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News

Want to try out for the British Ski or Snowboard Cross (GBX) Squads?

Ski and Snowboard Cross is arguably one of the most exciting, fun, exhilarating and enjoyable of the Olympic winter sports disciplines. As a relatively new Olympic sport, opportunities are huge for potential GB athletes wishing to represent their country at the Olympic Games, GBX is a hugely attractive Olympic option.

Do you want to set a qualifying time AND race head to head against other athletes? Are you motivated, self determined and able to treat setbacks as challenges? As a non-winter nation do you want to compete on a similar footing to other world class athletes? If so, then Ski or Snowboard Cross is a brilliant option. Are you new to the sport or have previous experience in Freestyle or Alpine? If so, we are looking for you to come and give it a go. 

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Snowsport Cymru Wales have joined forces with England, Scotland and GB to establish a single pathway from Home Nation Academy to GB Squads.  Starting with selection trials at venues throughout GB and leading to full coaching programmes.

For more information on dates of trial and whats involved in the coaching programmes go to the website.



Upcoming Races

The Ambition GBR Series has been as popular as ever this year, kicking off at Norwich in April and then moving to Manchester’s the Chill Factore in early May. Race entries keep going up and up and the Ambition GBR Outdoor Series continues into the summer by coming to Wales in July, arriving at Pontypool on July 9th & 10th. For details on how to enter and all other upcoming races click here.

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Another exciting series of races happening in Wales over the coming months are the schools races. South East West schools competed at Pontypool last month and the next instalment of schools races is taking place at Llangrannog on June 24th. Of course all the regional races are a lead up to the big Welsh Schools Championships which will also be held at Llangrannog on October 9th. More information about the schools series can be found here.


West Wales Ski Club Article

West Wales Ski Club (WWSC) describe themselves as “a small club that packs a big punch!”

They train on Monday evenings at the beautiful Pembrey Ski Slope, a venue which Snowsport Wales have decided to use for many national events, something that the West Wales Ski Club says they’re delighted about, especially considering the extremely positive feedback they’ve received from other clubs about what a great racing venue it is.

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Like many other clubs, West Wales Ski Club has undergone many changes over the years. The club started life as the Swansea Nomads, training at a slope in Swansea that sadly no longer exists. WWSC then moved to Pembrey and as a result of this members are now drawn from a much wider area of West Wales than just Swansea itself. Four years ago the club's name was changed to West Wales Ski Club to reflect the wider area from which its members now travel. 

2016 has been a year of big change within the club, mostly due to the retirement of two very long standing coaches. Both Phil Cobley and Ian Bengeyfield had coached at the club for many years, their service and dedication is something the club is hugely grateful for and they wanted to take this opportunity to wish them both well on their retirement from ski coaching. As so often happens, when one door closes another opens and the club are excited to announce two new coaches, Sally Hodson and Chris Mountfield, who is an ex member of Swansea Nomads and a former member of the Welsh Ski Team. He brings with him a huge amount of enthusiasm and personal experience of ski racing, and all the racers are looking forward to challenging Chris at a few races this summer (is he also taking part in the races?)! We are also being joined by Nick Roe, who is also a former member of the Swansea Nomads and has previously coached at Torfaen Ski Club. Nick has been instrumental in resurrecting some inter club racing within Wales, something which, with Chris’ help, the club are hoping they can once again revive. It’s looking as though there are some exciting times ahead for WWSC!

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Although the club is small in terms of numbers, they are extremely welcoming and friendly and are always keen to see new faces. They’re also very proud of the achievements of their members. 

And with good reason, in 2015 club racers were very successful as members of their school ski teams with Ysgol Gynradd Llangynnwr, winning the Welsh Primary Schools race. Ysgol Bro Myrddin also won the Welsh Secondary Schools race in Llangrannog and gained a very respectable 6th place in the British Schools Championships at Pontypool. Club member Aiden Jones was the overall male winner of the Welsh Schools Race in Llangrannog. Both teams were made up entirely of WWSC members! Ysgol Gynradd Llangynnwr have also very recently won the ISA school indoor race held at Hemel Hempstead - a huge achievement considering there was such a large entry of independent schools. Steffan and Harri Hodson placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in their individual age categories and other club members Rhys Owen and Sam Burns came in at very commendable 6th and 10th positions respectively in the U12 age category.

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Ysgol Bro Myrddin also attended the Artemis Inter Schools Challenge in Les Houches this year - the only school from Wales to participate. 

Individual success has also come Tom Butterworth's way; he’s currently the Welsh U14 Outdoor Champion, recipient of the 2015 Helen May Award and at the Welsh Alpine Championships in Champery this year he became the Welsh U14 slalom and GS champion and won the Golden Cowbell award. He is currently the youngest member of the Welsh Ski team.

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Each summer the club fields a very enthusiastic team of racers at the Gloucester Summer Race league, who race under the banner of the Pembrey Panthers, and this has been the springboard for many of our racers into national dry slope racing.

They're also extremely proud of members who have achieved success with coaching qualifications; Ben Richards and Alex Evans have both completed their BASI level 1 awards and club members Megan Thomas, Jack Laytham and Ffion and Rhys Groom, have all recently undertaken the Young Instructors course.

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West Wales Ski Club would like to thank Carmarthen Round Table and Steve Butterworth of Weighbridge Veterinary Referrals for their generous sponsorship of the timing gear (the start wand will be know as the Weighbridge Wand!) and to Andrew Jones of A.J Building and Plastering for the generous sponsorship of their new club T shirts.

If anybody reading this is from West Wales and not already training with this lovely club, then they’d like to extend a very warm invitation to join them on Monday evenings between 7-8.30pm. Further information can be obtained from Siriol Butterworth: 07795556228.



FIS Licence Renewals

Any athlete of any snow sporting discipline who wants to compete internationally and was born on the year 2000 or before has to apply or re-apply for their FIS Licence before they are able to compete in any events for the 2016/17 season. 

In order to gain a FIS Licence you need to be a member of your National Governing Body (in this case Snowsport Wales, obviously!) and any application made before June 30th will be significantly cheaper. 

Your have to register through British Ski & Snowboard, BSS has put together a really informative article all about FIS Licensing.

You can apply for your FIS Licence here and you can register as a SSW member here.

