COVID-19 and Overseas Travel Update

Following the First Ministers update announcement, this is a reminder that Snowsport Scotland, along with GB Snowsport and the Home Nations, have published guidance and information addressing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

 

Snowsport Scotland are in full support of the Scottish governments ongoing message to stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so, such as, for essential work purposes, professional sportspeople (which includes over 16s on an elite development pathway) for medical treatment, or urgent compassionate reasons.

 

As part of the travel guidance, the Scottish government does provide exceptions for elite athletes during this time. For the purposes of this guidance the definition of a ‘performance athlete’ is defined as:

1) Athletes who derive a living from competing in a sport as:

  1. Professional athletes, and / or
    b. Athletes in professional teams, or
    c. Athletes on performance development pathways for professional sports established by the national governing body.

 

2) For GB Olympic and Paralympic sport, athletes who are:

  1. GB senior (i.e. those not classified by age group) representatives for NGB’s on a Summer or Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo/Beijing) pathway, or
    b. On GB senior training squads (i.e. those not classified by age group) for NGB’s on a Summer or Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo/Beijing) pathway, or
    c. On performance development pathways for NGB’s on a Summer or Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games pathway.

 

3) Athletes from territories in the British Isles who are senior representatives or on senior training     squads (i.e. those not classified by age group) for sports in     the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games programme.

 

As athletes’ part of Snowsport Scotland National teams and training squads, there is an expectation for those members to adhere to the Snowsport Scotland Code of Conduct, which includes following guidance and recommendations set out by the NGB (in this case being passed on from the Scottish government.)

As a community, we have a responsibility to follow the guidance set out and adhere to restrictions when they are put in place.

Please see the latest statement issued by GBS here

For details of the Scottish Government documentation please click here

COVID-19: OVERSEAS TRAVEL

OVERSEAS TRAVEL

Please note that it is currently illegal to travel abroad from Scotland except for essential purposes.

Please see the latest statement issued by GBS here

For details of the Scottish Government documentation please click here

COVID Update – 06/01/21

Following on from the First Ministers announcement, you may all be aware now, that ski centres and resorts in Scotland will have to close as of Friday (08/01).

We are disappointed by the decision made to close ski centres, but we look forward to working with Scottish Government to discuss funding opportunities that will allow our facility network to get through this challenging period & to re-open facilities in the near future to ensure that people continue to access the many benefits that sport and physical activity brings.

sportscotland have now published updated guidance on Sport and Physical activity, which can be found on our COVID-19 webpage.

The clear message from the Scottish Government, is ‘to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.’’

Should we receive more detail and information over the coming days and weeks from the government and sportscotland, we will be sure to share with all of our members, clubs and centres as quickly as possible.

2021/22 Alpine Pathway Programme Announcement

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2021/22 Alpine Pathway Programme Announcement

  

The Home Nations Snowsports Governing Bodies and GB Snowsport is pleased to formally announce two Alpine Pathway Programmes that will be available for UK athletes to be part of next winter.

 

Registration forms and entry criteria guidance will be sent out later this month, inviting athletes to apply to be selected into GB Alpine Pathway U16 and FIS training squads.

 

Training squad (part-time) programmes will offer athletes a series of Europe snow-camps, regular squad training, fitness sessions and off-snow athlete support workshops.

 

We look forward to launching these new programmes in 2021 and working together to deliver an alpine programme that supports more athletes to get ready to perform on the world stage.

 

GB Snowsport CEO, Vicky Gosling says:

 

“It is great to be working closely with the Home Nations on these Pathway Programme’s. We need to ensure that we combine all our knowledge and work forces as one snowsport community so that we can provide the best possible programmes for the future Olympians and Paralympians.”

 

Snowsport Scotland CEO, Trafford Wilson says:

 

Over the last two years Snowsport Scotland has run a very successful alpine programme for Scottish athletes, the opportunity this new approach provides to pull resources and work more closely with GB Snowsports, Snowsport England and Snowsport Wales is an exciting one and a further step forward for Scottish snowsports. 

 

Lesley McKenna – What Backcountry Means to Me

What Backcountry means to me is a way to adventure both outside and in. A way to play, discover, try out new ideas and moves, and communicate different feelings and stories to those with me and also to myself when I am reflecting on the experience.  

Mainly, and most important, is the fun bit, but fun can be many things, and I think being able to see the fun in taking on the driving sleet, mist, ice, sastrugi, high winds as well as the powder, sunshine, snow sparkles, and new lines is also part of the fun of ski touring and split boarding in Scotland.  

