Introducing DanaLouFIT's 1st Sponsorship- Gillian Finnerty
DanaLouFIT is so excited to announce Gillian Finnerty as our first Sponsorship. Gillian is a member of the Senior British Snowboarder Cross Squad and currently both the British and English Indoor snowboarder cross champion. She is a sponsored freestyle snowboarder and has recently won her second international slopestyle competition. We are really proud to have Gillian representing DanaLouFIT and we want our customers to get to know Gillian.
When did you start Snowboarding?
When I was 18 and had just started my degree at Sheffield University
Where did you learn how to ride? Since we are from America and we love Colorado we aren’t really familiar with the ski areas in Europe. Where do people from the UK go on ski holiday?
I learnt at the Sheffield Ski Village, a dry slope right near the city centre. It had a ‘dendix’ slope - best for racing, a ‘snowflex’ slope which had a jump, hip, and even a halfpipe! It was difficult to learn on but it was cheap so made the sport accessible to skint students like me! Now it’s burnt down (RIP) I go to Castleford Xscape more regularly, - basically an indoor fridge with sort of manmade snow. I also when on most of the University snow sports club holidays to the French Alps.
What is your perfect day on the mountain? When you’re not competing?
My perfect day on the mountain would have to start off with first lift for a few powder runs on a bluebird day, followed by a cruise over to the park, then some park laps on some rails and jumps, then hopefully a bit of filming with some friends if we’ve landed some new tricks.
When did you decide to start pursuing snowboarding on a competitive level?
I was the SUSC (Sheffield University Snowboard Club) Competitions Officer in my third year at Uni, so sort of had to compete anyway - that’s how I got into racing. I had entered a couple of local dry slope freestyle comps in Sheffield and was hoping to compete more as I realised how fun it was and that it pushed me to be a better rider. I competed for Sheffield University at all the British University Competitions since getting on the SUSC committee, and after getting a few podiums I thought I’d enter some non-university competitions, and got 1st place in my category for both of them! I was spotted by a clothing company (D4Seven) who had a trade stall at one of those competitions and they offered me sponsorship. That was when I realised I should start competing more often, and I ended up getting a few more sponsors and making a bunch of friends so it was always fun to go and compete. Plus, I liked the travel element, I have explored loads of different places and I have fallen in love with Scotland! It’s good for me to keep practising and competing on dry slope, as I usually ride in the indoor domes now. You always get the best features at competitions, and competing helps you focus on getting your tricks looking stylish and consistent too.
What is your most memorable moment during competition?
There’s so many! I always remember the moments when something crazy happens, like when I overtake someone in an SBX race, or when I deck myself on a rail haha. Probably has to be landing my first ever proper 360 in a dry slope competition for the slopestyle finals at the British University Dry Slope (BUDS) Champs in 2015. I won gold for that and a £100 CLWR voucher, and that was my first proper title defend. It always helps when there’s over 1000 students watching and cheering you on too!
What do you love the most about snowboarding?
I love the freedom of it, choosing what tricks to do and which discipline to try, plus the physicist in me loves trying new spins and techniques and figuring out where I’m going wrong and fixing it myself. It’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one and once you realise you can do that rail you’ve been scared of for months it’s a proper achievement. I’m always challenging myself to learn new things in general and within this sport I can try such a variety of things, and there’s always plenty for me to improve on - I never get bored! I like the satisfaction of getting a new trick in the bag, and it’s even better when you learn it with mates and just have a great day riding. Being able to do such a fun sport in the most amazing scenery up in the mountains, and to really enjoy being in nature makes this sport so unique and I’m so glad to have stuck at it.
What does your year look like for Competitions? Which are the most important competition for you this year?
The British snowsports season starts in May with some big dry slope competitions, and then the English SBX and Slopestyle championships happen in June, and the Indoor British SBX and slopestyle champs are held at the end of summer, but there’s plenty of dry slope and indoor champs over the summer weekends.
After Uni starts again in September there’s the Kings racing League every few weeks where we do team duals racing. Then there’s also the British University Snowsports Champs for dry slope (BUDS) in early November. The BUSC indoor Dome Series qualifiers are around Jan/Feb with the finals in March. There’s less competitions around winter other that university ones as most people are away on seasons.
This year I was lucky enough to have two months training in Austria with the British Boardercross team, so I had a total of 3 FIS SBX races in Switzerland and the Czech Republic. I also competed in slopestyle at the international Zillertal Valley rally competitions near where we were based in Austria, which is World Snowboard Tour (WST) ranked, - I came 5th and then 1st! Hopefully next winter I can compete in similar competitions and maybe some FIS slopestyle competitions in and around Switzerland, where I’ll be based for two months.
The end of March means it’s time for the BUSC ‘Main Event’ where we have Uni competitions for all snowsports disciplines in the French alps. This year I managed 7/8 golds out of all the disciplines for snowboarding, and 1 silver! I got tons of BUCS points for the University so we’re doing pretty well in the BUCS league. There’s also the British Championships (the BRITS) which this year was held in Laax for a week. That pretty much rounds off the season.
This coming season the most important competition for me without a doubt has to be the World University Games. This is basically the University Olympics, and I met the qualifying criteria by doing so well in the FIS races this year so I’ll be entering the SBX competition. I’m hoping to do the best out of all the non-world cup circuit riders and ride the course as best as I can and make no mistakes, I cannot wait for this! It’ll be held in Kazakhstan, and has opening and closing ceremonies and everything so will be one hell of an experience! I will hopefully be able to compete at the 2019 Universiade (University Olympics) as well in SBX and Slopestyle.
What is your favorite DanaLouFIT active wear piece ?
They’re all so awesome, this is a hard one! I did Astrophysics for my degree so the cosmic print is pretty high up there, but the Lahu print is so original and looks pretty and fashionable without being too girly for me. That print hits the nail on the head but I also love the new Winter Solstice print for the same reasons! So it’s a tossup between the Lahu leggings and the winter solstice top at the moment.