British Freeski Team head coach and manager Pat Sharples has been awarded the prestigious Ski Club Pery Medal* for his exceptional contribution to the development of skiing, and for his part in the outstanding performances of Great Britain's freeskiers on the world circuit.
Pat is the first British coach of any World Cup winner and X Games medalist in a ski discipline, and is unfailingly dedicated to the success of the British Freeski team. He also started the British Freeski Camps over 12 years ago when freeskiing was just taking off, and founded the hugely successful Salomon Grom Camps** in the UK and Ireland.
Ski Club President and BBC correspondent Frank Gardner presented the Pery medal award at the Ski Club's Summer Party and 110th anniversary celebrations.
On presenting the award Frank Gardner said: "It is a great honour to present the award to someone who has done so much for British elite and grassroots skiing. The structures Pat has set in place have given hundreds of children a clear development pathway to elite skiing; the eldest of which are not just credible athletes, but favourites for medals in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. We really hope these kids will continue to inspire others to give wintersports a go."
When asked how he felt about receiving the award, Pat Sharples responded: "I really can't explain how happy and amazed I am to have been awarded the Pery medal by the Ski Club of Great Britain. The history of the Pery medal is incredible and very humbling, and to now hold this award alongside the previous recipients has truly got to be one of the biggest honours I could ask for, as many of those names are my biggest heroes and role models!"
"I couldn't ask to be involved in a better industry than UK snowsports, and I'm just as passionate about my sport as when I first became involved in it when I was 8 years old. I really do feel that I need to share this award with everyone who has helped and worked with me along the way. Without them I would certainly not have been honored with such an incredible award!"
Dave Edwards, Chief Executive of British Ski and Snowboard said: "Pat's work developing the athletes who now make up the Freestyle team is exceptional. Without his ideas, enthusiasm, dedication and effort I doubt that we would have a funded Freeski team or athletes competing at World Cup level."
Pat has been referred to as 'the Pied Piper of English skiing' (by an ESPN commentator at the Euro X Games 2013) and is described as a 'best mate' and 'a legend' by British elite athletes James Woods (Freestyle World Cup Champion) and Katie Summerhayes (4th in slopestyle at the Freestyle World Ski Championships). His tremendous energy is infectious and Pat has undoubtedly changed the face of British skiing.
The Ski Club of Great Britain will be following Britain's elite wintersports athletes throughout their journey to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, providing the latest news updates, twitter feeds, profiles and information on the brand new web pages: skiclub.co.uk/britisheliteathletes. Those wishing to donate to the British Ski and Snowboard teams and the Disabled Ski team can do so through the new website pages.
For more information please contact Ski Club of Great Britain PR Manager Daniel Loots - firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
The Pery Medal
The Pery Medal was instituted in 1929 by the Hon. E. C. Pery, later the Earl of Limerick, DSO, President of the Ski Club of Great Britain (1925-27). It may be awarded by the Council of the Ski Club of Great Britain to a skier, individual or organisation, of any nationality who has either:
made a notable contribution to our knowledge of mountaincraft in relation to skiing
achieved distinction in exploration on skis
notably advanced the technique of skiing
made an outstanding contribution to the success of competitive international skiing
made an outstanding contribution to the development of snowsports.
Previous recipients of the medal include inspirational explorers, ski pioneers, Olympic and Paralympic champions, scientists and authors. Arnold Lunn was the first to be presented with the Pery medal in 1930 (he was also knighted for services to British skiing and Anglo-Swiss relations in 1952) and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Franz Klammer and Hermann Maier feature among some of the best known recent recipients. The full list of Pery medal awards can be found on skiclub.co.uk
**The Salomon Freeski Grom Camps are freestyle ski camps, held all over the country in indoor snow slopes and outdoor dry ski slopes. They are now known not just for top notch coaching, but for creating a community among the UK's top young freestylers.
The Ski Club of Great Britain
The Ski Club of Great Britain (skiclub.co.uk) is a not-for-profit snowsports club which helps members get the most out of their snowsports experience. With 29,000 members, there are hundreds of discounts on travel, kit and holidays; winter sports specific travel insurance; access to industry-leading snow reports; info & advice on all things wintersports-related and exclusive access to Ski with the Club experiences, including Freshtracks holidays, the Ski Club Leaders service and the new instructor-led guiding service in France.