Manchester gears up for Sochi 2014 as Team GB’s Winter Olympic hopefuls slide into Chillfactore

By Matt Turner

Manchester got the shivers last weekend as the Slide2Sochi Winter Olympic Roadshow rolled into the city’s Chillfactore indoor ski slope.

Not only did the event include thrilling action from the British Indoor Ski and Snowboard Championships but members of the public could also chat to an array of Britain’s Olympic hopefuls, who will be aiming to go for gold at the Winter Games in Sochi early next year.

The talent on show included skiers Ellie Koyander and Rob Machon, as well as 12-year-old snowboarding sensation Tomski Robinson and Great Britain’s bobsleigh team.

Tim Fawke, chief executive of event organisers Snowsport England, was hopeful that the presence of Team GB’s stars would inspire more people to give winter sports a try.

He said: “We want to raise awareness of snowsports, get more people to have a go and make everyone aware of the Team GB athletes who will hopefully be going out and having some success in Sochi.”

Mr Fawke was also quick to praise the impact that facilities such as Chillfactore, which has been open since 2007, have had on winter sports in the UK.

“Obviously we have limited natural facilities so it used to be hard to access snow sports but indoor snow domes such as this one have changed that and athletes now have a place to train on home soil,” he said.

21-year-old half-pipe skier Machon also credited the opening of the indoor snow-dome near the Trafford Centre for getting him into the sport in the first place.

 “You get the opportunity to ski and train here on a regular basis. They have special freestyle training nights as well as special nights for moguls and alpine racing so there’s every opportunity to get a decent amount of skiing in even though we’re not in a traditional ski resort,” Machon said.

When asked whether or not he thought the roadshow was a good way of harnessing the positive momentum from London 2012 Machon responded emphatically: “I’d love to think so!” he said.

 “Theseroadshows are a fantastic opportunity for people who haven’t really seen winter sports before to come down and see what it’s all about. Events like this are only going to make skiing and other winter sports progress more in this country.”

Image courtesy of vwozone, with thanks

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