Sponsored by Leki UK

Every year the Delancy British Ski Team, sponsored by pole specialists LEKI, head out to Chile for their summer training camp.

It’s a month long brutal and exhausting regime that’s set to push each athlete and prepare them for a winter of competitions.

Honor Clissold is one of Britain’s top ranked female skiers and this summer she joined the camp for the sixth year in a row.

What does a typical day hold for you?

“Most of our days in Chile are the same - not that they’re boring, but they follow a very organised format so we can get the most out of being there.

“Each day we get up around 6am and have a short “activation” session in the lounge area to warm up our muscles and wake ourselves up for the day ahead. These exercises are provided for us by Dave Ryding’s physio - Nikki Kidd - and focus on mobility and movement patterns.

“We then have breakfast and head to the lift (they open the lift for coaches and racers at 7am, before the public lifts open at 8.30am). Training will run until 11.30am and be a mixture of technical drills, slow drills, training courses or full length race courses, depending on which discipline we are working on! Sometimes we will ski 20 runs of drills, and other days it might just be four runs of SuperG or Downhill.”

The team use the Venom Carbon SL pole provided by their sponsors LEKI, with a durable aluminium upper and super light, stiff carbon bottom for perfect swing action and minimum weight. Ideal for racing conditions.

“After training we will have lunch with all the other teams, which is good as there is some interaction between countries, before head back to the apartments to get changed for afternoon sessions.

“For the Chile Camp we are lucky enough to have staff to help us with equipment preparation, which gives us a little time in the afternoon to rest, let our food go down and stretch, before we start sports sessions around 3pm.  These could be core, stability, strength or cardio orientated, but in Chile we are usually slightly scaled down because of the altitude. Or we’ll do video analysis with the coaching staff, or finish off tuning equipment and preparing for the next day.

“We normally follow this pattern, taking four or five days “on” like this, before taking a full day off to recover and catch up on anything that has been missed, before beginning the whole cycle again.”

What do the evenings hold?

“Boringly, the evenings usually see us trying to go to bed as early as possible or sitting in our pyjamas drinking hot chocolate and watching a movie! Everyone is usually shattered. 

“There are amazing sunsets in Chile though, so after dinner everyone is outside taking photos with their phones, trying to get the best shots and pulling some crazy moves to get the best silhouettes. There are amazing views from up on the mountain where we stay - you can see all the way down to Santiago.

“When we have days off then people are happier to stay up a little later, but because we are staying on the side of the mountain there is not much to do up there! Sometimes the restaurant puts on some live music in the evenings, which is funny because it’s usually so bad, or the resort have freestyle or light shows which are good to watch.”

Is it just skiing - are there other ways you can train whilst you’re out there?

“Our coaches construct our programme so that we have a lot of time before Chile to do physical training, working on strength and most importantly cardio fitness, doing cycling and bike camps to improve our endurance. Because we are not just training, but also living at such high altitude, it is very hard to rest and recover between days of training and we are limited to the amount of cardio training we do as it would impact on our skiing and defeat the point of being out here.

“The resort we stay in - El Colorado - is perfect for training as it is so small. It probably only houses 700 people, most of them ski teams, so there aren’t many facilities. One of the hotels has a small pool, but we just use this to relax in sometimes. There is a large shipping container that has been converted into a “gym” for ski teams to use. It’s crowded, but we can lift weights when we need to depending on our skiing programme. You can’t really run up here because the altitude pushes your heart rate through the roof, but you can go for walks which is nice because it is so quiet - unlike any other ski resorts in Europe.”

What do you miss the most whilst you’re away?

“In the past it has been the communication with the outside world! In previous years there was no access to wifi and limited phone signal, so it was hard to communicate outside of the training groups that are in resort – making it pretty intense at times. Still, most of the hotels here don’t have an internet connection, but luckily this year ours did, and that made it much easier because we could talk to friends back in the UK and use social media.

“On some days you get some weird Chilean rational meals and that’s challenging because there is nowhere else to go to eat! So really, the things you miss are just the things from back home that you’re used to - being able to talk to friends, do what you want, your favourite foods and so on… But just normal sacrifices that you have to accept when you are spending long periods of time away training.”

Do you ever get out of camp to see the sights?

“When we have days off, the coaches try to take us down to Santiago because it is a much lower altitude and easier for everyone to sleep, rest and recover. We usually go to a nice hotel, can have a lie in, a big breakfast and then get to explore the city of Santiago in groups. “We’ve been here for a few years now, but there is always something to do or see because it is a huge city.” 

What’s it like living in Chile for a month?

“Ultimately, it is tough but good fun. You are here with your team mates, training and most of the time you feel like you are getting better and having fun and with other people doing the same as you. Not many people have the opportunity to get to do this, and it’s important to remember that. It can be lonely at times when you can’t contact home, or intense when you have a bad training day or argue with your team mates or coaches, or when you are feeling tired. But really it’s cool to be somewhere so different from home and experience new things. Because we’ve been here a few times now, some parts even feel a little like home, and you know the people who run the lifts, some of the local Chilean racers and other people. But still, it’s nice to come home to England at the end of the camp!”

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