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CAN OLYMPIC MEDALS BOOST UK SKIING?
Thursday September 22, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Plans have been unveiled to raise money to turn GB skiers & snowboarders into Olympic medallists. It's hoped that will lead to more people taking up snowsports.

British Ski and Snowboard have two new funding initiatives that they are confident will result in medals at the next 3 Winter Olympics, including gold in 2022.

In what is being called a revolutionary move, the British Snowsports Fund will see the UK ski travel industry ask for donations from recreational skiers and snowboarders to help the country's future Winter Olympians.

Several ski companies, including many of the major tour operators, have agreed to be part of the scheme and will ask holidaymakers booking their trips or buying products if they would like to add a small amount - for example £1 - which will go to the Fund.

18 companies have signed up so far, including  Crystal Ski, Inghams, Ski Total, the Ski Club of Great Britain, the ski hire firm Skiset and the snowsports retailer, Ellis Brigham.

Another 9 or 10 are said to be "in the pipeline".

This is what you will see if you book a holiday online with Crystal Ski:

Crystal Ski BSS Fund donation linkDonate here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour operator, Inghams, is also supporting the initiative - see here for details

The second strand to the fund-raising drive is the establishment of The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation.

It's a new charity which will support talented young athletes and projects that increase grassroots participation in snowsports.

Sir John Ritblat is the Chairman of the charity.

"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," he said.

"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."

Work on the the two fund-raising projects has been going on for some time.

The official launch took place at the British Olympic Association in central London on Thursday morning.

Details unveiled this morningRory Tapner unveils the details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rory Tapner, Chairman of British Ski and Snowboard, said:

"The success of Team GB at Rio and in London has shown that Britain is a sporting superpower. Our aim is for our snowsport Olympians to replicate the success of their summer compatriots.

"The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation and the British Snowsports Fund will help us to fulfil this ambition by providing long-term sustainable funding with which we will be able to support our coaching programmes and athletes, and increase the pool of snowsport talent in the country.

"We are thrilled that so many industry partners and other supporters share in our aims and join with us in planning a successful future."

Tamsin Todd, Chief Executive of Crystal Ski Holidays said:  "We know that Crystal customers are passionate about skiing and snowboarding, and I'm sure that they will be eager to help the country's future Winter Olympians via the British Snowsports Fund."

In the summer PlanetSKI was invited to a meeting to discuss efforts to improve GB's haul of winter medals and we were given a preview of what is in store, as we reported here

More to come?Jenny Jones

 

 

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British Ski and Snowboard have ambitious targets for the future and want to improve on the bronze medal won by Team GB snowboarder, Jenny Jones, in the slopestyle at Sochi in 2014.

GB already has skiers and snowboarders winning medals and topping podiums in world-class competition, including James Woods, Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls and Katie Ormerod.

Names touted as potential future medallists include 16-year-old Youth Olympic Champion, Madi Rowlands, and 21-year-old Aerials skier, Lloyd Wallace.

Lloyd WallaceLloyd Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, can we win a gold, a silver and a bronze at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

"Yes, we can," the head of one of the organisations backing the new initiatives told us.

Money is the key, as we reported in this article about how the GB Park & Pipe team might eventually match the success of our Olympic cyclists.

The hope is that the new Fund and the National Foundation will provide a significant boost to the coffers and enable BSS to support not just the Park & Pipe team - who get some funding from government through UK Sport and the National Lottery - but also our alpine and cross country teams, who get nothing.

Cara Brown, a GB Team alpine skier, who was at the launch, said funding was vital to success.

Cara BrownCara Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The biggest skiing nation in the world is probably Austria - and the funding they put into the sport is reflected by how many athletes they get on the podium," she said.

"We're not miles behind these guys, we're less than seconds and any kind of support makes a huge difference in a sport which is all about marginal gains."

Cara said each season costs her about £45,000 which is funded by the "bank of mum and dad" and some sponsorship.

Cara Brown, GB Team alpine skierCara Brown in action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rory Tapner said Cara is exactly the type of person who could benefit from the new Fund.

Another is Charlie Raposo, an alpine skier in the GB under-21 squad.

Charlie RaposoCharlie Raposo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The investment by other national teams is almost sickening," he said at the launch.

Talking about having to find the money himself to go to New Zealand over the summer he said:

"Four Austrian athletes in New Zealand had a budget of €100,000 for a 4-week trip."

BSS say that the family of a 13 year old snowboarder participating in a Home Nations Academy programme would need to meet annual costs in excess of £10,000 for training, equipment and competition travel.

And an elite alpine skier participating in a British Ski and Snowboard Europa Cup programme would need to find around £35,500.

Financial gains to be hadFinancial gains to be had

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will have to wait and see whether large numbers of holidaymakers and shoppers will sign up.

Perhaps they might if they realised that - when they go on a ski holiday in Europe - they are quite possibly already contributing to the success of the snowsports teams in the country they are visiting.

For example, In Austria a portion of the tourist tax goes to support the national team.

And in France the ski school ESF contributes to the French national team. 

So this is one way to start redressing the balance.

The BSS Chair, Rory Tapner, would not be drawn on just how much might be raised, but he said the organisation would end up with "vastly more money than we have today" and that achieving the goals set for Olympic medals was "not an impossible task".

The head of one of the supporting organisations, speaking to PlanetSKI anonymously, said he believed 10s of thousands of pounds could be raised - and quickly.  

"Realistically, if we can get £50,000 this season, and £100,000 the following season, there is no reason why we couldn't put into the pot somewhere in the region of £500,000 a season," he said.

If it happens, it could prove a game-changer.

As the summer Olympic sports of cycling, rowing and gymnastics have shown, money breeds success and success brings in more money.

BSS Olympic Medal Targets

2018

Park & Pipe - 1 silver, 1 bronze

Cross Country - 1 top 10

Alpine - 1 top 10

2022

Park & Pipe - 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze

Cross Country - 1 bronze

Alpine - 2 top 10s

2026

Park & Pipe - 2 gold, 1 bronze

Cross Country - 1 bronze

Alpine - 1 bronze

 

Hoping for more fundingHoping for more funding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fund raising initiative was also discussed on BBCTV.


 

To find out more about The British Snowsports Fund and The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation visit www.bssnf.uk

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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