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At home on the slopes

How two of Scotland’s aspiring snow sport stars make the most of their Scottish base

The strong performance of many Scottish athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics has helped to generate an increased interest in snow sport. Since then, the next generation have continued training hard to follow in their footsteps. Here we explore the training programmes that are helping these athletes to reduce the need to travel abroad.

Supporting training locally

Even though snow conditions in Scotland are often good, they are not reliable and this is crucial for those training to reach the top in snowsports. As a result, many winter sports athletes train abroad, which can often be time consuming and expensive.

Snowsport Scotland – the governing body for snow sport in Scotland and its partners are keenly aware of this and work together to provide high quality opportunities for athletes to train across a range of activities here at home. And thanks to a coach-led multi-practitioner programme in the Aberdeen area, the next generation of athletes are benefiting from a coaching structure, which is helping to reduce travel and better support training locally.

Local training, national requirements

Two young athletes, Fin Bremner and Duncan Gibb, currently receive full time coaching support, delivered locally that meets national requirements. It’s a packed schedule full of strength and conditioning, local training and on snow competitions – but it’s getting results.

Here we take a look at what goes into a day’s work for these young athletes.

Name: Duncan Gibb

Age: 18

Training and support: Duncan, who led the junior GB Team at the Opening Ceremony of the European Youth Winter Olympics, is the Junior British cross country ski champion and is part of the British Nordic junior and senior team. He attends the Gordon Schools in Huntly and trains with coach Alex Standen at Huntly Nordic Outdoor Centre. 

Physical preparation

Through the sportscotland institute of sport, both Duncan and Fin are part of a physical preparation programme receiving strength and conditioning, physiotherapy and performance lifestyle support in the local area.

Duncan also receives physiological testing at the University of Stirling. This provides him with the best opportunity to train his body to reach its full potential with maximum benefit to his performance. 

An incredible experience

Speaking about the support he receives, Duncan said: “It has been an incredible experience being supported by the sportscotland institute of sport. It has helped me get an in-depth knowledge of high performance training. Seeing how successful the current senior athletes are when they are performing on the world stage gives me great hope that with further and continued support I can also progress to compete at such a high level.” 

Duncan has also benefited from a number of multi-discipline training camps, bringing together freestyle, Nordic and alpine skiing to facilitate cross training and peer-to-peer learning.

Name: Fin Bremner

Age: 16

Training and support: Fin trains with the GB park and pipe team at onsnow snowboard camps throughout the year. He is also part of the Aberdeen freestyle programme, a snowsports package offering training opportunities for the next generation of freestyle athletes, and others who want to improve their freestyle performance.

Running for almost two years now, the Aberdeen freestyle programme is embedded in the Aberdeen Snowsports Centre and Club and relies heavily on the facilities, coaches and volunteer support from the club. The set-up also benefits from the facilities network and further support offered by the sportscotland institute of sport.

Technical and discipline exposure

With access to technical coaching from Specialist Development Coach Ben Kinnear at Aberdeen dryslope, and onsnow training at local Scottish resorts, Fin receives a mix of technical and discipline exposure to develop as a strong technically rounded snowboarder.

 

Building physical literacy

However, it’s not all about snow sports. In order to build strong physical literacy the freestyle programme encourages a multi-sport approach, based on individual’s preferences and commitments.

Fin said: “Aberdeen has a large number of activities on offer including gymnastics, trampolining and diving. The Aberdeen freestyle programme has built strong relationships with these sports and others that offer crossover skills and benefits. One of the key focuses of the package, and my training, is a tailored gymnastics plan developed specifically to meet the conditioning and skill requirements of a freestyle athlete.”

To find out more about snowsport in Scotland visit: snowsportscotland.org Snowsport Scotland is the governing body for all snow sport in Scotland.

To find out more about how Snowsport Scotland is developing pathways so that all snowsport enthusiasts can develop their skills, compete and progress at all levels then visit their pathways page at: snowsportscotland.org/snowsport-pathways

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