22 September 2016

Two new funding initiatives aiming to revolutionise British snowsports

Major snowsports companies support bid to help British skiing and snowboarding success

Following the success of Team GB and Paralympics GB at Rio 2016, and with it the proof that sustained funding is integral to international sporting success, today sees the announcement of two new initiatives aimed at revolutionising the funding of skiing and snowboarding in Great Britain.  

The two initiatives, The British Snowsports Fund and The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation, aim to bring in additional funding to grassroots projects, to the rising stars of skiing and snowboarding and to 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.

In a significant move by the UK snowsports industry, The British Snowsports Fund will target the passion of the UK’s recreational skiers and snowboarders by asking them to make a small donation when they make a purchase from one of the confirmed industry partners. This is the first time that a scheme of this scale has been launched in UK snowsports, and 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.

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.”

Rory Tapner, Chairman of British Ski and Snowboard, the national governing body for snowsports in the UK, said of the launch“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.”

Cara Brown, a member of the Delancey British Alpine Senior Squad said "Funding is vital to the success of the British snowsports athletes. The biggest skiing nation in the world is probably Austria - and the funding they put it to the sport is reflected by how many athletes they get on the podium! 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!"

Lesley McKenna, GB Park and Pipe Team Manager said “There is a huge amount of talent within the UK Park and Pipe scene and I am thrilled that we are launching these two new initiatives that will bring more funding into the sports. Additional funds will help us to nurture new and existing talent and will also help to support our more established athletes fulfil the potential that they have clearly demonstrated.”

Paul Carter, Chief Operating Officer of Inghams, one of the confirmed partners of the British Snowsports Fund, said “It's been proven that the success of elite athletes drives participation amongst the general public, and it is our hope that by supporting our future Winter Olympians we'll see more people putting on their skis or boards and joining us in the mountains! I'm sure that Hotelplan’s customers will get behind this initiative, and I hope that it will be supported by the whole of the UK snowsports industry for many years to come.”

Frank McCusker, Chief Executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain said “The Ski Club of Great Britain, which represents the UK’s recreational skiers, is proud that, through our participation in the British Snowsports Fund, we'll be supporting both the development of UK athletes and grassroots activities. It is incredibly exciting to see the industry as a whole back such an initiative and it can only be good for participation in the sport longer term.”

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.”

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 to meet annual costs in excess of £10k for 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 £35.5k programme cost themselves. 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.

It has been proven that there is a deep pool of snowsports talent in the UK, with the 2015/16 season being a breakthrough year with seven British athletes on international podiums. With rising British skiing and snowboarding stars not only holding their own in the world scene, but in many cases leading the way, there is real medal potential in both PyeongChang and beyond. With the 2018 Winter Olympics only 18 months away, British Ski and Snowboard are already looking to secure multiple medals in South Korea, a realistic target after Jenny Jones’ bronze at Sochi 2014.

To find out more about The British Snowsports Fund and The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation visit www.bssnf.uk. Find The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation on Twitter at @Britishssnf. The British Snowsports Fund will be tweeting @Brit_Snowsports.

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