Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the podium at the World Cup Finals!

I finished the season last week on the podium at the final world cup of the winter.

It was a great ending to a brilliant season. All of my results have been in the top ten this season and I’ve made it to the finals in 5 out of the 8 competitions.

The only thing that had been eluding me was a podium finish, so when I finished in 3rd place at the world cup finals it was just brilliant.

It was a really fun and eventful race. I qualified well in 6th place so was feeling good for the finals day.

My first heat went well and I got through to the semis without too much trouble.

In the semi-final I had some girls trying to pass me from behind but I managed to fend them off to get myself through into the final for the 5th time this season.

In the final I got out of the gate pretty well but then didn’t ride the first few features quite as fast as some of the others so I was in 5th place. Going into the last turn I was doing all I could to pass when there was a crash, Olympic champion Mielle Ricker who was in the lead had fallen! I passed around her so I was then in 4th. Then the girl who was in 3rd place, Dominique, went down as well! I had to turn very sharply to avoid crashing into her and lost a lot of my speed, so much so that she had got up again and it was a race to the finish line. We both went off the final jump together, neither of us having enough speed to make it to the landing but not really caring at that moment that we were going to land on the flat and it was going to hurt. We both slammed onto the snow and struggled to keep control. Dominique bounced up and flipped over the front of her board while I stayed on my feet allowing me to get over the finished line just in front of her to win the Bronze.

It was a very close finish and just goes to show how it’s never over in snowboard cross until you cross the line.

This 3rd place finish meant I finished the season ranked 6th in the world.

I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors Pokerstars, Optimal Payments, Isle of Man Sport Aid and BMW as well as my official suppliers Oxess snowboards, K2 boots + bindings, Von Zipper Goggles, Giro Helmets and Dare2B clothing for their help this season. I also want to say thanks to all the Manx businesses and people who've used www.IsleofDeals.com. Every one of you is assisting me on journey towards Olympic gold. Thank you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

5th in the world!

The latest round of the world cup circuit was held last week in Blue mountain, Canada. I had a really good race and finished in 5th place.

Despite a few good results this season I haven’t quite managed to get onto the podium which is a little frustrating but I am very happy that my results are looking steady with 10th, 7th, 4th, 6th and 5th so far this season and I know the podium will come soon.

The great thing about this latest result is that it bumps me up to 5th in the world which I am super stoked about!

Many thanks to my sponsors Neteller, Pokerstars, BMW and Isle of Man Sport for helping me into the world top 5 J

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter X games 2012

Last week I competed in the winter X games in Aspen, Colorado.

The X games is an invite only competition where not only snowboarders compete but also skiers, snowmobile riders and more. It’s a bit like the American version of the Olympics but exclusively for action sports. This was my 4th time competing at the X games so I knew what to expect and was really looking forward to it.

The course at the X games usually has bigger jumps and features compared to the world cup courses and this year was no exception with a 16 foot high gap jump mid-way down the course and a massive final jump. World number 1 and 4 times X games winner Lindsey Jacobellis fell on the final jump on the first training day and tore the ACL in her knee putting her out for the rest of the season.

The qualification day was pretty chaotic as it had snowed quite heavily the day before and slowed down the course enough that most of the girls didn’t have enough speed to make it over the gap jump. Considering that if you didn’t make it to the landing you would just slam straight into a solid wall of snow, understandably none of us wanted to go off the jump when we thought we make not make it! So after much discussion the organizers sorted it so we would do qualifications the next morning when the course had sped up a bit.

So we did one qualification run each the next morning, at the X games only the top 12 girls qualify for the heats and I qualified in 3rd! That’s the highest I have qualified in a world level competition since back in 2004 so I was super happy. The better you qualify the better lane choice you get in the heats and my qualification times is one of the main thing I am working on this season as now there are 6 people in each heat instead of 4 lane choice is even more important. I am happy with my qualification results so far this season as they have improved with every comp from 9th to 7th to 4th to 3rd.

After qualifications we had a short break for lunch before the heats started in the afternoon. My first heat went really well, I got into 2nd position near the start and stayed in that position all the way down, so I was through to the final!

In the final all 6 of us were out of the gate in a big group, everyone was jostling for position trying to get into the top 3 and onto the podium. I was in 4th position trying to pass into 3rd at the same time as the girl behind me was trying to pass me, all in the first corner! About half way through the corner I don’t know if I hit one of the other girl’s boards or if it was just a patch of ice but all of a sudden I was face down on the snow. I got up and finished the course but I was at the back because of my fall so finished the race in 6th place over all.

I was disappointed to not get onto the podium as I feel like I have been riding really well the last couple of competitions and it’s just out of my grasp, but on the other hand 6th isn’t a bad place to finish and with the size of some of the features on the course to be honest I am pretty relieved I got through it all injury free too.

I am in San Francisco for a few days now, my Brother Jon, his wife Tyla and my little very cute Nephew Zadin live out here so I have come to visit them for a few days before I head to Canada for the next two world cups of the season which are in Blue Mountain, Ontario on the 8th and Stoneham, Quebec on the 21st of February.

Monday, January 23, 2012

4th at the World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

Yesterday I competed in the second world cup event in Veysonnaz and I finished 4th!

The qualifications should have been run on Saturday but it was really windy and girls were being blown off course when in the air so the organizers rightly decided it was too dangerous so cancelled it for that day and ran the qualifications on the Sunday morning before the finals that afternoon.

It was still a bit windy so all the riders were trying to stay as low as they could down the whole course to avoid it as much as possible but it wasn’t as strong as the day before so the race went ahead.

I had a good first qualification run which put me into 4th place. My second run was slightly slower but I kept my 4th position which is my highest qualifying place so far this season.

I am training with the Dutch team this season and there’s one other girl on the team called Bell Berghuis, we knew eventually we were going to end up in the same heat at a world cup and in Veysonnaz it happened. There was Bell, myself and 4 other girls all trying to get into the top 3 to progress to the semi-finals. Bell and I are both super competitive but at the same time we wanted the other to succeed as well.

Because I had qualified well I got first choice of the gates in my first heat which was great. The 6 of us all pulled out and I got into second position after the first jump. Bell got into a crash with another girl unfortunately at that point so she was out. I stayed in second position to the bottom so qualified through to the next round.

