Breaking the ice - a bright future for disability snowsports
Posted by Super User on Thursday, 29 May 2014 in Blog
The Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi has helped to break down barriers about disability. Demonstrating the sheer determination to overcome obstacles it showcases the inspirational athletes who defy all odds to achieve their dreams. The Games showed an incredible 547 athletes from 45 countries competing for 72 gold medals in five sports over 10 days, breaking a new international record. With highlights including Kelly Gallagher’s gold medal, which is likely to increase investment in Paralympic winter sport, the bronze medal for GB’s wheelchair curlers and Russia’s sledge hockey win against the USA, the future for disability snowsports has never looked brighter.
Inspiring future generations
Great Britain’s exceptional performance in the Winter Paralympics will be an inspiration for all young people coming to terms with their disability and hopefully help to break down the barriers for what people believe is possible. At Snozone we work with Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) to run adaptive lessons for people with all disabilities to enjoy our slopes – whether that’s adaptive skiing, snowboarding or enjoying the exhilaration of flying down the slopes on a sit-ski, we really can offer something for all. Our adaptive taster sessions proved so popular over the Winter Paralympics that we are looking to add more.
We also recently launched our partnership with Sense (www.sense.org.uk), a national charity supporting and campaigning for deafblind people for almost 60 years. During May we ran awareness events with free adaptive lessons to individuals supported by Sense (regardless whether it’s their first time or not). These events were supported in Milton Keynes from Olympic Stars Rowan Cheshire and Emily Sarsfield and in Castleford from professional freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes and Jo Willoughby - Great Britain's former number one female sit skier. We are very excited about continuing to support Sense in their tireless commitment to make a real difference to families and individuals across the UK and worldwide.
Sport can change lives
Many people affected by disability can lose confidence in their abilities to take part in sports activities, particularly the more active snow sports. The Sochi Paralympics showed that with the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. We run taster sessions and classes for beginners that aim to increase confidence as well as self-esteem, and our vision is to train up the next generation of Olympic stars!
The rise of disability snowsports
While adaptive skiing is fairly well established through the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI), adaptive snowboarding is less well known and is still in the relatively early stages of development. Thanks to the continued rise of disability snowsports, a qualification framework specifically for adaptive snowboarding is being developed and snowboarders who take part in the training will have the same thorough specialist instruction and training as ski instructors would. Thanks to the success of the Paralympic GB team in this year’s games, attention, media focus and investment will mean that more is done to give people with disabilities every opportunity to learn new sports.