Leading snow sports operators are backing a new initiative to help raise money to help fund future winter Olympics competitors.
Crystal Ski Holidays, Esprit, Inghams, Le Ski, Mark Warner, Meriski, Ski Bartlett, Skiset, Ski Total, Ski Weekends and Stanford Skiing are among those pledging support together with the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Backers of the British Snowsports Fund will seek small donations from customers.
The funds will go to support competitors preparing for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, children entering their first competitions and projects that support increased participation in winter sports.
Meanwhile, The British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation is being established as a new grant-making charity which will provide financial support for talented young skiers and snowboarders.
Grants will be available to cover costs such as competition travel and accommodation, coaching and equipment. It will also encourage grassroots participation in skiing and snowboarding by funding projects that offer young people ways of becoming involved in the sports and developing their talents.
The dual new initiatives aim to revolution the funding of skiing and snowboarding in Britain.
The government, via UK Sport, funds a team of 14 snowboarders and freestyle skiers who are judged to have the potential to win medals at the next two winter Olympics.
But athletes from all the other disciplines such as Alpine, cross country and ski jumping, do not receive any UK Sport or National Lottery funding.
For example, it is estimated that an Alpine skier participating in a British Ski and Snowboard Europa Cup programme needs to cover the £35,500 costs themselves.
And the family of a 13-year-old snowboarder participating in a Home Nations Academy programme would need to meet annual costs of more than £10,000 for training, equipment and competition travel.
Inghams chief operating officer, Paul Carter, said: “It’s been proven that the success of elite athletes drives participation amongst the general public, and it is our hope that by supporting our future winter Olympians we’ll see more people putting on their skis or boards and joining us in the mountains.
“I’m sure that Hotelplan’s customers will get behind this initiative, and I hope that it will be supported by the whole of the UK snowsports industry for many years to come.”
Crystal Ski Holidays finance director, John Murray, added: “We are proud to support the British Snowsports Fund to help put more British athletes on podiums.
“We have seen how the success of Olympians and Paralympians has encouraged participation in UK sports, and this initiative will help inspire the next generation of skiers and snowboarders.
“Having previously supported the national Go Ski Go Board campaign this is the perfect way to continue our long involvement in growing participation in the mountain sports we love.”
Sir John Ritblat, chairman of the British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation, said: “The Foundation has been established to be a major force in providing national support to talented young skiers and snowboarders.
“Our support at the early stages of their schooling and careers will enable more athletes to progress in snowsports by relieving some of their financial burden. We will see more people participating in snowsports and more young people realising their full potential.”
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