Pat Sharples with some of his protégés
Several members of the British Olympic Team currently in Sochi and soon to commence their personal battles for Olympic glory have been expressing their thanks to the British dry slope scene for getting them where they are today – amongst the world’s best.
A large percentage of team members began their skiing and boarding and moved up in their careers on British dry slopes using surface materials such as Snowflex.
Talent such as James “Woodsy” Woods, Katie Summerhayes and Emma Lonsdale in the skiing field, and snowboarding superstar, Jamie Nicholls are proving that coming from a lowland nation which doesn’t get much snow, hasn’t stopped them from making it to the world stage.
Under the guidance of Pat Sharples, Team GB’s freestyle coach, James Woods is currently the world number one ranked athlete in the sport of freestyle skiing.
“Woodsy”, who hails from Sheffield and learnt to ski on Snowflex at the Sheffield Ski Village, has swept all before him over the past couple of seasons.
Katie Summerhayes, also from Sheffield, and Emma Lonsdale who learned to ski and honed her skills on Snowflex at the Kendal Snowsports Club, have both been putting their mark on the international freestyle ski scene too.
“I think the reason Great Britain is quite strong in the freestyle skiing and snowboarding is because of the facilities we have up here in the north,” said Katie, “I grew up on Kendal and while some people scoff about skiing on plastic it is where a lot of skiers originate from and it’s an invaluable base. I raced on dry ski slopes for many years and then when Kendal changed to having Snowflex moguls and jumps that was quite a turning point in my career. If it wasn’t for that I probably wouldn’t have got into freestyle skiing at all.”
Not to be outdone by the skiers, Jamie Nicholls who hails from Bradford, has long been cited as a trail blazer on the UK scene.
Jamie reinforced what Emma Lonsdale said, “I started riding at Halifax Ski and Snowboard Centre when I was 7 years old, on Snowflex. It’s crazy to think how far you can come from a place with no mountains and not much snow. But Snowflex has helped me to get to where I am today and if it wasn’t for Snowflex I’m not sure where I would be right now.”
“We get a huge thrill when we see talent coming through the many Snowflex facilities around the world,” said Terry Di Stasi, Director of Business Development for Briton Engineering Developments which makes Snowflex, “When we saw that nine of the 19 skiers and snowboarders in Team GB learnt and trained on Snowflex that makes us particularly proud.”