Over the years World Para Alpine Skiing has implemented a range of development activities to increase the number of people practicing the sport.
In 2006, the first development camp was held in the French Alps with the aim of providing an opportunity for young athletes to develop their technical skiing skills, whilst learning about training and competition in an inspiring and motivating atmosphere.
That camp ultimately lead to the discovery of young skiers, and now Paralympic champions, Austrians Markus Salcher and Claudia Loesch, Frenchwoman Marie Bochet and Slovakia’s Jakub Krako. Other athletes from the camp who have gone on to medal at Paralympic Games include Slovakian Petra Smarzova and Spain’s Gabriel Gorce. Belgian Jasper Balcaen and Canada’s Alexandra Starker have also qualified for Games.
In 2012, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Agitos Foundation held a camp in Spain. It involved five young athletes with different impairments from Italy and Spain and seven co-ordinators from Azerbaijan, Croatia, Serbia, FYR Macedonia and Turkey.
The aim was to train participants to develop and implement youth winter Para sports programmes in their countries, with the ultimate goal of increasing participation in the Paralympic Winter Games.
It was funded by Charity and Sport, EU’s Youth in Action Programme and involved partners Play and Train and Freewhite.
In 2013, World Para Alpine Skiing began to partner with a number of organisations including Play and Train, Freewhite, Vidim Cilj Foundation, Netherland Ski Federation and the Deutscher Behindertensportverband for the European Para Snow Sport Youth Circuit. The circuit provided a unique opportunity, relating to the integrated development of four core sectors of interest to the European Union: sport, youth, disability and education.
Funding was received from the European Union, Atos and the Foundation for Global Sports Development and sports practiced during the circuit included alpine skiing, snowboard and Nordic skiing.
In 2014, former World Para Alpine Skiing and Snowboard Sport Technical Committee (STC) Chairperson Sylvana Mestre was appointed in a development role for IPC Snow Sports (alpine skiing, para-snowboard and Nordic skiing).
Mestre has begun to organise and implement a range of youth races in alpine skiing and snowboard. The general goal of the World Para Alpine Skiing and World Para Snowboard STCs is to promote Para alpine skiing and Para snowboard, and provide equal opportunity to all youngsters around the world to try, learn and compete in IPC Snow Sports.
This is aimed at youngsters throughout the world.
For more information about the youth calendar for 2014-15, visit the youth page or the dedicated Facebook page for IPC Alpine Skiing youth development.