Wānaka freeski halfpipe athlete Chloe McMillan is back in competition mode as she chases her dream of qualification and selection for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February 2022.
After a successful winter spent training at home, the 21-year-old has jetted off to Europe where she’s gearing up for the World Cup Circuit.
“Making it to Beijing has definitely been my biggest goal for the past few years and I’m really striving to do the best skiing I can,” says McMillan.
“Everything I do on and off snow as being focused towards my skiing and making it to the Olympics.”
The return to Europe follows an unexpected extended stay in the US in early 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. What was meant to be a relatively quick trip ending up stretching out to six-and-a-half months in the states, but with some great results the situation ended up being a blessing in disguise.
“Getting stuck there wasn’t a bad thing in the end. We managed to do loads of training and got to competitions including the World Champs and the World Cup. I got some good results and I was really happy with my skiing.”
Those good results included 14th place at the World Champs and fifth place at the US Nationals. Not bad for someone who only took up freeskiing six years ago.
“I'm actually from the North Island, and I grew up skiing at Ruapehu every weekend with my family.
“When I was about 15 a few of my friends talked me into joining the free ski squad. From there I started taking it more and more seriously, so I moved to Wānaka to train once I finished school and the more I got into half-pipe, the more I fell in love with it.”
The experience has made her passionate about inspiring others, especially young women.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you're at, don't let anyone ever tell you you're not good enough,” she says.
“I’m really passionate about getting more women into this sport, females are amazing and we can do a lot more than people tell us. Even though the half-pipe can be scary, you're more than capable of doing it. If I can do it, then anyone out there can too.”