Aberdeen freestyle skiing sensation Kirsty Muir will be a long way from the city’s dry slope when she competes at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.
North-east medal hope Muir, 17, first put on a pair of skis at three years old and found her passion for freestyle as she grew up on the dry slope at Garthdee as part of Aberdeen Snowsports Club.
She fell in love with the thrill of the high-octane jumps and tricks, and has chased the adrenaline rush on the slopes ever since – in the Granite City and across the world.
“There’s so many different parts that you get a thrill from, like landing a new trick, or just being in the air,” Muir said.
“Even on the simpler tricks you have more time in the air just to see everything and be like: ‘Wow I’m in the air’ and kind of flying almost.”
The next time Muir experiences the rush in competition it will be in Beijing, and at 17 years and nine months old, she will be Team GB’s youngest athlete when she takes part in the Slopestyle and Big Air events.
But she isn’t going to China to make up the numbers.
The teenage ski sensation has already made quite the name for herself, having won a Big Air silver medal at the Youth Olympics at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020, an achievement which followed silver and bronze medals at the 2019 Junior World Championships in Sweden.
In 2021, she claimed her first World Cup medal, beating an adult field to slopestyle silver in Colorado in the United States.
At this point, taking on older fields is nothing new to Muir, who, at only 13 years old, won all three events – big air, slopestyle and halfpipe – at the BRITS Championships against a star-studded pack of rivals.
Now, she hopes to put on a good show and land some gravity-defying tricks on her senior Olympic debut.
Four years ago, Muir remembers watching recorded footage of the overnight action from the PyeongChang Winter Olympic games in the back of her parents’ car, and now Muir will have her own opportunity to experience snowsports’ biggest stage first hand in 10 days’ time.
Muir said: “I’m definitely proud to represent Aberdeen and am looking forward to having the chance to doing it on the big stage.
“I think a good Olympics for me would definitely just being proud of the run that I’ve managed.
“You go to the course and you don’t know exactly what tricks you’re going to be doing, because you can see photos, but you don’t know how the course feels.
“Getting my Dub 12 and a good grab, that would be a good Olympics for me.”
A different kind of games
It will be a different Winter Olympics for athletes as Covid-19 will limit their experience of China away from the events they’re involved in.
Restrictions mean Muir and her team-mates will spend a lot of time in their rooms when they’re not competing or training, but she won’t let the pandemic ruin her time at the Games.
Muir said: “I’m sad to miss out on the athletes being able to mix with other countries, because that’s not going to happen with Covid, but I’m just super excited for the whole experience.
“Even though it’s restricted, it’s still the Olympic experience and I’m really excited for that.”
She is already well prepared for her time on and off the slopes, through the power of music, films and books.
The Arctic Monkeys are Muir’s soundtrack of choice on the slopes as she uses the indie rock band to better her focus during competitions.
Muir said: “I didn’t use to (listen to music)– but that’s one of the things that has helped with the mental side of the sport. It just helps me get into the flow and relax a bit.
“It takes the focus off the competition and on to the skiing.”
She added: “I’m going to have some downloaded movies and take a few books because I’m really enjoying reading at the moment as well.
“For Christmas, I just got the whole Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, so I’m going to be taking a few of those over.”