I was happy I had got through but disappointed Bell didn’t make it too.

In the semi-final I was in 4th (I think) near the start but then passed into 2nd place over the third jump. I was thinking about half way down “just keep this position and you’re in the final, concentrate on your riding and don’t let the girls behind pass!” I did just that and crossed the line in 2nd place securing my place in the final J

The final was tough with Olympic gold, Silver and bronze medallists making up half the pack. I had a good start out of the gate but made a mistake on the first feature so I was behind over the first jump. I picked up speed quickly though and got into 5th position, then I really got into it. I was heading into the first corner and there was a girl to my left who was a little in front of me and on the proper line for the corner but I knew I needed to pass her quick if I was going to have a shot at the podium so I took a risk and went straight for the apex of the corner knowing I might not be able to hold on and I would lose some speed but hopefully I would get in front. It worked! I got in front of her and even though she came out of the corner with more speed I managed to stay in front so I was now in 4th.

Now I only had to make one more pass to get on the podium but we were nearly at the end of the course! The 4 of us went around the last corner and I took a different line to the girl in 3rd giving me more speed than her coming out of the corner, I was gaining on her over the rollers towards the finish line but just like in my semi-final in the last competition here I didn’t quite manage to get in front before we crossed the line. I think I was about a foot and a half away from doing it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Switzerland world cup

Yesterday I competed in the most recent round of the world cup circuit which was in Vaysonnaz, Switzerland.

Qualifications were on Wednesday and I had a good first run putting me into 7th place in front of the Olympic silver and gold medallists. I beat my time by 15 hundredths in my second run but I stayed in 7th place for the heats on Thursday.

At this competition each of the heats had 6 riders in so I had to get in the top 3 to get through to the next round.

My first heat went well, I rode well on the start section and got into 2nd place in the first corner. I held 2nd place all the way down the course so got through into the semi-finals no problem.

In my semi-final heat I didn’t get a very fast start out of the start gate so was in 4th going into the first turn. I wasn’t far behind the girl in front of me and I was getting closer as we went down the course. I negotiated the final turn better than her so came out of it with more speed. There were then 6 rollers in a straight line towards the finish and I was getting closer and closer to her until I was only a foot behind…….. and then we crossed the finish line. I was soooo close to passing her into 3rd place and qualifying for the final!

Since I didn’t quite manage to pass in time I was now in the small final, to decide places 7 – 12. I had a great start and pulled out ahead over the first jump (see above photo where I am wearing yellow pants) so I was in the lead into the first corner and held it all the way down. The small final was a really good race for me, I was in the lead, my technique was good and everything went perfect. I crossed the line in first by quite a way so that secured me 7th place overall which is my top placing in a world cup so far this season.

There is a second world cup here starting tomorrow which I will be going into with loads of confidence so I will update my blog again after that with all the details and hopefully an even better result.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy new year everyone!

In December I competed in the first world cup of the season which was in Telluride, Colorado. I had been training in Hintertux, Austria for two months prior to the competition so I was really looking forward to it.

The course in Telluride was quite slow and had a very technical start which doesn’t suit my riding style but that’s exactly what I had been working on in Hintertux so I felt a lot happier and rode a lot better on the course than I would have just last season.

In the qualifying I didn’t have a very good first run but my second run was a lot better and I beat my first time by 2 seconds, a massive difference on a 1 minute long course, that second run time qualified me in 9th position.

They have changed the format for most of the world cups this season meaning that instead of 4 riders in each heat there will now be 6, the same as they have at the X games. This makes the races even more exiting and unpredictable than they already were!

So I lined up against the other 5 girls in my first heat. When the gate dropped I had a good start and was in 3rd position, as there were 6 girls in the heat the first 3 went through to the next round so I was in a safe position and therefore there was no need to try to pass the girls in front. I held 3rd place all the way down the course to get through to the semi-final.

In the semi-final I was off balance going off one of the jumps near the start and fell on the landing unfortunately, it was one of the flattest parts of the course too and even though I felt a little silly doing it it’s always worth completing the course in boardercross just in case there is a big crash down below so I hopped along the flat and up the next jump to finish the course. There hadn’t been any crashes so I didn’t get through into the final but I am glad I finished the course.

I was then in the small final which decided places 7 – 12. We all pulled out of the gate and kept in a big group together, we were still in a big group when we went into the air over the jump I had fallen on in the round before. That’s when I saw the girl directly in front of me had taken off wrong and looked like she was going to fall when she landed, I was only about a meter behind her so I turned my board while I was in the air so that as soon as I landed on the ground I would be turning away from her. My guess was right and she did fall on landing and I was very glad I had turned my board in the air because I only missed her head by about 10cm! If I hadn’t have turned so sharply I would have crashed into her for sure and that would have hurt both of us.

The down side from my sharp turn was that I lost a lot of speed because of it which allowed 2 girls to pass me meaning I was now in 4th place. I finished the race in 4th which gave me an overall placing of 10th.

So some good points and some not so good from the competition but my 10th place means I am now ranked 10th in the world which isn’t too bad I guess.

One great thing that happened in December is that as a BMW ambassador I got to pick up my new BMW, it’s a brand new X3 3.0l Diesel M with heated seats, heated steering wheel, reversing cameras, 8 gears, pretty much everything you could imagine, it’s awesome and great in the snow! Click this link to see a quick edit of my first few days driving with it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhs4_kfJoNA&feature=youtu.be

www.IsleofDeals.com is going really well in the Isle of Man and I'm really looking forward to integrating my latest title sponsor - Optimal Payments / Neteller - as a payment option during checkout. Not only are Optimal Payments / Neteller my Olympic title sponsor along with Pokerstars but they are also about to be an integral part of my business venture - a huge thank you to them.

I have also just signed a new clothing supplier - Dare2B - their clothing is absolutely awesome and I'm looking forward to wearing it at competitions all over the World. Dare2B have been absolutely fantastic and I'm proud to be wearing their clothing.

I’m also about to launch www.ZGCityDeals in Leeds early in the New Year which will be an exciting, but extremely busy time!

I had a great Christmas and New Year with my family and now it’s back to training as the next comp is only 10 days away!