 I love the way the experience helps me to connect with my companions in so many different conditions and how we can problem solve our way around the challenges and safety questions that come up in a way that connects us through the learning and knowledge we create together on that particular day in those particular conditions. There are so many ‘particular’ conditions in Scotland as it is always so variable, both in snow conditions and weather as well as terrain, that there are infinite possibilities of experience and knowledge creation and therefor ways of understanding and enjoying. 

 By approaching the backcountry in this way, I can enjoy short mellow tours or longer more technical tours equally and also enjoy and share the experience with others who might have different ability or experience levels and always get something really fun and interesting from the day.  

 For me being out in the mountains is a way of knowing and appreciating myself and nature on a deeper level. It is a way to explore my own nature and own being as a human in the world and a way to help me understand and appreciate the nature and experience of my fellow humans. It also makes me feel connected to nature, or really a part of it in the very literal sense. I can feel the effects of the weather, the storms and the sunshine as I experience their effects on the environment and nature around me. it can also be a way to challenge myself both physically, mentally and emotionally, especially when I am in more technical terrain and I am looking for a very connected form of decision making, a kin to what is called naturalistic decision making, where it is as if my mind and body are one and my senses and logic are working in harmony to process everything that is going on. I find there is a certain creativity in that process as well. Snowboarding or skiing in this state for me is often timeless and hyper real, often called the flow state, and it is a magical like place to be. 

 Finally being in the mountains and forests of the highlands brings me close to the old and timeless folk culture and myths of the land. The themes that the local Gaelic myths capture are archtypes I have felt when out and about and also when meditating and reflecting internally. The story of the Cailleach, queen of winter and bringer of storms and change, mother of all the Scottish gods and goddesses is my particular favourite. I love to introduce people to these myths and stories and to the land and mountains where they came from as well as to the internal landscape where they still live. 

 

Biography 

I grew up living at Dellmhor in Rothiemurchus and went to Aviemore Primary School and then to Kingussie High School. I was lucky enough to have a lot of great winters on Cairngorm growing up and also lucky to come from a family who were very passionate about skiing. I learnt to ski at a young age and spent a lot of time skiing with my extended family. My father was a BASI trainer and also drove the Snow Cats and Worked on the Ski Patrol when I was a kid and my mother was also a ski instructor.

I had a great time skiing with Cairngorm Ski Club and along with my cousin Alain Baxter, went from Cairngorm Ski Club to the Scottish Alpine Ski Team and then on to the British Alpine Ski Team. I was British Women’s Giant Slalom Champ in 1994 before changing skis for a snowboard and taking up snowboarding. I raced snowboards on the ISF and FIS World Cup tours before deciding I had had enough of gates and focusing on half pipe events. I was really luck to have a lot of support from the local snowboard shop Boardwise at the time I swapped from skiing to snowboarding as well as a lot of support from the local snowboard scene.

I went on to be the first ever GB Snowboard competitor to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2002 and also  to win a FIS World Cup when I won a halfpipe World Cup in 2003 and the first snowboarder from the UK to compete in the USA Winter X Games halfpipe event. I had 6 FIS World Cup Halfpipe podium results in my career and competed in 3 Olympics before moving to coaching. I coached the European Roxy Snow team for 4 years and then moved to the newly formed GB Park and Pipe Team in 2012 where I became the Programme Manager for the ski and snowboard athletes competing in halfpipe, slopestyle and big air events at Word Cup and Olympic level.

Between 2012 and 2018 the GB Park and Pipe team won many World Cup and X Games medals and also 3 Olympic bronze medals by Jenny Jones, Izzy Atkin and Billy Morgan. I an a BASI L4 ISTD qualified instructor as well as a ski and snowboard coach and I am also a qualified yoga teacher. I am currently winding down on the competition scene side but still work part time for GB Snowsports as a programme manager and am moving more towards backcountry interests. I look forward to launching some new projects in the backcountry space this season. 

 

Jonny Barr – What Backcountry Means to Me!

Snowboarding isn’t snowboarding without the backcountry. That’s where it all started for me! Hiking the mountains of North Wales back in 1989, with a walking axe and a backpack full of food. 

Fast forward to the modern day IT’S STILL THE SAME! Just way easier with the development of splitboards. To me, the backcountry has driven my snowboarding and has always given me a sense of being. Hiking deep or high into the mountains has always given me the stoke, as I know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel…Snowboarding!