SSW members get 10% off at Ski Racing Supplies which may well help with all those FIS events you’ll have coming up! 

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Alpine Lifestyle and Snowsport Wales Partnership

This winter saw us strike up lots of new partnerships with some really amazing businesses as well as nurture our longstanding working relationships with others. In our last sponsorship post we talked about our relationship with the Winter Sports Foundation, we also want to talk about our established partnership with Champéry based business Alpine Lifestyle Partners. Champéry is a place very close to our hearts as it’s where the Welsh Alpine Championship is held in January each year.

Alpine Lifestyle Partners (ALP) has been established in Switzerland for 14 years developing real estate projects for tourism. ALP focusses on second residences for rental and hotel style developments in the canton of Valais; creating and implementing new concepts for tourism in close cooperation with local bodies. Their aim is to maintain and boost tourism in the area; an integral part of the local economy. 

ALP Managing Partner, Ray Pritchard is a long-time supporter of the Welsh Alpine Champs and takes the opportunity to race in the event each year. Ray, who is originally from North Wales  started ski racing late in life (in his late 30s) and loves the buzz of the Welsh Champs for participating in competitive skiing, often giving some of the young racers a run for their money!

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ALP has been a proud sponsor of the Welsh ski team since 2004 and has been integral to bringing the Welsh Champs to Champéry/Les Crosets where it has been held for the past 10 years. When talking about the Champs, Ray said, “I’m eager to see the strong development of Welsh Alpine athletes, I really enjoy seeing the progression of returning athletes as well as new racers attend the event each year. ALP annually awards the Golden Cow Bell to the Welsh athlete who we believes shows the most potential for Olympic podium success as well as the best attitude towards racing.”

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May Newsletter

Here is all our news for the month of May, enjoy (and if you like what you read, sign up to receive our newsletter on the right)!



Athlete Profile - Luke The Instructor

Meet Luke, he’s 25 and he grew up in Trinant, South Wales. He’s is a Ski and Snowboard Instructor and trains Snowboard Instructors for the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI). He’s been able to travel the world as an Instructor, and it all started at Pontypool Ski Centre with Snowsport Wales. 

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In the past six years Luke’s worked and ridden at some of Canada’s best known resorts including Big White, Mount Seymour, Sunshine Village, Calgary Olympic Park, Whistler, the list goes on. In the Northern Hemisphere off season he’s done a winter season in New Zealand, a summer teaching English in Japan, made a road trip from Vancouver to Mexico, and another to Nova Scotia, where he’s working this winter.

Luke didn’t find his passion in school, and it wasn’t until he was 14 and visited Pontypool Ski Centre for a snowboard lesson that he stumbled upon his dream job. He quickly picked up skiing and snowboarding, having lots of the right skills from years of skateboarding. The next step was to train as an instructor and Snowsport Wales offered to perfect way to get started with weekend training courses held at slopes all across Wales and the UK. Luke took his training courses in the Autumn, volunteered and trained at Pontypool through the winter, and passed his assessment in the spring. 

He honed his skills over the next few years working with the highly qualified team at Pontypool, many with international certifications and several seasons worked abroad. He combined a few winter holidays with training courses and then headed out west with all the qualifications he needed to land his first instructor job with a sponsored visa. 

If Luke’s story interests you, why not get in touch with Pontypool Ski Centre, or Snowsport Wales, and see how you can follow in his footsteps.

Pontypool Ski Centre: skislope@torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk

http://www.torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk/en/ski 

Snowsport Wales: admin@snowsportwales.net


Bond, James Bond...

Here at Snowsport Wales we're putting on an exciting fundraising event this summer to help raise funds for disability snow sports. We've been so inspired by Welsh athletes like Chris Lloyd and Menna Fitzpatrick this winter and as a National Governing Body are all too aware of the challenges posed to sports by lack of funding. So in an effort to raise some much needed funding for grassroots disability snow sports we've decided to put on a fun James Bond casino themed evening! 

We're holding the event at the James & Jenkins showroom in Llandaff North and will be transforming it into a flashy and fun casino. The event will start at 7pm on Saturday June 18th, there will be welcome drinks and a sit down dinner followed by gambling, live music and dancing. Ticket prices include '100$' of gambling money and there will be some fab prizes for the big gambling winners too! 

Tickets can be booked here and there are discounts for whole table bookings. We can't wait to see you there and raise some much needed funds whilst having a whole heap of fun!

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April Newsletter

This snippet of literary genius is our April Newsletter, if you like what you read then sign-up on the right to get all of our news delivered directly to your inbox!

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Menna Fitzpatrick Makes History

Welsh visually impaired skier, Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Jennifer Kehoe made history at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) World Cup in Aspen (USA) at the end of February by becoming the first British skiers to win the overall World Cup Visually Impaired title, narrowly beating USA athlete Danelle Umstead by 10 points in the season long multi discipline competition.

It is a remarkable achievement for the seventeen year old as it is not only her first season competing at World Cup level but she also only joined mid way through the winter season in January  2016.  Menna teamed up with her guide Jennifer Kehoe after getting back involved in ski racing last summer having been invited to train with the Wales Ski Team and Welsh based club Dragons Alpine. Menna achieved some great results while being supported by the Disability Sport Wales Academy programme which gained her qualification for the World Cup programme.

These results were also backed up by Chris Lloyd finishing 1st British skier and 12th overall in the Mens standing classification in the World Cup Downhill event.

