Top UK speed skier, Jan Farrell, has finished 6th in the S1 category speed ski World Cup, making him the quickest Brit in a non-motorised vehicle in in the past 10 years. In only Jan's second season of competing in the top Speed 1 category, he reached speeds of 142mph as well as suffering a critical high speed crash whilst travelling at 134mph in Vars. The speed ski season runs from late February to April and takes place at select locations around the globe.
Jan's season got off to the perfect start in Sun Peaks, Canada in March, where he finished 5th out of a field of 49 competitors. In the second event, the Velocity Challenge, Jan beat two-time Crystal Globe Winner Klaus Schrottshammer to grab a podium finish 2nd place. In Grandvalira, Andorra, Jan finished in 8th place and gained a top speed of 109.44 mph.
However Jan's tremendous progress took a massive blow in Vars, where he endured his first ever high-speed crash whilst training the day before the speed ski World Cup. The British competitor was flying through the timing zone at 134mph when his skis caught an edge, causing him to suffer bad bruising and burns, while his skis were destroyed. Jan recovered enough to race the following day and in Sweden just two weeks later, where he finished both races in 12th place, accumulating enough World cup points to end the season 6th overall.
Commenting on his season and his aspirations for next year, Jan said: "My rollercoaster season has ended and I'm pleased to have finished 6th in the overall World Cup ranking. Finishing 5th in Canada was the highlight of my season and my best result yet in the unlimited category.
"Crashing in Vars six weeks ago was a major setback for me and although I was nervous about racing again with my injuries, I'm proud that I didn't miss any races after that. It's clear to see from my final results and from the videos we've analysed, that my skiing has certainly suffered since then and the psychological battle of racing after crashing at a higher speed than a skydiver's terminal velocity, has been a challenge. I'm confident that this experience will only make me stronger and more determined for the next season and the World Records that I plan to challenge in the near future."
To truly compete in the sport at the highest level, this season Jan bolstered his team to include aeronautic experts, professional ski coaches, a multidisciplinary medical team as well as numerous manufacturers to assist in the build of his specialist equipment. Thanks to biomechanical studies, analysis of race and training video feedback and Cambridge University wind-tunnel intelligence, Jan developed specific training techniques by separately controlling the speed and power of the concentric and eccentric phases of each exercise - allowing him to better prepare for the physical and mental challenges the season brought.
Jan's 2017 season preparation starts right away with a planned 70 days on snow and 350 hours in the gym, whilst living on strict 3,500 calories a day diet. Jan will conduct further biomechanical studies to ensure he is interacting with the terrain irregularities of the Speed Ski slopes even more effectively next year; maintaining the ideal aerodynamic position as well as keeping his skis as flat on the snow as possible. To improve at speeds over 140mph, he will be focusing on making precise adjustments to his suit, helmet and spoilers, intending to find the perfect fit that will ultimately reduce his drag coefficient.
Watch Jan make his personal best time in Vars