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Future of GB Alpine Programme

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Statement released yesterday by GB Snowsports.

GB SNOWSPORT HAVE TODAY (4 AUGUST 2022) ISSUED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT
In light of July’s announcement by UK Sport regarding investment into GB Snowsport for the Milan-Cortina Olympic and Paralympic cycle, we have had to communicate the deeply disappointing news to our Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic athletes that UK Sport have deemed the three disciplines to not be investible for World Class Programme funding.

While all three disciplines have been named for potential funding at national squad level, and UK Sport have ringfenced a minimal amount of programme funding for the Men’s Slalom programme and for Para Nordic, neither investment level is sufficient to sustain elite performance at the levels required.

This is a heavy blow to athletes, coaches, technical staff, and GB Snowsport employees who have shown enormous dedication in their efforts to grow Britain’s standing in Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic skiing, not least through the exceptional on-snow performances of so many of those athletes over the past two seasons.

As a Governing Body, we have worked tirelessly to protect the continued development of our Alpine and Nordic programmes, and we fundamentally disagree with the decision not to invest further into those disciplines, particularly at a time when athletes in all three areas have been delivering some of Britain’s greatest ever results on the snow.

We are now urgently exploring all other options to continue these programmes, including new commercial partnerships, reducing costs throughout the organisation, and seeking greater efficiencies within our programmes, but we do anticipate that difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming weeks. Additionally we will be appealing against the UK Sport decisions, and will want to understand relative comparisons of funding support for other sports, whether Winter or Summer, Olympic or Paralympic.

We also know that this will be extremely dispiriting for everybody who supports and is involved with British Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic Skiing at every level. We feel it is important to take this opportunity to reaffirm our continued belief in the internationally competitive potential of all three disciplines and our commitment to exploring every avenue available to us.

We are grateful to UK Sport for their continued support of our other disciplines, and expect to be able to build on the success demonstrated on snow over the past four years.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Wow, thats a blow and surprising given the level of spend so far to cut it off at the knees all of a sudden?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ah, not as bad as seems

“We acknowledge confirmation of UK Sport’s Funding Award to GB Snowsport for the Milan-Cortina cycle, which will see us receive a total of £11.9m to support our athletes’ preparations for the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

This continued investment marks a welcome reinforcement of UK Sport’s backing of Britain’s skiers and snowboarders and, for the second cycle in a row, sees funding exceed the levels invested for the 2018 PyeongChang Games. However, we cannot hide our disappointment that we have not yet persuaded UK Sport to back our athletes to the levels we have seen in the recent past.”
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Basically UK made decision to invest in sports that we have chance of winning medals in. So chuck money at rowing & cycling (sports that poorer nations can't compete in).

Skiing has double whammy because traditional alpine disciplines now also competing for funds with freestyle (where we have won medals and better chance of taking on alpine nations due to year round facilities / dry slope). Summary : Unless your a millionaire or live in Alps don't bother taking up ski racing if aspire to compete at top level.

Though the real question for me isn't funding for specific sports. Rather it is if money be better invested in grass roots / getting kids active. Funding elite athletes all very well for national pride : but does it lead to a healthier nation?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Haggis_Trap, does not having a national athlete to emulate not stimulate grass roots participation - you cannot be what you cannot see.
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We follow and indirectly support Ed Guigonnet, who is in the junior GB squad and lives in St Martin de Belleville. It’s been a shambles this summer. His mother (a force of nature) is constantly fund raising-and we are talking about basic stuff like selling second hand stuff on the village facebook page. Even if you’re in the squad, you need to find around £28k a year. I think in the last few weeks some sort of training has been cobbled together, starting shortly (better late than never). I know back in May there were job offers made to coaches who then dropped out. Here’s a link to his website www.edguigonnetski.com . Any financial support would be of huge help to him…
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Richard_Sideways wrote:
@Haggis_Trap, does not having a national athlete to emulate not stimulate grass roots participation - you cannot be what you cannot see.


