Nelson skier Ruby Fullerton’s toughness was exemplified after breaking her wrist last month.
The 12-year-old spends hours at high speed on snow, but ironically it was a leisurely afternoon spent ice-skating which saw her fracture the bone.
However, it wasn’t until a week and a half later that Ruby even realised it was broken.
In that time, she had been rock climbing, weightlifting and even played tennis.
After thinking it was just strained, Ruby’s physio eventually convinced her to get it x-rayed which confirmed the break, though the news didn’t phase the young skier.
“It was quite funny,” Ruby says.
The injury has restricted her training as she prepares to represent her country for the first time at the Whistler Cup in Canada next month.
Ruby was named in the New Zealand U14 team on the back of her performances in the National Youth Series where she was the country’s fastest 12-year-old.
She is set to lose her cast this week and will throw herself back into full time training in preparation for her first international competition.
“The day after it comes off, I’m going to go weightlifting.”
In order to make it in the highly competitive world of professional skiing, Ruby must train at least 120 days of the year.
Of course, the New Zealand seasons don’t allow for this, so she is forced to seek snow overseas.
The Nelson Intermediate student spends her summers in China and most recently Japan, last year spending 123 days on snow.
Ruby says it can be tough to be in and out of school so often.
“But if you want to be good, you have to train lots.”
Ruby trained six days a week, sometimes up to four hours a day on the mountain and two off it.
The diminutive skier can clean and jerk almost her entire body weight.
She says weightlifting harnesses her strength, reflexes and agility for the ski fields.
Ruby has also taken part in two weightlifting competitions, though she was only really competing against herself.
“There was no one in my weight class or age category.”
She says while it can sometimes be hard to stay motivated through such a rigorous training schedule, she derives strength from her goal to be the best female skier in the country with one ultimate goal in mind: “I want to go to the Olympics.”