Great Britain Skier, Reece Bell, joins the BRIT Ambassador family & champions the BRIT Challenge
We are delighted that Reece has joined our BRIT Ambassador family and is championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
Reece has represented Great Britain as a part of the U21 British Alpine Ski Team since 2017 and the Europa Cup Squad, as part of the British Ski and Snowboard Team, since 2019.
“As a student myself, and spending time with young elite athletes as part of the Great Britain Squad, and through my visits to schools, I know that many young adults and students suffer with mental health challenges.
There was a significant increase in the number of students and young adults experiencing mental health challenges pre-COVID-19 and it is worrying that the pandemic has impacted on existing mental health difficulties and the mental health of many new and returning students. In order to avoid long-term effects on their mental health, a collaborative approach between charities, support services and organisations will undoubtedly support more young adults and students with mental health challenges.
The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) Vision, to support young adult and student mental health and fitness throughout the UK, resonates with me both personally and professionally. It is inspiring to see how BRIT are partnering, or developing special relationships, with many national governing bodies throughout the Education, Sport and Charity sectors. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic on university and college students and staff it’s awesome that over the past two years, almost 180 university and college teams team have taken part in the BRIT Challenges.
I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and help with their aim to ensure that the annual BRIT Challenge becomes a firm fixture in every UK university and college’s Calendar of Events so every student in the UK has the opportunity to take part. The annual BRIT Challenge is an exciting UK-wide opportunity for students and young adults of all abilities to unite as university and college teams (at home or on campus) and take part in an inspiring annual February feel-good fundraiser.
To encourage universities and colleges to enter teams, support students taking part in the BRIT Challenge, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion, we need current and retired Olympians, Paralympians, Sports Personalities, Adventurers and Explorers, to come together and lend their support to BRIT. I urge my fellow Great Britain skiers and snowboarders to join the BRIT Ambassador family so that we can unite as a Great Britain Snowsport family and support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
I look forward to championing the BRIT Challenge in the lead up to February 2022 and beyond”.
Great Britain Skier
Reece started ski racing when she was seven years old and her family were living in Big Sky, Montana. Her Dad, Martin, and her Uncle, Graham, were both professional athletes who represented Great Britain; mostly Downhill and Super G. She lived in Montana for nine years and raced for the Big Sky Ski Team for seven seasons, but before she began High School, they moved back to Vail. Ski and Snowboard Club Vail is one of the best clubs in the U.S. Her age group of 2001 girls is particularly strong and Reece was taken aback by the depth of talent which has made her work hard to excel as a skier. Her first International Ski Federation (FIS) season got off to a little bit of a rough start. During the training day before what would have been Reece’s first race (in New Zealand), she dislocated her shoulder and tore her labrum in the process. After surgery and four months of recovery, Reece finally started her first FIS race in Lutsen, Minnesota. To make up for the missed time on snow , Reece spent the summer travelling around the world with the British Ski Academy, for both training and racing. This was only possible with her Mum’s job as a flight attendant, and her Dad’s job as a ski coach. Reece and her Dad flew standby to every single location during the summer; paying only the tax on their tickets, but never completely certain they would make the flights. Besides the occasional airport stress, her summer skiing experience was amazing and thoroughly unforgettable. Reece is a technical skier and competes in Slalom and GS. She has represented Great Britain as a part of the U21 British Alpine Ski Team since 2017 and the Europa Cup Squad, as part of the British Ski and Snowboard Team, since 2019.
There are some similarities with her Dad and Uncle’s Skiing Careers; Reece is on the British Ski Team, as were Martin and Graham, they all ski on Atomic and love spending a day outside of competitive ski gates, free skiing the mountains. In 2019, Reece crashed during a dual slalom in Ontario, Canada and tore her ACL and meniscus in her left leg. Since she began racing FIS, Reece has yet to complete a full season due to two major injuries (the ACL, torn labrum and shoulder dislocation) and one minor injury (broken thumb). However, she is now well on the road to recovery. Traditionally, the return to snow for an ACL injury has been six months, but new research shows that 40% of athletes re-injure themselves if they head back to snow too quickly. In 2019, Reece was accepted to the University of Denver and currently races for their ski team; one of the best in the United States.The University of Denver is a Division 1 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) University. The NCAA governs all college sports and they have very strict guidelines which state that students are not allowed to accept any funding for sport that exceeds basic expenses such as equipment, travel, etc. Reece is currently majoring in Ecology at the University of Denver. In 2017, she founded a local organisation called Eagle County Bees. Reece helps people with hives relocate rather than exterminate. She also goes to local schools and talks about the importance of bees. With her platform as ski racer, Reece is committed to helping save the environment and visits elementary (primary) schools, where she teaches how to use recycled items to help the students make bee hotels. She hopes her talks to young students will encourage them to be more environmentally conscious and help protect our mountains. Reece is proud that her home mountain, Vail, is the first certified green mountain in the world and she hopes that others will follow. Since 2018, Reece has been a Blogger for the Ski Club of Great Britain. In 2020, Reece finished fourth in her season best result in a University slalom race at Eldora Mountain resort. She was only just behind two of the rising stars of the Canadian World Cup slalom team, Roni Remme and Mikaela Tommy, and finished just 0.12 off the podium.
In 2021, Reece got her first Europa Cup points racing slalom in GStaad and Zell Am See, as well as her first top twenty result in the Europa Cup. For more information about the Great Britain team and Snowsport, please visit the GB Snowsport website.