I was born in North Wales back in 1971. I did my growing up there and also in Canada. We were based in Edmonton on and off for about 7 years. This is where I started skiing.
Back in North Wales I also started climbing, spurred on by my brother who was keener and better at it than me. When I was 18 I got a mountain bike and started riding the hills around North Wales.
After getting A’s in Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A-Level I worked for Rolls-Royce in Bristol for a year as part of a thick sandwich course. I then went to Sheffield University, studying Mechanical Engineering.
At Sheffield I learned of the Erasmus scheme where you can spend a year studying at a foreign University and headed off to do my third year at the great engineering University of INSA in Lyon, France. This changed my course from a BEng to an MEng and lost me my sponsorship with Rolls-Royce as they had only planned on three year courses – a bit short sighted I think.
Lyon was a fantastic opportunity, but very traumatic. On a weekend skiing trip with the INSA ski club I was caught in an avalanche which killed three of my fellow Erasmus exchange students. This is the event which has had the most impact on me during my life.
After university I got an engineering job designing fall arrest equipment, and then moved on to medical diagnostic equipment, and then another move to mountain bike design for Raleigh Bikes.
I then moved to Chamonix, mainly to ski and climb, and landed myself an IT job. The company ended up going bust and I set up my own IT Consultancy in the Chamonix Valley. I also started doing some rope access work with a view to working in the offshore industry.
While in Chamonix I did a huge amount of skiing, particularly steep slopes. My alpine climbing came along nicely and I found the steep technical mountain biking particularly challenging and enjoyable.
In 2005 my son Oliver was born. In 2006 we moved to Guillestre and set up a B&B. I started to collect outdoors qualifications, International Mountain Leader, Mountain Bike Guide and Ski Instructor, with a view to setting up a small chalet business. My daughter Evie was born in 2008.
Things between me and their mum didn’t work out and I moved to Briancon and started working for Discover Adventure as a trek and cycle leader for trips to places like Kilimanjaro and the Great Wall of China, as well as more local trips like the Tour de Mont Blanc.
In 2012 I moved back into engineering with a number of projects in the offshore industry in the North Sea, but still live in Briancon and work on a 2 on 2 off rotation.