Cara Brown is a former British ski racer with a cabinet full of trophies. She is a five times Overall British Ladies Champion, has more than 25 other National titles, numerous Europa Cup top 20 and top 30 results, and became the UKs best ranked female speed skier.
Cara hung up her ski racing boots in 2020 but is now using her experience to train people how to get fit. She has teamed up with Vivian Fonseca, who is recognised as one of the UKs best functional fitness trainers, to form VC Ski Fitness.
Over the next few months Cara will be sharing some of her top skiing and fitness tips with readers of the Skier & Snowboarder on the magazine’s website.
To kick off her regular column, Cara takes a trip back in time and explains how she started skiing at the age of three.
“My parents are both very keen skiers so it’s not surprising that I was three years old when skis were first strapped to my feet. We spent our winter holidays driving from London to Meribel, France, to go skiing. Although I don’t remember it, my parents said I was always a bit over eager with my speed on the slopes and used to have one parent ski in front of me and one behind… more for everyone else’s safety than my own!
“When I was seven, we moved to Milan, Italy, for my dad’s job. It brought us closer to the mountains and we could go skiing every weekend. My first racing camp was with Kandahar Ski Club aged 10. I loved ski camp, I thought it was great that I could hang out with my friends and ski all week! When I was 12, I did my first British ski race. I was pretty terrible, I recently found photos from that race and I’m about five feet off every gate which explains my time!
“Soon after, I joined the British Ski Academy in Les Houches for training on the weekends and then for a few British races every year. Age 15, I moved into the international category for racing and suddenly I could go to races every weekend.
“So, that’s what I did, with my parents in tow as my coaches, drivers and supporters! I think it was around the same time as everyone else was applying for university that I decided I’d much rather be skiing. My parents were very supportive and they said I could go to university any time but I could only ski now so I headed to Austria for full time skiing. Little did they know it wasn’t just going to be a one-year thing.
“It’s worth me mentioning that in 2012, the year I decided to go into full time racing at the age of 18, I wasn’t even ranked in the top 1,000 in the world. I was late starting racing and I had a lot of catching up to do. But once I was skiing full time my performances started to improve pretty dramatically.
“I trained in France with Orsatus, a private French team and in 2014 I ended up ranked in the top 160 in the world in Giant Slalom, I won about 10 national titles as well and the Overall British Ladies Champion title.
“Over the next few years, I continued to improve and was consistently among the top racers and on top of the podium in National Championships. I also competed in my first World Cup, multiple Europa Cup races and qualified for the World Championships.
“Being a full-time athlete is the best and worst job in the world. I travelled all over the world skiing in the most amazing places making plenty of friends along the way and winning trophies in Europe, Maerica, Chile, South America and Scandinavia.
“But for every hour spent skiing there were another two hours behind the scenes in the gym, on the road bike and preparing my skis. I constantly pushed my body to its limits and for every decision I made I first thought was “is this going to make me a better skier?” If the answer was no then I just didn’t do it whether it be days off, holidays, family weddings or birthdays.
“Everything ground to a halt in April 2016 when I tore my ACL in my left knee. I fought my way back from injury and was back to competing at the World Championships in 2017 in St Moritz. I kept moving up again until 2018 when I broke my leg and then finally, in 2020, I tore my ACL in my right knee to give myself a matching set!
“Despite my career being littered with injuries, I am still five times Overall British Ladies Champion, have over 25 other National Titles, numerous Europa Cup top 20 and top 30 results and I am the UKs best ranked speed skier.
In 2020, I decided it was time to hang up my race skis for good and move onto new adventures. Of course, covid had slightly different plans for me and everything was cancelled. I found myself in London for the summer, surrounded by a lot of unfamiliar concrete and skyscrapers.
I started working as a ski fitness trainer for private clients in gardens and parks across London. I didn’t expect to get very much interest, but people really loved it and soon I was cycling all over London to over 15 different clients.
Through mutual friends I met Vivian Fonseca, one of the UKs best functional fitness trainers and creator of the Brazilian Method, voted Tatler’s ‘best bum workout’! Vivian had clients who wanted to get fit for skiing but not being a skier herself she needed some direction. During our first ever meeting, the idea formed to create online ski fitness workout programs so people could get fit for their ski holidays.
Over the next few months VC Ski Fitness was born. Putting together both my skiing knowledge and Vivian’s fitness expertise, we created workout packages for different levels of skiers – for those who have never skied in their life all the way up to confident skiers looking to bridge the gap between themselves and the pros. We’re not a standard workout program – we don’t just focus on your strength; we also tackle unique skiing motor skills such as balance and coordination and we relate every exercise back to your skiing technique.
Over the next few months, I look forward to sharing some of my top skiing and fitness tips with you so when the resorts do finally reopen you can make the most of your time on snow!
Categories: News, Racing