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.