WILTSHIRE slider Laura Deas is hoping to kick-start a strong season on the skeleton World Cup circuit in order to get her in the best place possible for next year’s Winter Olympics.

Deas, who hails from Wales but lives in Melksham, and the rest of the Great Britain squad are preparing for the first event of this year’s World Cup campaign at Lake Placid in the Unites States, with the women’s skeleton races getting under way next Thursday.

Although the 29-year-old’s long-term focus is February’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Deas knows a strong run of results at the eight World Cup competitions before that will mean she arrives at the Games in top form.

“Obviously, the Olympics is the end goal, but each World Cup is still important in its own right,” said Deas. “Every World Cup result counts towards your world ranking and determines how far up the start order you are at the Olympics.

“Every time we have an opportunity to race, you always want to stand on the podium, so each World Cup will still be valuable.”

Although the complexities and variations of each track mean the eight World Cup events will not fully prepare her for what awaits in Korea, Deas believes benefits can be gained from every competitive run.

“Each track is different so you can’t really replicate the track in Korea, but the basics of skeleton will always be the same,” said Deas.

“But you can never bank on a track being the same from year to year anyway.

“The next time we go back to the track in Korea, it will probably be different to the last time we slid it because it’ll be a different time of year and the ice will probably be a different type of shape.”

Deas has claimed podium finishes at World Cup events three times in her career, including victory at Altenberg in Germany at the start of the 2015-16 campaign.

Although she has not claimed a top-three finish since, Deas was content with her form last season that yielded a best result of three sixth-placed finishes for sixth in the overall World Cup standings.

“I would have liked to have stood on the podium more often but I think it was a very important season for learning lessons and fine tuning equipment and race strategy,” said Deas, who was also 10th at the most recent world championships in Konigssee, Germany, in February.

“I think all that will feed into this season being more successful.”