Thanks to the Gateway Challenges Fund, I was able to support the cost of a two-week trip to Saas-Fee in Switzerland for a ski racing camp at the start of September. As captain of the Ski Team, I organised the trip for around 25 Cambridge athletes, and coordinated with the Edinburgh and Oxford University teams (around another 30 people) so that we could live and train together.
I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to meet, work with and learn from other athletes who have had different experiences of racing, as well as the chance to create a strong relationship between the three universities which will hopefully last for years to come.
After flying into Geneva, we made our way to the village of Saas-Fee in the Swiss Alps. The glacier is one of the best in Europe for summer skiing, providing amazing snow and weather conditions. This meant we were training (literally) alongside World Cup Teams and World Champions from all over the world, with some of us even lucky enough to be sat next to them on the lift up!
Every day was jam packed, usually starting at 6:30 am and finishing around midnight. Mornings were early, with our lift time being scheduled for around 7:30am to make it up to the Allalin glacier (at 4000m altitude) by 8:30am to be able to fit 4 hours of skiing in before the conditions worsened. Our afternoons were then filled with a variety of activities, including video analysis of our race training, strength and conditioning sessions, beach volleyball, football, hikes up to the Kneipp (a pool of freezing mountain water for recovery), spa trips, high rope courses, and hikes to see the marmots! After an intense Monday to Friday, weekends were our rest days meaning we could explore the picturesque village, enjoy the local food, and relax in the mountain sunshine!
Running such a trip, with the added risk of Coronavirus, the difficulties associated with it being abroad and the dangers that come with skiing (and having to deal with several serious injuries) has taught me a lot about my organisational skills and leadership, which I will take into the season ahead.
I am grateful to the Murray Edwards Gateway Challenges Fund for supporting me and allowing me to pursue my interests in this way.
Undergraduate student, Geography