I’ve always felt incredibly privileged to have been given the opportunity to get into snowsports. If it wasn’t for the fact that my Dad was a teacher and was able to take the family along on school skiing trips, there’s no way that I would’ve had the chance to do so much skiing and snowboarding as a kid and young adult. And, as with most things in life, it’s definitely something that’s easier to pick up at a young age, before you develop a sense of fear!
So, when I first learned about Snow-Camp, an innovative youth charity which not only makes skiing and snowboarding accessible to inner-city young people, but also uses snowsports as a means of teaching them valuable life skills, I thought it was fantastic and was keen to get involved.
My first real encounter with Snow-Camp and the great work they do, came when I was invited along to their annual ‘City Drinks’ event with work. The event was hosted by Norton Rose LLP on their amazing roof terrace in the heart of The City and the aim was to raise funds for the charity through a raffle and auction, as well as to raise awareness and generate support from companies, individuals and industry partners.
Graham Bell, a long standing supporter of the charity, compered the auction, and a number of the young people who Snow-Camp had recently helped to qualify as ski and snowboard instructors, were there to talk to the guests and sell raffle tickets.
It was really great to speak to these mature and ambitious individuals who had turned their lives around as a result of the opportunities offered to them by the charity. They couldn’t be more different to their contemporaries who were involved in the recent looting and rioting in London, and yet they come from the same areas and backgrounds.
In light of the riots, the work of charities like Snow-Camp with inner city youngsters seems all the more important. This is highlighted by the results of a recent survey of the young people involved with the charity, which revealed that 23 out of the 30 interviewed knew individuals who had taken part in the disturbances.
The next fundraising event being run by the charity is their third annual ski and board-a-thon which is being held in the Portes du Soleil ski area in the French Alps from 26 to 29 January 2012. ‘The Everest Challenge’ (sponsored by Ellis Brigham) gives snowsports enthusiasts of all abilities the opportunity to raise money to help make skiing and snowboarding accessible to even more young people who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity.
The challenge, aimed at both skiers and snowboarders, is to cover 150km of terrain in 48 hours, with competitors even riding and hiking through the night to achieve their goal. And on completion, the organisers are promising an après ski-a-thon party of equal proportions to celebrate!
Last year’s event was a massive success, raising over £30,000 for the charity, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better.
If you’re interested in getting involved please visit http://www.snow-camp.org.uk/everestchallenge/ to find out more and sign up.
I’ve started training already… See you at base camp!