Ski champion Dave Ryding and the Lancashire cafe he runs when he’s not on the slopes

Dave Ryding has just made history by becoming the first ever British Alpine Skiing World Cup champion.

A blistering second run in Kitzbühel, Austria won gold in the slalom at 35 ahead of Norway’s Lucas Braathen.

Becoming a champion has always been the dream of the Chorley-born skier, who will soon be heading to his fourth Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

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And while he is currently away for the winter season, his fiancée Mandy Dirkzwager, who is also a former professional skier, helps run the couple’s business from home.

Indeed, when not traversing the sleepy snow slopes, Dave and Mandy run the Boskins Cafe in the quiet West Lancashire village of Tarleton.

“I’m used to him being away, we’ve been together for 10 years so I don’t know any better and we met when I was still racing,” Dutch-born Mandy told LancsLive.

When a cafe became available in their village, the couple decided to “take the plunge” and open their own business with two other business partners.

Dave Ryding’s Olympic ski vests hang in frames inside Boskins

Mandy had experience in the hospitality industry in her native Holland while Dave sought help and advice from his cousin who is a financial adviser, for the business side of things.

Boskins Cafe, Bar and Bistro was born in 2019 and despite the challenges of the pandemic the venue has remained open and is hugely popular with cyclists and often sees ski enthusiasts drop by for the chance to meet Dave.

In fact, a boatload of Austrian tourists once rolled up to the cafe to take photos and enjoy coffee.

It is known for its menu filled with dishes cooked with local produce and ingredients, as well as beers, pastries, afternoon teas and freshly brewed coffee.

A salmon dish served at Boskins in Tarleton
A salmon dish served at Boskins in Tarleton

There are also subtle nudges to Dave’s winter sports career in the site logo and hung inside the cafe, with an outside seating area for customers to enjoy when the weather is nice .

Boskins has successfully operated a take-out service during the Covid-19 pandemic and its national and local closures, capitalizing on being the only such venue in the region.

“Dave is more absent than he is here, so most people understand they probably won’t see him,” Mandy says.

“But when he’s here he’s great at chatting with customers – he doesn’t really help behind the counter, we have our other two partners and I doing that.

“Dave works on the business in the background – he says it trains the brain like something other than skiing and he likes to be involved.”

Boskins has organized a pop-up and take-out service for local residents during the pandemic closures
Boskins has organized a pop-up and take-out service for local residents during the pandemic closures

In addition to helping run the business, Dave and Mandy are preparing to welcome their first child and their wedding is also planned for later in the year.

And while Mandy still expected 2022 to be a memorable year, she describes Dave’s remarkable victory in Austria, which made him the oldest skier to ever achieve the feat, as an “unexpected bonus “.

Mandy said, “Almost as soon as he won, the phone [at Boskins] constantly rang with people who wanted to talk to him. It’s good that he has so much support.”

A throwback party is set to take place in Boskins once the ski season is over, with hopefully an Olympic medal to celebrate as well.

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