Thousands of schoolchildren across England set to hit the ski slopes for the first time in the UK next week

Lucy Aspden
The Telegraph
30 competition winners joined Winter Olympians for the launch of National Schools Snowsport Week - PA
30 competition winners joined Winter Olympians for the launch of National Schools Snowsport Week - PA

A national campaign aims to introduce over 2,000 schoolchildren to skiing and snowboarding next week, during the annual National Schools Snowsport Week.

Following an inspiring winter season, which saw Team GB bring home a record number of medals from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, indoor snow slopes and dry slopes across England have joined forces to offer free or heavily discounted activities for schools and youth groups, to encourage more young people to hit the slopes and learn to ski or snowboard in the UK.

National Schools Snowsport Week, now in its third year, runs from April 23 to 29 and is organised by Snowsport England. In 2017, 77 schools and 2,353 young people took part in the annual campaign, more than doubling the uptake in the first year.

During the week-long event indoor snow slopes such as The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, SnowDome in Tamworth and Chill Factore in Manchester, as well as dry slopes such as Chatham Ski + Snowboard Centre and Stoke Ski Centre, are offering free and discounted sessions to children in primary and secondary school, and those at sixth form college.

Organisers are confident that this season's big headlines, including Winter Olympic medals for British athletes Billy Morgan and Izzy Atkin, mean more schools and pupils will want to get involved and follow in the footsteps of their new snow-sport heroes.

<span>Graham Bell, Dave Ryding, Aimee Fuller, Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe are all ambassadors</span> <span>Credit: snowsport england </span>
Graham Bell, Dave Ryding, Aimee Fuller, Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe are all ambassadors Credit: snowsport england

“I think those medals just really highlight skiing and snowboarding in the UK - how a hobby, can turn into a passion, which can become a complete lifestyle. It’s already increased the popularity and awareness of the sport sports in the UK; the domes and dry slopes are busier and it’s just an amazing time for British skiing and snowboarding,” said Winter Olympian Aimee Fuller, who competed in the snowboard slopestyle and big air events in South Korea and is an ambassador for the campaign.

National Schools Snowsport Week has a number of famous figures encouraging youngsters to get involved, including British Alpine skier Dave Ryding and Paralympic gold medallists Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe, as well as Fuller.

<span>Winter Paralympic champion Menna Fitzpatrick helps a young skier</span> <span>Credit: snowsport england </span>
Winter Paralympic champion Menna Fitzpatrick helps a young skier Credit: snowsport england

"UK facilities mean everything to me. I started racing at Pendle, until I was 21 and I wouldn’t be on the circuit if it wasn’t for that,” said Ryding.

On Monday, at an event hosted by Ski Sunday presenter Graham Bell to launch the campaign, 30 school students were invited to meet the ambassadors after they won a competition to design ski and snowboard graphics.

"The aim of NSSW is to get more children and more schools focused on going skiing and making snowsports part of what they do. It’s about getting youngsters involved in the sport early enough so they really get the passion for sliding down a slope – whether that’s forward or sideways," said Bell.

Britain's top indoor slopes
Britain's top indoor slopes

“For some school children, National Schools Snowsport Week will be the first time they’ve been on skis or a snowboard,” said Luke Williams, Snowsport England's initiative leader.

For others, it opens up the opportunity to develop their existing skills and try racing, freestyle or ski or snowboard cross. For everyone that takes part we aim for it to be an enriching experience, which not only brings people together but also helps build strength and define skills of balance and agility,” continued Williams.

Snowsport England, the national governing body for snow sports in England, is responsible for increasing participation in skiing and snowboarding, and National School Snowsports Week is part of this campaign, forming part of the national Go Ski Go Board initiative.

<span>Ryding hopes his performance on the global stage will inspire youngsters</span> <span>Credit: JURE MAKOVEC </span>
Ryding hopes his performance on the global stage will inspire youngsters Credit: JURE MAKOVEC

Together with the UK’s local slopes, Snowsport England recently reported a 20 per cent increase in participation since the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Its ongoing Pyeongchang To Piste initiative lists all the UK’s top facilities offering discounted lessons, events and taster sessions throughout the year online at goskigoboard.org.uk, and is running alongside National School Snowsports Week.

National School Snowsports Week offers

Available to primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges and youth groups, visit nssw.co.uk for more information.

Greater London

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Introduction to skiing or snowboarding session, £10 per person, thesnowcentre.com

Alpine Snowsports, Aldershot

Group beginner ski lessons for 10 people, £5.50 per person, activenation.org.uk

Sandown Sports, Surrey

Beginner ski or snowboard taster sessions for up to 12 people, £7.50 per person (1.5 hours) or £10 per person (2 hours), sandownsports.co.uk

Chel-Ski, Fulham

50 per cent off sessions, £17.50 per person (1 hour), chel-ski.uk

Midlands

SnowDome, Tamworth

Free ski or snowboard taster sessions, free (1 hour), snowdome.co.uk

Stoke Ski Centre, Stoke-On-Trent

Beginner group ski lessons, £5 per person (1 hour), stokeskicentre.co.uk

North West

Chill Factore, Manchester

Lift passes during National Schools Snowsport Week for under 21s, £7 per person (1 hour) £12 per person (2 hours)

Group under 21 ski or snowboard sessions for 10 people, £12 per person (1 hour), chillfactore.com

<span>Children and teenagers can learn to ski next week</span> <span>Credit: the snow centre </span>
Children and teenagers can learn to ski next week Credit: the snow centre

North East

Silksworth Sports Complex + Ski Slopes, Sunderland

Beginner ski or snowboard taster sessions, £1.50 per person (1 hour), everyoneactive.com

South West

Chatham Ski + Snowboard Centre, Gillingham

Group beginner ski and snowboard taster sessions for 10 people, £5.50 per person (1 hour), jnlchatham.co.uk

Folkestone Ski Centre, Folkestone

Beginner ski or snowboard taster sessions, £1 per person (1 hour), folkestonesportscentre.co.uk

Norfolk Snowsports, Norwich

Kids aged 8 to 16 ski or snowboard taster sessions, £5 per person (1 hour), norfolksnowsports.co.uk

South East

Plymouth Ski + Snowboard Centre, Plymouth

Beginner ski or snowboard taster sessions, £5 per person (1 hour)

Tubing and toboggan sessions, £5 per person (0.5 hours), jnlplymouth.co.uk


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