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River East student finds skiing success

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Tori Hislop is rising in the world of competitive skiing just as fast as she rockets down the slopes.

The Grade 10 River East Collegiate student posted an eighth-place finish in the Whistler Cup’s U16 division in Whistler, BC earlier this month. The showing is the best-ever for a Manitoban in the event. Competitors from 20 nations were at the event.

"It’s a really competitive atmosphere. It’s great to get a view of the world’s competition," she said. "Even coming Top 10 was pretty exciting for me."

Hislop said her mindset was just right when she was in B.C., and she was also proud of how she faced the course.

"I was really attacking the course. The snow was really soft, so you had to work the ruts and just go with it," she said.

Hislop trains nearly every weekend, travelling to Asessippi Ski Area and Resort in LaRiviere early on Saturdays and not returning home until late Sunday if she’s not further afield at a more intense camp. Hislop went to Vail, Colo. for the Rising Stars Camp in November, where she trained alongside some of the top North American athletes in her age group.

Brian Hatherly, head coach at Summit Ski Club, said the camp did wonders for the 15-year-old.

"It was more psychological. It was a confidence-builder to realize ‘I’m right in there with the other kids,’" said Hatherly, who has worked with Hislop for nearly a decade.

Hatherly described Hislop as "relentless", recalling a race last year where Hislop blazed past not only the entire female contingent, but posted a faster time than the male skiers as well.

"She just searches for speed," he said. "She’s got a way of looking for it, finding it, not having a fear."

Provincial head coach Bob Lawrie has worked with Hislop closely for the past five years, and he said Hislop’s ability to learn is what has set her apart.

"The amazing thing about her is her attitude and her coachability," said Lawrie, adding he can see Hislop eventually making a splash on the World Cup circuit. "(She’s) not just going through the motions and expecting things to be handed to her. She’s taken learning into her own hands."

Hislop said she’s considering moving to Calgary to boost her training, as U16 is the last division that’s age-restricted. Beginning next winter, she’ll be competing against adults.

"It’ll be a lot more competition, and harder, but I think I’m prepared for that," she said. "I think moving out to Calgary and going out to the mountains would best prepare me for FIS (International Skiing Federation competition)."

Hislop said a move would help her to achieve her childhood dream of competing in the Winter Olympics.

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