Learn the ropes on local slopes says snowboard star Jamie
Snowsports are much more accessible in the UK than many people think, Olympic snowboarder Jamie Nicholls has said on a visit to the Halifax Ski Slope in Yorkshire.
The 28-year-old, who competed in 2 Winter Olympics – Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 – said the more than 200 snowsports clubs and facilities dotted across the UK are a vital resource for new generations of competitors. Indeed, the Halifax Ski Slope where Jamie got an early taste of snowboarding, also gave a start to Beijing 2022 free skiers Katie Ormerod (Jamie’s cousin) and Katie Summerhayes.
Jamie said National Lottery players play a vital role in supporting our Winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes as well as some of the facilities where they learned their skills. He said, “These places are very important and they are all dotted around the country. You only need to go on Google and search ‘my nearest slope to snowboard’ and I’m sure there’s one not too far away, whether that’s an indoor place or a dry slope.
“We’ve got The National Lottery doing an amazing job at funding some of these places and making sure the facilities are kept up to scratch and kept going. It’s there for people to get into.”
Jamie believes the group of snowsport stars who emerged from Yorkshire in recent years (Nicholls, Ormerod, Summerhayes and skier James Woods who started out in nearby Sheffield) is particularly special considering it was passion, not the Olympic dream, that first inspired them.
He said, “It has a lot to do with the facilities that we’ve got in Yorkshire. I don’t think we all focused on going to the Olympics. We were riding and enjoying it and it was a passion for all of us. The Olympics came about and it naturally fell into place that we’d all give it a try and try and go there – and we’ve all been.”
Wayne Taylor, 47, a coach at the Halifax Ski Slope, trained several Team GB Winter Olympics stars in the early part of their career. He is thrilled to see them competing on the world stage.
Wayne said, “I’m really chuffed about it all. It puts a real glow on your face to know that these kids come from normal backgrounds. They come and ride here nearly every day, they get good enough and now they’re Olympians travelling the world. What an effort!
“National Lottery funding has been crucial. We couldn’t have done this without National Lottery players.”
17th February 2022
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