Ski racing for school children
The National Interschools Ski Championships is taking place this weekend at Stoke, organised by ESSKIA, the English Schools Ski Association.
Following the regional qualifiers in September, the top school teams in the country will be competing in age group finals on Saturday and an Open Championship (with no age group banding) on Sunday. The events are all team races, made up of four skiers all of whom must be pupils at the same school. On the Saturday, there are separate categories for girls’ and boys’ teams in four age groups – Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 19. There is also a category for mixed teams.
This ESSKIA event is crucial for all those kids keen to join the circuit as ski racers when they leave school (see ski racing in FSN’s Learning to Ski section for more details). Each year ESSKIA selects promising children to join its National Squads, based primarily on their performances in these Championships and in the qualifiers. There are two senior squads and one junior squad. If you are selected, a certain degree of devotion is required (from parents as well as children!) as you are then expected to attend a weekly training camp on snow, with specialist ESSKIA coaching. A national team is then chosen to represent England at the biennial ISF World Schools Ski Championships (to be held next in 2012). For many, this is the closest they will ever get to experiencing what its must be like to represent your country at the Olympics. The best and the luckiest may even go on to do just that!…
For more information contact your local ski centre or www.esskia.com/.