Most people are aware of the competitive side of skiing through the excellent productions on TV, Channel 4, BBC and Eurosport.
But many non-skiers, and a lot of those who only ski in the mountains, do not realise that there is a strong race scene amongst British skiers through all the seasons. How many realise that the British stars such as Dave Ryding and Chemmy Alcott also raced extensively on artificial slopes in the UK before concentrating on the World Championship scene?
Slalom, and a few Giant Slalom, races are run on artificial slopes, both indoors and out, mostly during the summer. Many of the events are Slalom races on the outdoor slopes. The slopes are all too short for a Downhill Race.
The slalom races run mainly on the same rules as World Championships. The racers are timed over a course marked out by alternating red and blue gates. Each race has a variety of gates set from "wiggling" "Verticale" to large offset needing a lot of skill to keep the speed. .
The artificial surface race season gets into full swing after Easter when the snow starts to melt and the Alpine championships have finished. There are races every week at all levels: from Club and Regional Fun races aimed as an introduction, through Inter-regionals to the upper level of races: Club Nationals and GBR run by Snowsport England
In the ‘Fun’ level races the theme often varies by including direct racing head to head and relay races.
MSC run two teams in the Gloucester League, and around 50 members race for the club during the season.
In each of the events the racers in earlier races. are split by age so they are competing in a small group, but the overall winner can be from any age. Midland Ski Club has racers in all categories, and a social occasion is common after a days racing.
The formal ski race calendar can be found online at www.GBski.com.
At the end of the season there are the All England and British Championships, and to take part in these the racers have to qualify, having proved their ability in earlier races.
Each of these events can find about 150 racers and their families preparing skis, picnicing and enjoying the performance of all competitors and a ful day's enjoyment.
So if you want to get involved in this and try yourself, come along to the MSC and join in our training. We can take you through a whole programme of building skills to race level and who knows: GBR Champion or the Olympics?