Winter Olympic star Aimee Fuller believes UK snowboarding has reached unprecedented heights following Team GB’s success at Sochi 2014.
The slopestyle snowboarder, who made her winter games debut in February, is thrilled at how the sport has progressed and believes it will only continue to grow.
Speaking at Manchester’s snow dome as part of ’30 Days of Snowsport’, a national run campaign aiming to get the public engaged even more in the sport, Fuller expressed her delight.
“It’s gone through the roof,” Fuller told MM, referring to the growing popularity of snowboarding.
“I came back from Sochi and went straight to the local snow centre where I usually ride as normal.
“But I have never seen a place so busy in my life. There were cues doubled back and you couldn’t even sit in the bar.
“All ages including 40 and 50 year-olds were saying ‘we are taking up snowboarding because of what we saw on TV’.
“Things like this are really motivating and pleasing to hear.”
Fuller, an ambassador For Go Ski Go Board, conceded that the sport isn’t the main attraction in Britain but admitted the infrastructure in skiing and snowboarding is perfect and that it will continue to grow.
“The sport is already massive now and for a country with no mountains it is insane how big it has become and how well supported it is,” she said.
“I don’t think we could ever rival rugby because it’s so accessible in the sense that you only need a rugby ball, whereas in snowboarding and skiing there is more equipment involved.
“But this is what Go Ski Go Board is about; it is to make it more accessible and I think we are on the right lines because it’s something in which you don’t have to travel miles and miles to get to these snow domes and dry slopes.”
Along with training across Europe, Fuller will be using the fantastic facilities across the country in preparation for the competitions starting in the new-year.
The 23-year-old is aiming to compete in the X Games next February, an elite competition in which she finished in seventh place last year.
“I am going to be competing in either the world championships or the X Games because they are both on at the same time,” she said.
“I would like to compete in the X Games, but there are only eight girls in the world that get invited so it’s going to be tough.
“But I have competed in it the last two years in a row and it’s my ultimate aim to get into it for a third year running.”
Fuller is among a host of British talent across the UK and feels the youth that is coming through the ranks is superb, making for exciting times ahead.
She added that the pathway for kids to get to the elite level is better than ever, and one prodigy who is hoping to emulate that of Fuller is 10-year-old Nicole Haines.
Nicole, who is in preparation for the teen British Ski and Snowboard Championships in France next year, said her love for the sport stemmed from Sochi and one day hopes to participate in the winter games.
“I love snowboarding and wanted to do it even more after Sochi,” she said, after admitting Olympic bronze medallist Jenny Jones is one of her many idols.
“I can’t wait to get out on the slopes this evening and ride with my friends and hopefully one day I can ride at the Winter Olympic games like Aimee and Jenny.”
By the time Nicola hopefully fulfills her dream, Fuller may have retired from the sport and took a position up in the commentary box.
The 23-year-old has already experienced this at the Sochi Olympics and revealed despite been criticised by some for been over enthusiastic when commenting, it is still something she may look to peruse in the future.
She said: “It all got blown out of proportion and anyway I really enjoyed the commentary side of things and it is definitely something that I would like to do in the future.
“I definitely want to do another Olympics because it is something I really enjoyed doing and it would be great if I could do it in the sport I love.”
Main image courtesy of Belfast Telegraph via YouTube, with thanks.