British student athletes are being encouraged to put themselves forward for selection for the 30th edition of the rescheduled winter fisu world university games in lucerne, switzerland this december

The Games, which is the largest global winter multi-sport event for student athletes, will see more than 2,500 athletes representing over 50 countries compete across 11 days from 11-21 December 2021 with the British team overseen by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS). With an expected global audience of more than 300m viewers in over 100 countries, the World University Games have long played an important role in supporting up-and-coming athletes with high-level competition experience at a formative point in their careers.

Eligible British snowsport athletes interested in competing are now being asked to put themselves forward for selection across the following disciplines:

  • Alpine
  • Nordic
  • Snowboarding (Slopestyle, Big Air, Parallel Grand Slalom, Parallel Slalom)
  • Freestyle Skiing (Slopestyle, Big Air)

eligibility criteria

The following eligibility criteria apply for athletes seeking selection:

  • Students who are currently officially registered as proceeding towards a degree or diploma at a university or similar institute, the states of which is recognised by the appropriate national academic authority of their country (athletes beginning their academic courses in September 2021 are eligible, so long as they meet the relevant age criteria), or former students of those institutions who have obtained their academic degree of diploma in the calendar year preceding the event
  • Be at least 18 and no older than 25 years of age on 31 December 2021 (dates of birth between 01 January 1996 and 31 December 2003).

Applying athletes should note that the British team is run by BUCS and competition will cost athletes in the region of £1500, including coaching costs. Many individual University Sports Unions have traditionally offered grants to contribute to these costs, and we would encourage all interested athletes to communicate with their respective institutions to understand if this is the case prior to beginning the expression of interest process. The Games will take place between 11 and 21 December 2021.

Once athletes are selected, BUCS and GB Snowsport will work with the athlete to identify coaches of the appropriate standard to support their efforts at the event.

performance criteria

GB Snowsport Performance Criteria for selection to the World University Games can be found in the GB Snowsport Selection Policy.

Athletes who meet the above criteria are invited to express their interest to Mark Ritchie, GB Snowsport Head of Talent, by 12:00 on 23 July: mark.ritchie@gbsnowsports.com.
Athletes should state their University or Institution, Course and Year, Date of Birth, Event Disciplines and Coach Name and Contact Details in the first instance.

Britain’s top snowboarding talent took time out today (Tuesday 29 June) to join up with young people from Westminster Academy as part of a special event to mark the midpoint of GB Snowsport’s Project Balance initiative.

Freestyle Snowboarders Katie Ormerod (2019/20 Snowboard Slopestyle Crystal Globe winner), Billy Cockrell (Freestyle Snowboard World Cup Squad member), Matt McCormick (Freestyle Snowboard World Cup Squad member) and Billy Morgan (2018 Olympic Winter Games Big Air Bronze medallist) took to Meanwhile 2, one of London’s most iconic skateparks, to help showcase the connections between snowboarding and skateboarding. Their visit also helped to show their support for year 7 and year 9 pupils from Westminster Academy who have been learning foundational skateboarding skills over the past six weeks in a project devised and launched by GB Snowsport, the National Governing Body for elite British snowsport.

As well as sharing their own tips and advice with the youngsters involved, the athletes also spoke about British hopes ahead of the 2021/22 winter season and the responsibility that sport has to support young people across the country as the nation continues its recovery from the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the session, Katie Ormerod said: “It’s really great to be down here today to see how well these kids are developing their board skills. We’ve all felt the impact of the past 18 months and it’s been really tough for all of us, but young people have had it particularly hard.

“I’m really pleased that our sport is finding a way to give young people new skills and new experiences after the past year; this is a big year for British snowsport, but even while we’re focusing on the new season it’s so important that we don’t lose sight of the positive impact we can have on people’s lives here at home.”

Matt McCormick added: “As a group we’re focused on being the best athletes we can be, but all of us started out by just getting into something we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to try and to enjoy. If these kids go on to develop and improve their skills, on skateboards or on snowboards, that’s amazing. But even if not, if they get a new experience out of it, learn something new, or feel inspired to try something else instead then that’s a brilliant outcome.”

Project Balance, which launched in May, was devised as a means of creating new connections between young people in urban environments and Britain’s snowsport scene in the year ahead of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. Offering tailored skateboarding lessons that draw on links between skateboarding and snowboarding, the project is also aiming to offer young people an introduction to transferable skills that can be put into place in education and in their wider lives.

The project, which is funded by the British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation, has support from Westminster Council and Semble, and will run until mid-July 2021, with students ending the project with a visit to The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, where they will be given the opportunity to put their new skills into practice on the snow alongside members of the country’s elite Freestyle Snowboard squads.

to mark uk coaching week, GB snowsport’s lesley mckenna explores new coaching philosophies

If it was ever the case before, it certainly isn’t now. The cat’s out of the bag: great coaching is the secret ingredient behind sustainable sporting success.

