Alcott masters new challenge in world's toughest ski race

26 March 2015 / 06:52

Chemmy Alcott was never going to sit quietly in retirement.

The four-time Olympian quit skiing last year after finishing 19th in the women's downhill in Sochi, defying medics to compete after yet another year of the broken bones than have punctuated her career looked to have broken her heart.

Alcott has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, swapped her ski suit to sequins to compete in Dancing on Ice and fulfils her need for speed with a motor sport competition licence.

But last week she completed arguably her biggest challenge yet, competing in the gruelling 160km Arctic Circle Race - dubbed the World's Toughest Ski Race - in Greenland.

'It was a massive challenge, brutal and brilliant at the same time' said Alcott, who is raising money for Ski 4 Cancer, a UK-based charity which provides respite and relief for cancer sufferers and their families.

'The big thing was doing it for Ski for Cancer. There's been work into the effect of altitude on combating cancer so that's something I know a lot about as I'm very fortunate to be at altitude a lot.

'So to be able to use that medically and scientifically to do something good was really good.'

However, Alcott admits it will be strange not to be competing at this week's Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships in Tignes.

Last year the 32-year-old won the national super-G, downhill and super-combined titles in Meribel and even considered a comeback just so she could keep her trophies.

'It was very tough sending the trophies back the other day. I did get my licence so that I could compete again but it falls exactly the same time I'm off to Greenland,' admitted Alcott, who married fellow ski racer Dougie Crawford earlier this year.

'I have retired but I thought it would be nice to go race the British Champs and give the girls a chance to beat me. I'll definitely miss taking part.

'It's a really nice way to end the season to be around all your peers and to have a good old British battle.

'Tignes is a really fun hill. It's not flat and easy, the British has always been somewhere challenging and I think it shows our future stars how hard they need to work in order to get near the best.'

Great Britain's leading light this season has been two-time Olympian and slalom specialist Dave Ryding, who has clocked up five top 30 World Cup finishes, including a personal best of 16th in the slalom at Madonna di Campiglio before Christmas.

'Dave is the one to beat but he's had a long old season in his slalom,' added Alcott.

'There are a couple of the big names missing, so there could be a real big opportunity for a young up and coming male to take massive confidence from going away as one of the speed GB champions.

'The women's races will be really exciting too. There will be a good battle definitely between Charlie Guest and Darcie Mead and Cara Brown.

'I think Cara and Darcie in the speed disciplines, now that I'm out the way, they want those titles, but I think it's nice that so many are fighting for that silverware.'

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