Following another successful season for Great Britain’s leading giant slalom skier, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be extending our support of Charlie Raposo for the 2023/24 season.
Charlie has been GB’s top-rated giant slalom racer for the past nine years, securing Team GB’s first World Cup points in 54 years, as well as a European Cup podium finish in giant slalom. Having finished 17th at the World Championships in Courchevel earlier this year (yet another record for Great Britain in giant slalom), Charlie is blazing a trail for British skiers and making history as he goes.
With Great Britain’s Olympic alpine team facing a continued shortfall in funding, White Star Capital is proud to sponsor Charlie and we look forward to supporting him throughout the 23/24 season as he pushes for the world’s top 30.
Ahead of Charlie’s first race of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup in Val D’Isere, we sat down to chat about the overlap between elite sport and entrepreneurship, and what can be learned from both. Catch Charlie in action this weekend!
What is the most important quality a professional ski racer needs to succeed?
Narrowing it down to just one quality is probably doing the sport an injustice. But, the first ones that spring to mind for me are discipline, resilience, and passion.
Both entrepreneurship and professional sports can be unpredictable. How do you stay focused on your goals despite the uncertainty?
The concept of ‘what if’ is a cancer in both professional sport and business. Yes, both feature enormous risk-taking, and therefore fear of failure, but I believe that staying true to the process you’ve been working on your entire professional life is what helps you to weather any potential storms. With such fine margins between success and failure, I believe both sport and entrepreneurship will always be very up and down, but whatever path you’re on, you’ve been preparing for that your whole life.
What are some strategies or techniques you use as an athlete to stay ahead of the curve?
Continuous evolution in a competitive and talented field is paramount, and I have found from my experiences and those of my competitors around me, that it’s very easy to miss a beat when it comes to developing new skills or tactics. The best way to stay ahead is to keep an extremely close eye on what’s going on around you, especially when competitors are trialling new technology or strategies, as well as being aggressively self-reflective.
I believe what happens off the snow can be as important as what happens on it, and in recent years I’ve pushed myself in as many areas as possible beyond the sport. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend Harvard Business School’s ‘Crossover into Business’ program. It’s an incredible opportunity for professional athletes to learn from some of the best academics and entrepreneurs. The course pushed me outside of my comfort zone and provided time to work through problems from a different perspective. I’ve already found this has translated to my skiing. I now see things in different ways, and it has given me a new level of fulfilment that I believe carries across all aspects of my life.
Building a successful business requires a lot of teamwork and collaboration, as does succeeding in sport, have you had to work with your team to overcome a specific challenge(s)?
100%. Teamwork is essential in this sport, and leaning on the support team around you is what allows you to maximise your potential. That being said, as I enter a new season with what will be an almost entirely new team around me, I am working very hard on self-reliance as success boils down to my decisions and efforts on race day.
How do you approach preparing for important competitions and races? Do you have a routine to ensure you’re in the best possible mindset?
A consistent build-up schedule in the days before a race is a must. Whether that’s through the ‘on snow’ training program to find the right equipment set up and feeling, or the ‘dry land’ schedule to make sure my body feels primed. Mentally, I try my best to keep things normal in the build-up to important races. I’m an extrovert at heart, so I like to surround myself with people and keep things enjoyable to ease the pressure of important moments. I think the same could be said for founders, making sure you surround yourself with people that you can enjoy the highs and lows with is incredibly important.
Finally, how do you balance the demands of training and competing with other aspects of your life, such as family or hobbies?
It’s certainly a tough balance to find, but it’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve been a ski racer since I was 11. By the age of 14 years old, I was at a ski academy in the US, and haven’t stopped travelling since. I’ve become comfortable with making personal sacrifices in the pursuit of my ski career, so it does come fairly naturally to continue to do so. I know that when the day comes to hang up the race skis, I’ll have some making up to do.