An initiative that sees inner-city school children first get introduced to skate-boarding and then have the opportunity to try their skills on a different type of board, on indoor snow, received some celebrity snowboarding star guests today.
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.
Those taking part are offered 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 2019/20 Snowboard Slopestyle Crystal Globe winner Katie Ormerod along with 2018 Olympic Winter Games Big Air Bronze medallist and Freestyle Snowboard World Cup Squad members Billy Cockrell and Matt McCormick joined young people from Westminster Academy at one of London’s most iconic skateparks at the event to mark the midpoint of GB Snowsport’s Project Balance initiative 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.
Speaking at the session, Katie Ormerod said: “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.”
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.
Students will end 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.