Although hailing from Somerset, where the snow settles very rarely, 15 year old Tristan Marshall from Haygrove School is making a name for himself as a top-class skier and is currently attempting to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 2020.
Tristan is a Nordic/Cross-country skier and is a member of the Hyde Park Nordic Ski Club and previously of the Wessex Biathlon and Nordic Ski Club. He trains at various locations in Scotland, London and Windsor where, due to the lack of snow in the UK, Tristan and his team mates often roller-ski to train for cross-country events. In fact Tristan’s roller-ski skills are so good that he holds the title of U18 Male British Roller-ski Champion 2019 after competing in the finals held at the Olympic Park in London back in September.
His interest in skiing began whilst he was a pupil at Enmore Primary School when an assembly gave mention to a biathlete and later watching biathlon in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, fuelled his desire to give it a go! A taster day with Rollerski.co.uk at Castle Combe Circuit, Wiltshire in 2015 had him hooked!
Tristan progressed quite quickly with the coaching available to him mostly at Eton Dorney, Hillingdon, Redbridge and Windsor Park and was invited to join the British Nordic Development Squad (the pathway for future GB Nordic stars). With no clear pathway to support Tristan into biathlon at present, he has focused on Nordic skiing as an alternative ski sport, a decision that is certainly not holding him back.
In recent months, Tristan has trained and competed on and off snow in many countries, coming away with Gold at the 2019 U18 British Nordic Championships held in Germany. Tristan placed 8th overall in the Austrian Championships in February 2019 and qualified for a place in the OPA Games (European Cup). In March, Tristan was one of 33 young athletes selected from 16 countries to gather in Östersund to compete and learn from each other in the first ever Future Stars seminars at the IBU (International Biathlon Union) World Cup, covering topics such as nutrition, psychology and anti-doping. All athletes were invited to a reception hosted by the Swedish Prime minister.
Despite Tristan’s young age, his coaches decided he deserved the chance to compete for selection in the Youth Olympics 2020. The selection process is ongoing and Tristan will compete again in Idre, Sweden to hopefully gain some much needed qualifying points.
“Being involved in a ski sport has been fantastic for me. It has enabled me to travel to many countries exposing me to many different cultures, languages, environments, climates and cuisines. Travelling with the team, and occasionally alone, has given me greater independence, confidence and organisational skills. Athletes are encouraged to cook on camps periodically so my culinary skills are improving as I cater and provide nutritious meals for as many as 12 hungry athletes and coaches. In addition to this, the sport has given me the ability to enhance my social and interpersonal skills, acting as not only an ambassador for Haygrove School but Great Britain Internationally. It was an amazing honour to represent Team GB in the IBU World Cup opening ceremony in March.
Nordic skiing has improved my endurance fitness levels, core and balance skills enormously. Studying GCSE PE, I am able to relate and apply knowledge interchangeably between school and training/race camps. In fact, I have to be quite disciplined when on camps to keep up-to-date with school work, similarly, I have to be committed to ski training and ensuring my weekly online sport log is up-to-date.
Ultimately I would like to take the sport to an elite level on the international stage like the Olympics and World Cups. In addition to this, I also have my sights firmly fixed on becoming an officer in the Royal Marines, a goal I have had for as long as I can remember. I believe the two lend to each other and hope I get to realise both aspirations.”
As well as excelling at Nordic skiing, Tristan is a Royal Marines Cadet and was selected to be one of the Mayor of Bridgwater’s Mace Bearer’s at the 2019 Remembrance Parade. He hopes for promotion to Corporal in 2020.
“Tristan’s friends and teachers are so proud of what he has achieved so far and we all have our fingers-crossed that he fulfils his aim of qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games next year. Whenever a young person at our school has the determination to compete at a high level, whatever their interest, we are delighted to hear about their success and do our best to support the challenges they face with regard to training schedules and commitments” said Headteacher Mr Aaron Reid.