Three inseparable skier school-girls from Manchester – dubbed the ‘Mogirls’ – lit up the Chill Factore as they competed in the European Indoor Moguls Championships last week.
The trio, who all took up skiing at different ages, have become a tight-knit unit since meeting at training sessions at the Manchester ski slope and have come up with a catchy brand for themselves.
Grace Harrison, nine, and Catrin Howarth and Amelia Blackburn-Elliot, both 10 – are still too young to be licensed FIS skiers but took to the slope against senior competitors on the challenging Moguls course.
Grace, who won four gold medals at the competition to come away unbeaten, said: “We’re a team and we support each other.”
Too right. Catrin, who took home two silvers and two bronze medals, added: “We all got two medals yesterday and two today.
“We don’t mind who wins what medal, it’s all about taking part and having fun.”
Not wanting to be left out Amelia, who matched Catrin’s two silvers and two bronze, chimed in with “And being together!”
So strong is their camaraderie in fact that they already have very firm ideas about their future in the sport.
TO THE OLYMPICS… AND BEYOND: Amelia (left), hopes she, Grace (right) and Catrin can one day compete TOGETHER on the world’s biggest stage
“Hopefully one day we will all go to the Olympics,” said Amelia.
“If one of us gets into the British Olympics team, and the others haven’t, we’re going to say ‘no thank you, we want to go at the same time!’”
Then Grace reiterated the Mogirls mantra: “We want to stick together!”
But there’s a serious side to these bright and bubbly competitors, something Amelia was keen to show.
“We want to become pro-skiers and be remembered but not rich and famous,” she said.
“We’re thinking if we get enough money (from skiing) then maybe we could set up a charity.
“We’d want to help other children develop and become good skiers.”
Catrin shared her friends’ ambitions, saying: “Especially children with disabilities, we’d like to help them learn how to ski.”
The enterprising youngsters train together for their Moguls competitions at Manchester’s Chill Factore, as well in the Ski Cross, Slalom, Freestyle, Alpine and Giant Slalom disciplines.
“People at school don’t really understand what I do! There are loads of different categories and they’re like ‘what’s that?’” said Catrin.
Amelia said her sport seemed so far-fetched to her school friends that she was spurred on last week simply to prove they existed.
“Today I’m bringing proof back so I can say I have been doing it!”
Despite their sporting attitude towards each other and their fellow competitors, the Mogirls relish the competition element of their sport.
“I like Moguls Duals best because it makes you want to go faster trying to beat the other person,” said Catrin.
Amelia, whose Dad is the jump coach, has learned to be single-minded even at such a tender age.
“He (her father) says ‘don’t focus on the other person, focus on yourself and on the way ahead’.”
The FIS Indoor Moguls Championships at the Chill Factore attracted skiers from all over Europe to come and compete for FIS points that would enable them to compete at higher levels.
Needless to say, the Mogirls enjoyed every minute.
“Our favourite athlete here today is Giacomo Papa,” said Catrin.
“His name is awesome and he’s really fast!” added Amelia.
Grace was impressed by the Swiss’ speed on the course too, saying: “You can hardly see him because he’s whizzing down the slope!
“He did a backflip corked whilst crossing skis – I don’t know what it’s called but it was good,” she went on.
The girls admitted their love of flips too and how they look up to other female skiers like GB’s Ellie Koyander. When it comes to music however, they laughed as they described how the organisers had played “weird music” while they were on the podium.
When asked if it might have been the National Anthem, Grace said: “We’ve never had that before!”
Catrin added: “I know it a bit – it’s like God Save the Queen isn’t it?”
They may not know it now, but it seems certain that in the coming years the Mogirls – with four medals ceremonies in total for the trio in Manchester – are going to get very used to hearing the National Anthem played for them.
Together: of course.