George Murphy at Mount Buller for Interschools

With just over 150 days to the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, Official Olympic Team Supplier XTM will be profiling some great athletes - the past, present and future of Australian snow sports. We are proud to know them, work with them and to share a love for the snow and drive to always race faster, fly higher, push the limits, make the best products – to show the world Australia is a country to be taken seriously in winter sports!

First up... George Murphy

Interschools Nationals are underway at Mt Buller this week and we got to chat to George Murphy - an awesome talent coming up through the ranks that we have been following for a while. It almost sounds odd to say you have followed someone for ‘a while’ when they only just turned 14, but George is already a comp veteran – his first competition was an Interschools Alpine GS event at Thredbo in 2012.

We caught up with George as he had just come from Perisher and was arriving in Mt Buller just in time for the ABOM Mogul Challenge, fresh from 2 days competing in the Australian National Mogul Championships - his first ever FIS event in Australia on Toppa’s Dream, Perisher.

As well as competing in just about everything in his age group, George is now taking on U/18s and U/20s. A few days later we got the update that George took out third in the under 20s at ABOM, despite being just 14 years old!

So when we were looking for someone chat Interschools you can see why he was our guy!

So let’s start in the beginning...

In 2003, I was born in Australia but moved to Japan just a few months later. My dad is Australian, my mum is Japanese. I spent the first 8 years of my life growing up in Niseko where I learnt to ski at 2 years old. We moved back to Australia in 2011 and I competed in my first ski event in 2012. My first competition was an Interschools Alpine GS event in Thredbo. I have been competing at Interschools competition ever since. The last 3 Aussie seasons, I have been skiing with the Perisher Winter Sports Club Mogul Program. The Program has helped me develop as an Athlete and I have improved from it. I like to ski with my whole family, my mum, dad and my sisters and my friends. I also like to snowboard and, off snow, I surf and skate as much as I can. In Niseko, where I ski every Aussie summer, I ski a lot with my Japanese coach, Sora.

A perfect day is...

If I had one day to do whatever and ski anywhere, I would get up for early lifts in Niseko. Be the first to hike the Peak for the day and ski in 60cm of dry, soft and deep powder. Then build a powder jump and try some new jumps into the soft, fluffy powder.

George Murphy jumps

Who do you look up to...

My sporting hero is Matt Graham. Matt Graham is the world #3 mogul skier and best male skier in Australia. I admire Matt because he always has an open mind towards what he does and I personally enjoy watching his style of skiing and jumping.

The early days of competing...

I got into ski competitions when I entered my first event aged 8 at the Sydney Northern Region Interschools in Thredbo. I was very nervous and excited. It was a bit overwhelming to see so many kids my age who took it so seriously. This was a totally different experience for me, it was also my first time ever skiing in Australia as I had until then only ever skied in Hokkaido, Japan.

My first mogul comp...

I wasn’t familiar with moguls but I just gave it a go and loved it. I remember I tried a Cossack jump because everyone was trying spreadeagle jumps so I wanted to do something different. I ended up 6th out of a field of 12 competitors which was pretty good for my first ever mogul comp.

George Murphy

Currently competing across all disciplines!?

Competing across all disciplines gives me an opportunity to do my best in all the competitions I enter. It also gives me experience and I enjoy being able to compete so often. I like the thrill of competition, anything can happen and there is a lot of mental strength needed to do well, not just physical skills. I approach snowboard racing similar to other disciplines, but unfortunately, I don't have the time to train for it, because I am always skiing! For ski slopestyle, I just train in the terrain park as much as I can after I finish mogul training for the day or on days off. For ski GS and Skier Cross, I just relax, have fun and try to do my best, because I don't feel any pressure since racing is not my preferred discipline anymore.

My favourite discipline is Moguls. Moguls is so different to the other disciplines because it is a Freestyle Event. This means that because it is subjectively scored and judged, it considers your style, time and jump. It allows for a lot of creativity and individuality in how you ski. I love being able to ski slushy bumps then fly into the air being able to perform any trick I want.

Interschool memories, taking what you can from the good and the bad...

My favourite memory of skiing was winning for the first time, racing GS at Interschools in Perisher, aged 9. I was so happy to win a medal, I also made it beyond regionals to State championships for the first time which was exciting. I did well enough at State to qualify for Nationals in Mt Buller that year, where I was able to win a bronze medal for Skier Cross.

George at Interschools 2017

I remember when I was in year 3 aged 8, in my first ever Interschools competition at Regionals Alpine in Thredbo. Most of the kids competing were wearing race suits with long waxed race skis and I was in my old red jacket racing on unwaxed old all mountain skis. I finished 2nd place on the Rossignol course after my first run and was feeling great. In my second run I was doing really well until I went around a gate wrong and ended up missing the gate, I had to hike back up and ski around the gate and finished almost last. I was so devastated, but that's how you learn and gain more confidence and experience I suppose.

So far this year...

This season I have competed in 5 mogul events. I finished 1st place in 2 Interschool’s competitions in my age group (years 7/8), the Sydney Regional Championships and NSW State Championships. I finished 5th place in the U20 NSW Freestyle Perisher Junior Moguls Series. I also finished in 48th and 60th in the Australian National Mogul Championships competing for the first time against my hero Matt Graham. I wasn't able to do as well as I would have liked, but it was my first experience in such a high level elite competition competing against Olympic athletes from all over the world, like World Cup Champion Mikael Kingsbury from Canada.

What makes an athlete great...

I believe that a great athlete needs dedication, commitment, professionalism, persistence and sportsmanship. I try to always keep a positive mindset and always show good sportsmanship to the other athletes competing.

Where to next...

Now that I have moved up to the Junior age group from the Youth age group it means I’m competing against much larger and experienced athletes. This big step up has pushed and challenged me even further as I learn and develop from watching the older boys push themselves. I want to progress my skiing to a level where I feel I can match it with the older boys.

This year has been going well. It is different to any other year because it is my first year being a FIS competitor because you are eligible once you turn 14 in that year. The level of competition is so much higher. I’m now competing against the best athletes from all over the world.

Geprge Murphy's XTM Product picks

George’s Picks

I usually make sure I am wearing my baggie mogul patched Ninja pants suitable for moguls. I am also wearing my Xavier Jacket with my XTM Fable Gloves and my Black Colt 45 Balaclava. I also wear my Boss beanie to keep me comfy when I’m waiting or finished my race.

This is the first excerpt from our chats with George. The second part of the interview will be published in coming weeks, where we talk to George about some of his preparation and training work, how he keeps his head straight when he is racing, and lots more.


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