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Life as a world champion

Whistler's Ashleigh McIvor tries to find down time before Olympic season



Ashleigh McIvor is feeling the pressure.

It seems like everyone wants a piece of her these days, as she gets ready for her Olympic season.

In her three-week hiatus at home in Whistler recently, McIvor did a big photo shoot for Oakley and one for Conde Nast Traveller . She's doing podcast filming for Whistler Blackcomb, media interviews and she's traveling to Toronto this week for a spot with team sponsor Cold FX.

And when she was offered the chance to meet Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla in early November, she just couldn't turn down that opportunity.

Such is the life of a world champion ski cross athlete.

"Until the Olympics, I'm so busy, it's insane," sighs 25-year-old McIvor candidly.

To look at her defies the statement as she lounges in her jeans and hoodie, shower damp hair, no make up, bare feet tucked under her legs - the quintessential Whistler girl.

It doesn't help matters that she's pretty, personable and the only member of the Canadian ski cross team to be nominated to the Canadian Olympic Team.

In many ways, she's been gearing up for this throughout her whole life and the stars seemed to have magically aligned.

Whistler and Vancouver were awarded the Games in 2003. The next year McIvor started ski cross racing. She became World Champion in 2009. And in February ski cross will be featured in the 2010 Games for the first time ever, on her home turf.

"Indirectly I've been training to be a top ski cross athlete my whole life, growing up skiing here, racing alpine. I just didn't realize the specific direction I would take," she says.

"(The 2010 Games are) going to open eyes for sure. It's such a good spectator sport. I think people are going to be blown away. And just the fact that our Canadian team is so dominant - I think it's just going to make everyone proud and everyone's going to get behind us, I hope," she says.

But right now she's trying to find that tricky balance between meeting her media and sponsor commitments without sacrificing time in the gym getting ready for the season. And not to forget what she came back to Whistler to do in the first place - rest up before the season.

McIvor is trying not to dwell too heavily on the big event in the middle of this season. She feels like she's in the best physical shape of her life, stronger than she's ever been before. As for the mental side, she feels as though she'll be ready by the start of the season.