A teenage volunteer at the Delancey British Alpine Skiing Championships believes the charity that provided the opportunity to help out with the event in France has changed his life forever.
Rashane Hibbert, 18, from Lewisham, was sent out to the Championships in Tignes by SnowCamp, a national youth charity that aims to engage the inner-city youth through snowsports to provide life skills training, nationally recognised qualifications and work experience.
The Championships, which run from March 25 to April 26, provide the opportunity to see the best of the Delancey British squads, including Olympians Dave Ryding, Laurie Taylor, Alex Tilley and Charlie Guest.
Rashane, who joined the charity two years ago after they approached him at his youth club in South East London, claims the opportunities he has been given through SnowCamp have given him direction that he never thought he’d have in his life.
He now works as an instructor at Chel-Ski teaching young children the basics of the sport on dry slopes and said the experiences have inspired him to pursue a career in the snowsports industry.
“SnowCamp has changed me a lot,” said the youngster.
“When I first started I wasn’t mature and I used to be the silly kid that jokes around, classroom clown.
“No one took me seriously and a lot of people told me I was going to fail in life, which put a lot of pressure on me.
“But SnowCamp has given me an opportunity to improve my life and get somewhere.
“I grew up in South East London, most of my friends have done bad things in their life, most have gone to jail and some haven’t even made it because they’ve been stabbed or something like that.
“When my friends come out of jail and see my progress they think to themselves ‘I could have been like that, can you show me’ and I say you’ve got to have commitment and you’ve got to believe in yourself that you can do something with your life.
“There’s so many opportunities out there that people can take but they choose not to take it.
“I’m glad that I’ve taken my opportunity and seen the bright light and gone that way, I haven’t gone to the dark side and gone mad or bonkers.
“I’ve tripped the light and walked the right way, that’s my pathway, and I have that motivation in my head.
“I really want to pursue a career in skiing, I really want to go far in it. Hopefully I can bring my intelligence to the kids I teach or my family members.
“My family were gobsmacked that I’m doing something that they thought I wouldn’t do.”
With the British Championships in full swing, the SnowCamp volunteers have been helping out with the organisation of the event, including allocating the race bibs, noting down the racers’ times, and cheering them on from the bottom of the race track.
“I’ve been talking to the athletes and asking how they do it, how to get into British ski racing and asking about their experience.
“It’s been really good, they know what they want and they know what they want to give, and that shows that they have the determination that they want to get into the Olympics, they really train hard for it.
“There was a girl who fell and I said to her, ‘don’t get upset, it’s not the end of the world, there’s always a chance to try again, don’t give up.’ She put a big smile on her face and said thank you, she needed that motivation.”
Along with lending a hand with the Championships, the volunteers also get to explore the mountains and try the piste for themselves, and Rashane has loved his first time skiing.
“It’s been really wonderful, it’s a real landscape,” he said.
“If you were in my position you’d probably faint! I
“It’s unbelievable, it’s a really good experience here; the only thing I’d complain about is that it’s really cold!”
To follow the progress of the Delancey British Alpine Ski Team visit www.teambss.org.uk or follow @teambss on Twitter.
As principal sponsor of British Ski and Snowboard, specialist real estate investment and advisory company Delancey is proud to be able to provide British athletes with the support they require to win World Cup and Winter Olympic medals. For more information visit www.delancey.com