Langcliffe skier Emma Lonsdale has been chosen to compete in the Winter Olympics in Russia.
The former Settle High School pupil, 29, will represent Team GB in the halfpipe event, which has been included in the Games for the first time.
The announcement was made yesterday.
“I have been skiing my whole life and to compete in the Olympics is a dream,” said Emma, who is ranked 15 in the world. “I am ecstatic, particularly as this is the first year that my sport has been included.”
Emma – who has been British champion nine times and European runner-up twice – will fly to Sochi on Wednesday, February 5, with her first competition taking place on Thursday, February 20.
“My goal is to reach the top 12 and get through to the final,” said Emma, who started her skiing career as a slalom racer before turning to the freeskiing and the halfpipe. “It is what I enjoy most.”
The halfpipe sees skiers perform various tricks – somersaults, flips, grabs and twists – in a giant tube of ice and snow, which is seven metres high and 66 metres long.
“It is terrifying, but very exciting,” said Emma. “You get a stomach dropping feeling when you do it. It is certainly not a safe sport, but fortunately I have had no serious injury, just a fractured shoulder and a few mild concussions.”
But it is not an easy life – to fund her activities, she juggles three jobs in the summer, working at the Talbot Inn, Settle, Malham Tarn Field Centre and High Trenhouse on Malham Moor.
“I spend all summer at home, training at The Gym in Settle to stay flexible, and spend the winter skiing all over the world.”
She has also launched a donation page at gofundme.com/ 63svbw to cover her Olympic costs. It has raised more than £2,000 in 14 days.
“Everyone has been incredibly supportive,” said Emma who has the backing of her family – father Rae, a retired national park officer and member of the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation, mum Jean, an instructor at Kendal Snowsports Club, and brother Ben, who skis with the Royal Air Force.