Finally, a massive thank you to my sponsors Optimal Payments / Neteller, Isle of Man Sport Aid, Pokerstars and BMW and my suppliers Dare2B, Oxess snowboards, and Von Zipper goggles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks to Isle of Man Sport Aid who funded it I have just got back from Hintertux in Austria after being there for a two month training camp.

The conditions were great up on the Hintertux glacier with quite a big snow park with some big jumps and two different snowboard cross tracks. There hasn’t been much snow fall yet this season in Europe but as Hintertux is so high that wasn’t a problem.
I am training with the Dutch world cup team this season and the camp in Hintertux was the start of that. I have worked with their coach Frank briefly a few years ago and really liked his coaching and there are also two great riders on the team, Bell and Cleve so when the opportunity came up to train with them this season I was delighted.

I got some really good training in Hintertux, the last two seasons I haven’t had much time on snow away from competition because of injury and funding problems so it was great to have two months solid on the snow with no interruptions so I could concentrate on the parts of my technique which needed the most work. I really feel like I have improved since the start of the camp and my confidence has grown greatly, I am very much looking forward to the first competition of the season.

I had a small brake when I went to an event for one of my sponsors, Neteller. They were hosting a party in the Ice bar in London for their VIP users of the NETELLER eWallet service and they invited me along. It was a really fun night and there were plenty of challengers to me on the Wii snowboarding game Neteller had provided. There were some pretty impressive times recorded on the game and the fastest and slowest of the night won prizes.
The only bad thing which happened in Hintertux was in the 5th week I fell in training, hit my head hard enough to crack the back of my helmet and got a concussion. I had a short term memory of about 1 ½ minutes for a few hours (much to the amusement of my team mates) then a head ache for 6 days. I was advised by the doctor to avoid anything which may result in me hitting my head and strenuous exercise until my head ache had gone away. I couldn’t watch TV or look at a computer screen for long without making head feel worse either so to say I had a boring week would be an understatement! There was no permanent damage though and I have a new helmet now so all is well.

I have a few days off snow now before I fly out to Colorado on the 11th of December for the first world cup of the 2011/2012 season which is in Telluride, Colorado. Telluride is a super nice ski resort and I hear it’s been bucketing it down with snow there so hopefully the course will be good. After training on the big jumps in the park in Hintertux I am hoping for some big features in Telluride.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Isleofdeals.com set to fund Manx Olympic Training Program

Press Release
Friday 24th June 2011.

Following months of uncertainty, Zoe Gillings, the British No 1 Olympic snowboarder from Arbory, today announced that since turning entrepreneur with the sole intention to fund her Olympic training program, her online daily deals website launched recently in the Isle of Man has exceeded everyone’s expectations and is now set to fund her Olympic program.

Isleofdeals.com is a deal-a-day website that features one deal at a time on the website offering between 50%-90% off the usual price thanks to the power of group buying. Excellent deals are offered on a wide variety of services & products the Isle of Man has to offer including restaurants, salons, spa’s, golf, gyms, karting, horse riding etc giving the consumer an excellent opportunity to experience these activities at a fraction of the usual cost.

Zoe commented, “The support from Manx businesses and consumers alike has been awesome and I just couldn’t have done it without them. The best bit is that anything made from Isleofdeals.com is going straight to my Olympic training program so this means any businesses who put a deal on the site, any person who buys from the site, or anyone who simply tells their friends about the site are all playing a huge part in allowing me to represent the Isle of Man at the Olympics.”

Zoe has suffered several set backs in the last 6yrs from career threatening injuries to her governing body going bust on the eve of the Vancouver Olympics last year and more recently the UK government cancelling all Zoe's funding due to the politics in British sport. This has made Zoe stronger to strive to achieve that Olympic medal.

As Britain's No 1 ranked Olympic snow sports athlete, Zoe is sponsored by BMW, Pokerstars, Isle of Man Sport Aid and Isle of Man Steam Packet company who's support is invaluable.

Since launching over 7 weeks ago, Isleofdeals.com has sent over 800 customers to 14 Manx businesses and saved Manx consumers over £11,500.

Zoe finished, “I’m so proud to be Manx and love representing the Island at the Olympics and International sporting events Please do visit Isleofdeals.com whenever you want to do anything in the Isle of Man as I promise there will be a great deal on there and please remember any profits earned are going straight into my Olympic training program. Im also in the process of awarding official documentation that will go to every business who features on Isleofdeals.com so they can display to all their customers the values of their business and brand as supporting a Manx Olympic athlete.”

“Thank you so much to everyone on the Isle of Man for supporting me in this new venture so far, I aim to bring you great deals every day from everything the Isle of Man has to offer so please visit www.isleofdeals.com and put a deal on there or buy one of the great deals on offer.” Said Zoe.

Zoe Gilling's is Britain's No 1 Olympic snow sports athlete and has represented Great Britain at 2 previous Winter Olympics Games and has secured her spot as one of the best snowboard cross athletes in the World. Zoe is the only British athlete to ever win a World Cup snowboard cross competition and a favourite for a medal at the next Winter olympics in 2014. Due to terrible politics in British sport, Zoe has now had all her funding cancelled so has turned entrepreneur setting up Isleofdeals.com on the Isle of Man for Manx people to experience the best things the Island has to offer.

To arrange an interview with Zoe please contact Dan Brier on 07624 412944 or via email dan@zoegillings.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I have just launched a business in the Isle of Man! www.isleofdeals.com

It’s a website called http://www.isleofdeals.com/

It is a great new online service for the Isle of Man that harnesses the power of group-buying and enables customers to get unbeatable deals of at least 50%, or more at local businesses. One fantastic deal is featured on the website at a time which showcases a restaurant, outdoor activity, spa, salon, an event or many other things. The deal is featured on the website for a few days and consumers have the chance to buy a voucher for the deal to use within a set period (usually 3 months). Only if a minimum number of people purchase the deal does it goes ahead.

Despite the current economic climate, IsleofDeals provides a win-win situation to consumers and businesses alike. Manx consumers will benefit from the best deals the Island has to offer, and participating businesses will see a huge increase in sales due to the exposure, marketing and promotional depth IsleofDeals provides.

