The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ski Club of Great Britain is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Ski Club of Great Britain
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
1THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Darren Neylon, CEO
A Ski Club leader hosts a group of
members off piste in Verbier
The Ski Club of Great Britain, founded over a century ago,
is still firmly at the heart of British snow sports. They serve
as an information hub, a promoter of winter sports, a
provider of social ski holidays and a fundraiser for Team GB
athletes. They are a key link between the industry and snow
sports community and new CEO, Darren Neylon, explains in full
how they fulfil this role.
At the heart of the ski community
When we were founded in 1903, our primary aims were to encourage people to
learn to ski, help members take more pleasure from their skiing and bring together
people interested in the sport.
As one of the first national ski organisations, we quickly found ourselves lobbying
the international ski community to recognise the downhill styles of skiing in
competitions where Nordic cross-country and jumping disciplines were the norm.
We organised the first British Ski Championships in 1921 and, by 1936, both
slalom and downhill events were added to the Winter Olympics with winter sports
becoming a fashionable pastime for many Britons across the nation.
After the Second World War, developments in mountain transportation such as
funicular railways and cable cars led to a boom in the sport. It became far easier
and cheaper than ever before to get to the Alps, and it was soon far easier to get
up the slopes. We quickly found ourselves organising more and more trips, leader
services in resorts and alpine races as skiing’s popularity grew across the country.
THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN
»CEO: Darren Neylon
»Founded in 1903
»Based in Wimbledon
»Services: holidays, guiding,
insurance, events, print and
online publishing, advice and
»Around 30 staff in the UK
»Club members past & present
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Squadron Leader Roger Bushell,
Olympians Graham Bell &
Chemmy Alcott, HRH Duke of
Kent, HRH Prince of Wales
The Ski Club of Great
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN
The evolution of the club
We continue to support Team GB
& British para-snowsport through
the British Snowsports Fund and the
Evie Pinching Award, the latter of
which grants funds to young athletes.
Recent recipients of the award include
freestyle snowboarder, Katie Ormerod,
and Britain’s most decorated winter
Paralympian, Menna Fitzpatrick. We
also support Snow Camp, a charity
that inspires inner-city youth to excel
through snow sports.
Participation continues to be a core
focus with the expansion of our
Leader services, where a trained Ski
Club Leader provides social skiing in
resort and reports weather and snow
conditions throughout the season.
Freshtracks Holidays has over 2,500
skiers and snowboarders travelling
to the mountains each year and
specializes in providing guiding or
instruction so that snow sports lovers
can improve their skills.
In our early days, we saw the
British tradition for record-keeping
comprehensively adopted. We
provided a hardback book, sometimes
of up to several hundred pages, which
we published annually and entitled
The British Ski Year Book. Over time,
this evolved into a magazine named
SkiSurvey – today known as Ski+board
– which has a circulation of 20,000
and is also available online.
We were also an early proponent of
digital communication, with our site
becoming one of the first winter sports
websites. Launched in 1995, it is still
one of the top snow sports websites
in the world, with daily snow and
weather reports, guides to resorts,
equipment reviews and a vast library of
information on the sport. We also have
a strong social media following, with
over 22,000 followers on Facebook
and Instagram, and over two and a
half million views on YouTube.
A new partnership with De Montfort
University in Leicester has recently
provided a home for our archive
of books, medals and other skiing
memorabilia. The university will host
the archive as part of their Special
Collection in the International Centre
for Sports History and Culture,
including it in their ongoing sports
history study programme while
preserving it for generations to come.
We continue to play an instrumental
part in snow sports industry research
and analysis, and run an annual
consumer research survey which invites
over two million contacts to tell us about
their holiday, retail and activity choices.
De Montfort University
Ski Club Archive
One of the top
websites in the
daily snow and
reviews and a
vast library of
»300 Ski Club Leaders
»1,280 Resort guides
»2,500 skiers on
3THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
We also recognise, through NPS scores,
outstanding snow sports businesses in
our annual industryawards.
Adapting to a changing industry
Following a legal challenge by the
French National Ski School in 2014, we
decided to replace our leader service
in French resorts with Instructor-led
Guiding, employing local instructors
and guides. This has proven to be
extremely popular with our members
and allows the club to continue
an extremely important part of its
We have also spotted a gap in the
market for adequate and reasonably-
priced insurance products, and decided
to launch ski club insurance in the
1990s which includes cover for off-
piste, heli-skiing and extended ski trips.
Strong demand has led to a platinum
membership package that combines
both insurance and membership,
for the particularly passionate skiers
among our ranks.
Freshtracks Holidays, a subsidiary of
the club, continues to show growth,
with increased revenue and passenger
numbers annually for the past last
five years. The unique blend of social
skiing and adventure has attracted an
extremely loyal customer base. We
also acquired high mountain guiding
company Mountain Tracks in 2016,
which provides us with an opportunity
to expand our service offering for
advanced skiers while also providing a
summer trip programme, reducing our
seasonal dependence on winter snow.
At the start of 2018, we moved
into new office premises in central
Wimbledon. Our council has also
seen change in the last year with the
election of a new chairman, Malcolm
Bentley, alongside treasurer Ian Holt.
After many years of working with the
club, four-time olympic skier, Chemmy
Alcott, was appointed honorary
president in late 2017.
With the uncertainty of Brexit and its
effects on the snow sports industry, we
have contributed to the founding of
Seasonal Business in Travel (SBIT) which
lobbies for awareness of the issues
facing an important sector of UKtrade.
A bright future
To secure a positive and beneficial
future, we also intend to grow our
UK domestic market activities. An
important partnership with Hippo Inns,
which is developing an alpine-themed
pub set for launch in central London
later this year, will serve as a a hub for
our social activities as well as displaying
some of our memorabilia.
The growing popularity of indoor
snowdomes and dry slopes in the
UK has led to a surge in participation
among those interested in freestyle
snow sports, and these are target
audiences for the club as we look
to the future. To engage a younger
audience, we launched a student
membership in 2015 and now partner
with NUCO, the UK’s largest student
snow sports tour operator. Following
a fantastic run of results at the 2018
PyeongChang Winter Olympics,
the future of British snow sports is
incredibly bright; a century on, we can
proudly say that we remain at the very
heart of it.
CEO Darren Neylon
The future of
a century on, we
can proudly say
that we remain
at the very heart
Ski touring the Haute
Route on a Ski Club
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.