We recently sat down with PurePharma UK athlete Pam Thorburn. She’s been racing her whole life and now does Ski-Cross — a timed racing event featuring terrain, jumps and high-banked turns. When she’s not racing on the slopes, she’s hitting the gym. She found CrossFit a few years ago and this adrenaline junkie can’t get enough of it.
How did you get into Ski-Cross?
I was an Alpine skier for most of my life. I went full time at age 16 and never looked back. In 2010, while I was recovering from an injury, I decided to make some changes and take a new direction.
And you’re a CrossFitter? Tell us more.
I absolutely love CrossFit. I love what it is all about and the community within it. It pushes people to do things they normally wouldn’t or in some case’s couldn’t. After my first shoulder surgery I was told I would never have the movement to ever do pull ups or handstand work again. So for me, the first time I could hang from a bar I was in disbelief. I progressed things from there and continue to surprise myself. I would have loved to see how far I could have taken Crossfit as an athlete if my shoulders had cooperated more, but I am so happy to coach and continue to push my own limits.
What’s your most memorable sports accomplishment?
I made the criteria for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which had been a lifetime goal for me.
You’ve had a lot of broken bones. A hazard of the job?
Ah yes, some people say I am clumsy and when you are throwing yourself down an icy mountain at 80mph that’s the last thing you want to be. Crashes happen though and you just have to accept the risk if you want to push your limits in an extreme sport. I’ve accepted it!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Generally it will be an early start with a big breakfast. I stock up with a lot to eat and drink because you really need it at altitude. I will do some warm up off the slope, and if I am competing, I have a scheduled training and race time. I first have an inspection of the course, do some training runs and then race.
Late afternoon I will come off the mountain and start prepping my skis to make them ready for the next day. I will then do some recovery in the gym, come back to finish off my skis and then head for some dinner. After, I will watch my video of the day to analyze my skiing performance and see where I can be faster. After that, I literally fall into bed!
What’s your goal for this season?
Currently I am rehabbing from a surgery on my other shoulder. My goal is to take it day by day and repair that. I won’t come back before everything is as good as it can be and I’m completely ready to prepare for Olympic Qualifying next season.
What’s your pump up song?
Ohhhh, that’s a tough one! I have a full playlist I like to use before competing. My favorite song from that would probably be by Bullet For My Valentine- The Last Fight.
Do you have a recovery ritual? What do you do to recover?
After a big day on the slopes or in the gym, I will always start with a protein shake, then I usually strap on my Compex to active recovery mode and let it work its magic. I also like to spin and stretch to really flush my legs.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Determined, Fiesty, Resilient
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have 2 things that are high up there on my bucket list. The first is to go to Japan to ski waist deep powder. The second is to go to Alaska, heli skiing.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m a little bit of a goth at heart. I love heavy metal music.
What’s one thing you’re working on?
Mobility. As well as trying to find the movement in my shoulder, I’m working on my full body for injury prevention and better functional movement.
What does your diet look like?
I have tried paleo and being gluten free, but I find it too hard to keep up while on the road. Sometimes I am traveling all day long through multiple countries and I need to take what I can get if I haven’t been able to prep anything. So at the moment I just try to listen to my body and be smart with my choices.
Most of the week I will eat very well, a lot of protein and veggies with a good amount of carbs but I haven’t completely cut anything out. I have a sweet tooth so every now and then I will eat sugar if I really crave it.