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Introducing skier and Weleda Arnica Ambassador Elsa Powell-Dooley

Weleda Arnica Ambassador Elsa Powell-Dooley is a twenty-two-year-old British FIS-CIT* registered Alpine skier currently based in Tignes in the French Alps, training for the next level of Alpine ski racing. Having only started Alpine ski racing as an adult, Elsa took part in her first international competition in 2017, showing huge potential for such a newcomer to the sport. She went on to achieve four podiums at the English Alpine championships.

Weleda is delighted to be sponsoring Elsa in 2022 in her goal to become a successful and more experienced Slalom or Giant Slalom racer, and she currently has the British Alpine Senior Championships (April 2022) in her sights.

*The International Ski Federation (FIS) is the official winter sports governing body responsible for setting international competition rules and organising World Cup competitions and World Championships, and FIS-CIT Citizen Races which prepare young athletes for the future.

Watch (or read) our chat with Elsa about her training and recovery.:

When were you first introduced to skiing, and what did you like about it?

I was introduced to skiing when I was about four, in Austria I think, where my auntie lives, and the first thing I liked about it was going fast and having independence.

When did you first try ski racing?

I first tried ski racing when I was about 15, on a ski school trip to Les Deux Alpes. At the end of the week we did two days of racing against another school, and I was very interested in it, because I’d never heard of it before. So I went home, and thought about it but never really got into it, and then when I was 18 I just decided to do it!

How often do you compete?

We compete about once a week in the season, but sometimes it can be once every two weeks, or twice a week, even three times a week, it just varies.

How have COVID restrictions affected racing and training?

There have been challenges because of COVID, but not loads. You have to do a negative test before a race, which is kind of difficult sometimes because you’re in tiny remote resorts and you’re trying to find a PCR test, and it gets quite stressful because you have, like, two days and you’re just driving around alpine passes looking for tests. But not hugely except for testing, I mean there have been some border closures to different countries.
What does training involve?

Our daily routine and what we get up to is we normally wake up around 5 or 6 in the morning, depending on what time the ski resort opens. Before we start on the course, we do different drills to work on different areas that you need to improve on, like being on your outside ski or stuff like that. Then we head over to the course and do a course inspection, which is basically where you just go down the course slowly and look at all the technical parts. Then we come back around and do 8-10 runs, which normally brings us to about midday. Then head down the mountain, have lunch, take an hour or so to relax, and then we go to the gym and do an hour of gym work. Then come back and then you prep your skis for the next day, which involves waxing or sharpening, or whatever you need to do. Then we have dinner, scrape the skis after dinner, and then bed.

What are the particular challenges of ski racing?

One of the biggest challenges is probably just completing both runs and not crashing! Or not coming out because you make a mistake. And obviously trying to do it fast as well, without making mistakes AND finishing, there are challenges behind that because every race is a different hill, different snow, the variables change every day.

How do you avoid injury? 

I avoid injury by doing small warmups before I train on the hill every day, and doing gym work, trying to strengthen my muscles and ligaments, and then stretching every day as well, using a foam roller.

What have been the highlights so far of being a ski racer?

I would say the best thing I did whilst I’ve been ski racing was that I got the opportunity to go to Chile in South America. It was really cool to travel somewhere completely different. And it was in the summer, in August, so it was weird skiing in the summer! On our days off we went down to Santiago and spent the day walking around it, which was a cool experience.

What are your plans for 2022? 

My plan for 2022 with ski racing is to do a lot of racing between January and April, and also there are other bigger competitions that come up throughout the season, like different championships for different nations, that we go to.

How do you protect your skin against the extreme conditions?

The way I protect my skin against extreme conditions when I’m skiing is that I wear sun cream every day, because you can get burnt really easily at high altitude. I also wear a buff if it’s windy, to try and protect my skin. I’m also excited to try the Protection Cream from Weleda that’s in the baby range, you just put it on your cheeks and nose to help add an extra layer of protection.
 How do you look after your health generally, and are you interested in natural health?
I like to look after my health. I eat well, and exercise regularly – obviously within a sport that happens all the time. When I was growing up, my parents were quite into natural health. I used to love climbing trees and making mud slides so I was always getting bumps and bruises, so my parents would apply arnica or give me arnica tablets to help sort that out. I like to use natural products where I can, for what I can, that’s why I’m so excited to have all my products from Weleda so I can try all the stuff that I haven’t used before.

Do you have a favourite Weleda go-to product? 

Yes, I do! I’ve loved Skin Food Light, the face moisturiser, for the past couple of years. I use it all the time. Another product that I love to use, which I use on my legs after the gym or after skiing is the Arnica Massage Balm, because if they’re aching it really changes my day. It really makes a massive difference.

Do you have any daily mantra you use or live by? 

I like to think it’s never too late to do anything. Obviously starting ski racing at 18, I was told by some people that I was too old. I don’t think you’re too old to do anything – an artist, an astronaut, or a race car driver - it could be anything you want to be, you’re never too old.

Quick Fire Quiz

Favourite season?

Current book you’re reading?
‘The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (And Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)’ by Philippa Perry

Top tracks you listen to?
I like to listen to Bo Burnham and Billie Eilish
Food craving?

Spectator sport?

Any hobbies?
Rock climbing

Birthday treat?
Ice cream!

Guilty pleasure?

Reality TV

Elsa Powell-Dooley's favourites: