Charlie Guest put the disappointment of crashing out in the Senior Slalom to win the Junior title in Meribel. In very trying conditions, Guest battled her way to the win after making a poor first run by her own admission. With all of the top seven racers in the girls race making hard work of the top section, the first run was very much a race of the person making the fewest mistakes who would win. Rachelle Rogers lead but when the cards were shuffled on the second run, it was Charlie Guest who had battled her way to the front with Natalia Harte grabbing another second place and Alex Tilley, who had hiked on the frist run, taking third place.
After her first run, Guest felt that she “had to give it everything on the second run.” Her coach had not been best pleased with things after the first run and so it was all or bust she felt on the second run. “It has still not been the best skiing that I can do but it was enough to take the win,” she explained. Guest had been really disappointed to come out, she straddled, in the Senior Slalom as this has been her main event this season. After making her World Cup debut in Flachau in January in the slalom, that was the race that she had come to Meribel for. “It was unlucky how I came out,” she explained, “I had been going well up to that point so it was not like my skiing was the problem.”
“Today was a little bit of payback for yesterday,” Guest continued with a smile. “After the first run I thought I had burned it again,” she felt, “but it worked out well in the end.” Having made the switch to Head skis at the end of the last season, Guest is delighted as to how the switch has gone.
With a number of racers crashing out over the two runs, Natalia Harte took second place in the race. Harte came into the race “wanting to ski better than I had done yesterday,” she explained. “I ended up just surviving down the course as it was bumpy at number 2 already,” Harte continued. “For the second run my top section was quite good but I made a mistake coming into the flat section so was a bit annoyed with myself with that. I am quite pleased with how I skied.” Harte feels she is more of a speed skier yet having taken two podium spots from the two slaloms, will she be changing this assessment? “It was not expected,” she smiled.
After having had one hand on the slalom trophy the day before before straddling and crashing out, Alex Tilley was looking for a little payback in the Junior Slalom. On the first run it looked like all the carefully laid plans had gone astray again as she made an awkward hike after just ten gates. In the moments after she made the mistake, Tilley was trying to decide whether to hike or not, the machinations in her head decided to hike and the result of third is reward for not giving up. “I decided to go on and see if I could have a fun second run and see what I could do,” she admitted, “I guess it paid off.”
“I saw the mistake coming, I did not ski the top very well, I did not attack it very well, i was too cautious through the bumps and when you hold back in that scenario, it gets worse. I was getting later and later at every gate. I skied Â a lot better after that mistake. So all in all I was disappointed to not have skied so well before that mistake.” Tilley is one of the exciting talents coming through the system at the moment and has time on her side. This experience will hold her in good stead and after the likes of Natalie Beattie and first run leader Rachelle Rogers crashing, this promoted Tilley to third, something she did not expect after the first run. Rogers explained after the race that she “fell, got back up, made the decision to hike up the slope to the gate that I needed to go round. I went round it and I carried on to finish the race.” Rogers continued: “I wasn’t sad, I could walk away with a smile on my face because I know I am close to achieving my season’s goal for slalom.”
With Darcie Mead defending her Junior 1 title, this was something she had come to do. “I am not really a good slalom skier,” she admitted, “so am happy to have come here and defended the title.”