I have been extremely lucky in my career so far and during travelling to competitions around the World, I've noticed many successful business models that for whatever reason never make it to the Isle of Man. I have set up IsleofDeals to offer great benefits to Manx businesses and consumers alike. The website will help people find some of the hidden gems and great activities the Island has to offer that they might not otherwise think of trying. While visiting businesses to get deals over the past 2 weeks I have found loads of great businesses that I didn’t even know were there!

Initially, deals will run for approximately 7 days but I aim to run one deal every day as it picks up momentum. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Duke karting who were the first business I approached with the idea and who have been really supportive ever since, I am featuring their business as our first deal which is online now. Half price for 30 minutes Karting.

If you live on or regularly visit the Isle of Man sign up now at http://www.isleofdeals.com/ to make sure you don't miss out. There is honestly going to be some awesome deals on there!


Monday, March 28, 2011

World cup finals 2011

I have finished my competitions for this season now and I finished on a high with a podium at the world cup finals in Arosa, Switzerland.

There was a variation at this competition as they ran it with 6 person heats with the top 3 progressing from each round instead of the usual 4 person heats with 2 progressing.

We had training on the course on Tuesday then qualifying on Wednesday and the heats on Thursday. I had some trouble on the qualifying day so went through in 17th position.

In my first heat I got into, I think it was 3rd, out of the first corner then within a few seconds I was in 5th, then there was a big crash and I moved up into 3rd again. I stayed there the rest of the way down the course so progressed through to the semis.

In my semi final heat I had an awesome start out of the gate and I did the first few features really well too so got I into second out of the first turn. I stayed there all the way down so was comfortably though to the final.

In the final I had some trouble in the start gate, I thought it was opening but it got momentarily stuck so I slammed right into it! As I bounced back then it dropped so I was last out by a mile. I passed one girl over the first few features then I was in 5th position. Then around the second turn I was taking a high line behind the other girls but I saw that two of them were very close together and looking wobbly so I cut down at the end of the turn so I wasn’t directly behind them and I am very glad I did because they both crashed at the end of the turn. So I was then in 3rd and held that position till the finish so came third overall and won myself a bronze medal :) well actually I won a trophy, a big jar of gummy bears and some prize money :)

After the up and down season I have had it was really nice to end it on a high. The competition was also shown live on Eurosport so it was a good one to get on the podium at!

I am now staying in France for the next couple of weeks testing new snowboards before I head back to the UK next month.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Businesses and Website Launches / Direct Support

Its been a busy coouple of months but I've finally started to launch the first of several businesses to fund my World Cup Snowboarding program. I was also lucky enough to win 2 x snowbord cross competitions last weekend in Italy.

My latest website is http://www.zgbusiness.com/ which is the hub for ALL my business and sporting activity. From here anyone can navigate to my sporting website http://www.zoegillings.com/ or my latest e commerce venture http://www.zgelectronics.com/. As new businesses are launched they will be added to zgbusiness.com.

Following several requests I have now also set up a direct payment system where support can be made directly here. Any direct support is greatly appreciated.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Im turning Entrepreneur - www.ZGelectronics.com

After several months of uncertainty and the full withdrawal of funding from UK Sport to my World Cup snowboard program (around £70k a year), I decided several weeks ago I had to do something drastic if I wanted to to continue to represent Great Britain at the highest level in snowboard cross. I had two choices, retire, or turn entrepreneur!

Obviously I wasnt going to retire, where would the fun be in that? So the first business was launched... today! I'm planning to launch two further businesses before the end of May 2011.

But here is the first business - www.ZGelectronics.com. Its taken me quite a bit of time to develop but I wanted to launch it before I finish the season.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

World championships 2011

Today I competed in the world championships in La Molina, Spain.

With the less than ideal run up to the competition that I had and the fact it was my first world class competition since the Olympics last February I wasn’t expecting much of a result, but I finished 7th which I am very happy with.

The organizers did a very good job building a good course here despite there not being too much snow. It had some pretty big jumps and I don’t mind saying I was a little scared at the start of the training day on Sunday. I got used to it pretty quickly though so it wasn’t a big problem.

As I had virtually no training with my coach before the competition my aim was just to qualify in the top 16 so I was pleased when I had two solid qualification runs which put me through in 11th place.

My first heat today was against Deborah Anthonioz (FRA) who won silver at the Vancouver Olympics, Claire Chapotot (FRA) and Bell Berghuis (NED). We pulled out of the gate together then had some trouble on the run up to the first jump basically leaving 3 of us in the race. I got into second position and held that all the way down with no problems qualifying me through to the semi finals.

My next heat was a bit tougher, I was against Chapotot again as well as Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Dominique Maltais (CAN) I made a mistake at the top of the course so was playing catch up the whole way down. I managed to get into 3rd but that wasn’t enough to get me into the final unfortunately.

So I was then in the small final (to decide places 5-8) I got into third position after the first turn but then missed timed the absorption of a jump resulting in me landing flat and losing all my speed. I got passed so was then in 4th. I managed to pass again near the bottom of the course back into 3rd again and went to overtake into 2nd but couldn’t quite manage it so crossed the line in 3rd in that heat meaning I placed 7th over all.

There were a few technical things I wish I had done better in the race but with all things considered I am very happy to finish 7th today.

I hope this result might help convince UK sport that I do have the potential to finish on the podium in the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and maybe reinstate my funding.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why were the Canadians So successful at the Olympics

I just received this email through from someone about 10 minutes ago who used to know me when I trained in Canada when I was 16 yrs old. It was nice to read and see that even Canadians recognise I have what it takes to get on the podium in World Class competition! I hope UK Sport do soon as well.

I don’t have Canadian parents and even If I did I would never compete for someone else, I’m British through and through and love representing my country. This is the email:-

Hi Zoe,

You don’t know me but I know you.

I know you trained with XXXXX XXXXX for a number of years and did participate in Canada until returning to the UK.

I have two sons who were in theXXXXXXXXX Snowboard Club and then went over to XXXXXXXXXXXX and they now train the junior program.

