About James & Alice
James and I (Alice) first started dating in 2011 in London, and married two years later. However, our marriage started with a bit of a surprise when James was diagnosed as having such severe sight loss, that he was classified as 'sight impaired' (the new term for 'partially sighted'). A year later James was classified as 'Severely Sight Impaired', the new label for 'blind'.
I have always loved skiing but didn't have anyone to go with, and so we decided to try a ski holiday together. We didn't know if James would be able to ski or not (he'd only done a handful of days as a teenager in America), but decided to give it a go in Arinsal, Andorra. Fortunately the ski school manager (Marcus Upton) teaches adaptive skiing to other ski instructors, and so helpfully suggested that I tried to start guiding James. He also suggested that we contact Disability Snowsport UK as they run skiing sessions in indoor snowdomes in the UK, and also the British race team, as not many blind people want to ski race!
To cut a very long story short, in November 2015, James was classified by the International Paralympic Committee as a B2 visually impaired athlete, and we started regular ski training in January 2016.
In November 2016 we competed in our first ski race for Great Britain, and carried on throughout the 2016-17 season.
Unfortunately in September 2017, I snapped my ACL and tore my MCL in my left knee, meaning I was unable to compete in the 2017-18 season. James therefore skied with Ross Patterson, and they travelled Europe ski training and racing.
We decided to leave the British Development Team in March 2018 and go independent (the Development Team subsequently dissolved anyway), and lived in Courchevel, France and travelled to races during the 2018-19 season.
We trained hard with Ben Reid Performance Coaching and Skivo, and were excitedly waiting to ski race in the 2019-20 season. However, when James returned for his 3rd classification with the International Paralympic Committee, a mistake was made and James had his race licence taken away immediately. Attempts to rectify the mistake were all either impossible due to lack of capacity within the IPC (Norway in Dec 2019), or cancelled due to Covid-19 (Beijing in Feb 2020; USA in Apr 2020; Holland in Nov 2020; Austria in Dec 2020 and Switzerland in Jan 2021). However, we persevered, and with just a few days notice, James was able to be reclassified in February 2021, and James was reinstated as a B2 visually impaired athlete.
With the 2020-21 season nearly over, we are going to race as many times as possible in March, despite added complications with European lockdowns and Covid-19 test requirements. After nearly 16 months of being unable to race, we're not going to take every single chance we can to do the thing we love and follow our dreams!
Watch this space!!!
(And a HUGE thank you to everyone who has stayed with us and supported us during the ups and downs, the tears, the frustrations, the anger and the sadness. We really couldn't have done it without you!)