynes every month to train with his fellow England team-mates under head coach Tim Fawke.

David said: "When I got in the England team, it was a dream come true for me. That had always been my aim.

"There are about 20 boys and girls in the team and it has a really good spirit."

e-mail: geraldine.baybutt@lep.co.uk