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This week has been a mixed bag for British skiers and snowboarders. Resorts are enjoying incredible December conditions and holiday prices over the Christmas period are being slashed, which is the good news. The bad news for our professional athletes is UK Sport has cut all funding for skiing and snowboarding. This means the likes of Chemmy Alcott and Jamie Nicholls will have to find another way of funding the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The last few weeks have been a real disappointment for Chemmy, she started the season well with her new sponsors Atomic on board and some decent results. Hoping to build on a positive 2009/10 season Chemmy looked in good shape. Then it all went wrong... she broke her leg training with the Canadian ski team in Lake Louise and her funding took a hit.
Jamie Nicholls has made a superb start to the winter. So far he has enjoyed top ten finishes in two TTR events, the Burton NZ Open and the Freeze Festival. His sponsors, Nike, look to be pushing him after a good showing at the D-Pad sessions. If Sochi 2014 are to add slopestyle to the program surely Jamie Nicholls has the potential to win medals.
Last night a few of our top winter sports athletes were interviewed by Chappers on 5 Live including Chemmy, Amy Williams, Jenny Jones and Dan Wakeham. Graham Bell was also on the show to add his two pennies worth, and to remind us he apparently skied back in 85. The show, for those who missed it, was very interesting and hearing how the sports rely on the funding from UK Sport was an eye opener.
As you would expect from Ski Sunday presenter and former British number one skier, Graham Bell definitely wanted to voice his opinion. As he put it the way the funding cuts have been made and how the money has been pushed into other sports (namely curling, skeleton and London 2012) UK Sports have decided to take the easy option. To be a successful World Cup, TTR and Olympic skier or snowboarder takes a huge amount of talent and an incredible level of dedication. What Graham argues is that UK Sport has decided to support sports that would be easier to win medals in, opposed to prestigious sports where the talent is there, it just needs support and nurturing.
No one can disagree that after her Olympic Gold Amy Williams deserves support and she has definitely raised the profile of Skeleton. As Amy pointed out last night, there is no commercial sponsorship in her specialty and neither her or the team benefit from financial backing from commercial backing the way other athletes do - though she did thank BMW for kindly giving her a car. Where I support helping our proven winners develop the rise in funding of £1.3 million seems steep, especially when skiing and snowboarding only previously received £620,000 between them. How can we ignore the talent we have on the slopes then up Women's Bob sleigh from £500,000 to £2.4m?
Okay so I have to admit I am a little biased, but as Chemmy put it skiing is 'an exciting sport, it's a blue ribbon event' and according to NBC Shaun White was the most watched individual in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ski Sunday has been around for 32 years because skiing and snowboarding are entertaining, the boarder-cross and skier-cross in last years games were a hug hit, yet Zoe Gillings (who finished 8th) now has to rely on her one finance and sponsors to compete. Britain has always loved an underdog but how can we expect athletes who have the talent (Zoe, Jamie and Chemmy) to win the medals we crave without support and how can we expect other younger skiers and snowboarders to come through the ranks.
Thanks to the success of riders like Jenny Jones and Tyler Chorlton there is money from sponsors to help these kids make a living, but in the end sponsors are paying them to do a job for them, and will only support select riders that suit there image. Chemmy, our number one skier has to train with Canada's ski team and is barley surviving after her crash, when Snowsports GB went under last year it cost her £20,000.
Yes support the winners we have but also support our elite athletes and those with the potential to rival the Lindsay Vonns and Shaun Whites of this world and don't expect someone else to do it. There is more chance of Jenny Jones winning a medal than the England football team at the moment!
First of all I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in last nights event. Thanks to everyone who turned up, bought raffle tickets and took part. Thank you to everyone who sent us prizes or donations. Thank you to Tim Warwood for a very entertaining evening. Thank you to the Kings Arms for letting us take over their pub and hosting us. Because of all these people we have managed to raise a staggering £1200 for Snow-Camp.
So, for those of you who missed last night, it was a hugely successful night. 15 teams of friends, colleagues and fans of the charity turned up ready for an evening of fun, and helped make for a cracking night.
