Ski Club of Manchester Runs Successful Beginners' Course

Reporter: Alan Brown

The committee realised recently that we don't always tell you about our one-off activities. To try and rectify this, here is an extract from an article which will appear in a future Snowsport England newsletter:

"Two objectives in our Development Plan are to increase membership, and to reduce the average age of our members, so a beginners course for parents seemed the ideal way to get two for one!

We have begun to use the power of partnerships to help develop, and having obtained Snowmark, we have found that all sorts of agencies have been more than helpful. So for this project, we approached the Sports Development team in our home borough of Trafford together with Chill Factore management and, of course, our indefatigable Jan Doyle from SSE. Jenny Burton from Trafford Community Leisure had been providing details of bodies offering grants, and we successfully applied for funds from the local branch of the Community Foundation Network to subsidise the course.

We do all our UK skiing at the local snowdome, Chill Factore, so leant on them for favourable rates. With a bit of prodding from Jan, they were very generous, but insisted that the course should be completed before their winter season began. So the race was on to find suitable students. Jenny offered to use her local contacts to approach the borough's schools, and responses quickly crystallised into teachers willing to have a go. Our members [well Peter Kershaw actually. Ed] managed to find the other five candidates as the package was very generous. (Where else can you get ten hours of instruction for just £71.00 ?)

So it was that on a chilly Autumn evening, I helped ten students struggle into ski boots, and watched them get to grips with skis and slippery snow under the leadership of one of Chill Factore’s experienced instructors. That first lesson went very well, and it was good to round it off with Steak Night at the Wetherspoons on site!

Having set the pattern, the remaining lessons passed very quickly, and they were soon on the main slope, and gagging for their first run from The Top. Despite some hiccups - including work commitments and the like - I'm relieved to report that they all achieved their goal by the last session, and we now have a group of new members now able to enjoy the Club Meets we hold twice monthly at Chill Factore: One has already loved a ski holiday in the Alps.

Many thanks to all our partners for helping us achieve our own goals too. With the downturn in available funding we intend altering our strategy a little, and now plan to recruit new members from the signposting we receive after SSE's Go Ski Go Board sessions at Chill Factore. These are very well attended, so we expect to meet our objectives - eventually!"

You will notice that there is some poetic license in the detail, but in essence, the Club ran a successful heavily-subsidised grant-funded course, but we don't intend to repeat it anytime soon.