A YOUNG skier has moved a step closer to her dreams of joining the British skiing team with a strong performance in the national championships.

Stephanie Cook, 21, from Skeeby, North Yorkshire, took up skiing during a family holiday to New Zealand when she was 16 and has spent three years living in Finland to enable her to train.

Miss Cook specialises in cross country skiing.

Last month, she took part in the British National and Army Skiing Championships, held in Ruhpolding, Germany, for the first time, and won a bronze medal.

She was also third in a 5km relay race with three team members and finished strongly in the 10km classic race and the 6km pursuit.

Miss Cook will spend the rest of the season concentrating on making the British skiing team and dreams of competing in the next Winter Olympics, in 2014, in Russia.

She said: “I was always very sporty as a child and cross country skiing is one of the most physically demanding sports.

“I have been living and studying in Finland for the past three years and have had the opportunity to train with the Finnish national team. My coach is the Finland youth team coach, so I’m lucky to work with one of the best.”

Miss Cook has three friends competing in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, which start today. She said. “The Olympics came a little too early for me, but I’m going to be aiming for Russia in 2014