Presenting Ski Sunday – by Chemmy Alcott
On dreary, cold and dark Sunday afternoons around 5.15pm, UK winter sports fans take a break from their weekend. With a cuppa in hand, one million viewers across Britain sit down in front of their crackling fires, put their feet up and switch over to BBC2 for Ski Sunday.
First broadcast in 1978, Ski Sunday is one of the longest running BBC Sports programmes still on air.
For me, that hour mid Sunday afternoon was guaranteed to bring our skiing-mad family together. Our Sundays were planned around it! Early morning skiing at Sandown dry ski slope, followed by chucking the rugby ball around with my older brothers and our traditional roast. In a food coma we would play rock, paper, scissors to see which one of us had the arduous, messy and time-consuming task of cleaning out the remains of last weekend’s fire before my Dad got the flames roaring and carefully roasted a few leftover chestnuts.
From watching at home to interviewing the girls at the finish – a big change!
And then as soon as that familiar and magical music started, uncharacteristic peace and quiet enveloped us all as we sat watching big crash after big crash. As a little girl I would be sitting on my crossed fingers hoping no skier had suffered an injury.
I am sure this picture I am painting is very familiar to you. If you are reading this then you support or are members of the Ski Club of GB. Since this is the biggest membership-based snowsports club in the UK, it is likely that you are one in a long line of a family of members with skiing in your blood.
20 or so years later for me to be able to present a TV show I grew up religiously watching is such an honour.
I am under no illusions that I am one of the main men – it is for sure the Ed (Leigh) and Graham (Bell) show. But slowly every year I am being given more responsibility. Last year was my first four shows and I travelled, alongside a multi-talented producer and camera-and-sound-man-in-one around the Women’s world cups and presented a short summary of results.
This season has put me in front of camera more and more frequently
This year I was trusted with writing my own scripts, doing longer and more technical pieces to camera, interviewing Lindsey Vonn for the second time and even a really cool James Bond-esque chase opening sequence.
Alongside my coaching business, this is one of my favourite parts of the winter. Skiing is and always will be my passion and I feel a responsibility to share it will others.
As I write this I am plugged into an incredible Game Ready ice and compression machine having just had ACL reconstruction. I am more known for my numerous injuries than my results. I have been asked many a time (not least by my young nieces and nephews) why I keep going back to skiing when I continually get hurt. For me it is never a question of if I will come back but how fast. And no it’s not about coming back to race, it’s about coming back because I still love those moments in the mountains when I am in complete control of what I am doing – how fast I go, how tight I make an arc. I can’t bottle up my passion for snowsports but by helping present Ski Sunday I can help a tiny bit to spread that love.
The latest injury setback – a torn ACL (my first ever)
The work for Ski Sunday is amazing. I absolutely love following the World Cup tour, being around my friends and seeing the sport I love from a different point of view. My favourite moments are being able to stand in the media zone and celebrate when my closest friends’ podium and then having that awkward but fun interview with them because we know each other far too well!