Skiing sensation Charlie Leach is the new U16 champion in the Giant Slalom discipline after claiming first place at the recent English Alpine Championships, held in Bormio, Italy.
And with over 400 of the country’s best alpine skiers descending upon the Italian resort this week for the 20th running of the event, Charlie had his work cut out for him.
Charlie, who is 14 and lives in Great Gaddesden, beat all comers in his two runs, coming from behind to win by a massive margin of more than a second.
Charlie said: “I am really pleased with the GS win. It is my first ever podium and I am in the lower part of the age group so to take the win is great. I would love to win again next year, as this has never been done before!
“I was fifth on the first run, and I am not sure how, but I managed to come first!
“On the second run I just felt really fast. GS is my favourite discipline and I am not really a slalom specialist. I would hope to do well in the Super G as well later in the week.
“My ultimate aim is to get into the Great Britain squad for next season, and this result should go a long way to making this a reality!”
Charlie started skiing at early age, but his race skills were really honed at the Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre, where Charlie has been a long standing member of the Hemel Ski Race Club, training every week when he was a pupil at Lockers Park School.
Now every bit of spare time is taken up with skiing, and Charlie trains or races for over 13 weeks of the year with Ambition Racing, his ski race team who are based in Leogang, Austria.
The English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England, help provide an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow – with British Olympians Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding both having competed at the competition.