The excitement of route finding on maps, prepping your kit the night before and talking to your pals on the plan is ace. Having a good crew you can trust is vital, they are your saviour. This is where your kit and backpack come into play. Having the right equipment is key, but knowing how to use it and access it is priceless. You can’t put a price on safety! Getting out there, practicing beacon searches and digging snow pits learning the layers, is all worth it in the long run, as it keeps you shredding. 

31 years and I’m still buzzing more than ever on getting to go snowboarding! I might not do the tricks I could do back in the day, but getting up and touring out into my local mountains of the Cairngorms with my pals, still means the world to me. Scotland has its challenges and is possibly the most dangerous mountains I’ve experienced in Europe. With the ever changing weather conditions on an hourly bases, it really is next level when heading out Backcountry. POW POW POW!

 

BIO: 

I started in 1989 on a dry-slope in North Wales and went on to tour around the UK doing dry-slope comps for about 2 years, were I gained a shop sponsor.  I did my 1st season in Chamonix France in 1992/93 and never looked back. For the next 17 years I lived and based myself in Chamonix living the dream. In 1997 I became British overall snowboard champion in Les Arc’s France. This opened the doors to more sponsorship allowing me to travel around the world freeride snowboarding. In 1999 I was invited to Alaska with a UK based magazine Snowboard UK. We were the first Brits to head over with a camera crew to document the big mountains of Alaska. The following year we went back for more….. 

I worked as the photo editor for Snowboard UK for 3 years in between the snow seasons.  

I was sponsored by Switch step-in bindings and helped develop the system within the Vans boots for 6 years. 

 Judged the world jnr championships, for 3 years. TTR for 2 years and the British Champs for 3 years. 

Coached at the McNab Kommunity winter/ summer camps for 4 years 

Coached at Folgafona Summer camp in Norway for a month 

Coached the New Zealand junior halfpipe team in New Zealand for 2 weeks 

I was the ringleader for setting up the VANS Dawn of the Shred comps up the Cairngorms for 5 years and the 2 Scottish rounds of European Vans High Standard events 

For the last 7 years I’ve run the UpBattle Split-boarding demo weekender up the Cairngorms, raising money for the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.    

Currently living in Aviemore with my wife and 3 kids plus wee Yogi the dawg…. 

Rob Kingsland – What Backcountry Means to Me

”I feel backcountry skiing is total freedom, a natural progression from the first adventures as a child questing around The Lecht and Glenshee. Back then on a wild and windy days the thought of heading over to Glas Maol was filled with excitement and a wee bit of trepidation.  Similarly this is now felt on the approach to the Ben or a far flung Coire in the north west. 
 

My first steps beyond the ski centres and the resorts was out in Revelstoke, BC whilst on my first winter season. The short hikes and skins would take you to terrain only seen previously in ski movies. To have such freedom to get to these spots was at first slightly nerve-racking. Knowing that you make all the decisions yourself about where you go and how you approach the mountain opened up a whole new world.  

 Returning to Scotland to spend 4 years at uni I didn’t think I would find such good skiing. With marginal snow and wild weather I thought surely nothing could match the steep and deep terrain of BC. Luckily Scotland is packed full of beautiful lines brimming with character waiting to be discovered. The lack of powder was more than replaced by the adventure and community.

Heading up to Glencoe and Nevis Range I was soon finding goods from the lift and taking short hikes into even more epic terrain. The realisation that Scotland is home to such adventures has lead to hours pouring over maps searching for that next coire to explore. The days can be hard, often wild weather and difficult snow (mud, ice and heather) but when the timing, friends, and conditions click I wouldn’t want to be skiing anywhere else.” 

Snowsport Scotland AGM and Awards

Snowsport Scotland successfully held our 2020 AGM, in a slightly different format than usual, via Zoom for the first time. Even though, we couldn’t all come together to look back on the year gone by, it was great to still present the outcomes and reports from SSS, as well as hear a fantastic presentation from GB Snowsport CEO Vicky Gosling and then present our 2019/20 Snowsport Scotland Awards.

Throughout the AGM, we presented our audited 2019-20 accounts and approved our 20/21 budget, presented the annual report and successfully appointed 3 new board directors:

Paul Stark (General Director), Maggie Lawrie (General Director) and Scott McMorris (Park & Pipe Director). Timothy Winther was also confirmed as our new Independent Finance Director, who was approved by the board.