My question to you is since the British Olympic Assoc will be discontinuing your funding come April, is there any chance you can join Maelle
(Maelle Ricker - Olympic Gold Medallist) and Dominic (Dominic Maltaise) on the Canadian team? I’m not sure if one of your parents is Canadian and if you are eligible or not.

It’s just something which came to mind as I’m certain you have what it takes to podium frequently and it would be a shame to see your dedication cut short.

All I am is an interested fan and no longer involved with the sport except to help XXXX out on the odd occasion there is a local PGS/PSL event in Calgary vicinity which sadly has diminished to practically nil.

It was nice to see our alumni Mike Robertson do so well in Vancouver and of course Matt Morrison, Mike Lambert and Pat Farrell trained with our club before going to the National Team.

Since XXXXXXXXXX went to the UK team it would be nice to see someone head this way in exchange.

Anyway....good luck in your venture to raise capital and DON’T GIVE UP! You have what it takes.


Calgary, Alberta

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On snow - good. Off snow - bad

I have had a great Christmas, I spent it in Albertville in France with all my family who were over there on holiday. (see picture of me with my Nephew Zadin shopping for Christmas dinner)

I have been out on snow for a few weeks now. On the snow it has been going well. My knee has held up well with the riding, a few niggles but nothing serious. I have been riding jumps in the park this last week.

Off the snow it’s not been going as well as I got some very bad news last week regarding funding from UK sport. They have decided not to continue giving world class funding to snowboarding. For the last 4 years this funding has been the main contribution towards my programme paying a large part of the costs of my coach, technician, physio, and their travel. The funding is guaranteed till April 2011 but after that it will be no more. Another massive thing I am going to lose is access to the English institute of Sport in Bath. That is where I have been based each summer for the past 4 years and had access to a strength and conditioning coach, physio, doctor, sports psychologists etc. Again I have this till April 2011 but not after that.

This was a massive blow obviously but I am still carrying on. I have an idea of how to fund my programme, this is to set up a business. I have a few ideas of different things I could do but I need a business mentor so I am looking for a mentor in the business world to help me out giving me some direction so I can get a steady business going to give my programme good funding and allow me to continue my aim of getting to number 1 on the world and winning an Olympic medal, preferably a gold one. If there’s anyone out there who thinks they would like to be a part of this by coming on as a kind of business mentor for me please let me know.

I celebrated new year is chattel, France last night. There were loads of teenagers setting off fireworks in the street, and off balconies nuts!

I hope you had a good Christmas and new year!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Returning to PORTES DU SOLEIL on Monday- Yeah

Well, its official, Im heading back to the Portes Du Soleil on Monday next week. Its been a long and tough summer since the Olympics for one reason or another but Im finally getting to go back on snow, I cant wait.

The best part for me is the Portes Du Soleil, Its been my base now for several years and it just has the absolute best training facilities for me and has great skiing / snowboarding opportunities for all types of recreational holiday makers - Ive snowboarded their loads with my friends and family.

Im even lucky enough to know quite a lot of people who live their including my nutrisionist in Chatel!

If you missed it, Ive also written two articles this season for Wave finder specifically resort guides for the Portes Du Soleil - Morzine and Chatel.

Anywho, I need to pack... See you all in the PDS soon (you know who you are!).

Please follow me on twitter:- http://twitter.com/zoegillings

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mexico, Cenotes, Jet Skiing, BMW & Westfield London 22nd-24th October!

Finally, after what seems a lifetime - ten months to be exact, the new 2010/11 season is about to start in Austria in December. It’s not all been plain sailing though, I have had to deal with 2 major operations (one on my left foot and one on my knee) which has meant a great deal of rehab in the gym. The operations went fine and I've been ready to get back on snow for a while, I'm now just waiting for my program to start.
Since the Olympics I have managed to take some time out to do the things I really enjoy – I took my first summer holiday in five years just recently to Mexico – it was brilliant and I'm now a qualified PADI open water scuba diver. The highlight of the holiday was diving in the Cenotes (fresh water underground caverns) which are only found in the state of Yukatan in Mexico. This mixed with jet skiing, swimming with dolphins (I got to kiss one!) water parks and visiting one of the new seven wanders of the World – Chichen Itza - made it the best holiday ever!
BMW have been absolutely brilliant since I started with them last year and they have taken me on some excellent corporate do’s (as well as supplying me with the ultimate driving machine – I'm not kidding!). I've just received an invitation to the culmination of the ATP World Tennis Tour Finals at the stylish BMW suite at the O2 Arena in London in November. Not only will I get to see the singles and doubles finals but it will be the first time I get to meet the other BMW brand ambassadors. I can’t wait.
Before that though, from the 22nd-24th October I'm going to Westfield London for a jam packed extreme sports weekend featuring stunts on the BMW extreme ramp in the atrium. It’s not all just for watching though, if you come down to the event you will get the chance to have a go on the climbing wall, take a skills training workshop and coaching geared towards teaching you how to skate, scooter and BMX as well as test drive the new BMW X3! If you are free, come down to the event, it will be great fun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BMW driving day & Im now on Twitter!

Recently I was invited in my role as a BMW ambassador to attend a driving day at Oulton park race track.

There were about 100 customers there on the day having a go in a variety of BMW’s and minis on the track and on the off road course. I was a bit nervous though as I knew I was going to be interviewed in front of all the customers and present them all with signed certificates at the end of the day.

I got to take an X1 out on the track which was really fun, that’s the car I normally drive so I was very familiar with it but have never got to drive it around that fast before! Speed aside, I really learnt a great deal about the vehicle, its handling, the affect of the 4 wheel drive (X drive) system and using the steering wheel paddle shift. I finished the laps with permagrin solidly imprinted on my face! It really is the ultimate driving machine!

I also got to take an M3 around the track which is officially the fastest car I have ever driven. I wasn’t just driving around the track all on my own though, like all the guests there I was getting tuition from instructors as I went along so I was learning the proper racing techniques as I drove. It was like being back on an snowboard cross course!

I sat in with racing car driver Mike Wilds as he drove a racing mini around the track and also with Rob Collard, also a racing driver as he drove the M3 around, both were like a mixture between sitting in a car and sitting on a rollercoaster. I loved it :)

I really enjoyed representing BMW and talking to all the guests, listening to their stories and seeing them all having a good day, I know how they feel as I learned loads from the day as well as having a really good time. I finished the day off with the presentations which went really well, everyone was really nice and I'm now looking forward to the next event.

