An open letter to Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre.

In responding to Chantelle Goddard-jones’ call to arms in support of Team Slalom Plus, I’d like to share my story.

I’m not from a skiing family, I wouldn’t have been a skier at all if it wasn’t for the dry slope on my doorstep. I was introduced to skiing back in ’91 when I joined Krazy Kids Klub on Saturday mornings at Gloucester Ski Centre. Within a year one of my coaches had invited me to join her new ski racing team “Slalom Plus”.

I had already sampled ski racing in the form of the Gloucester Summer Race league, and as far as I was concerned this was the elite of British Ski Racing. By 1993 I had discover the national series of events all over the UK, and by 1994 I did my first ski race on snow.

Year by year, my experiences grew. 1997 my first British University Dry Slope Championships. 1998 I was on the winning University team in Les Arcs, France.

University came and went, and all the while, when I could, I was training twice a week with Chantelle at Slalom Plus. I was 6 months into my first graduate job when I came 2nd place senior in the World Dry Slope Championships in High Wycombe.

In 2002 the club was bursting with talent, including several British Children’s Team members. I started to get involved more in the organisation of the club. Helping more with events, transport, etc, we even formed a Team SLP band for the 10 year anniversary of the club!

I started to show an interest in coaching and a friend told me how to get started. With plenty of encouragement from the club, I quit the rat-race set of to Canada to start my career in snowsport instruction.

It seems so long ago now. I’m about to start my 11th Winter season. I’ve spent 5 years working for the ESF in Tignes in France, now I’ve moved to a smaller independent school called TDC and this season I’ll also be working with a specialist snowboard school called Alliance (I’ve broadened my skill-base along the way).

You can say that skiing has become my life, I even met my wife skiing, but none of my skiing adventures would have been possible if it wasn’t for a chance encounter with Chantelle. I showed no particular promise in the sport, I had no experience to speak of, yet still Chantelle though she could make a ski racer of me.

A move to ban Team Slalom Plus from Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre will only deny young people of Gloucestershire the opportunity I had. Whatever reason there is for the ‘ban’, it is already damaging the reputation of the ski centre and the wider sport in general.

One thought on “An open letter to Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre.

  1. Ashley Thompson

    I am also from the same background, just your typical Gloucester boy, I wasn’t even the sporty type, but when I joined Slalom Plus Chantelle opened my eyes to the world of ski raceing and since then I havn’t looked back.

    Since then I have moved to New Zealand to be closer to a mountain, now i train on Mount Hutt.
    Last night I had a dream I was back on the reliable, unchanging surface of Gloucester’s dry slope, but i didnt google gloucester, no, i googled Slalom Plus expecting the see the great achievments they have accumplished.

    I understand a change of ownership has taken place at Gloucester’s dry slope, and like any buisness it has to make money, and as anyone knows repeat customers are the a reliable income. In this case it seems Gloucester have shot themselves in the foot by not only denieing the club entrance for a trivial matter that was poor organisation on their part but also snuffing the dreams of to-be champions by denying the privalage of being coached by one of the best in the world.

    I know Chantelle, and Slalom Plus will live on because her passion and determination to produce champions will never die so do us all a favour Gloucester, and let Chantelle make your money and let England have its great level of coaching back.

    Reply

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