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This update was provided to us by the Grampain Ski Team. 

Dear Lucy

I would like to up-date you and your fellow Trustees about what has been happening with Ski Team Grampian since the summer.

gst1Our four skiers in the race squad have trained most Wednesday evenings throughout the year, and we are beginning to see real improvements in their technical skills. Equally important for them they look out for one another as a team, enjoy each-others' good performances, and cheer each other on.

Training at Aberdeen Snowsports Centre is on a weekly or fortnightly basis, depending on the season, with further snow training planned at local ski centres. Teaching our skiers has become one of the options for professional development for the Snowsport Centre's own instructors, and at present eight staff take advantage of furthering their experience and qualifications through this scheme. One instructor has created an exciting and effective development; ankle pressure pads wired up to light up red and green lights on the wrist to give the skier feedback whether they are leaning forwards or backwards.

gst2The skiers have also been involved in raising money themselves, eating smarties out of a tube, then getting other people to fill the tubes with money. As you can imagine, they are always eager to come back for more tubes!

In mid October they travelled to Birmingham to compete in the West Midlands Open Ski Championships, competing with 74 Special Olympics Skiers from around the UK. Of our four skiers who took part, Luke Purdie won the Mens Intermediate Giant Slalom Div.1, and Kristen Wrate gained third place in the Womens Intermediate Slalom Div.1. Steph Salvesen and Aryamher Zarisfi both skied clear rounds. So, some great results. Their continued training includes a day at the artificial snow centre at Braehead, Glasgow in December.

gst3Competition was tough there with many competitors there to qualify for the British Championships in Italy in January. We continued to raise funding support for this event which is an essential milestone in qualifying the athletes for possible selection for the World Winter Games in South Korea in 2013.

We also put in place two 6-session beginners programmes for 10 children from September to December. Further fund-raising activities allowed us to subsidise the costs of the programme. Some of the children would not have been able to participate without this assistance. The results have been fantastic, and all of the skiers have signed up to continue the programme in 2012.

gst4Our team kit is finally arriving this week and will be sent away for the logos of the two major award giving bodies, the Jo Walters Trust and Awards for All to be embroidered on the jackets. We have raised enough money to purchase a dozen or so of these so that all Grampian's Special Olympic skiers can wear them. I must say, we are all very excited about them. They will be worn proudly, and they will give the team a strong identity for many years. We will have a press call on the evening of Jan 10th, the last training night before the squad heads off for the British Special Olympic Winter Games 2012, and we will of course acknowledge the invaluable part the Jo Walters Trust has played in our development. We will especially remember Jo, whose life continues to give challenge and joy to a whole new group of young people.

We were thrilled to hear that the Special Olympics athletes from Ski Team Grampian whose gear we sponsored had a fantastic time at the National Alpine Ski Championships in Pila in January. The team did brilliantly and had a great time by all accounts so the kit must have been doing its stuff. There are some pictures below of them in the kit that the Jo Walters Trust purchased for them, and also another nice one of them in their kit with a large Saltire flag on the Special Olympics GB ski team blog here

All the results from the event are available on their website here.

JWT kristen steph
L-R Head Coach Malcolm, Luke Purdie, Steph Salvesen, Kristen Wrate, Ruth Barclay and instructor Bob Thow Kristen & Steph

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