Skiing: how to get your students started

Date Posted: 28/09/2015

We spoke to Phil Brown, founder of ski-ing organisation Impulse Racing and BISS, to find out a little more about how he gets schools involved in skiing – both competitive and friendly.

Can you explain a bit about Impulse Racing?

Impulse is an organisation set up in 2008. We run alpine performance training for all ages with children, juniors and adults amongst our trainees.

Trainees will have different aims which may not involve actually racing but just improving their skiing. We use tested drills and techniques from racing to help to achieve this.

With regards to education, the school specific arm of Impulse is called BISS (British Independent Schools Ski racing).

Why was BISS started up? 

We wanted to bring more children into ski racing and increase the pool of talent within the UK – so BISS was a feeder group, so to speak.

Looking at the group of UK racers, every season seemed to have another training organisation popping up, but the pool of racers was getting no larger. A way was needed to increase the numbers and so BISS was born.

Who is BISS aimed at?

BISS is aimed at any/all schools. There does tend to be a greater take-up from independent schools, possibly due to the cost of skiing, but we work to keep the costs low.

Where do your events/trips take place and when?

At the moment, we run the BISS Racing Indoor Champs at the Snowcentre in Hemel Hempstead each September, and The Independent Schools Association Indoor Champs in April at the same venue.

Next year, due to demand, the BISS event will be split into two days (senior and junior) and we will be running a second BISS event in the north at either Castleford or Manchester. We also run the BISS Alpine Champs in February in Italy along with taking schools to several other alpine events during the winter.

If you don’t want to compete, that’s ok – we have schools joining us for training camps in February half term and Easter, along with glacier training in summer and autumn.

What sort of support do you offer to teachers accompanying a group of students?

We offer training for teachers and can also help them to attain Alpine Ski Course Leader qualifications.

What can students gain from being part of the BISS programme?

Improvements in skiing. On alpine training camps, they also develop organisational skills and independence.

What would you say is the best bit for pupils about being part of a ski team?

This varies but often, students that may not be proficient in other sports will gain confidence from being involved in an unusual sport like skiing.

There is a great sense of enjoyment from taking part in both the training and competitions.

How would a teacher go about getting their school involved in BISS?

They would need to contact us to discuss how we can help them and where we can run their training. We have schools practising weekly and travelling to alpine competitions regularly, while there are other schools which have only a few training sessions prior to an event.

We can help the schools organise any size of programme for their pupils including the alpine camps.

Why do you think BISS is a great learning outside of the classroom experience?

Ski racing is very different from other sports, with a level of independence involved in the travelling and organisation that provides pupils with essential life skills.

The experiences of competing, winning and losing are also beneficial in terms of personal growth and confidence building.

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