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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!
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
Now this may no be everyone's cup of tea, but there isn't much that compares to spending a day flying off a kicker into fresh powder with your friends. Though this is a past time I enjoy I am far from an expert and don't profess to be one.
Cue Ryan Davis, the former Brits winner is renowned for finding killer spots, and styling out the huge kickers he builds. If anyone is qualified to offer up a few resorts it's him.
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding are both growing faster than ever. Gone are the days of purely schussing down the Hahnenkamm or the Face for our thrills, these days winter sports are taking adrenaline levels higher than ever. Though it's easier to head to the snowpark or slalom run, you can't beat a short hike to a secluded spot and hitting natural lines or building your own kicker. Us mere mortals will try and cram as much as possible into our few days on the slopes each year, but there are those who somehow get to do this for a living.
Ryan may not be gracing the front pages of Document Snowboard or Whitelines as often as he used to, but he's happy to share with us his top five resorts for powder kickers. Hey, we might not all be able to float through the air pulling tricks but most of us can still enjoy an afternoon riding white fluffy snow and enjoying the view!
So it's over to Davo.
Ok, so Davo's top powder kicker resorts. Basically a good powder kicker resort consists of two main ingredients. 1 - consistent powder, and 2 - good knowledge of the terrain.
I had to say Morzine is my all time top pow kicker resort because I know it better than any other resort and there are loads of great spots.
So here they are.
Written by Stephen Adam featuring Ryan Davis.
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