Support through Sport UK spoke to Graham Cuthbert about the Suffolk Vikings Ski Race Team …
Hi Graham. Why would you encourage people to join the Suffolk Vikings Ski Team?
We are a warm, friendly club with a proven record of coaching racers to national level. The club suits all abilities - even those that do not class themselves as sporty! You will get to be out in the open, exercising and staying fit.
Where do you train and what sort of slope do you train on?
We train at the Suffolk Ski Centre in Ipswich, which is an outdoor, artificial slope.
Is your club open to all, regardless of age, gender or ability?
We are open to all over the age of seven, because of insurance. You can become a non-racing member if you wish. Future racers are invited to trial with a coach - and if they are judged to be not immediately ready to race around poles, the coach will give advice on where and when they can improve their technique.
How much does a training session cost?
For under 18s, a session currently costs £8.50. For adults, it's £10 for a two-hour session with a qualified coach. This price includes hire of skis, boots and a helmet. We insist that all skiers wear long sleeves, long trousers, gloves and a jumper in colder weather.
Suppose someone wanted to buy some second-hand kit - would the club be able to help with this?
The club runs regular second-hand sales, as the children keep growing! There are also other places to buy second-hand kit including EBay and Skizog.
Has your club produced any racers who have gone on to compete at a national, or an international, level?
Yes, we have had many racers perform at national level - and several dry slope racers in our region have gone on to international level.
Does the Team have a good social side to it? And does it provide its members with opportunities to get involved in other, related activities?
We class ourselves as a ‘social’ club and work hard at encouraging a strong team spirit. We have: fun days (including bowling and other activities at the ski centre like the high ropes and tobogganing), quiz nights, a camp in a forest in August, an annual presentation evening and at every race we encourage the entire team to sit together and make friends.
Finally, any tips on how I can improve my (currently very poor) parallel turns?!
Never underestimate yourself. If you enjoy it and do not cause accidents, how bad can you be? If you want to improve your skiing, the dry slope offers good rates on private tuition, there are also coffee mornings and group sessions. It’s a lot less expensive than a snowdome.
Many thanks for talking to Support through Sport UK, Graham.
Club: Suffolk Vikings Ski Team
Contact: Graham Cuthbert;
Brief Description: We operate from the facilities of Suffolk Leisure Park in Ipswich. Ages range from seven to 50+. A true club team - competitive, commited and family fun!