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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.