If you want to experience what it feels like to be able to fly, you should try skiing according to Winter Olympian Kirsty Muir.
The 17-year-old’s route to Beijing 2022 started on the dry slope at Aberdeen Snowsports Centre as she first donned a pair of skis aged just three.
Skiing was a family affair as one of her earliest memories on the slopes was following her brother off-piste in the Scottish mountains as her sister followed behind too.
“I couldn’t have imagined it at that time that I’d end up going to the Olympics,” Kirsty reminisced.
“I’m just really happy with where my journey has taken me so far – I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Kirsty’s love of the sport has been ever present since she was young, with another early memory being given the ultimatum of having to choose between skiing and ballet.
It was a no-brainer as she “100 per cent” opted for skiing, a decision that she has never regretted.
“There are so many different parts of the sport that I love,” Kirsty explained.
“I love the adrenaline after a run or when you land a new trick.
“But I just love being in the air.
“It does almost feel like flying and there’s no other feeling like that.”
The Muirs would regularly ski locally in Aberdeen, but would also travel that little bit further to Glenshee and the Lecht.
Kirsty reckons those slopes helped make her the skier she is today, and encourages others to check out what the north-east and the rest of Scotland has to offer.
Scotland has five mountain ski resorts, including Glenshee and the Lecht, and 16 artificial snowsport centres.
“We have some great facilities in Scotland and in the UK,” said the Olympian.
“It’s important to just make people aware that we have the places to ski in Scotland, even if we are not a major ski nation.
“Those slopes definitely helped me get where I am.
“I was 11 the first time I went abroad, up until that point all my training had been done in Scotland.
“It’s something that you can do with friends and family, or even on your own.
“Skiing is just a really fun thing to do and maybe something different to other things you can do in Scotland.”
A junior Winter Olympian medalist, Kirsty was the youngest member of Team GB when she made her senior debut at this year’s Winter Games.
Scotland’s slopes would have seemed a world away as the freestyle skier finished fifth and eighth in the Big Air and Slopestyle finals in Beijing.
And while she was slightly disappointed with the result, Kirsty’s overall feeling was one of pride in her own performance.
“I had a lot of fun at the Big Air and skiing with the girls, they were pushing it and I felt there was a really good atmosphere.
“I just had a lot of fun and I was really happy with my tricks – it was definitely the best I had done them.
“I was a little disappointed with the slopestyle, but honestly, I had so much fun in that as well.
“Obviously everyone goes to the Olympics wanting to be on the podium, but I also just wanted to do my best and I’m proud of myself for doing that.”
Living the teenage dream
Her debut Olympic appearance is just one achievement in an already long list.
A small sample includes a junior Olympic silver medal, medals at the 2019 Junior World Championships in Sweden and her first senior Slopestyle medal in the World Cup in Colorado.
With all those achievements, it’s easy to forget Kirsty is still just a teenager.
“It’s definitely taken some time for stuff like that to sink in, but I definitely know that I’m a teenager with exams coming up,” laughed Kirsty.
As a pupil at Bucksburn Academy, Kirsty is currently working towards her Highers and was able to use skiing as part of her studies.
“Thankfully, I was able to use skiing as part of my PE portfolio,” Kirsty said.
“My teacher was pretty happy that she could say that she had marked a PE exam based off the Olympics.”
Kirsty will leave school this summer with her immediate future prioritising skiing, but one day she hopes to pursue a degree in sports science.
“I’m definitely going to take a gap year to give myself time to focus on the skiing and see that lifestyle.
“But in the future, I would like to incorporate studies with my skiing. Just to have something else to do to take my mind off it and have plans for the future as well.”
Kirsty Muir is supporting Snowsport Scotland’s #HereWeSnow campaign, which encourages everybody to make use of Scotland’s snowsports facilities. For more information visit snowsportscotland.org