A ‘Day in the Life’ of Charlie Guest
Charlotte (Charlie) Guest is one of Great Britain's most promising Alpine ski racers. Born in Perth, Scotland, in 1993, she started learning to ski when she was just three years old. Already racing by the age of 11, Charlie was picked to join the British Children’s team at 13. Since then she has never looked back; making her World Cup debut at Flachau in January 2013, and winning the Australia New Zealand Cup Giant Slalom (ANC GS) in September 2013.
Charlie spends a great deal of her time training when not actually competing. So what would a typical training day look like? It usually begins at 7am with a light jog and lots of stretching to reduce the chance of injury, followed by activation exercises before breakfast, which is generally a very Scottish bowl of porridge. This is followed by five hours training on the mountain, fuelled by a variety of snack bars, including her favourite, the Pack Tunch, made from raw fruit and nuts, to make sure she gets enough to eat.
Once back at their house, the skiers have lunch and a rest before hitting the gym, having physio and then going to the ski room to prepare their skis for the next day, which can take up to a colossal four hours, depending on how many pairs will be needed. Somehow the athletes manage to grab dinner at about 7pm and head to bed as soon as possible after that.
The times of training sessions vary according to the country Charlie is skiing in. In New Zealand, for example, she usually has to get up at about 4.30am, while in Norway or Finland training sessions can start as late as 3pm using floodlit slopes, owing to the lack of light in the winter.
A competition day starts in much the same way, with warm-ups on the mountain before the skiers inspect the first race course. Then they are off into a café to refuel and rehydrate before the second run, to keep up their all-important blood sugar levels.
Hopefully, Charlie will then be waiting around for prize-giving before she heads back to the hotel for lunch – often tuna pasta – rest and recovery. “I keep recovery short on race days with a light jog, then some quick feet drills, jumps and core exercises. The days are long, and races tend to come in blocks of two or three, sometimes as many as six or seven,” Charlie explains. Then there is ski preparation, dinner, with plenty of protein, vegetables and slow release carbohydrates, and, as usual, early bed.
uvex equipment and sponsorship
Charlie is a long-term fan of uvex helmets and goggles, loving their high quality and design and knowing she can trust them to keep her protected and get her down the mountain fast.
“Everything from my edge angles, the type of wax I am using, to the lenses in my goggles, makes a massive difference when it comes to the times you collect at the finish,” she notes.
She loves the range of lenses that come with uvex goggles, giving a choice of a different lens in each and every light condition. “This means that whatever the weather, even if it is completely foggy, I still have the best visibility possible,” she enthuses.
Charlie’s particular favourite piece of equipment is her new pink and blue slalom helmet. “I honestly get so excited to put it on,” she says. “For a ski racer this is a miracle – I may not get to wear pretty dresses, but I do get to wear a seriously awesome helmet.”
Sponsorship deals, such as the one Charlie has with uvex, make a massive difference to her day. “Not only am I provided with helmets and goggles from a brand that I am proud to wear, and know will protect me in any crash, but, mentally, sponsor support is a massive boost for every training session and race that I do,” she confirms.
“Having the backing of a company that is held in such high regard within the winter sports industry lets me know that people out there believe in my ability to achieve my goals and one day win World Cup and World Championship medals.”
Charlie has always tried to keep one step ahead of her three younger siblings and has grown up with the family competing over everything. “Skiing is a perfect sport for me,” she says. “Just being against the clock, and knowing that everything at that moment, on that run, is down to what I can do with a pair of skis on my feet is one of the best feelings in the world,” she enthuses.
Doing her absolute best has taught Charlie to accept failure when something doesn’t go to plan. “It is a very frustrating sport” she laments. “One tiny mistake often leads to massive time losses or a crash, and this can be quite hard to deal with when you have worked so long for that one competition.”
So what qualities are the most important to Charlie? “Determination, commitment and perseverance,” she says. “Determination means that I am giving myself the best possible chance to achieve my goals by training as hard as I can in every session.”
“Commitment is important, as I know that if I miss out on even one session, I will regret it, and will have already given my competitors an advantage,” But, since Charlie was told all through her school career that being a ski racer would never work, the most important must-have attribute for a successful ski racer is perseverance.
“Being an Alpine Ski Racer from Great Britain is not as simple as you would think,” says Charlie. “Obviously we aren’t able to access the same facilities as our European competition. We have grown up in a completely different environment and do not have the same levels of funding”.
Charlie’s solution to this is to believe in what she is doing and to never lose faith in herself or sight of her long term goals. “I just love the feeling of getting better at something by working hard for it, and as soon as I see the improvements in my results and rankings, all the sacrifices I have made along the way become completely worthwhile,” she says.
So after all this hard work, what does Charlie do in the evenings to wind down and switch off? Card games with the other athletes, TV series, such as New Girl and Modern Family and movie nights are among her leisure pursuits. But the evenings are short, as early bedtime reigns supreme, usually around 9.00pm.
“By the time we have got everything done and chilled out a little after dinner, we’re all pretty tired, so even if we want to or not, we’re often found asleep by this point,” laughs Charlie. “I absolutely love sleeping and try to get in at least eight hours. The only thing I struggle with is how much the Austrians super-heat their rooms. Being from Scotland, I find it very hard to deal with high temperatures.”
Charlie has a place at the University of Aberdeen to study Biomedical Science, but who knows when she will be able to take that up? In her dry-land training season from May to July, she sometimes wishes that she were studying alongside her training, but it is impossible to fit this in when she is away for the other nine months of the year. A busy life, indeed!
1st - SL, British Championships, Tignes, FRA, 2017
1st - SL, British Championships, Tignes, FRA, 2016
9th - SL, Europa Cup Finals, La Molina, ESP, 2016
Debut - World Ski Championships, Vail USA, 2015
1st - SL & GS, British Championships, Meribel, FRA, 2014
1st - SL & GS, British NJC, Meribel, FRA, 2014
1st - GS. Australia New Zealand Cup, Cardrona NZL, 2013
Debut - SL World Cup, Flachau AUT, 2013