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BOY RACERS - Jane Peel, Tignes
Monday December 24, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The Carrick-Smith brothers could be the brightest future of British alpine racing. PlanetSKI has been to meet them and watch them train.

They have a top skiing pedigree.

Their mum is the former ski racer, Emma Carrick-Anderson.

She competed for GB at four Winter Olympics, culminating in the 2002 Games at Salt Lake City.

Their dad, Phil Smith, used to race in his youth too, but chose to turn his passion to instructing.

He is the founder and director of Snoworks.

The family is based in the French Alps.

So it's fair to say that Luca (13) and twins Zak and Freddy (11) were off the best possible start when they first put on skis as toddlers.

They've been competing since they were 7.

And they have an impressive set of results between them, winning age group races in several high quality competitions.

Luca Carrick-SmithLuca














Zak Carrick-SmithZak














Freddy Carrick-SmithFreddy














Their first races of the 2018-19 season are coming up in the New Year, with Luca one of two boys selected to represent GB in the under-14s Youth International FIS races in Vallnord-Arcalis in Andorra in January.

He reached the qualification standard thanks to his race results last season.

It's a great opportunity for him to gain more valuable race experience on an international stage.

Here's a look at all three of the boys having a little light slalom practice on the Stade racecourse in Tignes Val Claret:





Mum and dad both instruct for Snoworks and alternate their weeks there to share the coaching of their sons.

This week it's Emma's turn with the boys.

Coaching the Carrick-Smith boysCoach's feedback at the foot of the Stade
















She's supportive and praises her boys for good work on a technically difficult slalom course.

"That course is the steepest they will get in any of their races," Emma tells me.

"It's choppy and the snow is breaking up."

But she doesn't hold back when they make errors.

She tells Luca he should not be trying to ‘race' the course.

Emma Carrick-Anderson and Luca Carrick-SmithEmma coaches Luca













"What Phil and I are trying to get across to them is that you don't win races by thinking ‘I am going to win this'.

"Can you imagine Marcel Hirscher doing that?

"If you think like that you choke. You can't perform.

"You can be competitive but not think ‘I'm going to win this'. You have to stop focusing on the outcome but focus on the performance."

Emma Carrick-Anderson & her boysThe boys with mum after training
















And they ARE competitive and highly ambitious.

They'd like to beat the great Swede Ingemar Stenmark's record for the most World Cup wins.

Here's what they had to say when I spoke to them after a morning's slalom training:

This is their second day of the week training on the mountain.

The boys have private tutors so they can fit their schooling around their skiing rather than the other way round.

When they're off the mountain the boys enjoy what might be considered an unusual less adrenalin-fuelled hobby.


Luca Carrick-SmithDown time for Luca

















Freddy Carrick-SmithDown time for Freddy

















Zak Carrick-SmithDown time for Zak

















They make hats, scarves and toy animals and have started to sell them.

Carrick-Smith boys' crochet waresSelling their wares















They put the money they earn towards new toys of their own: a surf board for one of their many summer pursuits, powder skis, trick skis.

The boy's gran showed them some basic stitches which got them interested.

They're now hooked, if you'll excuse the pun.
















"The boys and I booked in for a class every Thursday for a year and they haven't looked back, "Emma tells me.

"For them it has been a brilliant way of pushing their creative side and of course now making a nice little earning, and for Phil and I it has been a godsend in the house as it really keeps them busy for hours.

"Journeys to and from races around France and further afield have become a joy as the boys sit happily for hours creating some new animal, headband or hat.

"They are also starting to understand what it is to make your own money. One other major plus point is that they don't spend all their spare time on computer games or screens."

Crochet toysA nice little earner
















While racing and training take up a huge part of the Carrick-Smith boys' winter, it's clearly not taken over their lives.

They love nothing more than playing around on the snow.

Here's Zak and Freddy:

And other commitments permitting, the whole family spends one day a week free skiing together:


"It's so nice to get away from the racing which can be so intense," Emma says.

"For me and Phil, it's just important that they are passionate about skiing."

There seems little chance of that changing anytime soon.

And, for now, it looks as if they'll be marching on in the alpine racing world.

Remember the names.

Who knows, they could be challenging on the World Cup circuit in years to come....

The Carrick-Smith boys with PlanetSKI's Jane PeelPlanetSKI's Jane Peel with the Carrick-Smith boys in Tignes
















In their video interview the boys mentioned some of the events they've done well in and their immediate goals. Here's some more information about them:

Luca - to make it to and win the Topolino, the biggest youth race which both Marcel Hirscher and Lindsey Vonn have previously won. He will need to get on the under-14s podium in the first British races of the season, the Anglo-Scottish in Pila in January to qualify.

Zak - to win the Ouvadoro (Golden Egg) again at Easter, racing against the top young Italian skiers on the Olympic hill in Sestriere. 2,000 children aged 8 to 16 compete. He won the giant slalom when he was in the under-8s, beating 400 skiers.

Freddy - to win for a third consecutive year the end-of-season JB (Jean-Baptiste Grange) Cup in Valloire. The event is a combined Super G and slalom. Like Zak, he's also looking to get in the podium at the Ouvadora where he's twice been placed 3rd in the giant slalom.


Jane recently spent time experiencing Phil Smith & Emma Carrick-Anderson's Snoworks courses.  You can read more about it here:

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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