Crystal’s teamed up with GB Snowsport to inspire more people to fall in love with skiing, and provide funding to support winter sports programmes and athletes on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics and beyond.
We chatted to GB Snowsport Ambassador Charlie Guest, an Olympic and world cup ski racer, and member of the Scottish Ski Club.
Name: Charlie Guest
Skiing since: Age 3
Home town: Perth, Scotland
Ski club: Scottish Ski Club
Favourite food when you’re training: Porridge
Favourite food when you’re not training: Schnitzel or kaiserschmarrn – or both
One word to describe you: Persistent
So how did you get into skiing?
My grandparents live in Nethy Bridge in the Scottish Highlands, so I started my skiing days on the local golf course before graduating to the slopes of Cairngorm Mountain, where I joined the Scottish Ski Club’s racing training group. I immediately loved it and loved everything about ski racing. My dad raced when he was younger, so his love of ski racing was very much passed down to me from day one. I was always trying to be the fastest and carve the most turns from the top of the hill to the bottom.
What was your first ski holiday like?
I went to Zermatt with my sister and my parents when I was 9. As a kid that had grown up skiing on Cairngorm, I was pretty amazed at just how huge the mountains were, and the fact that you could ski through the trees. We went up to the glacier one day and skied over to Cervinia – I still have a photo of me with one foot on either side of the Swiss/Italian border. I also remember being mind-blown at the number of cafés – I’m a huge hot chocolate fan.
Where do you train and what’s your routine?
At the moment, we’re based in Radstadt in the Salzburg region of Austria, so we tend to train around there. However, once the race season starts, we go all over the world so we get to ski a pretty extensive number of mountains.
During the ski season, we’ll typically ski for 3-4 hours. I specialise in slalom and parallel, but I’ll also use the giant slalom to help improve my overall skiing technique. In the afternoons, we’re in the gym working on strength, mobility and agility – so depending on how long we have between competitions, we’ll work on those areas to keep our bodies in top form.
How did your first ever ski race go?
My first race was a mixed bag actually. It was our annual club race with the Scottish Ski Club, and I remember going in feeling pretty confident with my skiing and having an idea where I would place. Back then, we didn’t know times until the prize-giving – and the devastation on my face when I didn’t get called up to the girl’s podium was real. As I was trying to hold back tears, the boy’s prizes were being handed out and in second place was Charlie Guest. A medal is a medal right? So my day was a great one in the end.
What’s the highlight of your career so far?
Competing for Team GB at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018 is definitely a highlight, and finishing fifth in the team event alongside some great friends was super special. My proudest moment, however, was in March – becoming the first British woman ever to win a European cup race.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by seeing how much work goes into me achieving results. Whether that’s from my parents helping to fund me or my coach shovelling snow off the course all day long, that’s what gets me up on the hard days and keeps me driven, no matter what I face. I’ve had so many comebacks from injuries and these are the people that have believed in me all the way.
Do you ski for fun when you’re not training?
I love to have the odd day here and there where I’m not skiing through gates – we have a couple of them throughout the season. Obviously, if there’s a powder day then we try and get out there and leave the Lycra at home.
What’s your favourite ski run?
For racing, my personal favourite hill is Flachau in Austria. It was my world cup debut in 2013, and the event that surrounds the race every year is amazing – it’s a night slalom and there’s always a huge crowd there to watch. The terrain is really fun, with lots of rollers, and really gives me such a great opportunity to charge every turn.
Do you have a top tip for anyone looking to get into skiing?
Make sure your boots are comfortable – it’ll make your skiing and your day 100 times better if your boots are right from the minute you set off.
And finally, tell us a non-skin fun fact about you…
I’ve recently started studying psychology at the University of Aberdeen, 7 years after I first applied in 2012 – learning to study again is hard work!