The Rowland siblings began skiing in Les Deux Alpes as toddlers. With a little encouragement from the Ski instructors who spotted their natural talent as children, they progressed from UK-based dry slope competitions to become Team GB and BSS athletes. Both are entering the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, starting next week.
Tell us about yourselves and how you got into skiing?
Mike: We’ve both been skiing since we were about two years old on family ski trips. I got into freestyle mainly because my instructor at the time in Ski School took us to the snow park and I loved it. Every time we went skiing after that I just ventured back into the snow park. Eventually Madi followed me in, and it kind of went from there.
What does it feel like to represent Great Britain?
Madi: It’s definitely an honour, yeah.
Mike: It’s not really something I ever saw myself doing. I went into skiing because I really enjoyed it! I never thought that one day I’d be competing in World Cups for Team GB.
Madi: It’s still quite weird because all my friends are like, “oh my god, you’re on team GB”, but it’s just normal for us now.
So [Madi] you’re the younger sibling, and you followed Mike in. How’s Mike been a role model for you and what’s your relationship like?
Madi: We’re quite close as brother and sister.
Mike: Yeah, we travel the whole world together. We’re constantly together when we’re competing.
Madi: Yeah, we kind of need to be friends because otherwise it would be a bit of a nightmare.
Mike: I suppose the age gap is only one and a half years, so we’re around the same age with similar interests and everything which really helps. Especially when you’re 38 hours in to travelling to New Zealand and you have to spend the entire time sitting next to each other.
What’s your favourite thing about skiing?
Madi: Generally, my favourite part is being able to travel everywhere, and the views are amazing. I’m a sucker for a photo and I just love seeing the mountains.
Mike: For me, I guess it’s the rush. That’s why I started in the first place and why I still like it. It’s a case of being an adrenaline junkie, and it’s just fun. It’s a rush – especially landing a new trick.
So you’re both hoping to compete in the Olympics next year. How is training going?
Mike: Yeah, it’s been alright!
Madi: We’ve been in New Zealand this season, which is an amazing country.
Mike: I want to live there, it’s so nice.
Madi: We had the first world cup there, and a few weeks of training before we came back. I went to Switzerland and had a really good training trip there.
Mike: I stayed at home and worked… unfortunately. Training’s going well, and if everything goes to plan, I’ll hopefully qualify and go in February.
Where’s your favourite place to ski? Anywhere in Europe?
Madi: Laax in Switzerland, definitely.
Mike: We spent a month living with Tyler [Harding] in Laax and it was amazing. Such a good place – the park’s always amazing. The weather’s a bit hit and miss, but it’s like that everywhere. It’s definitely one of the better places in Europe to go skiing. I don’t think anywhere really comes close to Laax.
Have you got any other hobbies?
Madi: I do like taking photos. I’m usually the photographer of the trip. If anyone wants a photo, they usually come to me.
Mike: She always gets annoyed because she takes great photos of everyone else, but no one takes photos of her.
Madi: I just want a good photo of me! Tyler doesn’t even know how to work a camera.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in London?
Madi: Camden. It’s different, full of great stalls and really nice food.
Mike: Yesterday we were in Covent Garden, Leicester Square, I really like it there. Lots of nice vintage shops and cafes.
Delancey are proud to be a sponsor of British Ski and Snowboard (BSS), which is the National Governing Body for Skiing and Snowboarding in the UK. They provide incredible opportunities for athletes to achieve their full potential in the sport – both as individuals, and as a team. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we meet more young members of BSS.