ROLLERSKI NEWSLETTER - 19th February 2010

London & South East Regional Snowsports Association

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ROLLERSKI NEWSLETTER - 19th February 2010


This week sees the first British cross-country skiers since 1994 take part in the Winter Olympics. The young team show just what can be achieved with limited resources, in a snowless country. Rollerskiing has played a huge part in their journey, and will continue to be a big part of their summer training.

The progress of our elite cross-country skiers is matched by the growth of rollerskiing across the country. Many of you have been getting onto snow, and the feedback - as usual - is that the rollerskiing has helped. We're about half way through the ski season now, and have had great reports on snow conditions and races across Europe. We wish you all a great time on snow, and good luck to everyone racing in the next month or two!

We've a lot of news this month - courses, Olympics related, plans for the year ahead, etc. Hope you find it interesting...


Our next Dorney 1-day courses are on Sunday 28th February and Sunday 7th March. You can come either for the full day, or for part of the day -


On 7th March, for the first time we'll also be offering the chance to do the Snowsport England rollerski proficiency awards. This is a good way to track your technical progress, and mirrors SSE's on-snow awards scheme, see:


We have 2 rollerski beginners' courses coming up, for skating and classic techniques. See -
SKATING, begins Saturday 6th March:
CLASSIC, begins Saturday 10th April:

The spring is a great time to be rollerskiing in London, and these courses will lead into an exciting club programme in the spring and early summer.


It's the last couple of weeks of training before the Vasaloppet and Engadin Ski Marathons - the past 2 weekends we've had a great bunch of Engadiners and Vasaloppeteers training in Hyde Park and Dorney Lake.

We'd encourage you to come along this Saturday and next Saturday (Hyde Park) and next Sunday (Dorney Lake) to get in some distance and / or technique on skis.


Congratulations to Fiona Hughes (19), Andrew Musgrave (19) and Andrew Young (17) for meeting the tough qualifying standards to represent GB in the Olympics. It's been a huge achievement to get to the games and marks the first British representatives in the Olympics since 1994. Callum Smith narrowly missed out - although he too met the qualifying standards, only 2 men could be sent and in the end the 2 Andrews were selected.

The BBC has made the following profiles -
Andrew M. -
Andrew Y. -
Fiona -

You can find the results here:

Bearing in mind it's their first Olympics, the squad has had some very good races. One highlight was Andrew Musgrave's 55th position in the 15k Free Technique (skate) race, finishing only 8.7% behind the winner.

In the biathlon, British competitor Lee Steve Jackson also finished in 55th position, qualifying for the pursuit competition. There's some interesting information about Jacko at the British Biathlon website, see

Congratulations also go to PJ Barron, competing for Irish cross-country ski team at the games. PJ - along with Andrew Young and Andrew Musgrave - is a member of the Huntly Nordic Ski Club and very much a product of the work that's been going on in Scotland over the past decade.


Alan Eason will be running a rollerski instructors course in March, on behalf of Snowsport England. Currently no further details are available, but if you are interested in becoming qualified, you can contact Alan directly by email,


Our junior programme is slowly gaining momentum, with training in Richmond Park. Our burgeoning group of club seniors has also just started training in Richmond Park on Wednesday evenings, in addition to Saturday mornings in Hyde Park. For more information on the Juniors programme see and on the club, see


If you're looking for a week of good cross-country ski instruction, Snowsport England is running its excellent Nordic week in Kvitavatn, Norway in April. This is a great way to get some very good instruction from GB's top coaches - Alan Eason will be joined by Mike Dixon and Patrick Winterton, who are both former Olympic cross-country skiers (Mike also did a bit of biathlon).

See here:

Snowsport England are responsible for developing the sport of cross-country skiing in England. They run rollerski courses and races in the summer, as well as the proficiency awards and instructor validation.


A few of us London skiers took part in the British Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany last month. This event, run with military precision by the British Army, is a great chance to pit yourself against the best skiers in the country. Most army skiers are on snow since November - so the odds are stacked against the civilians - but it's possible to do OK with the right training.

Our team's best result was 2nd in the 4x10k cross-country relay,

Paul Gorbold, a cousin of mine from USA, also came 2nd in the 20k biathlon, which together with good performances in other races, resulted in him winning the overall biathlon prize (for athletes not in the national team). Rob Dorward, also of the London team but racing for the TA, finished 10th, in his first season of racing. See:

Other races included -
10k biathlon sprint -
15k classic cross-country -


The governing body of elite level British snowsports, Snowsport GB, has gone into administration, following several years of alleged financial mismanagement. Its demise comes as no surprise to anyone involved in British skiing, especially those close to the Nordic team.

It's widely hoped that its replacement will be more representative of all the various snowsports, and its new governance will not allow all funding to be diverted to any particular discipline to the detriment of others.

Someone once compared having one governing body for all snow sports, as to having one governing body for all ball sports. Without good governance, the most dominant sport will tend to squeeze out the weaker sports, with little recourse. We should make sure this doesn't happen again to our sport.


Al Dargie, former coach of the GB Nordic Ski team, was involved with the current team until summer last year. He was a key member of their coaching team, and spent the whole of their very successful 2008-9 season with them. He has now created the following blog, with some interesting analysis of the Vancouver results to date -

Paul Griffin represented Ireland at the Athens and Beijing Olympics in rowing, and started to train for cross-country skiing just 14 months before Vancouver. In that short space of time he managed to come from nowhere to achieve under 300 FIS points - a great achivement in itself. Ultimately the place on the Irish team went to PJ Barron, with the team selectors quite rightly choosing the quicker skier -


Scotland's had the best skiing in a long time, and it looks like it will continue for a while. See:


Sunday Telegraph rollerski interview / Iain -

Ethiopian Skier-Rollerskier -

Fiona Hughes BBC interview -

Independent where-to-try-winter-sports review -

Our next newsletter will have information on the 2010 GB Rollerski Race Series,

Best regards,

Iain Ballentine
Roller ski instruction & rollerski shop


M: 07968 286129
T: 020 8348 2540

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