We caught up with GB Snowsport athlete Charlie Guest to talk about what she’s been doing to escape during lockdown.

Where have you been going to escape?

Big Annie, the adventure van build on my driveway.

How often do you visit Big Annie?!

Once I have all my training done for the day and emails answered, I'm straight into the van to get on with the next job or next task. I will be in there for a couple of hours every day without fail.

How did the van build come about?

I recently moved down to Lincolnshire with my boyfriend Callum and throughout lockdown, I have totally missed being able to head to my favourite lochs, beaches and mountains back home in Scotland. So this van is going to be our own way of being able to have freedom to head out whenever we have a spare minute from work or training. We both love climbing, so this is going to be a great place to come back to after tiring days in the hills. We are even including a drying cupboard, so we still have a place to dry off our socks and stuff after the inevitably true British weather days!

Why does this van build mean so much to you?

It's a project that we have always talked about, but we finally took the leap this spring and invested in a van and the rest has been history. It has been such a learning curve to get to grips with all of the electrics and preparation that needs to happen to make this old work van into a livable space. The sense of achievement that has come from completing job after job has been amazing – especially fitting the windows. I am so excited to get it finished, so we can head into the mountains, and maybe even out to Europe for when the racing season has finished up.


It has become mine and Callum’s life outside of anything else that we do – lunches and dinners are spent watching YouTube videos or working out what is going into the next hardware order. Callum has been able to put in so much work whilst I have been on camp fitting solar panels etc., so it is always the first thing that gets talked about when I call home. 

How does having this project to focus on help your mindset as an athlete?

It's something that I have to focus on outside of sport and a break that I have from training or thinking about skiing – although I cannot wait for skiing trips in it! Some of the tasks have been really therapeutic as well, such as fitting the insulation (which is recycled plastic bottles) so really gives me a chance to reset and get away from the demands of dryland training and create proper headspace which is obviously hugely important in making sure that when training is the main focus of my day, I still have a work-life balance. I’ve had great fun creating drawings for the interior structure too, so bringing those school Art and Graphic Communication skills back out from retirement has been a really good way to harness some creativity, which is also great for my mental health. And obviously once it is finished it is going to make getting away for a weekend, no matter the weather, a lot more manageable! One fun fitting is a hammock hook from the backdoor, so I’m hoping I can get a slackline attached too for an extra bit of training on the side!

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