In the aftermath of Michael Schumacher’s tragic accident, The Telegraph ski editor Abigail Butcher talks about the importance of wearing a helme... Read More »
Welcome To Berkshire Race Squad
We’re a dedicated ski racing club, based at the John Nike Ski Slope in Bracknell, and we can help you get racing – in regional and club competitions held slopes around the south, or even in the Alps!
We’ve got more than 50 members, male and female, most of whom are under 16. They come along on Friday nights to develop their technique and practice racing. If you’re a confident skier and want to take the next step, or you’re already racing and would like some company, we’d love you to join us.
Just one rule though: safety is always a priority, even over speed. We’ll help you find the perfect balance between the two.
Schools Ski to Slalom Success
For a few hours on a cold Saturday in February, a corner of Bracknell felt more like the Alps as nearly 60 pupils from a variety of schools across Berkshire and the surrounding counties participated in the first ever BRS School Ski Race.
Organised by Berkshire Race Squad, a grassroots ski club operating out of John Nike Bracknell Ski Centre, the entry level event was designed to introduce pupils to slalom racing in a fun environment. In addition, the event was the first schools’ event to be held on the Perma Snow at Bracknell Ski Centre.
The event was preceded by a course of introductory sessions designed to ensure that racers were able to perform to the best of their ability on race day. BRS Coach Gareth Miller, who learnt to ski at the slope as at the age of 4 and is now Birmingham University Ski Club President, presided over the transformation of participants from timid skiers into confident racers. Along with other long serving instructors, Sam Holt, Sophie James, Brendon Lethwaite and Jason Gan, he was on hand on the day to offer last minute encouragement and words of advice. Overseeing the event, and ensuring a fair playing field on the day were BRS’ team of qualified race officials, some of whom appear at national level events during the British outdoor race season.
On the day itself 57 racers, from 15 different primary and secondary schools, participated in three thrilling runs around a course at JNL Bracknell, being cheered on by classmates, parents and teachers alike. The event consisted of individual and team events, as well as awards for individual age categories. The field was a full mix of ages and abilities, with 33 males and 24 female racers taking part. Playing a key role in the mentoring and leadership of their school teams were a number of BRS members, many of whom were representing their school for the first time. This diversity in the field provided for an exciting and unpredictable event. Leading the field in the Primary Competition was St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Wokingham while the Secondary Honours went to Garth Hill College in Bracknell, who were awarded prizes generously provided by John Nike Bracknell. Other supporting partners included Snowsport England and Snowsport South.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Berkshire Race Squad Committee, members and parents, who generously gave their time free of charge to help at the event, the race was an outstanding success. Speaking on behalf of the Squad, Chair Milan Hlousek said “I would like to thank all the parents and helpers who assisted in the race, both on the slope and in the ski centre forecourt,” Proud parent and BRS Committee Member Krysia Qualtrough, whose daughter was a member of the victorious St Teresa’s team, added: “Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the ones I spoke to were asking when the next one was,” The reaction from social media was also emphatic with people flocking to the Club’s Facebook page to praise the effective organisation and enjoyable atmosphere at the event.
Following the event, it is hoped that many participants will continue to be involved in snowsports and attend Berkshire Race Squad’s weekly training sessions, with a view to joining the Squad and continuing their development. The Squad has a dedicated training programme focusing on both technical and racing aspects of skiing, led by Head Coach Brian Barfoot. To promote essential teamwork and sportsmanship skills the Squad hosts monthly races which culminate in the annual awarding of the BRS Cup Awards.
As for the Squad itself, plans are already afoot for a busy summer. Club Secretary Linda Miller told us “We have a brilliant year planned for the Squad and we are hopefully hosting the first ever regional Ski-cross Event in conjunction with Snowsport South at the start of October. We are all really excited about 2016!” When asked whether a second schools’ race was being considered, Linda replied “It’s something the Committee will definitely be looking at for 2017, we had to turn away several schools as the race was full before Christmas, so there is a demand for a second event!”
Schools taking part:- The Abbey School. Aldryngton, Oaklands, Pyrford C of E, Compton, St Michael’s C of E, St Teresa’s Catholic, Willow Bank, Holme Grange, Garth Hill College, Waingels College, Edgbarrow, St Crispin’s, Ranelagh and Licensed Victualler’s.
The individual overall winners were Lucas Collyer-Todd, Pyrford Church of England School and Lauren Aley, The Abbey School in the Primary category and Clayton Leslie, Garth Hill College and Megan Hardy, Edgbarrow School in the Secondary category.
In the School Team competition:
Primary category, 1st – St Teresa’s (Finian Doyle, Aislin Dowling, Sofia Qualtrough), 2nd – Compton and Shawford (Oliver Sadler, Isabel Sadler, Daniel Percy), 3rd – The Abbey A (Lauren Aley, Sophie Lazenby, Charlotte Peck).
Secondary category: 1st – Garth Hill College (Clayton Leslie, Alex Eaton, Matthew Nicholls), 2nd – Ranelagh Racers (Anna Cleverly, Thomas Beglin, Ellen Phillips), 3rd – Licensed Victualler’s A (Sebastian Marsden, Lawrence Bland, Harrisen Ruffels).
Show us your speed!
If you love to ski – and love to ski fast – then here’s your chance to put yourself to the test: join the Berkshire Race Squad.
For more information, contact Linda Miller on 01189 264 669 or fill-in the online enquiry form.