By TOBY MCDONALD
LESLEY McKenna, the Scottish snowboarding champion, is directing and starring in her first film.
The 28-year-old Olympic star is shooting the film, called Dropstitch, in New Zealand and Iceland. It is due to be released in the new year.
The documentary, featuring five of the world’s top female snowboarders and costing over £250,000, will be premiered in Glasgow and London.
McKenna was the first and only Briton to compete in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in snowboarding, and is the most successful British wintersports person ever - ranked in the top five in her sport for the past three years.
Yesterday, Ms McKenna, from Aviemore, said: "It is the most amazing sport in the world, done in some of the most beautiful places and by some of the nicest people I have ever met.
"This is the first-ever all-girl, international snowboard film and will showcase all the best female riders in the world."
McKenna represented her country at skiing from the age of 15, racing in the giant slalom and slalom at the World Cup.
But after an injury forced her off skis, she took up snowboarding at 21, and within a month had become British champion.
She is one of only two full-time professional snowboarders in Britain. "I got hurt skiing and could not put ski boots on and could only put on soft snowboard boots, so I went riding for a month.
"At the end of the month I was hooked. It was definitely a case of right time, right place and straight in at the deep end.
"I was lucky enough to qualify for the 2002 Winter Olympics in half-pipe, which was quite an achievement as there were only 20 spots."
She is currently planning to compete again on the World Cup Tour, while filming.
"I always like a challenge and started the Dropstitch project with a photographer friend of mine, Josie Clyde," she said. "It is being shot on high-definition digital recorders.
"We have known each other since we were kids. We decided it would be a great idea to make an all-girls snowboard film, as girls do not get half the amount of credit or coverage they deserve."
Television companies have already shown an interest in releasing the film, and it will also be distributed on DVD.
Dropstitch features women snowboarders from Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Canada.
McKenna, who is a cousin of the Scottish skiing star Alain Baxter, supported herself in her early days by waitressing, cleaning and a host of menial jobs.
But now she has achieved enough recognition to attract sponsors who allow her to snowboard full-time.