ahead of the beginning of the 2021/22 winter season, we sat down with alpine world cup squad member, Charlie Raposo to get his thoughts on the season ahead.
It’s easy to forget that Charlie Raposo is still just 25, given how long he’s been a part of the British Alpine scene, his first appearance on the World Championships circuit coming at the tender age of 19, where he finished a credible 34th place. Now, on the eve of a season which brings with it hopes of a first Olympics appearance at the Beijing Games and coming off the back of 18 months of covid-related disruption to the race calendar, he’s in the mood to make up for lost time.
“The first race of the season [the Alpine Ski World Cup in Soelden, Austria, which gets underway on 23 October] is always so hyped, because everyone has missed the racing during off-season,” he explains. But the challenges presented by covid-19 have upped the stakes. “Over the past 18-months, I probably spent more time in my own head than I ever have. I certainly learnt a lot about how I want to spend my time in life, who I want to spend it with. As for my sport, it certainly made me stare a lot of things in the eyes and figure them out for myself.”
Talking to Raposo, that attitude of self-reflection is something that comes up often. Though he marks himself out as “an extrovert in a sport that results in a lot of solitary thoughts”, he’s also prone to thinking deeply about what it means to be an athlete in the 21st century, and he talks openly about the ways that sportspeople are becoming increasingly vocal on social issues. “It’s amazing, seeing athletes across so many different sports, and walks of life, being vocal about what they believe is important,” he says. “We’re all given a platform, some bigger than others, and if you’re able to use that to do good then I’m all for it! Looking at some of the things that have been achieved by athletes globally over the last decade: it’s powerful.”
Raposo tasted podium glory way back in 2012 when, a month before his 17th birthday, he stormed to a first-place finish in the Slalom at Sugarbush in the US, with that first World Championships appearance following just three years later. Further podium finishes have followed at National Championship and FIS levels before, in a career-best result to date, taking third place at the Hinterstoder European Cup in the Giant Slalom in 2019 – just one one-hundredth of a second behind second placed Austrian, Max Lahnsteiner. So, what does he make of his career to date?
“Wow. Thinking about it that way, it really does make me feel old!” He says it with a laugh, but again the seriousness returns, “It’s difficult to articulate how you’ve developed and changed as an athlete, but if you want to be successful in sport, you have to be so self-critical and analytical. I’d say my athletic maturity continues to develop in a way that benefits my athletic development. I’m looking forward to seeing how I continue to change in the years to come.”
Despite his youth, you’re struck speaking to Raposo by just how much of his life has been spent at the highest levels of the sport. “I’ve been lucky enough to represent Great Britain at an international level since I was 12 years old,” he says, describing what it feels like to compete his nation, “so, at this point, it just feels normal. But at the same time, it’s such an amazing thing to do.”.
The Alpine team’s profile received a welcome boost ahead of the season’s first races with the announcement of a new headline partner in housebuilder Redrow and the confirmation that the high-end French brand, Fusalp, will be producing the team’s race and training kits; progress that has clearly caught Raposo’s eye.
“It’s flattering to have brands believing in what we’re doing and allowing us to do it with a little more financial ease. We’re proud to represent all those brands on our clothing and to be able to be involved with what they’re doing back home”
And finally, is he doing anything differently this season with the Beijing Olympic Winter Games on the horizon? “Actually, no – nothing changes! It [the Beijing Games] is just another race in a very busy World Cup and European Cup season.”
“Head down. Crack on.”
Charlie Raposo Biography
- Born: 1996
- Discipline: Alpine
- Squad: World Cup Squad
- Hometown: London, UK
- Top Result: 3rd – European Cup GS, Hinterstoder, AUT, 2019
Header Image: Charlie Raposo wearing the new Fusalp x GB Snowsport Alpine kit 2021/22. (Photo: Amarcster Media)