Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated with a skiing holiday to Zürs, a little town in Austria loaded with amazing slopes and dream snow. The festive period is hardly a time where you’re able to watch what you eat and drink, so what better way of handling the inevitable January guilt than to start working on those resolutions early, with a skiing trip? All the gluttony of Christmas with all the added benefit of morning exercise spent en piste.
During my stay in Zürs this year, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than to have met the wonderful Annabelle Bond. Annabelle has scaled some of the globe’s highest peaks, from Mount Everest to the Arlberg mountains of Austria, which is, of course, how we happened to become acquainted. Annabelle and her family share the same annual tradition as mine, with an excursion to the same area.
Annabelle is the most athletic woman that I have ever—and, most likely, will ever—meet! Not only did she complete the grueling sixty-three-mile marathon over the MacLehose Trail, in China (even finishing as second-fastest woman once out of the four consecutive years she competed), but she also climbed Mount Everest, in 2004, making her the fourth British woman to stand on top of the world.
This still wasn’t enough of a challenge for Annabelle, though, who ended up traversing the Seven Summits, the name given to the highest peaks on each of the continents, in 360 days. This singles her out as the fastest female climber in the world. All of this work paid off in more ways than one: In the process, she raised 1.6 million dollars for ovarian-cancer prevention. Annabelle’s most recent challenge, for 2014, is to run seven marathons in seven different countries in seven days, which puts my dream of completing one mere marathon in my lifetime to shame.
Spending time with Annabelle makes you realize that you’re not as active or fit as you could be, but it also fills you with an incredible enthusiasm. Just seeing her determination (not to mention her great figure) has made skiing not quite enough for me. I now find myself seeking out new, more lively activities that were never before on the books for my usual lazy holiday schedule. Brisk cross-country hikes, skinning up hillsides, snowshoeing by night, or simply running from town to town across the Austrian mountains. This newfound attitude is thanks to her inspiration and great energy. This all brings me back to talk of New Year’s resolutions. Because of Annabelle’s support and advice, I have decided that mine is to climb Kilimanjaro. I had better get training!
For more information, visit www.annabellebond.com.