It looks like cross country skiing will be getting a fresh influx of fans after Pippa Middleton, the famous sister and bridesmaid of Kate, took part in her first-ever cross country skiing event.
Known as a fitness fanatic, Pippa took on the notoriously tough 56-mile Vasaloppet Cross Country Ski Race in Salen, Sweden, without any experience of the sport.
The 28-year-old and her 23-year-old brother James pledged to finish the challenge to raise funds for the Magic Breakfast charity, which provides a pre-school meal to poor inner-city children in the UK. So far they have raised £7,500 for the cause.
Pippa Middleton skis to great finish
Unsurprisingly, however, the competitive Pippa pulled off a 412th position out of some 15,800 skiers, despite sub-zero temperatures and very little on-skis training. Her seven hours, 13 minutes and 36 seconds – which was described by veterans as a "very impressive" time – was only 28 minutes behind James.
The sister of the Duchess of Cambridge is already a good downhill skier but getting to grips with the cross-country skiing version took a lot of guts and a high-speed learning curve. However, Pippa was seen to struggle with her balance at times and had to work hard to keep up a good rhythm and style.
After the event, Pippa told reporters: “I have never really skied cross-country before… but I did do lots of fitness training in the UK to prepare for the race, as well as two weekends spent skiing in Switzerland.”