GB SNOWSPORT TALK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
To honour International Women’s Day and the female athletes blazing a trail in their sports right now, we spoke to GB Snowsport athlete Charlie Guest about her experiences as a woman in snowsports.
Charlie Guest, GB Snowsport Alpine Athlete
Tell us about a time when you were proud to be a woman in snowsport/representing your country.
Obviously every time that I have the chance to go out and race and fly the flag for GB is a proud moment. But anything I can do to show the next generation of girls in snowsports that we are just as good as boys is a something to be proud of.
For example, becoming the first British woman to win an alpine Europa Cup and being one of only three Brits that holds two wins is something that I hope gives the next lot of girls coming through the belief that we all have it in us to achieve what has never been done before.
Have there been any challenges you have faced along the way because of your gender?
I would say the biggest challenges that I have felt have been in the fact that ski racing has always been a really male dominated environment and especially when it came to training. It was very much expected that girls just do the same as the boys, as there was no female presence anywhere, or example to say that girls are not just small men, they are an entirely different physiological being altogether.
As I have got older and been able to work with more experienced coaches, especially in the gym, I have been able to understand and start to influence changes in how we work on the snow too.
Who are some female athletes that inspired your journey or who you admire in the sport at the moment?
Serena Williams has been an inspiration for my entire career, as I started to understand gender equality and what it really means – that women are not only treated the same as men in the here and now, but they are offered the same opportunities, earning potentials, time, publicity, opinions and so on – she was one of the biggest voices. Every time she steps out on court, she puts sport, not just women's sport, distinctly on the map and shows every female sportsperson out there to fight for what you deserve.
Do you feel there are any snowsports brands who are really leading the way for women, or who create gear that really works for female athletes?
Two of my favourites at the moment are Helly Hansen and Arc’teryx. Both bands have a great range of unisex kit, but also product representation between men's and women's clothing is equal (online at least).
All in all, I think that the industry has come far over the last 10 years to represent all genders, creating good looking and functional kit, designed for the outdoors and bringing out colour palettes that especially for women, veer away from just shades of gaudy purple.
What can the snowsport industry do better to support women and encourage female participation?
If you don’t see it, often kids don’t realise that you can do it, so it's so important for women in sport to be seen as much as men. Also as previously mentioned, I was in a very male-dominated environment from a young age and I feel like I could have benefitted from some more balanced input.
It is great to see growing numbers of female performance coaches in the UK, and the efforts by UK sport to nurture that growth, because creating balance is only going to increase the diversity of participation and the talent that we can bring in to the snowsports industry.
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