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Landgraaf Summer National Academy & Dragons Alpine Camp

Once again SSW are running a summer camp to the great indoor snowslopes of Landgraaf, Holland.  After the success of last year where we took 60 participants on this camp we are looking to develop this again by including a snowboard freestyle development camp led by Definition Camps Coach Gav Learmonth (World Cup & Olympic Snowboard Coach).  On the alpine side SSW National Academy athletes will be teaming up with Dragons Alpine members, bringing a great opportunity to ensure we get the very best training.  Last year, we pretty much took over Landgraaf for the 4 days we are there and had the slopes to ourselves.
With a fully inclusive package available including travel from the UK by coach (Manchester and Cardiff start points with pick ups on route), full board accommodation and as much coaching as you could possibly ask for, we are expecting another great camp.
Dates and outline programme for the camp are as follows;


3rd August 2017: Travel to Landgraaf (arrive late evening)
4-6th August 2017: Training 4 hours per day, plus fitness & other sessions
7th August 2017: Training 7-9am, breakfast and travel home, arrive back to the UK evening 7th August


The cost of the camp is £575, to book your place email admin@snowsportwales.net or call the office on 02920561904 

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Summer Season Artificial Slope Ski Racing Kicks Off in April at Pembrey

The national artificial slope ski race calendar starts with a bang on the weekend of 16/17th April 2017 at Pembrey Ski Centre in West Wales. The full weekend of racing will involve three main competitions with a programme as follows:

  • Friday 15th April: Gate practice session
  • Saturday 16th April: AM - SSW Slalom Event (2 run individual slalom event/two courses). PM - Inter Club Team Parallel Head to Head Slalom. Evening - BBQ
  • Sunday 17th April: AM - Excel Event (3 runs/fastest run to count)

Racing will be available to registered and non registered (day entry competitors) from across the UK for U10 (YOB 2008 or before) category skiers and older.
Entries for the competition will be available online very shortly as well as race invite and programme published on www.britski.org & www.snowsportwales.co.uk

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Welsh Athlete Profiles

Olivia Ward

How old were you when you got into snow sports? 

I started skiing at the age of four on a family trip to Italy.


What prompted you getting involved in snow sports?

My Primary school was very interested in ski racing and lots of the children did artificial surface races. It was through this that I started racing on the UK circuit then moved on to my first snow race which was the Welsh Alpine Champs at the age of nine.


Who was your first coach?

My first coach was Gareth Shelbourne who I worked with at the Chill Factore and my first Alpine coach was Colin Tee from Dragons Alpine.

 

What is your favourite memory from your time in snow sports?

Being selected to the British Childrens Ski Team and then winning the Helen May Award.


What are your plans for the future both in snow sports and general life?

I move into FIS next season so I am looking to make a strong start in FIS level racing. I would like to stay racing for as long as I can but would hope to work in the snow sports industry later in life, however, my main priority right now is to complete my GCSE exams and then move on to further education.

 

What is your biggest achievement in snow sports?

I have raced for the Great British Children's Team for the last three years, which I count as a big achievement. Being selected to the Welsh Team as child was also amazing, however, I would say that my best race results came at the Welsh Alpine Championships this year, winning the Giant Slalom against some stiff competition.


What motivates you to get up and go training?

I want to be the best I can, that’s why I get up and go training, even if the weather is not so good. I love the gym work, especially the weight training. The main thing that motivates me is that I love skiing and to be good at it you have to put the work in.

 

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting involved in snow sports?

Try as many different disciplines as you can, enjoy the environment that you are in, but most of all don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t win. Snow sports is a long journey and those that are winning this year may not ne winning next year, you will improve if you work hard and enjoy the training and competing.

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Ski Club of Great Britain Snow Report

Twice a week the Ski Club of Great Britain release a comprehensive snow report, covering the whole of Europe as well as America and Canada. We know that snow lovers like you need to keep up to date with the snowy state of the world so we will be publishing each and every Snow Report on our website, courtesy of the wonderful weatherman at Ski Club GB. So if you need to know where's the best snow, check in with us every Monday and Thursday, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter where we'll also be publishing the reports. 

Here is a link to the most recent Snow Report

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

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March Newsletter

Here is all the news of March, the month of the Welsh!

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If you want our newsletter to arrive in your inbox every month then please sign-up on the right, it's a very good idea!



GB Men dominate in Europa Cup in Spain

Britain’s Male Paralympic skiers were in action in Espot, Spain from 8-13th February and enjoyed some great success in very mixed conditions. 

Chris Lloyd was in action in the speed events on the 8th and 9th as he looked to cement his qualification for the World Cup Finals. Chris had 4 great races; picking up a 7th and a 4th in Super-G and 5th and 4th place finishes in Super Combined and easily scored the points he needed to ensure that he will be competing in Aspen at the end of the month. He continued his good form to pick up two more top five finishes in the Giant Slalom on the 10th and 11th

On the 12th, the first day of slalom, GB men made the most of the good conditions which were ideal for racing and conducive to some very fast times. James Whitley managed to lay down two quick runs and was the fastest overall male competitor as he took gold in the standing category, his first win at a Europa Cup level. This was made even more impressive by the fact that, due to last minute changes in the race calendar, he had only arrived late the evening before and had no chance to fully prepare or train. John Dickinson-Lilley and guide Jack Davey also struck gold scoring their best points result of the season in the VI category and picking up their first Europa Cup win. Unfortunately, Kieran Nimmo did not finish his first run, which was a disappointment as up until he came out he was on the verge of achieving a very quick time but there's always next time!

The second day of racing presented some challenging conditions for all the athletes involved, starting with some wet weather and then some very high winds. James Whitley looked to ignore the weather and continue his great form from the first day but unluckily did not finish on a tough course. It was however another great day for John Dickinson-Lilley and guide Jack Davey, who took their second gold of the races after comfortably beating the very talented Croatian pair to the top step of the podium. Kieran Nimmo improved on his performance of the previous day putting in two good runs and finishing a respectable 7th.

Overall Espot was a very successful meeting for the British male athletes, all of whom will now be looking forward to the British Championships in Tignes in March.

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February Newsletter

Here's the link to this month's Newsletter, as always if you'd like to receive is directly into your inbox then sign-up on the right!

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The Welsh Alpine Ski Championships 2016

This annual race event, organised by Snowsport Wales took place from 19th-22nd of January in the beautiful and traditional resort of Champery, Switzerland where it has been held for the past 10 years. This meant that alongside the races were 10 year anniversary celebrations including a live outdoor concert, a huge Welsh flag cake and a good old Welsh sing-a-long with locals, racers and organisers.

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The first two days were international FIS races with international entries from Wales and the UK as well as 19 other nations from as far afield as USA and India. Top British female in both the GS and Slalom races was Welsh Team member 21 year old Nia Jenkins followed closely by promising 17 year-old British racer Katya Bingle-Williams. Best of the British boys was 21 year old Paul Henderson who not only came top out of the British in the slalom but third overall, beating some incredibly stiff international competition. In the international GS it was 19 year old Robert Poth who was not only the best Brit of the race but 2nd overall, sandwiched between two Swiss racers who have the advantage of training on the real thing far more than our British competitors. 

