Confessions of a Snowmad – by Chemmy Alcott
This is my 43rd winter. I am 33 years old. Confused? From the age of 10 I have followed every winter from the northern hemisphere to southern hemisphere (bar 2 summers when I was injured).
There are definitely people who think I am mad – others think I have the dream job.
With the dream to win Olympic gold since I was 6 years old, I embraced the travel and the commitment to follow my goals and progress as far as I could. The southern hemisphere programme was essential for me to get the time on snow as I was developing as an athlete. And now in retirement the New Zealand winter is still firmly on my yearly calendar – this time though as a coach running our CDC Performance Camps.
I still love the travel. I have to! Europe is a big place and without a base from October to April I follow my work from weekends with Ski Sunday, to private client work, to Eurosport commentary and coaching with my performance training group CDC. The diversity of the days inspires me and pushes me. It invigorates and energizes me. The latter is fortunate since days off and sleeping are non-existent. My rest is when I drive. When my Discovery is packed to the brim we put on the music and chill. This last week we have spent 29 hours together cruising through Austria, Italy and France – and back again! That is 29 hours more than I have spent with my husband!!
He is out there on a mountain somewhere coaching and developing the future of British skiing. We catch up by phoning each other on chairlift rides. Our chairlift chats are really important – although invariably we end up talking shop, planning our camps and brainstorming new techniques.
This Sunday though we will meet. I don’t know the plan for the day, but I do know Valentine’s Day and Dougie’s birthday are soon, so we will pack all of the celebrations and romance into our few hours together.
The life of a snowmad can look glamorous. My Instagram account is full of images of pink sparkling snow as the sunrise peeks through the jagged mountain tops, happy selfies with clients who have just had the run of their life and podium photos of our CDC crew shredding in the races. What I don’t show is the bruises on my shins from the screw coming out of my leg banging constantly on the front of my ski boot, the midnight shots of me arriving at my next destination in the black of the night, unloading my car to get ready for the first lift in the morning, or the hours staring at the computer screen planning logistics of travel, time and training lanes!
I know I could slow down. I don’t HAVE to live my life at 90mph anymore. But I just can’t seem to say NO. Because this season, by running this programme and sharing my knowledge of the sport I love, I can feel daily that in some way I am helping to make a difference.
After all I can catch up on sleep when all the snow melts!
(Oh no wait – we are running a ski racing camp in May in Dubai!!!)