Also, ive just taken the plunge and gone onto twitter, please follow me at https://twitter.com/zoegillings where ill be keeping everything updated as well as facebook.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Laa columb killey

On 24th June I got to open the Laa columb killey festival which is held every year about 5 minutes from where I live in the Isle of Man so it is the most local event as possible for me!

I sang the national anthem along with everyone else and made a short speech opening the festival before crowning the festival princess Becky Corkish who looked very pretty in her dress and cloak.

After all the official stuff was done I had tea and cakes in the tea tent then had a look around all the stalls and tents.

It was really nice to spend a day just wandering around and checking out all the entrants into the competitions for hand writing, best looking vegetable, painting, loads of stuff. It made me feel like a kid again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what I have been up to

Since the Olympics I have been doing lots of stuff.

I went home to the Isle of Man for while where I did a couple of school visits. I went to Arbory school last year to talk to all the kids about my life as pro athlete so it was great to go back there after the Olympics, all the kids had loads of question and were really interested in what the experience was like.

I then went to Queen Elizabeth II where I did a talk for the 6th form students, they also were super interested in what I get up to day to day and asked loads of informed questions.

I have been doing a lot of rehab for my knee which I injured at the Olympics, I have been getting loads of physio. I must say a big thank you to Scott Physio in the Isle of Man who have been great through all my rehab! Also thanks to Neurotech who leant me a kneehab to help me keep my left leg strong while I was limited by how much training I could do on it.

I also went to the BOA/EIS rehab centre at Bisham Abbey for two weeks of intensive rehab, I have to say my legs have never been as tired as they were by the end of that!

After that I went to Marrakech for a friend’s wedding, it was my first time there and although it was great and totally different from anywhere I have been before but I was quite glad to get back to the UK again and be able to drink water out of the tap again.

Last week I was in Nottingham at a Pokerstars event and I am going to Wentworth tomorrow for an event with BMW at the BMW golf village.

I am heading back to the Isle of Man tomorrow where I am for a week before heading to Bath where I will once again be based for the summer.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Olympics - Vancouver 2010

On Tuesday I competed in the biggest event of my career so far, the winter Olympics, out here in Vancouver. The snowboarding event was held at Cypress mountain which is just on the outskirts of Vancouver.

The day started early for me when I got up at 5am in time for an 8:30am competition start. When we got up to the mountain the competition then got delayed by 2 hours due to fog. I made the most of the time and found a quite spot to have a nap.

Once we got going at 10:30 the sun had come out a bit so we had a quick inspection of the course then 40 minutes training before qualifications began.

I was 3rd to go on the first qualification run and when I got into the start gate the cloud came over again, they held the competition temporarily thinking it would clear in the next few minutes. This was pretty nerve wracking as I was at the biggest comp of my life and I am stuck in the start gate (with a camera looking at me the whole time) waiting to go. Somehow I managed to keep myself relatively calm until I was allowed to go a whole 12 minutes later, those 12 minutes felt like about a year!

I had a solid first run, the visibility wasn’t perfect but I had raced in worse before. That run put me into 5th place.

On the second run I had perfect visibility, I was having a good run until I caught the front edge of my board as I landed awkwardly over a jump and did a front flip! I remember realizing I was about to face-plant very hard into the ground and my gymnastics training from when I was younger kicked in making me tuck my head in and flipped over to land on my back, I have been told by a few people since that it was one of the best saves they have ever seen, although I am yet to see it myself.

After everyone had completed their second run I was then in 8th place which gave me 2nd lane choice in my first heat. I had a good start and did the first few features well to settle into second place behind Mellie Francon who had won the qualifications, with the other two girls behind us, we crossed the line in that order meaning I and Mellie progressed through to the semi finals.

In my semi final heat I had last lane choice so I was stuck with the far right gate. My start was good again (it looks like all that dry slope start gate training in the summer helped) but I didn’t do the first few features quite as well so I was back in 4th around the first turn, I clipped boards slightly with Mellie going off the second jump which caused me to land too far down the landing and lose some speed. Then Mellie made a mistake around the next corner and I overtook her putting me into 3rd place and needing to get into the top two to get through to the final. I of course went for it with everything I had! I was going as quick as I could to try and overtake, then I went off one of the doubles and overshot the landing because of the extra speed I had, I managed to stay on my feet but on the landing I had landed on my back foot on the up ramp of the next roller then got kind of slingshot onto my front foot twisting my knee quite badly. I carried on riding but my knee just wouldn’t let me push into the turns to make up speed meaning I couldn’t catch the other girls up and finished in third putting me into the small final.

I had made it through that round on pure adrenalin but by the time I got back up to the top I had serious doubts about my knee. I got advice from the BOA doctor and physio who were there with me and then I had to choose if I was going to race in the small final or not. I think if it had been the big final I may have taken the risk and tried racing but as it was I was unable to hold the pressure against the snow around the corners and more concerning I couldn’t move my knees up quickly on the take offs of the jumps to suck them up and prevent myself from flying to far or out of control, so I decided not to race and prevent myself from injuring myself even worse by riding without being able to handle the features properly. I pulled out of the start gate in the small final to secure my 8th place but stopped after 2 metres.

All in all with all the problems I faced in the last 12 months on the run up to the games with my governing body going bust and closing my training program down over the summer I am very happy with the result, I was trying to get a medal as I always am but I did everything I could in the preparation and on the day that I could possibly have done and that’s all I can ever ask of myself.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, BOA, UK sport, EIS, IOM sport, and of course my personal sponsors Pokerstars, BMW, BA, Sno!zone, Donek, Sony, Briton engineering, my whole family who were in the stands, and last but not least everyone who was watching the competition on the TV or over the internet and was cheering for me:)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stoneham World cup, Calgary prep camp and Snowsport GB

I just competed in my last world cup before the Olympics. I finished in 13th which I wasn’t very happy with as a result, but as 5 girls had been stretchered off the course due to injury – including Tanja Frieden the current Olympic gold medallist – The thing I was most happy about at this competition was that I got through it injury free. To be honest I don’t think I was riding as hard as I usually would just because the last thing I want to do now is get injured 3 weeks before the Olympics.