Okay, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking there, but it’s a message that bears repeating. Particularly now, when there’s so much exciting, innovative thinking taking place around Britain’s high-performance sports environments. And even more so because it’s UK Coaching Week this week.

I’ve always been interested in the philosophies and the wider impacts of coaching in sport.

Some of that was fuelled by my own experiences as an athlete on the Olympic programme, but I think more of it probably comes from competing in (and now helping to deliver) a sport that sits at the sometimes-challenging intersection of ‘Olympic competitive’, ‘high-level, non-competitive’ and ‘cultural’. After all, how can you be a great coach (or a great ‘competitor’) if you aren’t at least conscious of some of the tensions and challenges at play?

For me, those questions occupy a lot of my thoughts on coaching in our sport. I’m fortunate to have been selected by UK Sport to be part of a cohort of professionals working across different sports in the UK focused on ‘World Class Coach Development’. The opportunity to ensure that GB Snowsport can be at the forefront of developing coaches who can create a competitive advantage for British athletes competing at the highest levels is truly exciting.

But that’s for the future. What about the here and now? I think there are a few key areas that are already helping to set our thinking on coaching apart, especially around some of our disciplines that have their roots outside of the competitive sporting landscape.

Firstly, a lot of the motivations that we can tap into through our coaching come from a place of intrinsic value. Understanding that we’re coaching the experience as well as the end result could seem counterintuitive, but ultimately the motivations for some athletes are going to be as much about the journey as the destination. Instead of denying that, we can elevate our game by making it a part of our focus.

Secondly, we can celebrate the communal aspect of our sports. It’s not a huge part of mainstream sporting narrative, but a lot of the time athletes really do enjoy seeing others succeed. We’re so used to a ‘winner takes all’ narrative that we can miss the fact that it can be genuinely empowering to see a teammate, and even a rival, achieve something exceptional. The truth is that’s a lot more common than the stories we often see sport tell, but great coaching can tap into that communal instinct and help unlock new levels of performance.

Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, we absolutely must take a holistic view. And that can mean exposing ourselves, in coaching and in performance, to some uncomfortable areas. It means fostering creativity and innovation in our practice, and giving value to different forms of progression. Of course, we have an end goal. We’re hiding from the reality of our sport and our funding if we try to pretend otherwise. But an end goal doesn’t have to mean an only goal. By accepting that all areas of progress and development – on and off the slopes – are contributing to the growth of a person, we can begin to see multifaceted growth within our athletes. And if that’s the end goal we’re seeking through coaching, than the whole process has meaningful value.

Of course, all of this is a journey.

We’re making real progress and I’m proud to be a part of the work that we’re doing in this space. During UK Coaching Week, it’s a good time to take stock of today, and dedicate some thought to tomorrow. About what great coaching looks like now, and what it might look like in years to come.

Lesley McKenna is Freestyle Snowboard Programme Manager for GB Snowsport, and a three-time Olympic snowboarder. UK Coaching Week is overseen by UK Coaching to celebrate Great Coaching in sport across the UK. Find out more at www.ukcoaching.org

We are delighted to today launch our new initiative, Project Balance, aimed at fostering new connections between young people in urban environments and the country’s snowsport programme. Made possible by funding from the British Ski and Snowboard National Foundation, the pilot phase of Project Balance will see leading British snowboarders support skateboarding-based skills training for students from Westminster Academy, helping them to develop key technical skills utilised by the British Olympic and Paralympic snowboarding teams.

The project launches as part of a wider drive by GB Snowsport to build enthusiasm ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022, and to offer young people new opportunities to experience the physical and mental wellbeing benefits of snowsports. The skills training that link skateboarding and snowboarding will also be used to demonstrate to young people taking part the value of using similar transferable skills in education and life settings. By partnering with Westminster Academy, Project Balance aims to support mainstream PE delivery by offering unique opportunities to experience one of the nation’s most successful and exciting winter sports.

Announcing the launch of Project Balance, Vicky Gosling, Chief Executive of GB Snowsport said:

Launching Project Balance is a really important milestone for GB Snowsport. As we build towards next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it is so important that we show young people across the nation that ours is a family of sports that is and can be relevant for them – whether they wish to be an athlete, a participant, a coach or a fan. We’re determined to ensure our sports are doing more and more to reach out to new and different communities, and Project Balance is a vital step on that journey.”

James Barnes-Miller, GB Para Snowboarder, said:

It’s so exciting to be a part of this project. So much of our time as athletes is dedicated to our performances on the snow, but we all really care about helping to grow our sport back here in Britain too. This is a great way to give young people growing up away from the snow with a first exposure to snowsport ahead of a year which, as a team, we’re all incredibly excited about.”