The quiz kicked off a little later than expected, though this did help us sell a few more raffle tickets and the extra beers drank helped the excitement build. Tim arrived with his usual humour and charm and started with the Brummie banter pretty quickly. There were a couple of hiccups at the start with the mic not working but we quickly found Tim's ability to project his voice added to the entertainment.
We started off with a potato sculpting round, giving everyone a spud, a knife and some cocktails stick, where they had to produce a themed scene by the end of the evening. The quiz questions were maybe a little more difficult then anticipated but this didn't cause too many issues, as easy quizzes can be boring and Tim was selling answers at £1 a go - topping up the night's fundraising.
The music round went down a treat and included some great movie tracks, from Velvet Underground in Juno, to Happy Gilmore. After two hours of questions, music and guess the celebrity faces it was time to judge the potato round. Now the content of this round wouldn't make it past the Iglu firewall, so just imagine what a room full of adults, in good spirits after a drink or two can come up with.
The quiz had been a good laugh and it was time to give away the prizes in the raffle. We started off with the T-shirts from Ski Big Three, some CD's from Virgin Records and some DVD's from Whitelines, building up the anticipation of the main prizes. Next we had the Oakley goggles to give away, the jackets donated by Metrosnow.co.uk and to finish off the skis from Ski Big Three. Having tickets in two colours caused some comedy confusion. We had a few comedy cases of people screaming and shouting in excitement at winning a prize only to find out the ticket was the other colour!
All in all the evening was a hit, we've raised money for Snow-Camp, entertained our crowd and have already had requests for the next one. A few weeks of hard work have paid off and it was more than worth it. Once again than you to everyone.
We will put the evening's photos onto the Igluski Facebook page shortly and if you would like to donate head to our Just Giving page.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been organising a charity pub quiz with fellow iglu-ite Esther Collas, in an attempt to raise money for a London based snowsports charity.
Snow-Camp are a youth charity that offer disadvantaged inner city kids life skills programs and the opportunity to ski and snowboard. As keen snowboarders we were keen to give these kids the chance to experience the sports we love.
Esther - "I was lucky enough to put on my first pair of skis at the age of 13 when I went away with school. At 19 I turned to the dark side (snowboarding) and have never looked back. Not everyone has the opportunity to ski and snowboard and are not as fortunate as myself. Snow-Camp are able to offer this opportunity and I wanted to play a small part in helping someone fall in love with the sport as much as I did."
The idea for the quiz came from wanting to offer something in exchange for donations rather than begging people for money. Esther is taking part in the Everest challenge, where she will join Snow-Camp and other fund-raisers in covering 150km of the Portes du Soleil in 48hrs. The challenge will include snowboarding to every corner of the ski area, a night session and finishing off with a 5 km hike. We are aiming to raise at least £1500 and don't worry the money raised won't be paying for the snowboarding trip, all the participant's pay for that themselves.
The Entertainment - Tim Warwood
You may recognise Tim from the TSA's snowboard films he did with the Lockdown Projects, his MC-ing at the Freeze Festival or the X-Fighters in Battersea. He also has a Kerrang radio show and presents for Freesports of Four and the Extreme Sports Channel. For those who are not familiar with Mr. Warwood his is very entertaining and big supporter of UK snowsports.
With Tim's enthusiasm, humour and charm the evening will go off with a bang, so far he has requested a round involving potatoes and toothpicks (any ideas what these are for please comment below).
First of all we would like to say a big thank you to everyone mentioned below for their generous prize donations and support, to Tim for his quiz master skills and to Richard Downes, the CEO of Iglu who is going to contribute generously.
There is also a rumour that our head of I.T. may have secret prize for us, but when I.T. are involved anything can happen!
Last but by no means least the good chaps at the Kings Arms, where will be hosting the evening, are going to give the winners of the quiz a round of drinks and maybe even some nibbles to get us through the evening.
If you haven't been invited and would like to come give us a shout on the IgluSki Facebook page to find out if there are any tickets left. Wish us well and I'll let you know how it all went next week.
Written by Stephen Adam
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