Q&A with OST’s Ashley Campbell
By AOA Communication Manager, Kristin Ellis – September 10th, 2019.
This interview is part of a series of Q&As with members of the Ontario Ski Team. Ashley is the youngest member on the Ontario Ski Team in her 2nd year of FIS and 2nd year on the team. She made the rare jump directly to the team after U16, where she had progressed up through the Georgian Peaks Club programs.
Q: How was your summer?
A: I was in summer school for half of it, completing grade 12 biology in Toronto. It was full time, all day every day for the entire month.
Q: Ouch. That must be hard for a skier that loves to be outside.
A: Yes but I’m getting used to it, I always do at least one summer school course. It does help manage the workload during the winter. This year I only have 5 more classes to graduate.
Q: So were you able to relax in August?
A: Well not really. I had a job at a startup company in Bracebridge. It’s a company that makes fabrics, so I did stuff like packing, quality control that sort of thing.
Q: Do you work to help offset your ski racing costs?
A: Yes, I try to pitch in where I can.
Q: You are the only 17-year-old on the team and the only student this year. It was an unusual step to see someone named to the team right out of U16. How did this feel?
A: Well it was a bit of a shock even though I had heard some chatter during the end of my U16 season. Let’s just say I wasn’t blindsided but it was still a surprise.
Q: Was it hard at all being the youngest on the team last year?
A: No not at all. I’ve always like training with older athletes so it was nothing new. This year might be a bit harder as I’m the only one on the team still in school. Last year Emma (Williamson) was also studying. I’ll be busy this year that’s for sure.
Q: How are you liking your new coach (Cam Stephen)?
A: He’s amazing. I immediately liked him in Mammoth. He’s very realistic which works well for me.
Q: What’s ahead – school next year or a gap year?
A: A gap year for sure so I can keep skiing! I have no doubt of that. I won’t bother applying to any Canadian schools this year, but I may write my SATs. I am learning quite a bit about the NCAA pathway from family friends who have athletes in other sports.
Q: Any ideas on what you’d like to study?
A: No clue!
Q: On the hill and in the gates, what is your strength?
A: hmmm I guess I’d have to say I’m quite calm. I don’t let stuff like bad snow or bad weather affect me at all. I don’t ever get freaked out. For example, in the start hut, I might be nervous, but I seem to be able to handle it. I can tell myself “I’ve got this.”
Q: That’s a really great ski-racing trait to have. Is this just natural for you or something you’ve had to work at?
A: I guess it’s just natural…plus I’ve had a lot of starts so practice helps.
SIDE NOTE: Ashley momentarily apologizes to me for sounding a bit distracted. She says to me, “Sorry I think there is a shooting right beside me. We’re downtown (Huntsville).” I reply “Are you ok? Should we resume this later?” …she says (very calmly I might add), “No, no, it’s perfectly fine, go on.” As it turns out there was a shooting that day in Huntsville.
Q: So we’ve determined you are in fact a calm person. What about your weaknesses?
A: I can get in a rut and stay in it. If I’m training and bothered by something it can get me down. I can get frustrated. I’m also someone who might explode as stuff will just build and build until it blows. I’d like to be able to tackle these frustrations as they come and make them smaller issues.
Q: What about your peers who might be leaving the sport now to pursue other things – is this hard on you?
A: No, not at all. It is normal at age 16, 17 in all sports I’m pretty sure. I do however think that too many really good skiers leave too soon. People just don’t believe in themselves enough. If you come say 10th in Nationals for example that is good. It’s 10th in the whole country!
Q: Were you happy with your season last year?
A: It was good but I was injured for half of it so I wish I could have raced more.
Q: You told me last year you wanted to ski for Canada one day. Is this still the case?
Q: Last words, what do you say to the kids coming up behind you?
A: Chip Away. It is a hard sport, and it seems like our goals are far away but keep working, don’t expect drastic changes or quick changes but just keep chipping away.
~ Sounds to me like Ashley Campbell would also be an amazing ski coach. ?
To read the other OST interviews or to learn more about this team please visit alpineontario.ca/ontario-ski-team