Hamish McKnight, GB Snowsport’s Freestyle Snowboard Head Coach, added:

So many of our world class snowboarders grew up honing their skills away from the snow, and it’s amazing how many core skills can be learned before even setting foot on the snow. By introducing kids to key balance techniques and valuable self-determination at an early age, we can give them a solid grounding in what it takes to be a snowboarder and to provide them with a glimpse into the training and progression that makes a great snowsport athlete.”

The initial Project Balance pilot will run from May to July 2021, with Olympic and Paralympic team athletes in attendance at various points throughout the programme. Attention then turns to the beginning of the 2021-22 season, culminating in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. Project Balance has gained further support from Westminster Council who have provided input and guidance on the issues and opportunities relevant to young people in the borough, and has been co-developed by leading campaign and branding agencies Semble and BMB.

Image Credit: Harry Waite

UK Sport has launched a brand-new High-Performance Coach Apprenticeship (HiCAP) having played a trailblazing role in the creation of the first ever sports coach apprenticeship in the UK, leading the world in support of developing expert high-performance coaches.

HiCAP is targeted at coaches with high potential or those transitioning into high-performance environments with 26 coaches from 16 sports across the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community, as well as a small number of professional sport coaches forming the inaugural cohort.

Set to run for 18 months, the 26 coaches will come together to develop professional knowledge, skills and gain experiences relevant to their contexts. The programme is designed to evolve with the coaches, firmly placing their individual needs and wants at the heart of the experience and adapting to support their growth as expert coaches for current and future roles in high-performance environments.

The majority of the programme will be spent learning in their environment, on-the-job, as well as from each other through a series of seminars and field-based work. Each coach will have access to a coach developer, helping them to sense-make and develop their coaching practice in context. Fundamentally, the programme will meet the 26 coaches where they are at and help them to enhance existing strengths and develop all other aspects of their coaching.

The 26 coaches on the inaugural HiCAP are as follows:

  • Iain Aberdeen – Shooting
  • Robin Armayan – Swimming
  • Andrew Butcher – Gymnastics
  • Lee Campion – Shooting
  • John Champion – Gymnastics
  • Zoe Chasemore – Shooting
  • Zack Davies – Boxing
  • Gavin Evans – Table Tennis
  • Sheonah Forbes – Netball
  • Aaron Ford – Goalball
  • Chris Galesloot – Fencing
  • Christine Harrison-Bloomfield – Athletics
  • Brad Hay – Swimming
  • Naomi Johnston – Cycling
  • Jamie Jones-Buchanan – Rugby League
  • Ben Kinnear – Snowboard
  • Jamie Kirkwood – Rowing
  • Ryan Livingstone – Swimming
  • Marc McCarroll – Wheelchair Tennis
  • Sean O’Loughlin – Rugby League
  • Jason Parsons – Judo
  • Mark Proctor – Canoe Slalom
  • Tom Reed – Judo
  • Emma Trott – Cycling
  • Graham Wardell – Swimming
  • Anthony Wise – Gymnastics

Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “The launch of the High-Performance Coach Apprenticeship is a great moment for our Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community and I would like to welcome all 26 coaches who have been named as part of this first cohort.

“Coaches, supporting our athletes, are at the heart of our high-performance community and we firmly believe that a more diverse cohort of highly skilled coaches will help more of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes realise their potential. This programme is set to play a key role in us achieving that.”

HiCAP has been created as a direct action from the work of UK Sport, and partners including Sport England, the English Institute of Sport and UK Coaching, trailblazing the first ever sports coach specific apprenticeship in the UK in collaboration with the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

UK Sport are the first organisation in the world to utilise the new sports coach apprenticeship standard, approved in January 2021 by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. UK Sport look to play a key role in further enhancing the credibility and viability of apprenticeships as an effective and sustainably efficient way of facilitating coach learning and development in turn supporting the professionalisation of the sports coaching industry.

High-Performance Coach is one of three pathways that form part of the newly created sports coach apprenticeship and this underpins HiCAP, which forms a key part of ensuring coaching is seen as a sustainable competitive advantage for UK high-performance sport. On completion of the programme and associated assessments each coach enrolled will be awarded a Level 4 Sports Coach Apprenticeship certificate and be well underway to achieving CIMSPA chartered member status.

The coaches will also have access to post-graduate coach learning and development provision on completion of HiCAP, if this is something that would benefit them and that they are interested in pursuing further as individuals. However, it is recognised that this might not be for everyone and the choice must lay with them as adult learners, based on their individual needs and wants.

Importantly, the journey the coaches are beginning will privilege them and their experience, and seek to harness the collective genius amongst the cohort to provide peer support and solve problems throughout the HiCAP journey, and beyond.