Full details of the minutes and annual report can be found here 

 

We also presented our 3 Snowsport Scotland Annual Awards for the 2019/20 season:

Coach of the Year – Alex Standen 

Cross country skiing has been extremely fortunate that Alex moved into coaching and he has worked through the ranks to now coach at a high level and become one of only three SSS tutors. Alex has transformed the performance coaching of Scottish cross country athletes in recent years to a level not seen before. Last season’s Project Lillehammer was an inspired new project which allowed U23 athletes to spend a whole winter racing and training in Norway with their own coach. It probably lays a foundation for a model of development that can help take UK athletes to a level that is competitive in the XC World!

Athlete Performance of the Year – Kirsty Muir 

Kirsty won the silver medal a the Youth Olympics in Lausanne back in January, only narrowly missing out on gold. She was the first British athlete to win a medal in their event and the only individual medal at the games! Kirsty also won the Europa Cup Big Air in Davos in February, which was her first win of a Europa Cup in Big Air!

Volunteer of the Year – Rick Newman 

Rick has recently retired from Chair of BNDS after 6 years, having been vice chair before this and a committee member before that. In that position he ran the group that drove the whole of the British Cross Country Skiing development process and so has overseen 2 Olympic games, the hand over of the elite squad to BSS/GBS, 2 World Championships and much more! Since 2006 Rick & his wife and family have organised and run the main fundraiser for the cross country squad, Ming the Merciless’ Midsummer Madness. In its first running it raised £450 and has shown up ward trends since then until its Covid postponement in 2020.  It  has raised in the region of £15,000 since the 2006 inception. Rick has probably not given any thought to any of this, it’s just what he’s done.

 

Women and Girls in Snowsport

During the last week in October, Snowsport Scotland was part of Active Scotland and sportscotland’s Women and Girls in Sport Week 2020! We wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some of the amazing females we have within our sport and also host discussions on how we can improve and create further opportunities.

It was a fantastic week of celebration, activity and community interaction. We are absolutely delighted with the support the week received and inspired to continue moving forwards in some of the activities which launched.

Many thanks to all the females who came along and participated in our first ‘Females in Snowsports’ forum session. We look forward to developing this further, creating a community of females coming together to discuss issues and develop new ideas to continue to support women in snowsports. If you would be interested in getting involved next time, keep your eyes peeled for the date of our next session in a few months’ time.

Our Retaining Girls in Snowsports Community discussion provoked some interesting conversation. We presented barriers for teenage girls participating in sports and discussed how these present in our sport. We hope that these sessions can grow over the coming months and welcome all coaches, leaders, instructors both male and female to join us on our next meeting.

Last but not least, our final session of the week was a big one! 20 young Scottish female athletes from across a variety of disciplines came together to join the Female Youth and Junior Session led by British Nordic Senior Team athlete Nichole Bathe. The girls heard from Nordic athlete, Olympic medallist and World Champion, Astrid Jacobsen. She gave advice on how to manage sport and school, cope with body image worries, keeping the passion for your sport alive through the teenage years and much more, It really wasn’t one to miss! Since then, we have hosted our second Youth and Junior Session, ‘Balancing School and Snowsports.’ We were lucky enough to be joined by a University Cross Country Skiing coach in America, as well as hosting discussions amongst the participants on what is the most difficult about balancing school and sport but also what is the most enjoyable.

Thanks once again to all who engaged with Women/Girls in Sport Week. We look forward to continuing to work together in our aim to promote and support female participation in snowsports.

If you or your club wants to share any work that you are doing to increase female participation or you have a story to tell, please get in touch with us at info@snowsportscotland.org 

Kevin Maule – What Backcountry Means to Me!

 Sliding down hill has always been fun and aged eighteen we hopped on a bus to Aviemore and threw ourselves down Cairngorm Mountain on snowboards till everything hurt, I was hooked.  

 

Snowboarding gave me my first reason to travel and work overseas. I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in New Zealand, Canada, Italy and France but Scotland always pulled me back. In 2006 during my first midlife crisis I became a BASI snowboard instructor to help share my love of sliding sideways.  

 

Riding the ski hill was pure fun and when I left the resort behind I found adventure: a journey with an unknown outcome.  

Backcountry, touring, off piste whatever you call it for me its the whole package. Out there you depend on each other to find the best snow, keep each other safe, getting yourself up hill and sharing the ride down. You are the ski patrol, the uplift and the cafe all rolled into one.  

 

I eventually found home in the Aviemore area and work year round as an Outdoor Instructor. I have somehow managed to end up as a Backcountry Snowboard guide for G2 Outdoor.  

 

Backcountry Touring through Scotland’s wild nature can be challenging, frustrating and so worth it. There is so much freedom to explore you as long as you are guided by the conditions, your kit and your crew.