Colne skier (15) trains with England team

Bethany Widdup
Bethany Widdup

A 15-year-old Colne athlete has set her sights on the top having been picked to train with the England Junior Ski Team.

Bethany Widdup has also accepted a place at the Ambition Ski Academy in Italy, which attracts some of the best British racers in the sport.

The Park High School pupil is modest about her achievements, insisting she never had ambitions to be the best she just loves to compete.

Bethany has been skiing since she was four years old, putting on her first pair of skis on a family holiday.

Her mum Helen said: “When she came home she went to Ski Rossendale and started doing fun races. She gradually progressed through national and artificial slope races, indoor snow races and an alpine programme in Europe.

“She is very dedicated, at the weekends she has to be in Manchester training for 7 a.m. but she never complains, she really enjoys it.”

Bethany has always been keen to balance her studies with her skiing. She is currently revising for her GCSEs and intends to carry on to study for her A Levels.

Helen said: “The Ambition Ski Academy programme is perfect as it will allow Bethany to follow a shorter, more concentrated program that will include three hours a day of study. She hopes to go to university in a couple of years but would also like to carry on with her skiing.”

At the moment Bethany is taking part in the Europa Cup but hopes to progress to be able compete in the World Cup and at the highest level in the Olympics.

Last year saw Bethany represent England at the ISF World Student Games in Italy before returning for the summer UK season.

Helen said: “Her best results during the year were victories in the season long indoor championship and the European indoor championship.”

Bethany was also recognised for her progress over the year, being awarded the Snowsports England’s most improved junior, following in the footsteps of Chemmy Alcott, Britain’s leading skier.

Helen said: “Bethany’s GCSE exam commitments have meant that she has not been able to do many races this season but she has won the British Indoor Championships for her age and the first round of the Celtic Cup which seen the UK’s top seeded skiers compete. We are really proud of her, she has had to be focused to tie her studies and her skiing together and she is very dedicated.”

Bethany is now working hard to try to secure sponsors to help her pay for her skiing season.

Helen said; “Unfortunately no financial support is available for talented skiers from the governing bodies and the cost of a typical season is substantial because of travel and equipment. Bethany would really appreciate any support from local businesses to help her fulfil her dream.”

Any businesses wanting to help should call 612561.