Ben Kinnear, Snowboard Coach at GB Snowsport, said: “I’m really looking forward to starting HiCAP this month. The chance to work with such a wide variety of excellent coaches and challenge my own understanding of high-performance coaching is very unique and I’m thankful to be part of it.”

My best party trick is… “Backflip” 

The geekiest thing about me is… “I’ve only ever been to one “concert” and that was to see Brian Cox talk about stars.”

Tell me you’re a snowsports athlete without telling me you’re a snowsports athlete… “I’m a stand up sledger.” 

A shower thought I had recently… “I need to think of a good answer for that GBS interview question about shower thoughts.” 

My best dance move… “The ones the cheeky girls do.”

When I’m not training or on snow you’ll find me… “Studying Maths and Physics.” 

Guilty pleasure… “Tunnocks Tea Cakes.” 

Best travel story… “I once turned a 20hr travel day into a 52hr travel day by missing two flights and then rebooking onto the wrong one. When I did eventually arrive (at 2am) I had 6hrs before my first practice session of the contest. ” 

Biggest fail…

Typical Sunday… “Snowboarding if I can, skateboarding if not.”

Weirdest gift I have given or received… “I gave my younger brother Chris 20 individually wrapped 200g bars of Dairy Milk chocolate for Christmas (my local corner shop was selling them for £1 each and I thought £20 was a reasonable reflection of how much I care about him).”  

Two truths and a lie… “I have bad circulation to my feet so often have to snowboard with 3 sets of socks, from the ages of 11 to 13 I was an avid French horn player, I can juggle.” 

I won’t shut up about… “Cameras, filming and photography.” 

The pandemic has taught me… “To appreciate the little things.” 

Photo by Matt McCormick

My best party trick is… “A Backflip.”

The geekiest thing about me is… “I’m currently doing a University degree.”

Tell me you’re a snowsports athlete without telling me you’re a snowsports athlete… “I can comfortably wear 7 layers of clothing without feeling claustrophobic.”

A shower thought I had recently… “Do dogs know that they’re dogs?”

When I’m not training or on snow you’ll find me… “Playing my Ukulele.”

Guilty pleasure… “Musicals”

Best travel story… “I’ll write my memoirs one day because there are too many to list off.”

Biggest fail… “Going to get my hair done and walking out looking like a yellow highlighter.”

Typical Sunday… “Snowboarding”

Two truths and a lie… “I was a Cheerleader, I’ve won 11 World Cup medals, I can see ghosts.”

I won’t shut up about… “Interior design.”

The pandemic has taught me… “To make the most out of every opportunity and never take things for granted.”

GB Snowsport today announce the team who will be selected to compete at the 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski Junior World Championships in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk.

Moguls – 21st – 22nd March

Mateo Jeannesson

Tom Jeannesson

Ski Cross – 26th March

Patrick Young

Snowboard Cross – 23rd March

Huw Nightingale

Ski Cross Athletes selected but not attending due to Covid travel restrictions

Owen Johns

Scott Johns

Tommy Dade

Freestyle Snowboard BA/SS selected but not attending due to Covid travel restrictions

Ethan Smith

Mia Brookes

Gabe Adams

GB Snowsport is pleased to announce the squad which has been selected to compete at the 2021 FIS Freeski and Freestyle Snowboard World Championships in Aspen, USA from 10 March to 16 March

The squad includes three World Championship medallists, four World Cup winners, three X-Games medallists, six Olympians and one Winter Youth Olympic medallist.

Members of the freeski team, who are already out in Aspen training this week, include reigning Slopestyle World Champion James Woods, Izzy Atkin who won a ski slopestyle silver medal at the X Games in Aspen last month and Gus Kenworthy, an Olympic Silver medallist, and World Cup winner.

The snowboarders include 2020 Crystal Globe winner Katie Ormerod who has come back from injury, who in her last competition in Kreischberg came 8th and Gabe Adams who just came first at the Gotschen Europa Cup Big Air.

Sophie, Olympic Team Manager: “After a difficult season with changes to the competition calendar, we’re really happy to be able to compete in Aspen at the World Champs. A huge thanks goes to the organisers and FIS for helping make it happen. It’s been a difficult year for everyone, however we go into the Champs with a strong team, who are looking forward to flying the GB flag.”

GB Snowsport squad:

Freeski – Slopestyle & Big Air

Izzy Atkin – pending medical sign off

Tyler Harding

Gus Kenworthy

Chris McCormick

Kirsty Muir

Katie Summerhayes

James Woods

Harry Wright

Freeski – Halfpipe

Zoe Atkin

Connie Brogden

Gus Kenworthy

Freestyle Snowboard – Slopestyle & Big Air

Gabe Adams

Billy Cockrell

Katie Ormerod

The World Championships will be broadcast by BBC on the red button from 10th March – follow GB Snowsport social media channels for updates

Photo: James Woods Credit: X Games.

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