Snow Sports NZ member Heather Clay recently travelled to Chuncheon-Si in South Korea to attend the Winter Para Sports Development Workshop. The Workshop was facilitated by the Organising Committee of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games, and the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee.
The purpose of the Workshop was to provide training for coaches, sport managers, and officials on the road to the Paralympic Winter Games, as well as athlete education, across the sports of Para nordic skiing, Para ice hockey, and Para biathlon.
Heather – who is a health professional with years of experience in disability services and a long-time advocate for athletes with a disability, as well as a keen Cross Country skier – says that the Workshop was very informative. Sessions included information on sport and athlete development, facility development and management, and classification.
Snow Sports NZ Adaptive Manager Jane Stevens, explains that a key objective of Heather’s visit was to explore snow sports opportunities beyond Para alpine ski racing and Para snowboarding which are already well established in New Zealand. Snow Sports NZ has been looking into the possibility of providing an adaptive programme at The Snow Farm, a dedicated Cross Country ski area in the Cardrona Valley, between Wanaka and Queenstown.
“We’d like to encourage more people to give adaptive snow sports a go and are excited to be exploring new opportunities within Para Nordic skiing with a programme at the Snow Farm,” says Jane. “The Snow Farm is a fantastic facility and already attracts world-class Para athletes from all around the world. It would be fantastic if we could encourage more grass roots involvement and look to establish an athlete development pathway to take New Zealand Para athletes right to the top of the sport.
“Heather has come back from Workshop with some very useful information on how we might go about establishing our own Para Nordic programme and we are very grateful to the Agitos Foundation for funding her visit and making this possible.”