CHARLIE GUEST is no stranger to overcoming obstacles; she has, after all, recovered from a broken back to become Britain’s best female slalom skier for a generation.

She now, however, has to conquer the biggest challenge she has ever faced.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that UK Sport was removing funding from alpine skiing meaning Guest and her compatriots have been left wondering if this decision marks the end of their careers.

But Guest is nothing if not a fighter. Just as she has overcome injuries, including a broken back, and illnesses, the 28-year-old refuses to accept this is the end of her career, even though her first reaction on hearing the news was that it might well be.

“I managed to hold it together during the meeting where we got told but then as soon as I got of the phone, I just burst into tears. I just felt completely helpless,” the Perthshire athlete says.

“There’s so many of us who have had good results so it was hard to believe the news.

“I’ve quite literally broken my back to get to this point and I’m now healthy and at the top of my game so it’s very tough to take.”

Guest’s 2022 season was the best of her career.

As well as skiing in her second Olympic Games, her thirteenth place in the Schladming World Cup in Austria was the best finish by a British woman in a World Cup race for over thirty years, backing up a string of World Cup top 20 results.

So it’s little surprise Guest will fight to the end before she hangs up her skis.

In response to the UK Sport’s funding decision, Guest and four of her GB teammates, Dave Ryding, Billy Major, Laurie Taylor and Charlie Raposo have launched a crowd-funding appeal in an attempt to raise the money they need in order to continue their careers.

Their goal is to raise a whopping £500,000 in the next seven weeks and they have already passed the £30,000 mark in under a week.

Their target is an eye-watering amount of money but, says Guest, it’s the very least the quintet need in order to compete with the best in what is an excruciatingly expensive sport at the best of times.

“The 500k is the amount we need to secure our coach and technician contract and their expenses and hopefully, some of our expenses,” she says.

“We’re at a point where anything less than 100 percent in this sport just won’t cut it. I feel like I’m so close to the top and so I’m not prepared to do this if I can’t do it properly.

“Quite quickly after that phone call I made the decision of ok, we’ve got eight weeks and if we don’t hit our target then sadly, it looks like it’ll be the end of the road for me because I just don’t know how I could keep going.”

Guest’s teammate, Ryding, has led the way for British skiers, with his most notable result his win at the Kitzbuhel World Cup earlier this year, becoming the first Brit ever to win an alpine World Cup race.

The World Championships in February is the skiers’ next chance to secure a top-eight placing which would likely be enough to persuade UK Sport to back the sport once more.

However, the widespread damage done in the interim could be significant.

The success of Guest, Ryding and the rest of the GB elite squad has proven to young skiers in this country that hailing from Britain need not be a barrier to competing with skiers from the Nordic countries.

However, the decision to remove funding sends the message to youngsters within the sport in this country that becoming a professional skier is no longer a viable career option, believes Guest.

“I’ve had a number of messages from the parents of kids in the sport and they’ve always said to their kids that of they keep working hard then one day they could be the next Dave Ryding or Charlie Guest and they’re asking what are they supposed to tell their kids now?,” she says.

“That’s been one of the hardest things to take. I’ve always wanted to look out for the next generation and so this is pretty soul destroying. I would hate to see the opportunity not there for these younger skiers.”

Guest and her teammates are currently in Switzerland as they attempt to maintain their training programme amidst the turmoil.

It is, admits Guest, more than a little worrying to think she may have only weeks of her career left but she maintains a confidence that they will all still be professional skiers next season.

“Of course it’s hard thinking this might be the end but also, I really believe we are the real deal and so I’m really hopeful that people see that and get behind us,” she says.

“We all just really hope there’s somebody out there who also sees our potential.

“After all I’ve been through, I just really want to give myself the chance to be the best in the world.

“If we can use the crowd-funder to get some stability then we can hopefully build on it. So far, it’s going well so we just hope that people will buy into the story and back us.”


The skiers' crowdfunder can be found at: