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ALL CHANGE AT THE TOP - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Tuesday July 3, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Britain's Olympic and Paralympic ski and snowboard teams are to be merged into one world-class programme in a big change for the sport.

British Parasnowport - the elite arm of Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) - ceases to exist and its top athletes will come under the management of British Ski and Snowboard (BSS).

DSUK, which is a charity, will continue to focus on increasing grass roots participation and developing the next generation of aspiring elite para snowsports athletes.

On Monday PlanetSKI revealed plans for the merger as UK Sport announced how much National Lottery and government money winter sports would get in the lead up to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022:

The switch is planned to take place over the summer following further consultation with staff but a spokesman for British Ski and Snowboard has told PlanetSKI that BSS is taking on its new responsibilities with immediate effect.

Earlier this year British Parasnowsport was at the centre of bullying and discrimination allegations made by one of its female snowboarders, Cassie Cava.

An independent investigation into the claims has yet to report:

The para athletes will be integrated into BSS from next season.

Menna and JenParalympic Champion skiers Menna Fitzpatrick (r) & guide Jen Kehoe will be part of BSS next season




















All specialist para coaching staff will remain in their roles but the Para Alpine, Para Nordic and Para Snowboard programmes will now also be able to tap into the coaching expertise, research and projects within the Olympic squads.

"It's a big step to take, but we firmly believe that both our organisation and the athletes will benefit from this decision," said Fiona Young, DSUK Chief Executive Officer.

"DSUK will be able to focus singularly on driving growth in access to participation for all those who want to be involved in snowsports.

"British Ski & Snowboard continues to grow as an organisation both on and off the slopes, and the administrative, performance and technological support they will be able to provide the Parasnowsport programmes means the future is in very safe hands."

British Ski & SnowboardBritish Ski & Snowboard  is taking on GB's Paralympians

What's missing from the announcement is the impact the merger might have on staff, management and board members of British Parasnowsport.

It seems inevitable that some will either lose their jobs or have to take on different roles.

Certainly UK Sport is expecting efficiencies and will be involved in discussions about the future shape of the new BSS.

"This move will benefit both teams as they collaborate and work more efficiently and effectively together, maximising the impact of the resources they get from National Lottery funding," UK Sport's Chief Executive, Liz Nicholl said.

"I would like to pay tribute to the way the two organisations have voluntarily come together to do what is right for the good of their sports and to thank Fiona and all at DSUK for the brilliant work they have done to support the growth of disability snowsport."

UK Sport says the newly-integrated British Ski & Snowboard has pledged to put £3.4 million into the world class programmes on top of the National Lottery and government funding they will receive in the four years to the next Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Vicky Gosling, who took over as Chief Executive of British Ski and Snowboard this spring,  becomes responsible for disciplines that secured two of GB's five Winter Olympic medals and all of GB's Winter Paralympic medals in Pyeongchang.

Billy MorganBronze for Britain's Billy Morgan at the Pyeongchang Olympics

















Both Games were Team GB's most successful ever.

"This really is an exciting time for everyone involved," she said.

"There is a natural fit for all British snowsports - both para and able-bodied - to be integrated within the same organisation and this period post-PyeongChang is the perfect time to get things started.

"There's been a huge amount of work done behind the scenes by British Ski & Snowboard, DSUK and UK Sport to ensure athletes' preparations for the upcoming season are not affected in any way by the changes being made behind the scenes."

BSS says it intends to keep a strong relationship with DSUK to ensure pathways between the grassroots and elite levels of the sport are maintained, as it already does with the home nations in other snowsports disciplines.

British Para SnowsportBritish Para Snowsport is no more 

MAIN PHOTO:  Paralympic champions Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, and GB Park & Pipe (BSS) snowboarder Katie Ormerod

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