Great Britain’s Winter Olympic hopefuls are calling a Salford action park home in order to hone their skills during the Covid pandemic.
Athletes in fields such as moguls, freestyle skiing and freestyle snowboard have been using Graystone Action Sports, off Brunel Avenue, Salford.
Tom Gladwin, 27, general manager of Graystone, said: “We’ve been working with GB Snowsports for a number of years now. We’ve got a Big Air, and that’s basically a mega ramp into a kicker, and then into a foam pit. We’ve got bespoke built skis and snowboards that are used on that ramp. It’s a unique facility. We’re the only one in the UK.”
The team uses the Salford facilities frequently, especially due to the disruption Covid has caused in a discipline normally taking place across numerous countries.
Gladwin said: “During a normal season most of the athletes are away during the winter, so it’s mainly through the off seasons when they come to train with us. However, with Covid happening the GB squad were able to train here as they’re professional athletes throughout Covid so we opened up the doors for them during those times.”
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GB Snowsports’ relationship with the centre began prior to the opening of Graystone.
Gladwin added: “GB Snowsports had been looking for a facility. They have them throughout Europe where snowsports are practised more. They have these huge facilities with Big Air, big ramps into either air bags or foam pits and there just wasn’t anywhere in the UK for the GB squad to be training, so there was a requirement for that and Kevin and Ben, who are the founders of Graystone, linked up with GB Snowsports and decided that Salford was a better place than anywhere to get one going.”
Gladwin explained the ethos behind the centre, which has welcomed former Winter Olympians.
He added: “The whole idea of Graystone is to just bring in as many different action sports together, welcome as many different sports and encourage the cross participation of those sports because all of the sports together they benefit each other.”
Now they are at home at Graystone, many of the athletes will continue to train at the Salford action park in the hopes of sealing a place for next year’s Winter Olympic games in Beijing.