Jamie Hepburn, Minster for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, launched the 3rd year of the Stirling Schools Learn to Ski pilot project, at Firpark Snowsports Centre in Clackmannanshire, on Monday 7th March 2016.
This project is looking how to deliver a nationwide programme of snowsports for school children in Scotland, and is gathering evidence to help design innovations to address any perceived barriers to participation in snowsports at the Scottish Mountain areas.
Firpark Snowsports Centre is a key partner in the delivery of the project, and is providing the children in Stirling and Clackmannanshire schools with the artificial section of the project.
Mr Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, and Mr Hepburn worked together, along with Ski-Scotland, to pull together funding to allow this project to develop with the intention of helping many more children in Scotland access snowsports, no matter where they live or their background.
The project is being managed by Snowsport Scotland, and the CEO, Jane Campbell Morrison said ‘We are grateful to both Ministers, and to Ski-Scotland for providing this funding, and for ensuring that we can look in some detail at how to provide snowsports to Scottish children. It is a fantastic opportunity, and one we are using to full effect’.
Mr Hepburn said:
“We’re fortunate in Scotland to have some outstanding skiing opportunities right on our doorstep – both natural mountain slopes and artificial facilities like this one at Firpark. Learn to Ski is a great scheme that introduces school children to this thrilling sport, so I’m delighted that the programme is being extended, and going from strength to strength.”
The Scottish Mountain areas, through their marketing group, Ski-Scotland, are working with Snowsport Scotland to look at growing the market for snowports in Scotland. The artificial slopes in Scotland are playing their part in this project by contributing to the work underway in this area through research of their customer bases.
A Strategic School Snowsports Working Group has been created to develop the initiatives coming from the project, for example, increased links between snowsports and the Curriculum for Excellence, and the development of a National Schools Snowsports Conference day, taking place at some 11 venues in Scotland in March 2016. So far the project for 2016 has provided over 600 children from Stirling and Clackmannanshire the chance to try snowsports both on an artificial surface and on snow at their choice of Scotland’s mountain ski areas: CairnGorm Mountain, Glencoe Mountain, Glenshee, Nevis Range or The Lecht.
Snowsports are a sport for life – once you have the skills, they never leave you, and people from 3 years to 103 years can take part, whether on an artificial surface or at a Scottish mountain area.
The intention behind this project is to increase the number of children and schools taking part in snowsports, and for snowsports to become a significant part of the Scottish culture.