IT’S safe to say Kirsty Muir’s last year has been unlike most teenagers’. 

While her peers were home schooling, lamenting the opportunity to go out and see their friends and watching an abundance of Netflix, Muir was establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of skiing. 

The Aberdonian has long been touted as a real prospect in her chosen discipline of freestyle skiing, with particular highlights of her junior career being her medal-winning performances at the World Junior Championships and Youth Winter Olympic Games. 

But it is in recent months the 17-year-old has elevated herself from a junior skier with an abundance of talent to someone who can compete, and beat, the very best in the world. 

With the skiing season having recently concluded, Muir is currently at home in Aberdeen reflecting on a year which saw her win her first World Cup medal, secure second place overall in the World Tour and successfully completed one of the most testing tricks in the sport, a dub-12. 

Muir reveals she didn’t have particularly lofty ambitions ahead of this season and admits such incredible success came as something of a surprise to her.  

Her silver medal at the Word Cup in Aspen was just her fourth appearance on the highest tier of events in the skiing calendar and having been the youngest athlete in the final, she admits a podium finish came as something of a shock to her, but she also possesses the self-belief that she is far from an imposter at the highest level. 

“I didn’t have any expectations ahead of the season, I just wanted to keep progressing so I’m really happy with how things went,” she says. 

“All of these skiers I’m up against inspire me so much and so to be competing at such a high level with them is really cool. It’s quite amazing – I used to watch them competing when I was young so now to be up against them is pretty awesome. 

“There’s loads of moments when I think ‘this is crazy’ but I’m also confident that I deserve to be here and I can compete at this level.” 

Muir began skiing as a toddler, finding her feet on the local mountains and dry slopes alongside her family. 

Her early days were spent downhill skiing but she quickly discovered it was freestyle skiing where her passion lay. 

Lockdown last summer was not a welcome development for Muir, who spent a prolonged period of time off the slopes but she did, she says, manage to enjoy what was an unusually long spell at home. And the restrictions, which meant home-schooling has become commonplace over the past year, in fact, helped the 5th year pupil combine her academic work with her sport with more ease than in previous years. 

“I was quite disappointed when the season stopped but at the same time, I knew it was the same for everyone and so I just made the most of being at home and did workouts in my garden and did what I could to stay fit,” she says.  

“I did enjoy spending time at home with my dogs and my family and I’d been planning on taking a break last summer anyway. So I just tried to take as many positives from it as possible. 

“It was just a case of trying to get the balance right between doing enough schoolwork as well as my skiing. 

It’s definitely difficult doing both but I know I’ve only got one more year of school and so I just need to push through.” 

Muir will spend the coming months training both at home and in Europe ahead of the new season starting, with next year’s Winter Olympics now firmly in her sights. 

The Games in Beijing are only nine months away and while Muir knows qualification is a realistic possibility, she insists she is not putting undue pressure on herself to make Team GB. 

“To go to an Olympics at 17 would be amazing and it means you’ve got so much time ahead of you,” she says. 

“I try not to put too much pressure on myself but everyone who goes to the Olympics wants go there and do well.  

“The Youth Olympic experience was amazing and I had so much fun so I’d absolutely love to go and do that again.” 

Muir is remarkably laid-back about her progress through the sport but she admits the thought of competing at this level for the next decade or more is thrilling. 

“What’s really exciting is I have so much time now to build on what I’ve done this season and improve,” she says. 

“It’s definitely crazy to think I could do skiing as my career. It’s exciting to think.” 

A career as a full-time athlete may still seem somewhat surreal, but it also seems inevitable. And her success this year is likely only a taste of what’s to come.”