Author and Illustrator of Ski A to Z Kimberley Kay and Snowsport England coach Dr Carol Porter have launched a research project to understand fears and anxieties that skiers and snowboarders experience, which may be barriers to snowsport participation and enjoyment.

Supported by Snowsport England and The Hill, home of Ski Rossendale in Lancashire, the project sets out to understand, address and mitigate fears that are potential barriers to snowsport.

As the first part of the project skiers and snowboarders are invited to complete a short survey to ‘get under the skin’ of what makes make people feel uncomfortable, anxious or fearful when participating in snowsports.

The quantitative survey data will be complemented by qualitative data from case study interviews with the coaching group that Dr Carol Porter runs at The Hill. Results will be presented in the lead up to the 24/25 ski season in order to seek solutions to the key issues that emerge from the research project.

The survey takes just 2 – 3 minutes to complete and can be found here https://bit.ly/4aJ6NGm The survey is open to all and the results will be anonymised.

Kimberley commented: “I created Ski A to Z – Illustrated Introduction to Skiing to reduce the information barrier to snowsports, to help people have a baseline of information so that they can feel more confident to try skiing. I have come to understand that fear is another barrier to snowsports so I’m keen to work to address issues that can affect enjoyment and participation.

Dr Carol Porter explained: “An initial survey will gain insights into what fears, anxieties and concerns skiers and snowboarders experience. Using this data we will seek solutions and expert interventions to find ways to address these fears.”

Jade Gerrard Head of Sports Development at Snowsport England said: “Participation and inclusivity are key pillars of the Snowsport England strategy so we are interested to see the data and points raised by the survey and project. We hope to be able to use this information to understand how to aid enjoyment of snowsports.”

Dave Fuller, Manager at The Hill, said, “We’re pleased to be the snowsports venue where this project was formed and the project supports our mission to help people of all ages to be able to engage and enjoy the thrill of snowsports.

Kimberley said, Thanks to everyone who completes the survey, just taking a couple of moments to share their experiences and viewpoint will help the wider snowsports community through this project.”

Background to the project

Having returned to skiing after ACL reconstruction surgery, Kimberley experienced concerns and fears around the sport not previously felt, and gained an understanding and respect for how such feelings can affect not only enjoyment but involvement in snowsports.

Kimberley put a call out on social media for people to share their fears and received rush of responses from people eager to share their stories. Whilst visiting The Hill to observe the weekly coached women’s ski sessions Kimberley spoke to Dr Carol Porter about the need to understand and reduce this barrier to snowsports enjoyment.

With a background in academic research Dr Carol Porter, who is a Snowsport England coach and leader of the women’s morning sessions at The Hill, saw an opportunity to address this challenge together. Alongside the survey Dr Carol Porter will be working with a small number of individuals as case studies where interventions tailored to address their concerns can be proposed and tested.

Skiers and snowboarders can complete the short survey at https://bit.ly/4aJ6NGm The survey is open to all and the results will be anonymised.