True : however investing money in astro turf pitch / swimming pool / sport facility (& coaches) rather than one elite individual might have wider benefit to larger section of population?

Olympic medals not everything. For example : get kids in inner city playing football or basketball has massive benefit (and some of them might make it as consequence?)
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Haggis_Trap wrote:
Basically UK made decision to invest in sports that we have chance of winning medals in.?


makes sense, funding a minority sport for rich middle class kids who won't go anywhere on the international stage seems like a poor use of limited resources.

Certainly cycling has shown a bit of a revival in the UK over the last years and in winter sports there is always a chance of a medal in sledging and that bowls thing they play on ice. Stones is it? I don't know how accessible rowing is to the wider population.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 5-08-22 15:14; edited 1 time in total
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Most people (and certainly on here) would probably regard the Alpine programme (Downhill, Slalom, GS, Super G, Combined) as the core element of GB Snowsport. Not sure if they raise enough money elsewhere so that it can continue in some form without UK Sport funding. Having said that, the Alpine squads are possibly excessive: 6 World Cup athletes, 7 Europa Cup, and 35 in the FIS Squad (including Ed G); so it seems unlikely that they can continue to support many of them.

Like many non-team sports there is no county / development structure that can serve to raise funds for the really top performers. Most of us ski without contributing anything towards them in any way.

The Nordic (Cross-country) and Para Nordic squads are much smaller: only 3 and 4 athletes respectively, and their races probably cost a lot less to stage, so it is a shame they are losing out as well.
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ecureuil wrote:

The Nordic (Cross-country) and Para Nordic squads are much smaller: only 3 and 4 athletes respectively, and their races probably cost a lot less to stage, so it is a shame they are losing out as well.


Unfortunately to be competitive in Nordic is insanely expensive. The Norwegians spend tens of millions on wax trucks, research, facilities etc. British Nordic had help from the Norwegians over the last years. Even the Norwegian team has had to make cutbacks as nordic skiing is not so popular these days having been eclipsed by Biathlon as a spectator sport. So hard to attract sponsorship money and British Biathlon have very few athletes, Amanda Lightfoot has just retired. Again it is a very expensive sport to fund.
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Ecureuil - How many of those squad athletes are actually supported though?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
davidof wrote:
Haggis_Trap wrote:
Basically UK made decision to invest in sports that we have chance of winning medals in.?

makes sense, funding a minority sport for rich middle class kids who won't go anywhere on the international stage seems like a poor use of limited resources.
.


Yes : though reason UK pumps money into track cycling, rowing and swimming is because we can compete

In part this is because:
1) less developed nations can't easily compete
2) pool of people doing these sports is smaller anyway. If you get athletic person straight out of uni / army and train them they might podium.

In persuit of medals the UK arguably target less accessible sports.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Haggis_Trap wrote:

In persuit of medals the UK arguably target less accessible sports.


Your argument about basketball is interesting. Is there any funding at all? Could the UK be competitive given the head start a number of nations have? Worth exploring anyway.

What are accessible sports? Those with minimal facilities which would be cricket, football, basketball, running. Still competing with some very tough nations there and running certain have genetic advantages which are hard to overcome. Maybe playing to the UK strengths makes some sense, or give the whole thing up as a pointless exercise in nationalism.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
davidof wrote:

Those with minimal facilities which would be cricket,


Huh? Ever seen the effort that goes into prepping a cricket square? Its not just a bit of cut garden lawn.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Haggis_Trap wrote:

2) pool of people doing these sports is smaller anyway. If you get athletic person straight out of uni / army and train them they might podium.



Can't comment on rowing and track cycling, but I'd be surprised if there are any/many elite swimmers who haven't spent years developing their technique. Sport England claim that 4.7 million people in the UK swim twice or more a month, so the starting point there isn't that small (noting, of course, that there's a huge difference between swimming twice a month, and swimming competitively at any level).
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
davidof wrote:

Your argument about basketball is interesting. Is there any funding at all? Could the UK be competitive given the head start a number of nations have? Worth exploring anyway.


