Tyler Harding is a rising star on the British skiing scene, and was chosen to represent the UK in Disney XD channels new extreme sports show, ‘Next X’. We catch up with the young Yorkshire-born athlete to find out… what he thinks of the competition? What tips has he got for wannabe skiers? And why should we should tune into the show that airs on Disney XD in April?
What’s Next X about?
Next X is a show about snowboarding and skiing. There are six kids from around Europe competing to become the Next X champion in winter sports. Each of the kids has a professional coach to help them train – and it’s going to be a really cool show to watch.
How did you get involved?
I was asked to join the show a few months ago, but I couldn’t believe it when I was told I was coming to Tignes to take part in the competition. I couldn’t say a word. I was completely gobsmacked!
Why is the show so important to you?
This is a huge break for me. It’s amazing that I’m going to be skiing on a show for Disney. It’s also great that there’s going to be a show about winter sports on TV because you don’t get to see too much skiing or snowboarding on television.
Are you looking forward to seeing your face on the small screen?
Definitely! I was on Blue Peter last year and now I’m going on Next X. It’s really cool. Life just gets better and better.
What do your friends think of your fame?
I don’t know. I didn’t tell too many people about the show because I didn’t want to boast. I told some of my friends, but then my dad tried to put it on Facebook, so everyone knew!
How did you prepare for the show?
I’ve just trained and trained and trained. I had to step up my game because I’m the guy from the UK who learned to ski on a dry slope. Most of the other people here get to ski or board on snow every day, so I have to work twice as hard as them.
Is it more difficult to learn to ski on a dry slope compared to a snowy mountain?
It’s just different. You can’t go up a dry slope every day because sometimes it’s too sticky because of the sun. When that happens, you can’t move fast on it, so there’s no point in training. At other times, it’s too rainy or too windy, but I try to get up there as much as I can.
Does it hurt more to fall on a dry slope compared to the side of a mountain?
Even though it’s not cold, you always have to wear long sleeves on a dry slope in case you fall over. You don’t want to scratch up your arms in a tumble. I also wear gloves all the time to protect my hands.
Even when it’s hot?
Yes, even when it’s hot. Safety always comes first!
Where is Next X being filmed?
We are shooting the show in a resort called Tignes in France – and it’s amazing. The snow is very, very powdery, which is cool. It’s the snowiest place I’ve ever been!
Why is powdery snow good?
Why? Because you can do loads of jumps into powder and you won’t hurt yourself. The more snow the better!
Tell us about your mentor…
I’m being coached by Paddy Graham, who is the UK’s best freeskier. I’ve known him for about three years and he’s brilliant. It’s been really cool to work with him because he knows my weaknesses and he knows what I can do and what I cannot do.
What’s been the best thing about working on the show?
The best thing this week has been meeting all these new people from different countries. We’ve all got along really well and we’ve all had a really good time. It’s also been cool to train with a professional like Paddy. My skiing has really improved this week, so I’m very happy.
What’s been your lowest point of the week?
There hasn’t been a low point. It’s been amazing all week. I’ve had an absolutely brilliant time and I’ve loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to see the show when it finally airs.
Why do you like skiing?
I find skiing very freeing. You’ve got so much freedom on the mountains to do whatever you want to do. You can just be free! I love it.
How long did it take you to learn to ski?
It took a while, but I was a quick learner. I first started skiing on a family holiday, but then I continued on dry slopes. I haven’t stopped since!
What’s the ultimate trick you’d love to do?
I’d love to be able to do a double cork. I’ve seen loads and loads of people do them, but I’m not quite there yet. I’d also like to be able to do kangaroo flips. That will be my ultimate trick.
Why should more people get involved in skiing and snowboarding?
Because they are great sports. Instead of just sitting around and doing nothing, why not get up and try something new? It’s so much fun to ski and it’s an amazing feeling to ride down a mountain or a dry slope. It feels like the sky is the limit! It’s also a good way to keep fit and get active. Oh, and it also helps to get girlfriends!
Do you get nervous in front of an audience?
Not really. I love it!
How often do you train?
I try to train at least two or three times a week. A lot of my training is dependent on the weather, which is a bit annoying at times. If it’s too rainy or too windy or too hot, I can’t train. If I can, I get out there five days a week.
Where is your favourite place to ski?
In England, my favourite place is the ski dome in Castleford. Any of the indoor domes are good because they are massive and there are lots of things to do there.
What are your other hobbies apart from skiing?
I’m from England, so I obviously love football. I support Arsenal. Apart from that, I love TV and movies and everything that other 13 year olds enjoy.
Do you want to win?
Of course I do! I’d love to win as it would be great for my career. But at the end of the day, I don’t care if I win or lose. I’ve had the trip of a lifetime and I’ve met some amazing new friends. I’ve also learned some great new techniques and I’ve improved my skiing skills loads.
Who is the show aimed at?
The show is on Disney XD, so it’s aimed at everyone – both boys and girls. The channel’s got a cool mix of shows from skateboarding comedies like Zeke And Luther to cartoons like Phineas And Ferb. And now I’m going to be part of it with Next X too. I’m really excited!
So why should we watch Next X?
Because it’s totally extreme! When you see it, you’ll think, ‘I want to do that. I want to get involved! I want to be like them and I want to do what they’re doing.’ It will be amazing to get more people interested in the sport. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it happens…
Viewers will be able to get a sneak preview of the action to come on Next X on a dedicated microsite accessible through www.disneyxd.co.uk. Information and a photo gallery of the Next X’ers and professional judges, as well as links to Disney XD site’s VOD player showing video clips from the Next X series will be available from 18th January 2010. A Next X competition will also be launched from 6th March 2010 for a two-week period, so stay tuned!