Graham Bell is a force to be reckoned with in the world of skiing, having competed at an impressive five Winter Olympics, before retiring in 1998. With a vast career in skiing under his belt, the former champion has since gone on to forge a successful career in TV presenting and can regularly be seen presenting BBC Two’s Ski Sunday.
Luckily for Jacuzzi, Graham had time in his busy schedule for a quick chat, so we took this opportunity to ask him about all things ski and what it was really like competing against his brother.
What age did you start skiing?
I started skiing when I was five with my brother Martin who was six. Our parents were really into hill walking and when they saw the lifts in Aviemore Scotland, they decided to book a ski holiday there and I’ve been skiing ever since.
You raced in the Olympics at the same time as your brother, were you both very competitive with one another?
I was very competitive with my brother, but when we were young he won over me in pretty much every race we competed in. I think I first beat him when I was 18 in a GS competition, but it took until I was 22 years old before I beat him in a World Cup Downhill race.
We’re currently sponsoring 9 races in the current FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and we’re also sponsoring the U.S. Ski Team, so we’ve really adopted the après ski culture! How do you like to unwind after hitting the slopes?
Now that I’m no longer a competitive athlete, I do like to indulge in a bit of après ski, and that doesn’t always mean dancing on tables to Euro-pop with your ski boots on! I do like the hot tub culture – it’s really popular at the US and Canadian ski resorts.
Do you have a favourite ski resort?
I love St Anton in Austria and Val d’lsere in France. They both have great off-piste skiing, as well as a fantastic lift system. And the après ski is outstanding too of course.
What do you miss about competing?
The adrenaline rush! Even though I’ve done some pretty crazy things post competition, I have found nothing quite compares to standing in the start gate of the toughest Downhill in the world in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
We know it’s usually a tradition to hop in a hot tub after a long day skiing for muscle recovery. Would you often relax after hitting the slopes in a hot tub?
There has been a lot of talk about ice-baths versus hot tubs but I always found that a nice, relaxing hot tub does the trick, particularly after a cold day on the mountains.
What’s your greatest achievement to date?
Competitively, I would rate my 12th place on the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuhel as my best result, but I have now worked longer as a presenter than I was a ski racer, so I would say the 16 years that I have worked on Ski Sunday, and the people I have encouraged to take up skiing or snowboarding as a result.
Finally we have to ask, who would you most like to share a hot tub with?
I’ve got to say my wife Sarah and our kids, Louis and Lottie!
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