British Ski and Snowboard’s (BSS) Alpine Development Group, which was formed in December 2014, has today announced a formal agreement with the three Home Nations – Snowsport England, Snowsport Scotland and Snowsport Wales. … 

In a bid to work more closely and support the work of the Home Nations, and complement the important contribution of clubs and academies, the BSS Alpine Development Group will co-ordinate activities with Alpine Squad systems of the Home Nations. This will provide a structured approach to the development of Alpine athletes within the British system from U16 through to U21.The main focus areas of the partnership and programme are around preparing Under 16 athletes for the challenges of FIS racing and helping older athletes prepare for the potential of ski racing as a full time career.

By working more closely with the Home Nations’ Alpine Squad systems it is hoped that there will be a clearer approach to the entry levels into the Alpine squads, a change in emphasis around the criteria for athletes to remain in Alpine programmes and a commitment to the ongoing development of a co-ordinated syllabus designed to help U16 athletes prepare for FIS racing and older athletes prepare for full time racing.

This syllabus will play a key part in the new programme, and significant parts of it will be delivered across three weekends in a new approach for squad athletes. These three weekends will involve the ACE fitness testing programme, Skills Quest and discussion areas including strength and conditioning education, behavourial issues, administration and technical skiing issues. As part of the syllabus, athletes will also be expected to complete a level two coaching course.

The new agreement has also looked specifically at the entry criteria into the Alpine squads, making some changes. Despite these changes, BSS and the Home Nations will also select all current FIS squad athletes if they have shown the necessary commitment through the year and attended relevant training days. They will also consider U16’s on a case-by-case basis to avoid athletes being de-selected without detailed reasoning.  If athletes feel they have been significantly disadvantaged through these changes relating to the current season they will be able to make their case to the relevant BSS selection panel.

For full details of the BSS Alpine Development Group and Home Nations partnership, and specifically the syllabus and the changes in entry criteria, a detailed document can be found on the BSS website.

Any comments or queries should be addressed to Tony Willis at bss@teambss.org.uk, Ross Gardner at ross@snowsportscotland.org, Tim Fawke/Jo Ryding at alpinesquad@snowsportengland.org.uk or Robin Kellen at robin@snowsportwales.net.

The BSS Alpine Development Group and all three Home Nations squad systems should act as a stepping stone to representing GBR at international level and membership of the Delancey British Senior, U21 and U18 Alpine squads. Selection criteria of the Delancey British Alpine squads and International Competition are covered in the “Alpine Selection Policies for 2015-16” document published on the BSS website.