Skiers asked to support Olympic stars

23rd September 2016, by Abi Butcher

You can help support skiers like Delancey British Alpine Ski Team athlete Cara Brown

You can help support skiers like Delancey British Alpine Ski Team athlete Cara Brown

The UK snowsports industry has come together to support the future of skiing and snowboarding in Great Britain. Every skier who books a holiday with a number of tour operators including Crystal, Inghams and Mark Warner will be asked to contribute to the success of Britain’s future Winter Olympians.

Following the success of Team GB and Paralympics GB at Rio 2016, this week two major new initiatives have been launched for long-term funding of Britain’s Olympic snowsports teams, that will hopefully change the face of our Winter Olympic success.

Without steady funding streams for snowsports, many promising and successful British skiers and snowboarders have given up on their Olympic dreams, unable to afford to sustain the level of training required. While Where to Ski and Snowboard has reported on a few, the list is sadly far longer.

The two initiatives, The British Snowsports Fund and The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation, aim to bring in additional funding to grassroots projects encouraging new talent into the sport. They will support the rising stars of skiing and snowboarding as well as elite British athletes, which alongside current funding will help spearhead the medal ambitions of British snowsports ahead of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The British Snowsports Fund is a scheme like no other before. Starting this winter, the UK’s recreational skiers and snowboarders will be asked to make a small donation when they make a purchase from one of the confirmed industry partners.

Funds raised will go to support Britain’s future Winter Olympians - from those on the cusp of qualifying for PyeongChang right through to kids who are just entering their first competitions, as well as to projects that support increased participation in the sports. Confirmed partners are AMS Management Services, AMS Rentals, Ben’s Bus, Butler & Wilson, Crystal Ski Holidays, Element Ski School, Ellis Brigham, Esprit, Inghams, Le Ski, Mark Warner, Meriski, Ski Bartlett, Ski Club of Great Britain, SKISET, Ski Total, Ski Weekends and Stanford Skiing.  

The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation is a new grant-making charity which will provide financial support for talented young skiers and snowboarders. Grants will be available to cover costs such as competition travel and accommodation, coaching and equipment. It will also encourage grassroots participation in skiing and snowboarding by funding projects that offer young people ways of becoming involved in the sports and developing their talents.

The government, via UK Sport, funds a team of 14 snowboarders and freestyle skiers who are judged to have the potential to win medals at the next two Winter Olympics. Snowsports athletes from all the other disciplines; Alpine, Cross Country, Ski and Snowboard Cross, Aerials, Moguls and Ski Jumping, as well as the Park and Pipe athletes not on the UK Sport programme, don’t receive any UK Sport/ National Lottery funding.

Coming from a lowland nation, the costs for British snowsports athletes are often high due to the necessity to travel for training and competition. For example, the family of a 13-year-old snowboarder participating in a Home Nations Academy programme would need spend more than £10,000 on training, equipment and competition travel. For elite athletes these costs are significantly more, with an Alpine skier participating in a British Ski and Snowboard Europa Cup programme needing to cover the £35,500 programme cost themselves.

Sir John Ritblat, Chairman of the British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation said “The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation has been established to be a major force in providing national support to talented young skiers and snowboarders. Our support at the early stages of their schooling and careers will enable more athletes to progress in snowsports by relieving some of their financial burden. We will see more people participating in snowsports and more young people realising their full potential.”

John Murray, Finance Director Crystal Ski Holidays said “We are proud to support the British Snowsports Fund to help put more British athletes on podiums. We have seen how the success of Olympians and Paralympians has encouraged participation in UK sports, and this initiative will help inspire the next generation of skiers and snowboarders. Having previously supported the national Go Ski Go Board campaign this is the perfect way to continue our long involvement in growing participation in the mountain sports we love.”

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