Winter Olympics 2014: ski and snowboard fever sweeps Britain
Mon, Feb 17 2014 08:35
National GO SKI GO BOARD campaign has reported a rise in visitors to dry slopes and indoor snow centres across the country
By Hugh Morris
10:45AM GMT 14 Feb 2014
Skiing and snowboarding in the UK is enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to the Winter Olympics, with dry slopes and indoor snow centres across the country welcoming both beginners and seasoned skiers in their hundreds.
The Chill Factore, a snow centre in Manchester, was at full capacity all Sunday, the dry slope in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, ran out of snowboards to hire, snow centre Snozone in Castleford hosted ski and snowboard taster sessions for 240 people and snowboard lessons at the Mendip Snowsports Centre in Somerset are fully booked until mid-March.
These are just some of the examples of what GO SKI GO BOARD, Snowsport England's wintersports participation campaign, says amounts to a ski and snowboard fever sweeping the country.
The last week has seen mixed results from the Games in Sochi. Boarder Jenny Jones claimed Team GB's first ever medal on snow, a bronze in snowboard slopestyle, but James Woods's hopes of a medal in medal in ski slopestyle were dashed by injury.
Chemmy Alcott finished 19th in the women's downhill, a result she said was as good as gold after coming back from two broken legs in the last four years.
After her medal win, Jones told the Telegraph she hoped her success would encourage more women to try snowboarding whatever their age – Jones, 33, was at least six years older than her fellow competitors.
GO SKI GO BOARD was launched last year to harness the excitement surrounding the Winter Olympics, which has seen the largest ever troupe of Team GB skiers and snowboarders compete.
The campaign has been providing all-inclusive beginner sessions and refresher courses at more than 35 indoor and dry slopes across the UK, from as little as £30 for six hours over six weeks on a dry slope, the number of hours Sport England says is needed to "engage someone in a sport".
"There is a huge buzz around snowsports at the moment and there has not been a better time to get people skiing and snowboarding," said Tim Fawke, chief executive of Snowsport England. "We hope by offering value for money, we can give more people the chance to give the sports a go – whether it's their first time or they are trying them again after several years."
The campaign, supported by more than £1.1m of funding from Sport England, has a target to increase the number of people skiing and snowboarding regularly at facilities across England over the next four years.
Fawke added: "With what is happening in Sochi, we are convinced we can hit our targets and get more people catching the snowsports bug."
Find your nearest course and ski slope at goskigoboard.org.uk. Recreational skiing and snowboarding is also available for those who just want to have fun on UK slopes