Ever since the excellent races in Les Houches in January that saw two fantastic performances by Jaz Butcher and Francesca Lee go unrecognised in terms of British Children Ski Team selection, there have been a lot of emails flying around regarding a number of points. While the response from the British Ski & Snowboard was private, Paddy Mortimer, the performance director has posted an open letter on the BSS website trying to clarify and answer some of the accusations and points that were made.
The BSS are right in stating that financially times are hard, but Britain is not alone in this. Members of the US ski team and other nations, have to part fund their programmes as well. There are very few athletes on the FIS level and above, who are lucky enough to have a fully funded programme. While Dave Ryding is ranked around the top 60 in the world, were it not for the support that Delancey are now providing, the costs of his coach would be hard to find. Results talk and Ryding’s great run in the Europa Cup slalom this winter has certainly helped in raising the profile of the team. Â The debut’s of Charlie Guest and Alex Tilley on the World Cup has shown that there is also more to come from the Women’s side of things and further down the age groups, Robert Poth’s results in the Czech Republic bode well for the future for alpine.
This is just the start and the discussion / debate over the future of the sport has raised one important thing that Lord Moynihan raised two years ago in Meribel: Communication. If people do not hear things in regular and direct communication, chinese whispers happens and the truth will get distorted. Racer Ready suffered from this earlier this summer when we did not know of the support that Delancey were giving. This was corrected a soon as we were told BUT getting the information out to parents, racers, coaches and so on is vital to keep all on side.
Expedient Media have been brought on board to help with the communications and PR side of the BSS operation and this is great to see. The business is run by some ex ski racers who understand the requirements of raising the profile of the sport. This should benefit all interested and involved in the sport.
What Mortimer says in his open letter is there for all to read, as he writes near the end of the piece “Please make up your own mind. We’re building a new path.”
If you still have questions to ask, want to hear more then the BSS will beÂ “running two Alpine forums in Meribel.Â The first will be on the or around the 31stÂ Â March, (senior and juniors pathways), and the second will be on or around the 2ndÂ April,Â (U16 Pathways), in Meribel.Â These dates will be firmed up and moved to fit when the majority of folks are around.