I am flying out today to go to Calgary where I am staying for a week at the British Olympic Association (BOA) preparation camp to hopefully get some good training in.

You may have read some articles in the newspapers and on websites about Snowsport GB possibly going into administration and that affecting if any of the GB skiers and snowboarders will be able to compete in Vancouver, because athletes need to be representing a national federation to compete in the Olympics. I know the BOA are fully aware of the situation and are putting things into place in case the worst should happen to allow all the selected athletes to compete. The BOA have been very helpful with my entire programme throughout the problems which have been going on since last April and I have complete confidence in them. I would like to say a massive thank you to the BOA by the way, because I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the help they have given me over the past 12 months.

In regards to the entire funding situation with Snowsport GB and everything, I am not using it as an excuse, there is nothing I can do to change it so I am focussing 100% on using everything I have left to do the best I can in Vancouver.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Bad Gastein world cup 2010

Today I competed in the first world cup in 2010, it was held in bad gastein, austria.

I had finished 18th in the last world cup which was held just before Christmas so my confidence was knocked a bit and I really wanted to get a solid qualification in here if nothing else. I got 2 good runs in and qualified in 4th yesterday so that was a very nice start to the competition.

In the heats today I started off in a nice heat, I got into second out of the first turn and then took a tight line over the final corner jump to pass into first just before the finish line to win the heat.
My next heat wasn’t so easy. I got out of the gate well but then lost a little speed over the first jump so I was then in 3rd going into the first turn. I was chasing all the way down and got close near the end so tried my trick over the last jump, I got very close but it didn’t work quite as well as the last time and I didn’t manage to pass.

After that I was in the small final with Faye Gulini, Mellie Francon and Maelle Ricker who has won the last two world cups and about four of the world cups last season. I got out of the gate fast and into second possition behind Francon, I was chasing her all the way down while at the same time working to keep Ricker behind me. I went for my inside line on the last jump and got so close to Francon I think the tip of my board went over the finish line at the same time as her front foot!

This race was one of the tightest at the finish line that I have competed in in a while.

After my result in the small final I had finished 6th over all in the competition. A big confidence boost the month before the Olympics not too mention beating the girl who’s just won a load of world cups!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

telluride world cup

I had qualifications for the world cup in Telluride yesterday where the top 16 go through. I had a very bad day, came 18th and don't really want to talk about it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Portes Du Soleil - Cant Wait

Its only two more weeks until I go back to the Portes Du Soleil which will hopefully be my base for this season, I cant wait!!

Per my last blog im currently in Hintertux but looking forward to leaving, the trainnig has been good but lots of bad weather days and quite a bit of driving, all in all very tiring. I was in the PDS a couple of weeks ago when I first arrived in Europe as I did a photo shoot for BMW and some video diaries for the BBC - I was lucky as the snow had fallen overnight!

If im lucky and the weather holds out ill be doing some mountain biking as a bit of light excercise before I leave for the World Cup in Telluride as the snow will be comming thick and fast this year if last season is anything to go by! I was in the PDS this summer doing a load of mountain biking and even got to have my own speed boat for the day on Lake Geneva courtesy of one of my sponsors, it was great. really looking forward to the start of the season... Its only a few weeks away!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On snow in Hintertux

I have been training in Hintertux in Austria this week.
It's great to be back on snow and I have had a good weeks training.

We have had some trouble with the weather, this time of year on a glacier it's always a bit of a gamble with the weather and it was fog which was the problem this week. There was quite a bit of hanging around waiting for it to clear for the first 3 days but after that it was ok. When we can see it there's a pretty nice track here though, it's got two wootangs at the top which is great for me becasue that's one thing I was wanting to train while here. After that there are some rollers, three banked turns and a few jumps then some more rollers. It's a short rack but good for training and my technique over on the wootangs has improved already after the few days we have been here.

We are off snow for the weekend for some rest and dry land training but I am going to be back on snow on Monday. I just hope we can see the track!

Have a good weekend everyone.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final Preparations for the Olympics before leaving the UK

The last 5 weeks for me have probably been my busiest ever! Since I arrived back from Argentina I have been finishing my final dry land training program at Bath before I head out to Europe for “on snow” training. But the difference this time is with the Olympics being so close even though I've been in the gym every day, I've also been doing tons of interviews for the media it feels like I have been doing at least one a day and also spending a great deal of time working with my sponsors, its been really tiring, but all good stuff and pretty fun. The one thing that is obvious is that the “Financial situation” within my sport is a media story at the moment. I can see why this is but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it apart from get my head down and train. It has had a massive impact on my training program but at the same time it has also been a massive opportunity. In short, the British Olympic Association and UK Sport have been absolutely excellent to me since the financial problems began, both organisations have worked together and really helped me, if it were not for them I would be in a lot worse position right now!! So I have to say thank you so much to them.

There has been a great deal of positives that has come out of the problems, some that have changed my career for the better, for good. Over the past 5 years I have been part of a “generic training program” but now since the financial problem began back in March I have developed a close team around me and am running my own “focussed” World Cup Snowboard Cross program together with the British Olympic Association. Thanks again to my manager and WC SBX program manager Dan Brier who has worked tirelessly during this time (and for the past 3 years) and made so many things happen that simply looked impossible. He has allowed me for the first time to actually focus my training around myself where it is best directed for me to become the best I can be. This hasn't happen overnight but I am so much happier now, both on and off the snow. In years gone by because of the training programs I have been part of I haven’t been part of a team but now I am with the immediate team around me and TeamGB as a whole, its great and I love it!

