Catherine Dooley’s connection to snow sports runs deep.
What began as a fond family holiday activity developed into a passion to compete at an elite level.
Dooley is a true global citizen: she lives in Brisbane, represents Ireland and considers her ‘home mountain’ to be in Whistler, Canada.
That is why the unique challenge of training for snow sports while residing in sub-tropical Queensland hasn’t deterred her.
“It works out quite well that our school and uni holidays are always in line with the Canadian winter,” she said.
“On our big Christmas break we would always go over there to train and stay at our second home in Whistler.”
Dooley’s competitive spirit was ignited during her high school years when she participated in a small interschool event at Thredbo.
“It was a really fun and relaxed competition and I did really well the first time, so everything kind of took off from there.”
Catherine’s specialty is mogul skiing, a dynamic discipline that takes place on a 300m course with man-made bumps interspersed with two jumps where athletes showcase aerial tricks.
While her previous training regime involved extensive travel and overseas trips, Dooley now relishes in the newly constructed water ramp at Brisbane’s Sleeman Sports Complex.
“This new training facility is going to be so great for us,” Dooley said.
“It’s basically a ski jump into the water, meaning we can practice our aerial tricks in a safe environment.”
Since Dooley’s first competition in high school, her skiing journey has led her to become a member of the Irish national mogul team and to participate in numerous national events.
Despite her strong desire to compete, this year she made the decision to pump the brakes on competitive skiing to concentrate on her academic pursuits.
Dooley is currently completing a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with aspirations of entering medicine.
“So that’s my main focus at the moment,” she explained.
Dooley’s passion for skiing runs in the family, with her sister Claire also a member of the Irish national team, and also a former student of Bond University.
While living far from the slopes, Catherine is a proud member of the Bond Snow Sport Club.
“I was super-excited when I met the Bond Snow Sport team at club sign-on day,” she said.
“It’s such a special thing to share the love of snow sports whilst living somewhere like Queensland.”
Dooley looks forward to engaging in some friendly competition at this year’s UniSport National Snow games.
The nationals will be held at Thredbo in early September on the same mountain where Dooley first fell in love with competing.