Without natural snow and high altitude locations in the UK, it makes it difficult for Team GB to get in practice for the upcoming Winter Olympics… until now!
A giant airbag that was manufactured by the Canadian company Katal, was made to simulate a real jump and provide a shaped landing surface. Making its debut in UK it will be based at the Chill Factore in Manchester, before being taken to other indoor and dry slopes around the country. This project has been funded by Sport England and could not have come at a better time, with the 2014 Winter Olympics just around the corner.
Such airbags are important due to the often difficult training conditions of British freeskiers and snowboarders. Ski tricks can be dangerous so being able to try them on the airbag before taking to the snow is becoming vital, especially as tricks are progressing.
Pat Sharples, the GB Freeski head coach said "Having our own air bag in the UK will be hugely productive as this is the perfect way to safely help develop our young up and coming skiers and snowboarders hone their techniques and continue to drive the journey from homegrown grassroots sport to the top of the international podium. This is a massive step forward for our grassroots programs and UK based training camps."
The 2014 Winter Olympics will take place in Sochi, Russia and begin on 7th February, so being just eight months away it is vital our athletes get all the practice they can. After London 2012 there is even more excitement for Team GB to be as successful at the Winter Olympics. It has been reported that the team has some realistic medal chances at Sochi, so the airbag is a huge benefit for them during the next few months.
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