Kathryn Adams, the Verbier based author of “Death in Grondère“, caught up with freeriding sensation Ethan Davis and his family on their most recent trip to Verbier for MadDogSki.com.
It was the little dog wearing goggles that caught my eye. As I talked to Johnny, his owner, I realised I was talking to the father of young British freerider, Ethan Davis. Sure enough, Ethan soon turned up and a short while later, he and I were ‘shredding’ the slopes of Verbier together. I was intrigued to learn how Ethan, with no skiing background or connections, came to be on the FWT Junior Tour.
It takes a very determined 17-year-old to live for months at a time away from family and friends, in order to follow his dream. But, from the age of seven, Ethan Davis’s sights have been firmly set on the Alps and so that is what he does. This winter, Ethan has been spending a lot of time in the freeride mecca of Verbier.
Having developed his love and enjoyment of skiing at Xscape in Castleford, Ethan entered his first competition at the age of 8 in the British Moguls Championship and won his age category. He then joined Sharks Ski Club based in Sheffield where he trained on dry and indoor slopes. Over the following years Ethan competed in moguls, halfpipe and freestyle skiing at the English Championships achieving podium positions.
Ethan has been part of Snowsport England Park & Pipe Home Nations Team and British Freeride Squad for a number of years. His freeride training has been supported by Warren Smith Ski Academy based in Verbier who have worked with Ethan on his technical skills to enable him to become the skier he is today and compete at such a high level.
Over time Ethan has gained sponsorships with Armada, VonZipper, Fulltilt, Ski Insurance and support through Sport England’s Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) – this provides him with coaching and support for S&C, lifestyle, physiology, nutrition etc.
When Ethan is back in the UK he goes to college full-time and is now in his final year studying level three in sports and exercise science. He also has a part-time job which helps him to fund his ski training, travel, equipment etc. Ethan also has various teaching, first aid and search and rescue qualifications.
Johnny tells me how proud he and Julia are of Ethan and how he juggles his time to achieve his ambition to become a professional skier. They both work full-time and so they cannot always accompany him: since the age of 13, Ethan has been travelling to Europe mostly on his own or with friends which has made him pretty independent. Johnny and Julia come out to support Ethan whenever they can with their camper van, timing their trips so they can drive him to different ski resorts for his competitions. Their 3-year-old poochon, Carlos travels everywhere with them: he loves the slopes (apart from a recent husky encounter that he would rather forget) and those special goggles that first caught my attention are ordered specially from the USA, to protect his eyes.
The whole family has embraced life in the Alps. The last time I saw Johnny, he had hiked up the Dent de Nendaz with Ethan for the event there, then he hiked down again, whilst Ethan came down the quick way. It’s clear that Ethan is not the only dedicated member of the family. Ethan’s impressive progression from the dry slopes of the UK to the top tier of European freeriding for his age group is not only down to his own drive and determination, but also the unstinting support of understanding parents.
So, if ever you’re on the slopes of Europe, and you see a little poochon wearing goggles, he’s called Carlos and Ethan Davis will be freeriding on a mountain nearby.