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Once the FIS races were over, the older racers gave way to the younger contingency who competed over two amazingly sunny days, first in a Slalom and then in the GS.

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In the minis category (under 10/12 years) Welsh racers who came out on top in both the GS and Slalom were Leane Francis and Marnie Probert in the girls, and Edward Evans and Steffan Hodson in the boys. Many of the minis were using the Welsh Alpine Champs as an opportunity to race on snow for the very first time and if the smiles at the finish line were anything to go by, it definitely won’t be last time we see them compete! For the U14s and U16s, the Welsh Champs provides an annual opportunity for them to compete against their piers and improve upon their previous winter results on the fantastic race piste in Champery. In the U14s the Welsh female racer that came out on top of both the international and Welsh competitors was Giselle Gorringe, getting an impressive winning time of 49.36 seconds in the Slalom and 63.42 secs in the GS. In the boys race racer Thomas Butterworth came out as the top Welsh racer in both disciplines.

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For many young competitors, the Champs is an opportunity to gain important experience and check out their current and future competition, especially as these races were also attended by a regional squad of U16 skiers from Western USA. Welsh racers took many of the winning spots with Olivia Ward coming 1st overall, Giselle’s talented older sister Cerys Gorringe coming second overall and Georgia Hyett coming in at 4th, despite that fact that the Champs were only the second snow races she’s ever attended! She also came 5th in the slalom, proving that she’s a racer to watch! In the U16 boys William Munday was the Welsh winner in the Slalom and Osamu Okuma was the U16s mens GS Welsh winner as well as the 2nd fastest racer overall.

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The team of American racers, who’d come over from the States specifically for the event, provided the races with a special brand of enthusiasm which everyone loved and some great competition for the British racers, claiming spots on the podium on more than one occasion. They left the races with lots of new British friends and the promise to return next year.

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After the races had been completed on the Friday afternoon a particularly special prize giving was held in the town square to celebrate not only the racers achievements but the 10 year anniversary of the Welsh Champs being held in Champery. A live band, suitably from North Wales pitched up to play an excellent set after all the prizes had been handed out. Prizes that were provided by Ski Club of Great Britain and the Winter Sports Association who provided £150 to each winning racer, to put towards their continued training and development. This is the beginning of an ongoing partnership between Snowsport Wales and the Winter Sports Foundation team from the Winter Sports foundation attended the event and offered words of praise an encouragement at the prize giving just before singer Georgina Kellen took to the stage to sing Calon Lan and of course the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. And that, in true Welsh style, is how we brought an end to the Welsh Alpine Championships 2016! 

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Judging by the success of this one 2017 is set to be a championships to look forward to - see you there!

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January Newsletter!

Our January Newsletter arrived in inboxes this week, to help you decide whether you'd like to sign-up to get it sent directly to your inbox or to help you decide if you'd like to be a Snowsport Wales Member we post it on our News section. So here it is, all the New Year News!

The sign-up box is just on the right if you like what you read! 


What to do on Your Snow Sports Holiday When There is Actually no Snow.

So it's finally started SNOWING!! All praise be to the goddess Bheur (that's your lunchtime Google search sorted)! 

We all know that snow has been thin on the ground for those who were chasing a white Christmas on their festive holidays, however, we thought it was important to point out that even if the pistes are off limits, there are plenty of other fun and exciting activities that you can do on a winter holiday, even if skiing or boarding can't be one of them (*sobs ever so slightly*).

So let's start with the obvious: when life gets hard, smug and happy people often advise to just try putting one foot in front of the other to try and get through the tough times. Well as far as we're concerned no snow on a ski holiday is undoubtedly one of life's tragedies so we'd advise the same, put one foot in front of the other and go for an epic walk! Strap on your walking boots and go out and explore the mountains. The tourism centre of the resort you're in will have walking maps as well as piste maps and can advise you on where to find the best paths with the most exhilarating view. Take a rucksack with a picnic blanket and packed lunch, or walk up to your favourite piste-side restaurant for a warming and well-deserved mountain meal. As a side note it's also easier to come across wildlife when you're swooshing past it at high speeds so you might end up seeing some of the animals that inhabit the mountain as well. 

Take a dive! Lots of snow resorts either have leisure centre facilities or are near water parks or spa resorts, so don't forget to pack your trunks or cosie if you're heading out to the snow. If for whatever reason the resort is closed for the day you can make you're way to the nearest pool and get a bit of relaxing exercise!

Tubing! More and more tubing and ski slopes seem to be coming hand-in-hand and quite frankly we love it. Anyone and everyone should try snow sports but if for whatever unfathomable reason you don't take to it, or if you've got little ones who aren't quite old enough for slidey planks then tubing is a great way to ensure that everyone can still enjoy the holiday, resort or slope. These days resorts are getting quite adventurous with their tubing facilities, using snow canons to make intricate and exciting tunnels for the tubes to travel down. These are often away from the main pistes themselves so make sure you scour the resort to find your tubing adventure!

If in doubt, eat. Most resorts have numerous and amazing food emporiums to choose from, too many often to get through on your holiday so use your spare time wisely and try all the food stuffs on offer!

If in doubt, head to the resort information centre, there are probably lots of things on offer from stories and present hunts for the little ones to organised bar crawls, wine tastings or resort tours for older members of the family or group. If the snow quality is particularly poor we recommend buying daily ski passes so that if you decide not to go onto the hill for whatever reason, you won't end up of pocket when you decide to spend the money on something else. 

Turns out the mountains are actually an amazing place to holiday any time of the year! Who's for a summer in Switzerland? 

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Go Ski Go Board Launches in Wales!

In 2012 the London Olympics prompted Snowsport England to launch Go Ski Go Board, the participation initiative that makes it easier than ever to find your local slope and try out snow sports for the very first time and from today that means in Wales too!

Go Ski Go Board is a great website, where you can type in your postcode and your nearest slope will pop-up with a list of all the slope's upcoming offers and courses. Up until now this resource has only been available to people in England but not any more! Us Celtic wonderments in Wales and Scotland are getting in on the game (sports pun)!

So from now on, every centre in Wales will be listed on the GSGB site, any special offers, lessons or courses they have going on will be listed under their centre so it's never been easier to get your ski or board on, whether you want to 'Try', 'Get', 'Go' or 'Just' ski or snowboard (technical GSGB terms for first time, beginner, improver and recreational).

