‘UK’s brightest skiing hope’ was how Scottish alpine skier Alex Tilley was affectionately referred to when she took 5 titles in Meribel a few years ago. Since then, she’s continued to climb the rankings and has since scored some impressive North American Cup wins. As a member of the British Senior Ski Team, she’s a familiar face on both the World Cup and Europa Cup circuit, and the future holds exciting prospects for Alex in the big time events. Dying to get all the details about her take on the alpine calendar, I sat down with her at Sölden to find out what’s on the cards for the next few years.
How did you feel your performance was at Sölden?
Unfortunately a lot of bad habits crept back in and I made some mistakes - but I still feel confident, and that’s what the season opener is for. Although I’m disappointed about placing out of the top 30 and just missing a shot at the second run, I’m still motivated for the rest of the season.
So, what’s the immediate plan of action before the next race then?
I’ll be heading straight to the Hintertux glacier for training; we’ll spend a few days on slalom practice and more tech skiing, which we made good progress with over summer. Then I’ll take some time off to get back to normality. I won’t be dwelling on the result of Sölden, instead I’ll be heading back to Aberdeen to relax before a busy season.
When the off season comes around, what do you like to do to unwind?
I really like to spend it with my family - I’ve got a young nephew, so having time off the snow to be with them is important. Other than that, I like to ski over in Colorado too. It’s so chilled out there and the conditions are fantastic.
Has skiing always been the ‘one and only’?
No! When I was younger it was all about football. I don’t think I realised, or understood, that when I got older girls and boys couldn’t really play it together… I was always kicking a ball around. I had to choose skiing at age 14, though!
It all starts getting intense in the snowsports world from now on, so what are your goals for the near future and for St. Moritz?
Well, it’s all about points from here, and points mean winter Olympics qualification. I’d like to hit tops 15s, and at least one top 10 ranking when it comes to St. Moritz. Ideally I want to be ranked top 15 now, and reaching the top 10/top 5 in the next few years.
Speaking of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, how are you feeling about it?
I’m confident and determined. Everyone says that your first Olympics is all about the experience, and the next one will be all about the medals… but my plan for Sochi had been to be the best, and the goal will be no different in South Korea. I’m going into this one with big aspirations.
Is it all about the Olympics, or is there something else you really want from your alpine career?
I sat down with my coach recently and we put it all on the table - what did I want to achieve in my career? I want to qualify for the Olympics, I want to make a final, I want to have a crystal globe and I want to be the best in the world.
With the season opener complete, it’s game time - but what is so special about Sölden? Why does it all kick off here?
It’s the atmosphere, it’s the hill, and it’s the people. The run here is intense because of the length, and the rarity. But the people make it: the fans, the locals… it’s special.