A woolly tale - P5

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE - By LIZ WEBB

SNOW sports (like beach cricket) is one of the few sport­ing ar­eas where no mat­ter what your age, gen­der or ca­pa­bil­i­ties, any­one can par­tic­i­pate.

To en­cour­age school stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in snow sports, the Vic­to­rian In­ter­schools Snows­ports Cham­pi­onships were started at Mt Buller in 1958.

The ‘In­ter­schools’ con­tin­ues to evolve and grow, with or­gan­is­ers work­ing to keep it rel­e­vant to all.

‘Na­tion­als’ were in­tro­duced and new cat­e­gories for cross coun­try skiers and snow­board­ers to­gether with new com­pet­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties such as skier­cross, snow­board­cross and freestyle moguls pro­vide some­thing for ev­ery­one.

In 2013 the in­au­gu­ral Vic­to­rian In­ter­schools Mul­ti­class Event will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for school aged stu­dents with spe­cial needs to com­pete at the Vic­to­rian In­ter­schools in their own event.

Sup­ported by Dis­abil­ity Win­ter­sports Aus­tralia (DWA) and Spe­cial Olympics Vic­to­ria (SOV), en­trants will also be able to par­tic­i­pate in a three day de­vel­op­ment camp at Mt Buller in­clud­ing race day.

Race coaches in­clude Eric Bick­er­ton, CEO DWA; Sven Erik­son, na­tional pro­gram man­ager DWA; Tom Li­o­lios, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor DWA and Han­nah Kennedy, co­or­di­na­tor SOV.

The race di­vi­sions will repli­cate ex­ist­ing main­stream events with both in­di­vid­ual and team races across all di­vi­sions.

Around 20 stu­dents are ex­pected to com­pete in the event.

Fol­low­ing this the Spe­cial Olympics State Cham­pi­onships will be held on the same course.

Long time Mt Buller skier Liz Gosper, who teaches at Ashwood Spe­cial School, is pas­sion­ate about the pos­i­tive com­mu­nity ben­e­fits that this event will pro­vide.

She, and a small group of ded­i­cated teach­ers and par­ents who share a com­mon love of snow sports, be­lieve that sport pro­vides com­mon chal­lenges to all and is a won­der­ful way to pro­mote ac­cep­tance and fos­ter un­der­stand­ing and re­spect.

“In­clud­ing a Mul­ti­class Snow- sports event for all pri­mary and sec­ondary aged stu­dents with spe­cial needs as part of the main­stream In­ter­schools event gives our stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate courage and com­pete safely and con­fi­dently against their peers in a race en­vi­ron­ment,” Liz said.

She added that due to en­cour­age­ment and as­sis­tance from all the or­gan­is­ing bod­ies, ini­tial in­ter­est in the Mul­ti­class Event has been very pos­i­tive.

“Par­tic­i­pat­ing schools in­clude met­ro­pol­i­tan Ashwood, Ross­bourne, Beren­dale and from coun­try Vic­to­ria, Belvoir School Wodonga,” she said.

“We also have Jono Walsh, who is a vi­sion im­paired skier on a path­way to ski in the Sochi 2014 Par­a­lympics, com­ing along to give a mo­ti­va­tional talk to the stu­dents.”

Liz was keen to add that QAN­TAS pi­lot Richard de Crespigny who was re­cently an­nounced as the new pa­tron of Dis­abled Win­ters­port Aus­tralia, and his wife Coral, were ex­pected to at­tend the Mul­ti­class Snow­ports Awards Din­ner at Mt Buller on Tues­day.

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