It's something that's got the snow centre managers of Wales pretty excited with Chris from Llangrannog Centre stating: "GSGB is a brilliant opportunity for people of all ages across the country to try skiing and snowboarding on home soil." Peter Bishop from the fabulous Pontypool Slope enthused that: "GoSkiGoBoard is a fantastic site for anyone interested in skiing or snowboarding from beginners to experts. You can see what's on offer at your local slope and most other slopes around the country all in one place."

It's not just centres that can register on the site, clubs can too, so if you're part of a race club, local club or university team then upload all your club details onto the site so that wherever you are in Wales, local skiers and snowboarders will be able to find you. 

The big message of the 2012 Olympics was it's legacy and while there has been lots of debate about whether or not this has been successful it's definitely left a lasting legacy on British snow sports with the Go Ski Go Board initiative. Tim Fawke, CEO of Snowsport England, the governing body who came up with the initiative says: "Go Ski Go Board has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013 and it is fantastic news that Snowsport Wales have launched the initiative to the Welsh public, we’re also looking forward to Snowsport Scotland joining the initiative in early 2016! Working together, we can help publicise how accessible skiing and snowboarding is and get more people along to their local centre or resort to give it a go in the UK."

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Ysgol Bro Myrddin Success

Anyone who attended the British Schools' Championships on November 22nd may have noticed lovely people with film equipment hanging round. Well the reason for that was that they were from Welsh speaking channel S4C and filming a segment on the talented racers from Bro Myrddin School. As you may remember from previous News bulletins Bro Myrddin recently took the top spot at the Welsh Schools' Championship for the first time and it's not as if they didn't have some stiff competition because this year's Welsh Schools' Champs had a record number of entrants. They didn't disappoint at the British either, coming in again as the first place Welsh Boys team and sixth in the overall team competition. 

Here's a taster of the S4C programme they were featured in, well worth a watch as it really demonstrates what the Schools' Champs are all about!

http://www.s4c.cymru/tag/?tw_portfolio=pencampwriaeth-sgio-ysgolion-prydeinig

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December Newsletter

Happy December everyone! Here is the link to our December Newsletter. Click the link and read on for articles on the Welsh Champs, a competition lowdown from our Welsh athletes competing on the world stage and some exciting information on VisitWales' 2016 Year of Adventure!

(N.B be prepared for a little bit of colour, we got a bit excited with the Christmassy red vibe...)



Welsh Athlete Profiles

Jake Simpson

How old were you when you got into snow sports?
I first went skiing at 2 1/2 years old to Scotland - apparently, I don't remember! Then I started up at Plas y Brenin dry ski slope at 3 years old. We went out to the Alps every winter until we moved there. I learned to snowboard at 8 years at my local small ski resort, Grelieres les Neiges.


What prompted you getting involved in snow sports?
My mum and dad took me on skiing holidays and I loved it.


Who was your first coach/instructor?
My mum and dad!


What is your favourite memory from your time in snow sports?
My favourite memory so far is winning the Verbier World Junior Freeride Tour Competition in March this year. Going up onto the stage in front of a lot of people and all the pro riders was amazing.


What are your plans for the future both in snow sports and general life?
I want to be a pro-rider, doing the world circuit and competing at the Olympics hopefully.


What is your biggest achievement in snow sports?
This year I finished 2nd in Europe and 4th in the World in the Junior Freeride world tour. I was 15 years old at the time, and the juniors is under 18 so I am pretty pleased with that result!


What motivates you to get up and go training?
I love learning new tricks and practising them a lot until I get them right.


What would you say to anyone thinking about getting involved in snow sports?
Just go do it, it's a lot of fun!

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Our November Newsletter

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Success for West Wales' Bro Myrddin School

As you know this year's Welsh Schools' Championships was our best yet, with a record number of entrants and some wonderful surprise wins from schools like Bro Myrddin in West Wales.

Bro Myrddin have been knocking on the door of first place podium for a few years, having qualified for the British Championships for the last five years but this was the first time they have managed to seal victory at the Welsh! 
Ysgol Bro Myrddin is a 900 pupil Welsh medium comprehensive school in Carmarthen. Three members of this year's team are registered racers and members of West Wales Ski Club. 

The team is as follows: Aiden Jones, 16 years old and a year 12 pupil whose blistering performance earned him first place overall, as well as 1st Under 18 racer! Next comes Owen Llewellyn Jones, another 16 year old, year 12 pupil,  who came in at 3rd registered Under 18 racer. Huw Butterworth is 15 years old and in year 11, he now only dusts off his skis for the schools races - not a bad effort for someone who doesn't train on a regular basis! The final member of the team is 12 year old Tom Butterworth in year 8, who won the Under 14 age category. 

Riding high on their success the boys are now really looking forward to racing in the British Championships at Pontypool on November 21st and promise that they're going to give the race for the overall podium the best they've got! We're rooting for you boys!

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Welsh Schools' Championships

Last weekend a visit to Llangrannog Ski Slope would have struck a chord of fear with any one who’s not a fan of children because there were literally hundreds of them there! A record number of young participants descended onto the slope to take part in the Welsh Schools’ Championships and proved that skiing truly is a national sport and setting themselves as the nation's future racing representatives. 

There were a few surprise results from the likes of West Wales school Bro Myrddin with their male competitors racing the school all the way to the top podium spot. For the young female competitors it was Eirias School team from North Wales who bagged first place in the team category.

North Wales based schools have long been contenders for the top spot at schools’ events but this is the first time that a school team from West Wales has come out on top and we’re really excited to see them come back and compete in the British Schools’ Championships being held at Pontypool Ski Slope next month. 

Bro Myrddin also dominated in the individual stakes with student, Aiden Jones coming in 1st overall in the senior schools category. First Lady of the slope was Georgia Hyett of Llanishen High School in Cardiff. In the Primary School category first place went to Heather Heslop of Pen Y Garth School in Glamorgan in the girls and Steffan Hodson representing Llangynnwr School (Carmartheshire) in the boys. Llangynnwr also placed overall first in the Junior team category.

Welsh primary schools put in a very strong show at the races, making up a third of all entries. Based on their results we’ll be really excited to see how they develop in the sport of skiing - we foresee a big increase in the amount of Welsh Race Team members!

