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Optimistic future for British snowboarding

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Lack of snow and mountains doesn’t have to dent the UK’s medal chances on the snow anymore, says top coach, Paddy Mortimer.

Jenny Jones made history last month at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, when she won the UK’s first ever Olympic medal on snow by taking bronze in the women’s slopestyle, where contestants were marked for skill and style.

As Mortimer, the performance director of British Ski and Snowboard points out, TeamGB had six top 10 finishes and 12 top 20 finishes at the Winter Games, as well as numerous podiums leading up to the Games. “This is unprecedented,” he said. “We’re seeing enormous amounts of young talent coming through from the hills in Scotland and snowdomes.”

Whereas Britain’s lack of snow and mountains has historically been a major disadvantage, the snowdomes and ski slopes are engaging a much broader audience and bringing more talented youngsters into the sport.

Further to this, as Mortimer points out, there are ways to foster creativity and athleticism in the under 16s, before they have to go abroad to train. Skateboarding, trampolining and gymnastics all have transferable skills for sports such as slopestyle and the half pipe.

British Ski and Snowboard is currently in talks with commercial organisation, Woodward, about creating some indoor centres in the UK, with foam pits, sprung floors, launch areas, trampolining, tumble zones and skateboard areas, as well areas for creating media and music. “This is all part of engaging with young people, particularly those under 16 and fostering skills which could later be transferred to snow sports,” said Woodward. “We’re working hard to provide a pathway lower down and part of this is to use other sports to increase athleticism and skills development in the under 16s, before we need to go abroad to train on the snow.”

See the next issue of Leisure Management magazine to read more about the ongoing plans for the UK’s winter sports.

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Lack of snow and mountains doesn’t have to dent the UK’s medal chances on the snow anymore, says top coach, Paddy Mortimer.
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