Before the end of the summer, we sat down with two of our returning members of staff to find out more about them and what they love about their work at Alpine Sports Physio and the mountains that they call home.
Meet Maddy, a Sport and Exercise Therapist from South Shields and Aileen, a Physiotherapist from the Highlands of Scotland. Maddy will be returning for her third winter season with us and Aileen for her second, let’s see what they had to say when we caught up with them.
Why did you choose to study your chosen subject at university?
Maddy: I guess from a young age I always had a real interest in the human body – it’s functions and it’s flaws. That, alongside my passion for sport naturally took me along a health and fitness career path. Then after receiving physiotherapy for various injuries over the years, I found it fascinating to watch the therapists piece together problems and create solutions.
Aileen: I chose to study physiotherapy after a weeks work experience in our local hydropool helping a physio to treat a wide range of patients from local sportsmen and women to those suffering from neurological conditions. That sparked my initial interest in physiotherapy and I love the variety that it has to offer.
What do you love about your job at Alpine Sports Physio?
Aileen: For someone who can get itchy feet easily, this job is perfect. I get to treat a wide range of conditions and because it’s a mobile company I get to work in so many different settings. It’s seasonal so I can move around in between busy periods of work and it also helps that I can snowboard everyday of the winter.
Maddy: Here in St Anton I love the perfect balance between work and mountain play. Starting out as a new graduate on my first season here, it has been the perfect setting to gain experience over such a varied client base with a multitude of injury presentations. I particularly love the amount of acute injuries we get to work with, fresh off the mountain. It’s amazing how much of a difference you can make in just a matter of hours.
Summer or Winter? What’s your favourite season in the mountains?
Maddy: An impossible choice for me! Both seasons are beautiful and thrilling in their own way. In winter there is never a dull moment. With the hustle and bustle of tourists, the business is blooming and you meet so many interesting characters from all over the globe. And of course skiing every day with the most idyllic views and picture perfect sunsets. Summer is a different story. I find there’s a greater variety of mountain activities to try in summer and since it’s quieter and more relaxed you often have the mountain near enough to yourself.
Aileen: Neither. I love spring! In resort, spring is the time for fun slushy riding and BBQs, there are less tourists in resort and there’s loads of opportunities for splitboarding in the sunshine. It’s also my favourite season at home in Scotland because it’s the best time to go hiking.
Where’s the best place you’ve travelled to?
Aileen: The best place I’ve travelled to would have to be Japan. From the champagne powder to the craziness that is Tokyo. Not to mention the amazing food – I’d definitely recommend a visit!
Maddy: The most amazing country I’ve travelled to recently would have to be Australia. It felt like home on a large scale but with better weather and no moaning Brits. Everyone is super upbeat. The cities were cool but I’m more of a rural, active girl. Cairns gave me sky-diving, scuba diving and rainforest camping which I will never forget.
If you had one piece of advice for your younger self what would it be?
Maddy: Stop stressing! It gets you nowhere. GCSEs, A-Levels, University results… if you put the work in it will show eventually. In the meantime, enjoy your ‘responsibility free’ (although it may not seem it) life.
Aileen: I would tell my younger self to focus on what makes you happy, and to follow your own dream, no one else’s.
What book are you reading at the minute?
Aileen: I am currently reading a classic, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood which has recently been turned into a TV series.
Maddy: I’m currently reading ‘How to be Human’ written by Ruby Wax, a monk and a neuroscientist. It’s a fascinating blend of neurology and spirituality explaining why we are the way we are, in terms of thoughts, feelings and self fulfillment. Of course with a comic view – highly recommended!
If someone came to visit you in St Anton for just one day, where would you take them?
Maddy: Well embarrassingly I plan my ski routes according with where I can get my number one fix…coffee. So I’d begin skiing around the Galzig area for the panoramic views and eventually the inevitable mid morning caffeine stop. A little more skiing, then a mountain switch over to Rendl where the snow conditions both on and off piste stay pretty spot on all day. Once the tired legs kick in, we would retire to Rendl beach for lunch and a refreshing Radler, overlooking the snow park for the afternoons entertainment. Then a late evening trip to ARLBERG-Well.com for a moonlit swim and sauna.
Aileen: If it was winter and they were confident on the slopes I would take them on a super fun off piste run off the side of Rendl. It’s often untouched, even on the busy days, because it involves a bit of a hike out. And then like Maddy, we would finish the day at Rendl beach for a well deserved Aperol Spritz. Rendl beach is rather popular among the Alpine team.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Aileen: I’m most looking forward to being back in St Anton for the winter and improving my snowboarding, especially off piste. There is so much fun terrain here to explore so I can’t wait to get back on the mountain.
Maddy: I’m fast approaching my third winter season here in St Anton. It will be a completely different experience to my first and most likely my second. I now know the job like the back of my hand, I know the people, the ski area and the best coffee stops. So now it’s time to set myself some new challenges up on the mountain. Perhaps some touring, cross-country skiing or maybe even snowshoeing.