Towamba Public School’s Mabel Ashburn has just returned from a stint at the Southern NSW/ACT Interschools Snowsports Championshiops.
Proud mum, Rachel, said Mabel had been skiing for about four years, but decided to take up the competition challenge.
“You have to enter through your school so they signed her up,” Rachel said.
“She was a team of one, and off we went.”
The family recruited the help of friend and co-worker Rainer Strassberger, who is an Austrian qualified ski instructor and coach.
“I used to run a ski school in Mount Hotham,” Strassberger said.
“Mabel is hungry to do something and she is a really easy learner.
“We had about two days of training up there and out of the 40 odd kids she came 20th, which I think is really good,” he said.
Being a kid from a small school on the Far South Coast, it was a culture shock for the family to be met by competitors kitted out in full race gear ready for the event.
“When we turned up, they’re all in their full on racing gear and Mabel wasn’t,” Rachel said.
“But we had the running joke that she was probably the only one with a German instructor,” she said with a laugh.
Unfortunately Mabel’s first competition was cut short, due to poor conditions.
“Normally, you do two runs, but theweather was atrocious and it was cut to just one,” Rachel said.
“The next day had beautiful weather, and after her two runs Mabel finished 20th out of 42.”
The result was nearly good enough to put Mabel over the line for state selection, finishing just shy of the top 10 from southern NSW.
Strassberger said the result was even better considering the number of fully trained kids at the event.
“You could see the different styles of the kids who had years of race training to her - who had one-and-a-half.”
Mabel was delighted with her performance and already is eager to attend next year.
“She is about to do a few more lessons in a couple of weeks to prepare for next year,” Rachel said.
“Both Dave [dad] and I are really proud of her.”
Meanwhile, Strassberger regularly visits Canada and would like Mabel to go along and learn there.
“The main thing for me is her coming from a small school and small town to give her the chance to make it to the big time and do even better.
“I’d like to invite her to Canada for a vacation and some ski schooling - to show her a different scope of skiing,” he said.