A SCHOOLGIRL skier from the district is feeling on top of the world after excelling against international opponents.

Corbridge’s Hannah Skinner, a pupil at the village’s middle school, won a gold medal in the U14 category at the Lowlands Championship in Landgraaf, Holland.

The 12-year-old went up against older opponents in the competition, with over 40 rivals from Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Great Britain and Ireland.

Proud mum Katie said: “This was the biggest indoor championship in the world, and Hannah really wasn’t expecting to do so well, mainly because she was up against such a high calibre of opponents in the U14 competition, and she’s only 12.”

Hannah’s achievements in Holland came just a fortnight after Hannah was part of the Corbridge Middle School skiing team, which won the regional heats of the English Ski Association (Esskia) event in Sunderland, and qualified for the Esskia finals in Norwich, which took place last Saturday.

The team, which also included sisters Isla (12) and Heidi Mason (10) finished seventh among the country’s best school skiing teams, with Hannah achieving the fastest overall time in the U14 category.

Hannah now spends 20 weeks per year away from home. The youngster travels to Austria, where she is part of a ski academy, which combines skiing development with academic education. The set-up enables her to compete for the Team Evolution alpine race team.

Katie explained: “This would not be possible without the amazing support we receive from Corbridge Middle School. When she is away, Hannah carries out school work which has been set by Corbridge Middle, working with tutors out there.

“Hannah absolutely lives, breathes and eats skiing. We are so grateful for the fantastic opportunity she has to train and improve as a competitive skier.”

Katie said Hannah had no reservations about spending time abroad, and has now started to learn German to improve her language skills.

“Hannah has matured in every way,” said Katie. “She is independent and motivated in terms of her skiing and her school work.”

Hannah has received a grant from the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust, towards equipment. She is keen to find sponsorship to help with the costs of travel and accommodation.”

Hannah’s older sister Izzy (14) is also a top junior skiier, and reached a national final in August.