Should British ski racers receive funding?

Currently, only eight British winter sport athletes receive money directly from UK Sport, and none of our alpine ski racers are included in this number. The organisation stopped their funding of British racers earlier this year for a number of reasons, and athletes now more than ever have to raise their own funds or secure sponsorship in order to continuing competing at a professional level and representing their country.

Many athletes have been turning to organising their own fundraisers in order to drum up the money needed to help fund their £50,000+ a year programme and help them on their road to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. In October, Chemmy Alcott and Dougie Crawford hosted a Sochi fundraiser in London that included a Question of Sport Live Winter Olympic Special, and later this month Dave Ryding will host his own fundraiser race at Castleford Sno Zone РSee the Events page for more details or the event flyer here.

We personally think it is ridiculous that so many talented athletes have to worry about funding their own careers when this time could be spent training. We know money is short, but the point we are trying to make is how can the current and younger skiers coming through the system progress to a professional level if they are not given the funding to do so in the first place because of past results. Vicious circle anyone? We understand that UK Sport has an extremely tough role deciding who receives funding and who doesn’t, so we will be delving further into this topic very soon. But enough about us, we would love to hear what you think about this highly contested issue?

Do you think our British alpine skiers should receive funding? Or do you think it is fair that athletes fund themselves when competing in a minority sport? Or do you have a completely differing view? Please let us know by answering the poll below and feel free to leave any comments in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Anyone wishing to help out our British racers can do so by donating via the British Ski and Snowboard website. Any donations will go directly to support athletes and their coaches. Team GB currently has eight spots for alpine skiers to go to Sochi, and whilst some have already made the qualifying criteria, others are currently working their way towards this.

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Levi WC Slalom – Ladies Race Report

So today saw the slalom competitors start their campaign in the 2013-14 FIS Audi Alpine World Cup in Levi, Finland.

Mikaela Shiffrin showed everyone how it was done in the first run by taking the lead by over half-a-second despite a big mistake. The 18-year-old is the defending World Champion in Slalom, and today’s race showed that she means business once again for the coming season.

Shiffrin’s second run was even more impressive, with the teen winning the race by 1.05 seconds overall. It looked like she had thrown it all away in the last few gates, with what looked like a slight lapse in concentration, but the American proved she can cope with the pressure and managed to hold it together. And with a performance like that, Shiffrin must now surely have cemented herself as the favourite to take Gold in Sochi in February.

Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch took the runner’s up spot with an aggressive second run that saw her move up from 4th place after the first run. Tina Maze finished in 3rd, a result that the Slovenian will surely be delighted with after a disappointing opening race in Soelden that saw her finish 18th place in the Giant Slalom. Rising star Christina Ager took the 4th spot in the competition. With the Austrian’s 18th Birthday only five days ago, we can’t think of a better present than an incredible result like this in your first ever WC race. We cannot wait to see what is to come from this youngster!

Britain’s Alex Tilley started the race with bib 72, and although she displayed some solid skiing, an unfortunate straddle ended her race. This was only Tilley’s second-ever WC race however, and we’re sure she will take a lot from the experience into the coming season despite a disappointing result. We really hope we’re going to see Tilley competing in Sochi, and wish her the best of luck with her season!

Tomorrow will see another Brit take to the slopes of Finland, with Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ryding starting his WC campaign. See coverage of the race on Eurosport (Sky channel 410) from 8:45am Sunday morning. Good luck Dave!

Check out the site tomorrow for a report from the Men’s slalom race in Levi. The young Austrian, Marcel Hirscher is looking on good form to take the win!