Doesn't need to be basketball (that was just example that popped into my head). However any programme that gets kids, particularly inner city ones, playing sport regularly has to be money well spent? Could be football, athletics, orienteering, judo etc

Fwiw : i think government should support top level athletes. However that shouldn't be at expense of investing in mass participation and better facilities in accessible sports. Wider participation has more benefit to society than an obsession with medals.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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MEMBERS OF THE ALPINE WORLD CUP SQUAD HAVE ISSUED A STATEMENT, FOLLOWING NEWS OF UK SPORT’S WITHDRAWAL OF WORLD CLASS PROGRAMME FUNDING

On Thursday 4 August, GB Snowsport announced that UK Sport have decided to remove Great Britain’s record-breaking World Cup Alpine Team from World Class Programme funding.

This decision means that five Alpine athletes are looking at collectively finding £800k over the next 8 weeks to allow them to carry on training and keep their careers alive. Preparations for the 2022/23 World Cup tour and World Championships in Meribel-Courchevel, France in February 2023 are already underway with real medal potential which has been demonstrated over the last 12 months.

The athletes losing their programmes are:

Dave Ryding, who is Britain’s most successful Alpine skier ever with 5 world cup podiums. He became the first Brit ever to win a World cup, which he did in style at the biggest race on the calendar in Kitzbuehel, Austria this year.
Charlie Guest, who recorded a 13th place in January and Britain’s best result for a female on the World Cup Slalom tour since 1989.
Billy Major, who broke into the top 30 in 2022 for the first time with an 18th place.
Laurie Taylor, who brought home a 25th in Madonna, Italy in December.
Charlie Raposo, who in March, ended a 50-year drought for World Cup points in Men’s Giant Slalom with a 16th and 27th place in the same weekend.
The latter three skiers, all born in 1996, are very much at the beginning of their World Cup careers, where the peak male age is 30 and trends higher for smaller racing nations.

CHARLIE GUEST HIGHLIGHTS:
“With the depth and talent within British Alpine skiing at an all-time high, it’s extremely disappointing that UK sport have decided to remove this funding, for us now and future Alpine winners from GB.”

Sadly, these results are not taken into consideration by UK Sport, who have chosen to focus purely on World Championship and Olympic results in a cycle that has been dominated by a global pandemic. A small fund has been ringfenced for Dave Ryding but will not be enough to cover coaching.

This is a ‘now or never’ moment for all of the athletes involved in the Alpine programme.

IN A QUOTE FROM DAVE RYDING:
“We have all gone out there onto the World stage and consistently delivered record results over the last 12 months. This is the first time in British history that this number of athletes have achieved top 30 placings in a World Cup season, and we believe this is a trend that is set to continue. We have more than enough potential to be topping podiums for the next 8 years. It was a Brit that ran the first ever slalom race, and 100 years on, we are winning. Now is British Skiing’s time!”

Contact:

Paul.trayner@gbsnowsport.com
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The above post on GB Snowsports was titled "An Appeal from members of the Alpine World Cup Squad" but I cant really see what they are appealing for, to reverse the decision, for contributions? What?

But in another post titled "Statement regarding the future of Alpine and Nordic World Class programmes" has the following as extracted:

"We are now urgently exploring all other options to continue these programmes, including new commercial partnerships, reducing costs throughout the organisation, and seeking greater efficiencies within our programmes, but we do anticipate that difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming weeks. Additionally we will be appealing against the UK Sport decisions, and will want to understand relative comparisons of funding support for other sports, whether Winter or Summer, Olympic or Paralympic."

So now the comparisons start.
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GB Snowsports wrote:


"We are now urgently exploring all other options to continue these programmes, including new commercial partnerships, reducing costs throughout the organisation, and seeking greater efficiencies within our programmes


I have complete sympathy for the athletes, but shouldn’t GB Snowsports have been doing all this anyway?
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