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Sisters On The Slopes

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Charlotte skiing on the powdery slopes of northern Italy

Let me introduce you to two of the most talented and skilful skiers at
St. Louis Middle School, Margherita and Charlotte, two
Year 7s who grew up on the powdery peaks of Courmayeur, and
became the best of rivals!

It’s an icy cold morning in the Italian Alps, where Charley and Margherita are eagerly
anticipating an intense day of training. Let’s turn back the clock and take a look at the
story which brought them here. “I put on my first set of skis at the age of three”, explains
Charlotte. “My dad was the one who convinced me to get involved in skiing seriously, even
if he is more of a fan of biking. I joined my first ski club in Celerina at five, and I’ve loved
every minute since”. Margherita shares a similar story: “I joined the Cramont Ski Club at 4
years of age. I never felt the need to change clubs, as I always felt comfortable and happy
there”. Does growing up with skiing make it any easier in the long term? “I’d say definitely”,
Margherita adds. “You don’t have any fear when you are young but at the same time
there’s a difference between skiing in competitions and skiing for leisure”.

Today, Charlotte trains for the ‘Sci Club Lecco’, but regularly meets Marghe for the day, as
their teams often come into competition with each other. Margherita believes that her
friend is a very strong skier and sees her as an important rival this season, which
motivates her to train even harder. “Our routines are very strict”, exclaims Marghe. “We
have to take long car journeys to the mountains, waking up very early in the morning, and
intensely train from 8:30 till sunset. I also take dance classes, which help me with balance.
I see many similarities between skiing and ballet, such as grace, focus and posture”. For
someone who races at a competitive level, diet is a very important factor. “I usually don’t
eat much at breakfast”, Charlotte reveals. “I start the day with eggs or cake, as protein is
essential to wake me up and get me ready for the cold”.

So, what are the ideal conditions for a race? Margherita is quick to answer: “Personally, I
like milder days, with moderate temperatures. These allow me to shed the heavy layers of
clothing to improve aerodynamics”. Charlotte is also keen to point out the benefits of good
equipment. “My favourite skis are Head and Rossignole. I’ve always used these and found
myself very well suited, but if you are just starting out on the slopes, it’s a good idea to rent
skis or a board and maybe look for clothing online, just until you’re sure it’s the sport for
you”.

The two girls have a very busy schedule, constantly travelling to different competitions.
“With my team, I often ski in France and Austria”, Charlotte continues. “We also have the
international games at Prato Nevoso every year”. However, both girls’ favourite race was
St. Louis on the Slopes back in 2016. “St. Louis on the Slopes was the best
competition I have ever took part in. You don’t get to ski with your friends and classmates
very often! I finished second, behind Marghe who finished 1st. I’m very proud of her and I hope she can keep up the good work. When we were younger, the rivalry between us was
very strong. Luckily, we are best friends now, almost like a team”.

Charlotte and Margherita also have to deal with the constant pressure of performing for
their teammates. “Performing at the same level as your competitors is already hard, but
you also have to add balancing school and training! There is obviously a huge amount of
pressure, however, skiing is also incredibly social. Not only do I get to hang out and have
fun with Charley, but I have a group of English friends who visit Italy during the season”.
Of course, skiing has its risks. Thankfully, none of the girls have had any serious injuries…
yet! Charlotte confesses: “I’ve never had any bad accidents, but I used to fall on almost
every slope. I have learnt from my mistakes, watching videos of myself, which is as
important as it is helpful. My idols have always been Lara Gut, who has an amazing
technique, and the American champion, Lindsey Vonn”.

So, what are your favourite aspects and styles of skiing? “Speed, adrenaline and physical
contact are the best aspects of racing,” Charley replies. “My favourite moments on the
slopes are when I get to ski with Marghe and my family in St. Moritz, as we have more
freedom”. Instead, Charlotte prefers the more technical aspects of slalom to recreational
skiing. “My biggest advice is to have no fear”, she explains. “Always listen to coaches’ and
teachers’ advice as to how you can improve, be emotionally strong and physically fit. If
you’re just starting out, join a non competitive club in the beginning and grow into the
sport. But most importantly, have fun and enjoy your time on the beautiful peaks”.

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