When asked about the record level of entires for this year's Welsh Schools’ Champs, Snowsport Wales CEO, Robin Kellen said: “We’re delighted to see the increase of participation in our events, which is indicative of the increased activity we have seen in both local schools events and club membership. It also reflects an increase in Schools Sport Participation as identified by Sport Wales in their report released today. On a personal note it’s really wonderful to see so many enthusiastic and talented children enjoying the amazing sport of skiing!”

The event is held every year at Llangrannog Ski Slope and Snowsport Wales wanted to extend a huge thank you to all the staff there. Many visitors to the slope last weekend mentioned how helpful and friendly the staff at Llangrannog are, it’s always such a pleasure to hold races there. 

With facilities like Llangrannog and race entries like this year's school's results the future is looking blue-bird bright for Welsh skiing!

Welsh Shcools race blog.jpg

To see a full results list go to our Events & Competitions page. 


October Newsletter

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What did the Snowsport Cymru Wales get up to this summer?


Ian Skis.jpg

This summer our very own Snowsport Cymru/Wales Chairman, Ian Fawcett was part of a small expedition to Svalbard, a small group of islands to the north of Norway and only 600 miles from the North Pole. They sailed to the islands to ski and climb in the mountains of the north west of the main island, Spitsbergen. In addition to the mountaineering they also made a circumnavigation of the islands and were the first to do so this year (and one of only two yachts to make it round), battling fog, pack ice and ice bergs as they went.


Yacht.jpg

There was plenty of wildlife en route with Polar Bears, Walrus and Reindeer to see but when asked what was the best part of the expedition, Ian said: "being able to put on skis on the beach before skinning up glaciers onto the ice cap, where numerous unclimbed mountain exist as well as climbing remote peaks and finally, skiing untracked snow all the way back to sea level! Almost as good was being able to chip ice that must have been thousands of years old from passing ice bergs to put straight into our G&Ts! The hardest part was probably trying to stay balanced on skis while carrying a hunting rifle for protection against Polar Bears. Fortunately we didn't have to use them!"


Polar Bear.jpg

Ian.jpg



Welsh Athlete Profiles

Chris Lloyd

How old were you when you got in to snow sports?

I started skiing with a school age 14 and then started learning to race in 2012 at age 38!

 

What prompted you getting involved in snow sports?

I was injured in an accident in September 2011 and was told I would never do anything like ski again due to my spinal cord injury. It made me more determined.

 

Who was your first coach/instructor?

Tony McAllister.

 

What is your favourite memory from your time in snow sports?

Getting to the World Championships in Panorama, Canada in 2015.

 

What are your plans for the future both in snow sports and general life?

My aim is to qualify for the Paralympics in 2018.

 

What is your biggest achievement in snow sports?

Again, getting to the World Championships in Panorama, Canada 2015.

 

What motivates you to get up and go training?

Having a life changing injury and being told that I can’t do something and proving that if you put your mind to something you really can achieve it.

 

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting involved in snow sports?

Life is too short, just do it when you can. You never know what the next day will bring.

Chris Lloyd.jpg

 



Welsh Athlete Profiles

Maisie Potter

How old were you when you got into snow sports?

I went to Plas y Brenin dry slope a few times and had a birthday party there when I was six. I skied on family holidays but it wasn’t until we moved to Chamonix when I was eight that I really got into skiing and then snowboarding a year after that. 

 

What prompted you getting involved in snow sports?

Living in Chamonix, it was the norm to be involved in sports and in winter, that meant skiing. I was in my local ski club for a bit but then shortly after joined the snowboard club instead. I might add, the only snowboard club in the whole of the Chamonix valley (at the time anyway). This kept me busy on weekends with such a fun group of people. Come secondary school, I was able to be in a snow sports class that enabled me to take half days off in the week as well as weekends to go snowboarding with the club! 

 

Who was your first coach/instructor?

My first coaches were Jerome Choupin, Pierre Devillaz and Damien Deschamps. Jerome is now head coach for the French boardercross team. 

 

What is your favourite memory from your time in snow sports?

Some of my best memories are the road trips with the Chamonix snowboard club, we were all so close. . Night riding for the first time in Monte Bondone, Italy at the world rookie fest was so much fun. Winning the British Champs overall for the first time was amazing as I only entered the overall category at the last minute, so wasn’t expecting to have the fastest time!! The Youth Olympics in Romania was probably one of the best weeks of my life- so inspiring, great people and first time in Eastern Europe. 

 

What are your plans for the future both in snow sports and general life?

Since finishing my A-levels in June 2015, I am excited to focus on my snowboard career. From December to April, I will be based in Morzine for most of my training and will travel to competitions from there. At the moment, I compete in Half pipe and Boardercross at Europa Cup level. I’m aiming for World Cup and eventually the Olympics. Eventually I’d love to be a snowboard coach myself. Languages fascinate me so I’d love to learn a few more. I’m bilingual English and French and currently learning German. 

 

What is your biggest achievement in snow sports?

  • My three consecutive wins at the British Championships in boardercross (women’s overall).
  • 7th place at the Youth Olympics.
  • Top 3 (x 3) at World Rookie Fest events in both Half pipe and Slopestyle. 
  • 2014 Junior Worlds competitor.

 

What motivates you to get up and go training?

Personally, I hate down days where you laze about. I get cabin fever! Snowboarding is very weather dependent so when the weather is nice you tend to really appreciate it, which motivates me to go training and make the most of it! I enjoy training because each day is different in snowboarding anyway. Exercise makes me feel much happier. 

 

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting involved in snow sports?

I’d recommend living by a mountain where you can ski/snowboard, haha. You will encounter different types of snow, weather and terrain, making you an all round good rider, which helps to learn more technical things. Friends, a camera, a coach or someone that’s slightly better than you all aids progression.

Maisie Porter.jpg

Check out Maisie's website for more info!

 



Welsh Athletes Profile

Georgia Hallett

How old were you when you got into snow sports?

Six.

 

What prompted you getting involved in snow sports?

My Father’s company sponsored a hot air balloon which we took to the Festival International de Ballons in Chateau D’Oex, Switzerland, in 2003. I took the opportunity whilst in the Swiss alps to learn to ski in nearby Gstaad. On returning home, I had further weekly lessons at Avon ski slope in Somerset and progressed from there to joining the Gloucester ski race team.