Anyways, my plans are to stay in the uk till the start of November so i have look 2 packed weeks to look forward to before I go, I'm filming with ITV Granada today at Milton Keynes SNO!zone - my indoor slope sponsor, I have a national newspaper interview tomorrow, the metro show on Saturday where I am launching the new BMW X1 motor vehicle as a BMW ambassador, also on that day I have an interview with the BBC and a photoshoot with British Airways my new airline sponsor. I'm spending Sunday with my friends who have come across to see me from the Isle of Man which should be great fun. Next week I have another couple of interviews, the Olympic Gold ball in London on Thursday evening where the dress code is black Tie so I am wearing a dress, this doesn't happen very often! Then the Birmingham Ski show over the weekend. Its all go!! I'm now really looking forward to getting back on snow, I'm probably going to start off in Hintertux, Austria but I have to finalise arrangements with my coach – Lukas Prem depending on where the good snow is. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to afford to employ a coach since March 09 but thanks to the creativity of my team and the endless efforts of UK Sport and the British Olympic Association, I now have one part time at least and I'm really looking forward to working with him through the season.

That's about it for now but I will have more updates soon. And finally a massive thank you to Graham Hughes who took these images during The Times interview I had a couple of days ago.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Argentina world cup

Today was the first world cup of the season which was held in Chapelco, Argentina.

I was a little weary at the start because of how little training I had had over the summer but I was riding ok in practice on the course so my confidence went up a bit.

Yesterday was qualifying and it was super hot, it must have been around plus 15 with very strong and hot sun, I was just riding in a T-shirt, back protector and my bib, the bare minimum and was still boiling hot! I qualified in 8th position which gave me 2nd lane choice in my first heat today so I was pretty happy.

Today I was in a heat with Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), Isabel Clark Ribeiro (BRA) and Yoka Fujimori (JAP). Lindsey was going to be a challenge to get in front of as she is currently ranked 1st in the world but other than that I should have been ok. In the end the heat didn’t last very long though. I came out of the gate quick which means that all the work I have been doing on my starts over the summer seems to be paying off. I was just behind Lindsey going over the first set of rollers when she miss timed one of them and fell, straight in front of me. I tried to turn around her but I was just too close and crashed into her, which allowed the others to pass us and fly down the track. We got up and tried to catch them but they were just too far in front. I finished ahead of Lindsey at least.

My final position was 10th which isn’t too bad I suppose I am just a little annoyed that I got knocked out in the first heat.

I am leaving Argentina tomorrow and going up to Colorado to see my brother for a week before heading back to Bath for 4 more weeks of fitness training before I hopefully get back on snow (providing we don’t have any more funding problems) and the season really gets going.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Argentina - still no Olympic programme (August 22nd)

I left the UK on the 17th and got to Chapelco the day before yesterday. We were meant to arrive one day earlier but got stuck in Buenos Aires for an extra night because our flight got cancelled. It wasn’t all bad though because we went to a Tango show which was fun.

I am very happy to be back on snow, the summer seems to have gone by really fast, a lot faster than I would have liked to be honest.

I am here for the world cup competition which is on the 12th of September but have come early for some training beforehand because I have only been able to get onto snow for a few days the whole summer instead of about 5/6 weeks which is what I had planned.

I haven’t been able to get on snow anymore than that because of the whole funding being stopped, programme grinding to a halt thing I was talking about in my last blog.

I have been up on the hill yesterday and today. We were a bit worried when we arrived at the bottom of the hill yesterday morning because the snow didn’t look very good at all! There were massive brown patches and areas of dirt everywhere at the bottom. Then as if the weather was reading our thoughts it started snowing about 30 minutes later and still hasn’t stopped. There was about 8in of powder today which was sweet to ride on.

There is a south American cup competition at the start of September which I am going to enter for practice, it will be interesting to see how many world cup riders turn up for it, quite a few I think.

I am off to go to dinner now.

C ya

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer training

I have spent a lot of time in the gym recently, about 4 hours a day 6 days a week actually.

I did manage to get on snow for a week earlier this month. I went to Les 2 Alpes, France where I was training half pipe to transfer those skills into Snowboardcross. It went really well for the first 4 out of the 6 days we were there and I was really getting into it. Learning a load of new stuff and thinking about how I could use it most effectively. Then my back started hurting for no apparent reason, I hadn’t fallen or anything! It was fine if I was still but as soon as I moved in any direction I got shooting pains which stopped me riding anymore. In fact it stopped me from doing pretty much anything at all!

It only lasted about 4 days but that was just long enough for me to be back home by the time I was good enough to ride again.

That was fairly annoying but at least I did get 4 good days of riding and had made the most of them.

Speaking of injuries, all the ones I got through the season are gone now apart from my right heel injury from January which is still hanging in there. After a million different theories about what I had done to it one of my doctors finally worked out that I had trapped a nerve. I got it injected with cortisone a few weeks ago as that is pretty much all that can be done bar an operation. The injection made it feel a little better but it still hurts when I get any impact through it. I don’t want to have the operation because the recovery time is 6 weeks and I can’t afford to be off my feet for 6 weeks right now so I am just going to have to put up with it I think.

I am thinking about the first world cup of the season now which is in Argentina on the 12th September. I am going out there on the 17th August for some training beforehand so I am looking forward to that a lot. Hopefully they will have a lot of snow and build a big course with some big jumps like last year as that will be very good preparation for the Olympics.

Re the financial situation I talked about in my last blog nothing has really changed, my programme was officially frozen at the end of April and it hasn’t started again, the financial backing for my programme is supposed to start again on the 1st august, I will let you know if it has, in my next blog.

As it stands I am currently financing the entire world cup SBX programme and I will soon be bankrupt!! So I really hope I can draw on funds in august.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to Bath

I am back in Bath now and settled into dry land (off snow) training here. I am in the gym 6 days a week again now which is hard but necessary, and doing me good.

When I got back I had a few injuries still causing me problems. I bruised the bone on the outside of my right elbow in Valomalenco in March, that is almost totally better now.

My right knee has been niggling for a while but that’s looking better now too after some treatment, it’s not affecting my training at all anyway though so not a problem.

My right (note how all of are on my right side!) heel is still sore from when I landed on it at the X games back in January these. I have had an MRI scan and a CT scan on it so we know there is nothing wrong with the bone now but it’s still causing me problems when I take impact through it. Hopefully it shuldn’t be too long before that’s better too.

I am having financial problems with my Olympic programme at the moment but I am hoping this will be sorted soon and we will have enough money to employ a coach; I’m doing the best I can in the circumstances and hopefully should be able to get back on snow soon.

One thing I am loving is the weather at the moment. After a long winter surrounded by snow the sun shine and heat are defiantly going over well!