Formed by The British Olympic Association in February 2010, after the previous Governing organisation ran into serious financial difficulties, British Ski and Snowboard (BSS), the National Governing Body for Skiing and Snowboarding in the United Kingdom, is looking and feeling good ahead of its first full winter season.
Not only did BSS announce this week that it has retained two of its major sponsors (British Land and Colmar), selected the French Alpine resort of Méribel to host the 2011 British Alpine Skiing Championships (27th March to 4th April 2011), launched a new website and opened an Official Twitter account: @TeamBSS, but it also revealed, most significantly, that it has set itself a host of ambitious goals in an aim to achieving Olympic medal success on the slopes:
• British skiers and riders on the podiums at world events in the next four to eight years
• Challenging for medals at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi
• Achieving medal success at the Winter Olympic Games by 2018

However, it is the goals off the slopes which are providing BSS with its toughest challenge. BSS is struggling to raise the money necessary to provide the training and development programmes required by the small number of elite British Athletes. BSS Chief Executive, Dave Edwards, comments: "Government and lottery funding for the sport is very small indeed, so any cuts resulting from public spending cuts could pose significant problems in attaining Olympic medal success. Whilst not on the levels of Football, Rugby or Cricket, snowsports are enormously popular in the UK and fully deserving of Government funding; throughout the winter months, you cannot sit on a train or have drink in a pub without hearing someone enthusiastically talking about a ski or snowboard holiday."

And it is within this popularity that Edwards sees as an untapped resource. With a reported 1.12 million Brits taking part in snowsports each year, Edwards believes that millions of British Pounds are being spent funding overseas Olympic teams: "National ski schools and overseas resorts, like the ESF in France or the Tourist tax in Austria, provide funding to their national teams. So when Brits spend money on hotels or lessons overseas, it is indirectly helping other nations achieve Olympic success. One of our focuses is to come up with a solution that sees the money being spent by British skiers and boarders help fund British athletes."
In an effort to get the British skiing and snowboarding public involved with, and following, the National Ski and Snowboard teams, BSS has launched a new membership initiative that costs just £3 per annum. Available to join through the newly launched website, members will get the chance to get closer to the action with opportunities to train with the Team GB professionals, including Britain's number one skier Chemmy Alcott, and coaches on the slopes.
Members will also receive monthly newsletters, keeping them up-to-date on their favourite athletes. Future developments will also see members become eligible to receive exclusive discounts on clothing and equipment, plus much more.
Continues Edwards: "Whilst the lack of financial support from The Government is a huge worry, things are looking relatively good for BSS as we are starting to see additional funding come in from individual benefactors and patrons. We are also very pleased to announce that we have retained sponsorship from British Land (which has continually shown enormous support for British skiing and sponsored the British National Ski Championships for the last 32 years) and Colmar (which has renewed its sponsorship for another two years and will supply a collection of technical skiwear to the British Alpine Senior and Junior teams). Although we are still actively trying to, and very much need to, secure further headline corporate sponsorship."
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