“THE ORIGINALS” – HARRY LAIDLAW, AUSTRALIAN (PRO) ALPINE SKIER
INTERVIEW HARRY LAIDLAW, PROFESSIONAL AUSTRALIAN ALPINE SKIER
“Harry Laidlaw was born 1 March 1996 in Melbourne Australia”
Thank you for your cooperation with this interview, you were designated by your friend and Belgium skier Sam Maes. What can you tell us about your connection and friendship with Sam?
I have known Sam for a few years now as everyone sort of knows everyone in the skiing world. Now we are on the same team and we both live in Innsbruck so we have become good friends.
Your part of the (private) Global Racing team. What are the objectives of this team, who is in it, and what does it do for you as an athlete?
Global racing is an international team, complied with elite-level skiers from all over the world. For me, it gives me a group of top-level skiers who push me to where I want to be and what I want to achieve. It also goes beyond just a ski team; Global Racing is a family that support each other in skiing and outside of it.
Unfortunately, the ski season ended abruptly due to the Coronavirus. Strange times, how do you experience this and how do you deal with this as a top athlete?
It was disappointing with things coming to an abrupt halt but I guess you must look at the positives in every situation no matter how bad they are. As bad as the situation is, personally it’s given me more time to focus on university and spend time with my family which I don’t get much time to do.
Have you ever been to the Netherlands, if so what did you do while you were here?
Yes, I spent Christmas in Amsterdam last year, I usually don’t go home for Christmas because it’s too expensive and too short of a break so my brother came over and we spent a week in Amsterdam together which was super nice.
I read that you had great talent as a Football player and that you could have a professional career within the AFL (Australian Football League). Tell us about this and why did you choose to ski?
Haha, I’m not sure I would have ever made it as an AFL player but I who knows what would have happened. I chose the skiing pathway because I enjoyed the feeling of skiing plus all the other aspects skiing brings such as being in mountains, having the opportunity to travel, experience vast cultures, and meeting a wide range of people.
Is it true that in addition to your professional career you are also studying for a paramedic?
Yes, I’m currently studying for a Bachelor of Paramedicine at the University of Victoria. I study from April to October which works perfectly around the training/competition period in the Northern Hemisphere.
Where did you learn to ski and at what age did you start?
I started skiing when I was two years old at Mt. Hotham in Australia, my Mum was a ski instructor so naturally, skiing was a part of my life at a young age.
You practice multiple skiing disciplines, what do you prefer and why?
I spend most of my time training and competing in Giant Slalom but I enjoy Super G because there’s more of an adrenaline rush with similar aspects to Giant Slalom.
What result as a professional skier are you most proud of?
This year I had a bit of an up and down season but I was happy with one Europa Cup results where I went from bib 53 to 11th.
Are you focusing on the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022? What are your ambitions?
My goals are to become competitive on the Europa cup circuit then move my way on to the World Cup which I’m hoping in two years’ time I can be a competitor not just a participator in Beijing.
What do you do the day before a competition?
I try to keep things pretty simple the day before competitions, usually, we free ski on the race hill or do a few pieces of training runs to get some feeling for the next day.
How do you train and how do you stay fit during this coronavirus time?
I’m lucky I have a little weight set up and home so training hasn’t been too difficult. Along with that surfing and biking have been keeping me fit.
What is mentally the most difficult about competition skiing?
I think being from Australia and trying to chase the top level of skiing make long periods away from family/friends and your home sometime makes it mentally tough but when you have the goals you want to achieve it makes it easier to overcome.
Describe your top 3 favorite ski resorts and explain why.
Verbier, Switzerland – I went there for a week last year and the mountain is so big there is endless terrain plus a really good vibe in the town.
St Anton, Austria – similar to Verbier so much terrain and a good vibe in town.
Mt Hotham, Australia – It’s my home mountain where I grew up, had so many good memories there plus knowing all the secret spots on powder downs are handy.
Name a professional skier who inspires you?
I like watching Alexander Kilde, he’s always exciting to watch and always charging without fear which is inspiring.
Thank you, Harry, for this interview and which (top) athlete do you designate for the next interview?
Charlie Raposo – British alpine ski racer