Freestyle Skiing - High-flying Cheshire keeping feet on the ground

Sochi hopeful Rowan Cheshire felt pretty 'sick' this Christmas - and in her language that is certainly no bad thing.

The 18-year old British ski halfpipe specialist took a twisting turning spinning leap closer to next year's Olympics with her first World Cup top ten in Copper Mountain recently.

The performance, which followed a seventh at the competitive Dew Tour in Breckenridge, secured the Olympic qualifying standard and while the final team for Sochi won't be confirmed until later next month, Cheshire, in the language of her sport, has plenty of reasons to be 'stoked'.

"I'm trying not to think about selection but it's always on my mind, especially when I get to a World Cup," she admits.

"It's only my first full year competing at this level and the important thing is I need to keep progressing and improving.

"This sport is quite a mental game and I'm learning how to compete and not allow other factors to get to me.

"I've tried to put the Olympics out of my mind because it does put the pressure on. But when I need a bit of extra edge in the gym then it's really motivating."

Cheshire, introduced to the sport by her father at her local dry ski slope in Stoke, underlined her potential with a bronze medal at this year's World Junior Championships in Valmalenco.

And she admits that while Sochi does dominate her thoughts, her best Games are likely to be ahead.

"Most of the really top girls are in their 30's or late 20's so I've got a few more Olympics in me, that's when I'm going to be at the top standard," she added.

"It's tough moving from juniors and can be quite intimidating and a bit scary. I want to make Sochi but I think it will be future Olympics when I can start to think about medalling.

"However, just being around this team is so motivating. Watching guys like James Woods win a medal at the World Championships just makes you want to train harder and work harder."

Cheshire is just one of British freeski's most promising youngsters, dubbed the 'Fridge Kids' by their coach and mentor Pat Sharples.

And she admits her rollercoaster lifestyle, alongside the likes of Woods and World Cup medallist Katie Summerhayes, still puzzles her former school friends from Alsager.

"To be honest my mates still don't really understand what I do," she said.

"When I say that I'm a skier they just think of downhill, so I say to imagine me skateboarding but on snow. I then tend to show them the You Tube videos of me and then they are pretty amazed."

You could even go as far as saying they think it's pretty 'sick'.