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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.

Posted by on November 22, 2012.

Categories: Uncategorized

One Response

  1. 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.

    by Ashley Thompson on Mar 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm

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