06 July 2018

Summer on snow in the UK? Of course!

Last weekend a host of development level park and pipe athletes experienced a little about what the future of off-season training might look like when they took to The Lecht resort in Scotland.

A GB Park and Pipe Team and Pathway camp was held at the Lecht from Friday to Sunday, with up-and-coming skiers and snowboarders able to utilise a steel framed run-in and kicker packed with snow to simulate real conditions as they honed their tricks to an air bag landing.

The snow was made possible by the TechnoAlpin Snowfactory which uses innovative cooling technology and a closed refrigeration circuit to produce snow regardless of the outside temperature.

The wind turbine at the Lecht provided all the power necessary to make the snow which enabled 25 athletes to train on home soil in temperatures which reached 28C over the course of the weekend.

“The only other way to get through this much training at this time of year is to head to the European glaciers, and even then there you don’t get the opportunity to train from 9am to 5pm,” said Lesley McKenna, GB Park & Pipe programme manager. “In the past, going to the glaciers or southern hemisphere has been the only option for training at this time of year, and while those areas still the provide the best facilities, it is prohibitively expensive for most athletes, particularly the junior skiers and snowboarders.

“Having this facility at the Lecht is a fantastic asset and we’re already hoping to plan more regular training sessions and camps there over the course of the summer.”

Matt McCormick, a snowboarder who travelled to PyeongChang as a reserve for the Olympic team, was the most established athlete at the camp which also featured pathway athletes and others from local clubs, some as young as nine-years-old.

The jump was located adjacent to the carpet uplift meaning participants weren’t hiking back to the top of the ramp all day, speeding up the sessions and enabling coaches to athletes to progress faster due to the high volume of work they were able to complete.

“This is just the start of what I believe we’re going to see more of in the future,” added McKenna. “This is the first time we’ve used the Snowfactory to enable us to provide on-snow training during summer and I can honestly say that we saw just as much progression from a lot of the athletes as they would have had with an expensive flight and drive to a glacier.

“With continued access to this type of technology, more and more snowsports athletes will be able to train on-snow, close to home, right throughout the calendar, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t use the same technology to pitch for the UK to hold major international snowsports events in the future.”

Images courtesy of Peter Jolly

 

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