 

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting involved in snow sports?

Learning snow sports is a fantastic experience and provides the foundations for a skill that you can develop both recreationally and competitively over a lifetime. It’s also a great way to keep fit whilst doing something enjoyable and adrenaline fueled (definitely more exciting than running on a treadmill!). 

 

What is your favourite memory from your time in snow sports?

Winning the British Universities title in my first year at University in 2014 because I found myself racing against some of the best racers in recent years and winning the event by the biggest margin in the competitions history. 

 

What are your plans for the future both in snow sports and general life?

I am currently in my second year studying Dentistry at the University of Manchester and am proud to have been awarded a Sports scholarship for the second year which helps greatly with my training. Whilst at University I am continuing to compete both at a national level, representing Wales, as well as representing my University in collegiate sports events. This year I am lucky enough to be supported by Chill Factore in Manchester and will be training there twice weekly with my aim to become the best multi-surface female skier in the UK. I hope to spend my Christmas break training in Austria to develop my alpine skiing with the aim to return to FIS racing after a two year break. 

 

What is your biggest achievement in snow sports?

This artificial season has been fantastic so far – having never won a race overall before the British University Championships in late 2014 I won the GBR outdoor series overall female title 2015 and expect to finish 2nd in the GBR indoor series.  

 

Who was your first coach/instructor?

A guy called Ian at Avon Ski Slope – can’t remember his second name but he was a fantastic instructor and very patient!

 

What motivates you to get up and go training?

I love racing! Ski racing is my passion and I want to be the best competitor I can be. I really enjoy training, both on and off the slope. I have a very competitive nature so doing well for me is the greatest reward and warrants all the training!

Georgia Hallett 4.jpg



September Newsletter

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The Benefits of a Gap Year

Okay, I thought I'd write this one from my point of view - I'm Milly Kelly, I'm in charge of marketing and communications here at Snowsport Cymru Wales and I did two snow-related gap years after I completed my A Levels. I know lots of people have just received their exam results (for better or worse) so I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences, in case any one else is pondering over the gap year versus no gap year debate. 

I moved to Switzerland to be a ski instructor about three months after I turned 18 - my mum found it pretty hard to say goodbye but luckily for her, my sister had done exactly the same thing a couple of years previously so she'd had some practise! I knew that one day I wanted to go to university but I had no idea what I wanted to study. Something I did know is that I could ski and that I could teach skiing (I'd taken a UK Snowsports Coaching course), so the whole thing seemed like a pretty good idea - and it was. I ended up staying for two seasons, and getting a summer job in between (I tried coming home and working in Tesco - I lasted 6 shifts before I was on a plane back out there).

These are the life lessons I learned:

  • Bills: paying bills - it sucks but it's compulsory so you've got to budget them in and pay the damn things or your not going to have anywhere to live, period.
  • Spending six hours a day outside and on the snow is AWESOME.
  • Spending six hours a day outside and on the snow will really improve your skiing/snowboarding.
  • Croque-Monsieurs are better at midnight than they are at midday.
  • Goggle tans can be considered cool. 
  • Teaching people to ski feels amazing, especially when you remember how much you've gotten out of loving the sport, giving that love to other people is a really special thing, and doing it every day makes for a really special gap year.
  • And finally, employers LOVE IT. You know all those annoying interview questions like "talk about a time when you've overcome adversity" or "when you faced and solved a problem"? Like life isn't chocablock with overcoming adversity and facing and solving problems - I could site the million times when my husband and I have argued over who's going to change the litter tray as facing and solving a problem (solving = he loses). However, there will be times as a ski instructor when you're teaching a class in terrible conditions; soggy snow and zero visibility, you're in charge of 10 Irish teenagers who keep swearing at each other, one of which has just taken their skis off and sat down on the side of the slope, adamant that they're never, ever going to put them back on again and still you manage to get them all safely down the hill, using linked parallel turns and making them feel really proud of themselves at the end of it all. That's overcoming diversity, facing and solving a problem and a whole heap of other stuff that employers love. Plus they're impressed with the idea of a young person taking themselves off to live away from home for the first time, in a completely different country and undertaking a really interesting job.

In the end I went to university to study English Literature and Creative Writing and the experiences I gained during my two gap years have led to me specialising in snow sports marketing, communications and PR. I work freelance so I get to travel to cover events and races and all the skills I learned while I was a ski instructor have led to a career that I absolutely LOVE. Plus I went to university a whole lot richer than all my fellow students - this ski instructor racket pays pretty well, which is useful when you've only just figured out what bills are! 

Snow Group.jpg

If you're interested in becoming a Ski Instructor in France, whether for a gap year or career then head to the Oxygene Ski Instructor Academy site for more information.


Landgraaf Camp

Over 60 excited and enthused participants recently travelled to Holland to take part in a five day training and fitness camp, held at the amazing SnowWorld facility in Landgraaf. The camp was a collaboration between Snowsport Cymru Wales and Alpine racing club, Dragons. SSW’s CEO Robin said: “I was so proud to see Snowsport Wales and Dragons collaborating to bring together so many keen athletes for this training camp and it turned into a real success. Seeing all our group in their SSW and Dragons logo jackets & t-shirts was a great sight to behold.”

Robin Gates.jpg

The 60 attendees were made up of just under 40 athletes (from ages 10-20 years), 7 coaches and several parents who decided to join in the fun! Two coaches were needed to bring everyone to SnowWorld, with one leaving from South Wales and the other from the North, there may be quite a distance between North and South Wales but a love and passion for snow sports could bridge any gap. Firm friendships were formed and we have a feeling that parents and athletes will be spending a lot more time on the A470 from now on!

Parents Landgraaf.jpg

Apart from forming the kind of friendships that can define any young athletes’ experiences in sport, some serious training was undertaken with over 18 hours of skiing taking place, which equals 43,200 minutes spent on the slopes and with 10 hours of gate training x 40 trainees x 10 runs per hour x 30 gates per run = 144,000 gates hit which I’m pretty sure also equals hardcore awesomeness!

Gates.jpg

Because Snowsport Wales is not by any means just about alpine racing a snowboarding session for coaches and athletes also took place, with many thanks being offered to Nigel Furlong and Jon Davies for their expert coaching (and serious patience!).

Of course there will also be a few statistical issues when travelling in a group of 60 people and we’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to all the other very accommodating users of the fantastic SnowWorld because we really did turn into a sort of mobile queue, meaning whoever was following us ended up having to wait for the crowd to die down. We must also apologise to the Swiss World Cup and Europa Cup Team who couldn’t get a booking until we left because our group was so large - sorry!

Another particularly awesome highlight was watching visually impaired Welsh athlete, Menna Fitzpatrick flying and smiling down the slalom courses, guided by Welsh Team athlete Emily Hopkins. Menna has been making serious waves on the race circuit in recent years and we’re so excited to see where she goes from here. Either way it was great to see two amazing athletes working as such a synchronised team. Check out our social media sites for some video footage of Menna and Emily.

All in all the camp was really awesome, thank you so much to everyone who came along and to SnowWorld - we’ll see you all this time next year!

Mini and Matt.jpg



August Newsletter

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Become a Freeski Coach

If you received our Newsletter last week you will know that there are some UK Snowsport coaching courses coming up next month (if you didn't, you can sign-up on the right - convenient). We’ve received a lot of interest in Cardiff coaching courses so we thought we’d put together some more information for you.


Freeski Coach Level 1

Freeski covers the slopestyle, half-pipe and big air disciplines of freestyle skiing and will include moguls, aerials and skier-X.

Incase you’re not sure if you’re at the right skill level here’s a list of tricks you should be able to do to attend the course:

  • Slide a box 50/50

  • Slide a box 90°

  • Jump straight air on a box/jump of 4-7m

  • Complete a grab on a straight air jump

  • Complete 180° jump on the piste

Every candidate will be assessed on their skill level as well as their coaching level but judging on the guys that have been turning up at Cardiff Ski & Snowboard Centre on Freestyle Development Nights there will be plenty of talented candidates hitting the boxes!

Apart from killing it on the kickers you will learn about planning a training session; structuring the lesson based on length of time and athlete progression, the safety of Freeski; procedures, first aid, all of that, skill analysis; evaluating athlete performance, Skill Acquisition; improving athlete performance, working with kids; this one’s pretty self-explanatory, technical elements and progression of Freeski; progressing athletes safely and methodically through trick technique, understanding the fundamentals; the core elements of physical fitness that are key to the development of young athletes, video analysis; also a does what it says on the tin thing and equipment required; the compulsory aspect of helmets, the benefit of twin tips, that sort of thing.

At the end of all this awesome learning experience you will be able to deliver a structured indoor training session, develop parts of a Long Term Athlete Development programme, cultivate the ability to inspire and motivate and be able to deal with emergency procedures. What’s not to love!?

If you want to coach young, entry level athletes the Freeski basics, inspiring them to find the same love and thrill out of Freeski that you yourself have found, then you should really consider booking on to the course. And if you’re reading this blog on the sly at your desk in an office where you have a job that makes your soul feel bad, then jack it in! Come be a ski coach instead! 

Click on the UK Snowsports button on the left for more information.



Oxygene GBR Series, Pontypool, 11th-12th July

This weekend hoards of skiers from throughout the UK descended on South Wales for the Oxygene Great British Race Series.

As the summer sun beat down on Pontypool Ski Centre, over 100 of Britain’s best racers took the course to compete for the winning spot. Competitors ranged from eight years old all the way up to 60 years old in the Masters category and there were three races in total, 2 Slalom courses and one Giant Slalom event. 

The Oxygene GBR race was one of a series of summertime races across the UK, proving that snow sports is by no means restricted to wintertime activity. Oxygene Ski School were sponsoring the event and are providing a very exciting opportunity to two well-deserving British skiers ahead of next winter. The Oxygene Ski Instructor Academy is offering two fully paid Instructor scholarships to one female and one male British registered racer, making the step from competitive skiing to a longterm career in snow sports as accessible as possible. Oxygene Ski School Academy is based in two of France’s largest resorts, Paradiski and Espace Killy and is a fully recognised centre of training and one of the few non-ESF ski schools in France legally permitted to employ trainee instructors.

Those who have proved themselves to be more than worthy applicants to the scholarship programme are Welsh Ski Team racers Georgia Hallett and Tom Hales. Georgia won both slalom events, achieving her first win at a national series event. Her coach Robin Kellen (head coach of the Welsh Team) said he was sure it would be the first of many to come. Tom Hales, who is a long standing member of the Welsh Team and ranked no. 1 British racer on the artificial circuit won Sundays slalom, making the sure that Wales stands strong on the British stage of ski racing. 


Georgia Hallett 4.jpg


The fastest time recorded during the weekend was 17.93 seconds and the average speed of the winning skiers was 30mph. The top speed reached during the weekend was an impressive 40mph. After such a fun, varied and successful race weekend Snowsport Cymru Wales is very much looking forward to the next Pontypool races, the Welsh and British Championships to be held on 12th September 2015.

 



Race Results

Excel Event - Pontypool 14/3/15

SSW Club Event - Gloucester 2/5/15

 

Race Entry Forms

Welsh Schools Events

Henry's Avalanche Talk

As you may know, the internationally renowned Henry's Avalanche Talk came to Wales for the first time last week. We were really thrilled to have an event like this come to South and North Wales and having been to both talks are complete converts to the HATs avalanche advice! 

Around 30 people attended the Cardiff event and nearly 60 people came out on force to the Plas-Y-Brenin talk. Henry Schniewind (who set up HATs in order to ensure that more of the hill is open to ride but always in a safe way and at the right time) was actually really impressed with the snow culture here in Wales, in North Wales especially. In fact he was so impressed that we're already planning next winter's schedule of talks, we're also going to expand into the more in-depth Avalanche workshops that cover not only the theoretical expects of making sure you know the warning signs of Avalanches but the practical techniques you can employ as well. 

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British Ski and Snowboard in Search for New Performance Director to Deliver Medal Targets

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Snowsport Cymru Wales AGM 2015

Future of Snowsport Facilities in Wales

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Snowsports Wales Academy and Dragons Camp Landgraaf 2016

All Change at Cardiff Ski & Snowboard Centre

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Llangrannog Ski Centre - Winter is Coming

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Discipline Director - Alpine

2020 Vision for snow sports in Wales

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