We could do with some snow

North Devon Journal

See this piece published

SPORTING opportunities for young people in today’s society are extremely inviting, to say the least.

Despite this sport participation figures are on the decline. This is why, I believe, it is time to invest in snow sport facilities in North Devon.

They need the facilities and funding that athletics, swimming, football, tennis and many other sports receive from the Government.

This could be an exciting new opportunity for young people and for snow sport in North Devon and even nationwide.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 created new facilities and focussed attention on Olympic sports briefly creating increased motivation and participation across the UK.

So why shouldn’t the GB team attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi expect the same outcome?

Currently, there are just 79 purpose built snow sport venues across England, Scotland and Wales where anyone who is willing can get involved with the sport.

A mere three of these are situated in the South West: Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay. Getting to these facilities from North Devon is, at best, impractical for most, particularly for young people, who anticipate taking on snow sport as a regular commitment.

I visited a “snow centre” in Hertfordshire in 2012 and I was taken aback by the substantial benefit that this centre created, and more of these centres across the country could create, in generating interest and participation in snow sports.

Currently, there is a campaign to develop a “snow-centre” in Weston-super-Mare.

This will be great for tourism in the West Country generally but, for North Devon and Cornwall, we’re still looking at hours in a car to get there. Alternatively, you could attempt to use North Devon’s public transport …then again, perhaps not!

North Devon is renowned for its surf-scape and water sport facilities.

Surfing and snowboarding require very similar techniques and this makes me wonder: I’m sure there are many out there in North Devon that would pursue snow sport as a commitment if they had the facilities.

Isn’t it time that we in North Devon catered to our youth and created a wider range of sporting opportunities other than the existing water-based ones?

By Ewan Somerville | @ewansomerville


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