Winter Olympian Katie Summerhayes is aiming to win gold at Pyeongchang 2018 after overcoming home disappointment from the last games.
The 19-year-old is currently pre-season training in Hintertux, Austria, ahead of the country’s January World Championships in Kreischberg.
Despite being injured for nine months prior to Sochi 2014, Waterthorpe-born athlete Summerhayes is confident ahead of this season with medal success at the next Olympics her long-term aim.
“I am working towards a gold medal, that is definitely what I want to achieve and it’s a fantastic goal to get me training hard for the next three years,” the British freestyle skier said.
“As soon as Sochi finished the next Olympics was my focus and everything is geared around that chance of winning a gold medal now.
“I was injured leading up to Sochi which didn’t help my preparation at all so fingers crossed that won’t happen this time around.
“I’m working on new tricks and skills all the time and I want to keep making improvements and getting better and better. I want to try and get that gold and the hard work has already started.”
Even with inadequate training preparation the former Sheffield Sharks Ski club athlete finished seventh in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, after coming third in qualifying.
“I was tipped as a medal hopeful by the media before the games but having that much time out would hinder any athlete,” the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics flag carrier said.
“It was just a dream come true to be able to get to be able to compete and I was over-the moon with my qualifying place.
“However ultimately I was disappointed with how I did in the final but I’ve learnt from that experience and a successful athlete has to be able to move on after tough results.”
Katie started skiing aged six and was taken to the former Sheffield Ski Village every Saturday with her sister Molly by her dad who saw the white slopes everyday while working at the top of the BT tower block in the city.
The 2014 World Youth Championship gold medalist trained at the facility up until it was burnt down in 2012, and believes the site should be re-opened to benefit the next generation.
“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for those slopes, and it should definitely be re-opened because of what an amazing facility it is,” she said.
“It had the best jumps in the country and was so accommodating for everyone – not just elite athletes but for adults and kids who wanted a fun and exciting hobby.
“It’s the next generation that will suffer if the site is just left to fall into wrack and ruin and it’s such a shame about what has happened to it – hopefully action will be taken.”
The Sheffield Ski Village also helped to produce many other Team GB’s top athletes, including Sochi 2014 Olympians James Woods, 22, James Machon 23 and Olympic snowboarders Zoe Gillings and Jamie Nicholls.
The 16.5 acre site at Vale Road is currently owned by Kevin Pullen, who has applied to build 70 houses on the former busy slopes.
It has suffered three fires since April 2012, some of which were arson, and Sheffield Council has condemned it as “a hot spot for vandalism and fly-tipping.”
GB Moguls Ski Team manager and head coach Chris David who worked at the Village from 1996-2001 said: “It is really bad to see the state of it now and so sad because you used to have a facility that was producing world class athletes and now it’s just a wreck.”
“It’s been trashed on numerous occasions and unfortunately this happened because it wasn’t sorted out straight away after being burned down.
“Should any proposals for housing get through it would be a crying shame – it is a big thing that South Yorkshire will be losing.
“There is a whole legacy of producing top class athletes – like Katie, but that could all go to waste and it is the next generation I feel sorry for.”
Chris is also the Chill Factore snow sports manager and currently the Manchester sports facility sponsor 29 talented youngsters.
“Everything I do is about helping the next generation and we got it up and running partly because the Ski village is no more,” the Sheffield born ski and snowboard expert said.
“There are limitations with the building features here – for example we can’t build a half pipe in the centre and we can’t build jumps that are as big as those that were available in Sheffield.
“The Village was a very forward thinking company but now it’s a devastated site, elite athletes have to spend the majority of the time on real snow abroad and a lot of youngsters are losing out.”
It is unclear as to the future of the Ski Village but the council has stated it is not considering a residential development on the site and would not change the lease terms to allow it.
Earlier this year Sheffield City Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure Councillor Isobel Bowler showed support in bringing snow sports back to the Village.
“The facility was aging and there is potential for a new facility that would provide a centre of excellence for alpine sport,” she said.
“I’m sure we can sort something out. It would be good to have it back at the Village.”
For all the latest news and updates from Katie Summerhayes follow her on Twitter @suumerhayes