What makes the IAPS annual Ski Championships a special event?
The answer is not too difficult to give. It is a great team event that brings IAPS schools and families together to develop new skills and to participate in an event that is inclusive, skilful and celebratory. The Championships were held for the eighth year in a row at the link resorts of Passo Tonale, Ponte di Legno and Tému in the Italian Alps. This year 250 children participated in the races which attracted 22 IAPS schools.
Most schools bring teams of between 8 and 12 girls and boys which is perfect for such an occasion where there is an emphasis on training and developing skills for slalom and giant slalom racing. The courses are set with the age groups U9, U11 and U13 in mind with teams made up of four skiers. A qualifying race is held on the Tuesday and coaches prepare teams for the races held on Thursday morning. This year, Tému, set amongst the trees in an idyllic mountain setting was used for the qualifying races. The spring weather was hot, but the there was a good base for the snow which held up well in the warm temperatures. On the Wednesday, there was a fancy dress race for parents and coaches. Despite the emphasis on fancy dress, there was, as expected a healthy competitive edge to the races which saw variously excellent times achieved by a Telebubby, Dracula and various animals, though the top prize was won by a cat. The children were far more professional, however, and the standard of skiing, particularly in the Championship was quite excellent for the speed and skill of the top skiers.
Skiing requires a great deal of preparation and the back-up provided by the resort and the Bulferetti family in particular, is quite superb. The hotels provide a wonderful standard of service and food to support not just children, teachers and their coaches but also a vast army of parents who travel to support their children and the event.
Schools participating this year included:- Alleyns, Bruen Abbey, Caldicott, Clifton College, Danes Hill, Dulwich Prep, Eaton Square, Feltonfleet, Fettes College, Guildford High, Lambrook, Longacre, Old Buckenham Hall, Orwell Park, Perrott Hill, Rokeby, Sunningdale, The Falcons Boys, University College School, Vinehall, Westminster Under School, Wetherby Prep.
Click here to see the results from the Championships.
Click here to watch the video from the week.
The competition would like to encourage more girls to join the event as it is becoming quite boy heavy. IAPS would also like to receive applications from those prep schools that now go up to 16 years. For first time racers, there is a plate competition and a championship race which is mainly for those who already participate regularly and perhaps on dry ski slopes in the UK. Plate skiers are clearly more in their development stages of skiing and the minimum standard required for a comfortable entry would be an emerging parallel skier.
For those schools looking for something that is not geared towards racing but leisure then a school ski trip is the best way to encourage the skills that will form a good grounding for aspirational participants.
Next years' Championships will be held between Sunday 11th and Friday 16th March 2018. The event will open for bookings in the summer term. Schools MUST book via IAPS website FIRST before making any reservations with the hotel.
Our thanks to Fran Hide at IAPS headquarters for her continued support and development of the event.
Westminster Under School and IAPS Ski Organiser.