Hall boys sloping along nicely

There are not any ski slopes in Cayman nor within a couple of hours flight from here, yet two local schoolboys are world class skiers with ambitions of becoming top pros.

Dan

Dan is Britains best teenager. Photo: Submitted

Cayman, the most tropical of Caribbean islands, might even have two Winter Olympians in a few years’ time.

With a little corporate support Dan and Andy Hall believe they can achieve that. The Cayman Prep pupils were based in England until last October when their parents, Jon and Claire, moved here.

Nevertheless, with some sponsorship, these ambitious parents believe their progeny can fulfil their ambitions of being world class skiers.

Dan, 15, is currently the best Under 16 British ski racer. This is based on him being one of a team of four selected to represent Britain at the two top international ski race events this season and he was the highest placed British racer at both.

Andy, 13, has achieved excellent placings for his age, however they compete in two-year age bands, meaning Andy has been racing head to head with big brother all this season.

Both have stayed with the British Ski Academy in Chamonix, France since early December where they have been strongly supported by Cayman Prep which provided all their school work.

They have been able to keep ahead in their studies through being tutored at the Academy and have just returned to George Town. They love Cayman life but are really missing being on the snow.

Since returning home, Dan has been invited on to the England Alpine adult race team squad which is a tremendous achievement for his age.

The Halls started skiing at three or four during skiing holidays to France. Dan is 20 months older than Andy.

Dan went with a friend as a toddler and was a natural skier immediately whereas his friend struggled just to keep his balance. Both brothers absolutely loved it from the start.

When the family moved from a village near Chester in the north-west of England to Plymouth in the south, the boys enjoyed the dry slope there and were so good that locals suggested they joined the race club.

Claire is a teacher at Cayman Prep, which helps monitor their schooling. She says: ‘They started going to the dry race club in Torquay which had a guy who was the ex-England coach. He was very keen and got them into the British race circuit.’

From that they heard about the British Ski Academy. Claire and Jon saved up and sent them to a two week summer camp and they impressed so much were invited to winter training with the British Ski Academy.

Both got on the podium that season and Dan has been on the British children’s team for the past two years and the graduation up to the senior team shows how fast he is improving.

It’s costing the Halls between $30,000 and $40,000 for the season to finance the two.

‘Living out here we have to pay air fares on top of that,’ Jon said. He is a chief valuation officer in the survey department.

‘We left the UK in part because of the better salary here so that we could be better able to support them.

‘We’re closer to the US, Canada and a lot of skiing goes on in Argentina. Things are good but still insufficient for the level of training they need.’

Like the Jamaican bobsleigh team in 1988 who went to the Winter Games and inspired the film Cool Runnings, the Hall brothers could find their life stories on celluloid in the future.

Unlike the Cool Runnings crew though, they would not be a figure of ridicule.

Dan was not always solely into skiing. He enjoys loads of other sports. ‘I just enjoy being active,’ he says. ‘But after my first time at the British Ski Academy I knew that it was something I really want to do and try and drive for.

‘I do try really hard to succeed and take everything as a sort of challenge.

‘Cayman Prep and High School is brilliant because my friends are from all over the world and I love people’s different accents.

‘The school has been really good and set all my school work for me so I could be tutored at the Ski Academy.’

Andy has the typical younger sibling’s attitude. ‘I think I can be better than Dan because I’ve got the determination to beat him,’ he declares.

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