Pippa Middleton successfully competed in The Birkenbeinerrenet, a grueling 54 km cross-country ski race across two Norwegian mountains, finishing in a time of 5 hours and 58 minutes. Pippa was there on behalf of Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK).
Pippa Middleton took part in this prestigious event to raise awareness for the UK’s national skier’s and boarder’s charity Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) , a cause she is hugely passionate about. DSUK works to make sure that anyone with a disability, may it be learning, sensory or physical, can ski or snowboard alongside other able bodied people. Pippa has been involved with DSUK for the past two years after seeing the benefits of what we do first hand when shadowing a number of adaptive ski lessons at DSUK’s UK ski schools with some our disabled skiers using our specialised sit-ski equipment.
The legendary Birkenbeinerrenet ski race originated in honour of the 1206 rescue of 18 month old Prince Haakon Haakonsson who grew up to become the king and united Norway after 1000 years of civil war. Each of the 16,500 competitors must carry a 3.5kg rucksack in commemoration of the journey and how the young prince was carried across the mountains to safety in Trondheim.
Starting in Rena, Pippa and the rest of the field made their way to Lillehammer for the finish at the Birkenbeinerren Skistadion.
After the race, Pippa said, “As a lover of skiing, I hope to help individuals with a disability, experience the positive thrills and rewards that snow sports can offer by raising awareness of DSUK’s great work. I have seen first hand through the DSUK ski schools how people’s independence and confidence can grow from getting out on the slopes in the fresh air and interacting within a social environment.”
“I was nervous at the start, it’s a tough race with plenty of uphill and a strong headwind but I enjoyed every minute of it and the fine weather lifted everyone’s spirits. The course was beautiful and the atmosphere amazing between competitors and supporters along the way. I am happy to have participated and most importantly crossed the finish line. Hopefully my involvement in this unique Norwegian skiing event will help shine a spotlight on Disability SnowSport UK, which is a cause close to my heart.”
DSUK provides opportunities for people of all ages and disabilities across the UK to get onto the slopes through adaptive lessons, recreational sessions and activity weeks abroad in partnership with Crystal Ski. Snow sport provides mental, physical and social benefits to disabled people by increasing independence and confidence, being an easy opportunity to exercise and introducing people to other likeminded people. Our mission is to promote equality and opportunity for people with disabilities to take part in snow sports and to help improve their enjoyment and standard of performance at the level of their choice.
Pippa continues to be a key supporter of Disability Snowsport UK and will be attending our 2016 ParaSnowBall in London on 28th April.
To find out how to support DSUK, please contact [email protected].
Images used in this story credit Geir Olsen/Birken.