'Focus, fluid and fast': Ruby's chance to jump on the world stage

Ruby Hewitt, 15, has been named in the New Zealand freeride team that will compete in the extreme...
Ruby Hewitt, 15, has been named in the New Zealand freeride team that will compete in the extreme sports event in Europe next year. Photo: Mark Bridgwater ​
Ruby Hewitt has been hitting the slopes since she was three-years-old - and now her hard work is paying off as she prepares to pit her skills against the world’s best young skiers.

Ruby Hewitt.
Ruby Hewitt.
The 15-year-old has been chosen to compete at the 2022 Freeride Junior World Championships in Europe.

This will be the first taste of international competition for the Rangi Ruru Girls' School, who last month won the under-18 women’s ski category at the New Zealand junior freeride nationals.

Being selected to represent New Zealand in Europe came as a shock to her, because usually, those who were chosen were in their final year of the junior category.

“Just to get there in this Covid world will be amazing,” she said.

While competing in Europe, her aim was simply to make the most of the experience.

Although she was not looking further into the future than this, she had no plan to hang up her skis.

“Skiing will be a lifelong passion for me. I would love to juggle competing and a career.”

She was drawn to compete in the sport because of the friendly atmosphere of the competitions, she said.

“There is a really great group of girls who are all super supportive and fun.”

The skiers she looked up to included New Zealanders Janina Kuzma, Jess Hotter, and Craig Murray, and Italian Arianna Tricomi.

In spite of injuries and near misses, she believes a day on the snow is better than a day off it.

Ruby Hewitt loves freeride skiing. Photo: Mark Bridgwater
Ruby Hewitt loves freeride skiing. Photo: Mark Bridgwater
However, love of skiing was not instantaneous for Ruby. When she was first introduced to it, she “hated” the sport.

She changed her mind after picking up on the enthusiasm of those around her at the skifield near her family’s holiday home.

“Skiing is one of our family sports but skiing with friends made it more fun and we had a great group of kids at Mt Olympus to push each other and improve,” Ruby said.

Freeride skiing was her preferred style because of the creativity it allowed.

“It’s not like in ski racing where you have a set path and turn between the gates. You have to choose your path and what you’re going to jump off and decide what trick you’re going to do in the air - it’s really fun.”

Picking her route to follow was the most challenging part of the sport, because of the uncertainty of how it would work out, but was also the most rewarding when it went well.

While in action, she had three key words on her mind: “Focus, fluid and fast.”

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