Young Person from Blantyre Qualifies as Ski Instructor

Snow-Camp blazes a Scottish ski trail

Michael Conner, 19 years-old from Blantyre; South Lanarkshire, qualifies as a ski instructor this week with Ski Academy Europe at Cairngorm Mountain. Michael started skiing in November 2012 when he joined a Snow-Camp Glasgow Beginner session at Bearsden Ski & Board Club with the Rutherglen Prince’s Trust Team Programme. He is the first young Scottish person to qualify having been through the Snow-Camp Glasgow* programme. This is only the beginning for Snow-Camp Glasgow as they look to take more young people to instructor level.

Snow-Camp is an innovative youth charity that uses a unique combination of skiing, snowboarding and life-skills programmes to support young people from deprived areas in Glasgow. Young people join up with Snow-Camp through various youth groups and organisations in Glasgow and the West of Scotland for a two day taster session at Bearsden Ski & Board Club.

The next stage was the Graduate Programme, which saw Michael return to Bearsden to brush up on his skills before heading to Glencoe Mountain Resort to experience real snow for the first time. IN addition to skiing accredited life-skills sessions run alongside these courses that help young people reflect on their achievements on the slopes and map out their aspirations for the future, whether or not they include snowsports.

Michael completed both courses in the 2012/13 season and returned recently as a Snow-Camp Glasgow Ambassador after he showed both excellent personal development and real potential on the slope. In this role, he volunteers with Snow-Camp, being the regular photographer on the slope as well as helping to organise behind the scenes. Along with his fellow ambassadors he forms an important part of the Snow-Camp Youth Forum, a youth-led initiative meeting regularly to discuss the prominent issues affecting the members as well as offering a young person’s perspective on the running of Snow-Camp.

With his new qualification achieved Michael is looking to consolidate his skills by working over half-term and Easter with Aviemore’s School of Snowsports as well as lending a hand at Snow-Camp to teach on the Graduate Programme in March

Michael said; “My training has been an amazing experience from skiing in pouring rain and almost no visibility to skiing on a sunny blue sky day. My instructor Kenny King was an excellent help and a great teacher. Snow-Camp has helped me achieve my goals, changed my life for the better and gave me this amazing experience”.

Kenny King, of Ski Academy Europe, said “Michael has done very well. His confidence is rocketing with every lesson. I’m delighted for him!” 

Will Ferguson-Smith, Project Manager of Snow-Camp in Scotland said; “I have seen Michael go from strength to strength over the last year. Michael came to us as a polite but shy young person. Throughout his time with Snow-Camp we have seen Michael build his confidence and self-esteem remarkably, which is all down to his fantastic work ethic and love for skiing”.

Dougie Crawford, the UK’s top male downhill skier and Snow-Camp Glasgow Patron, has been involved with the charity since the start. “I’m so excited for Michael to qualify as the first instructor through Snow Camp Glasgow. How fast the programme in Glasgow has grown and the success it has had in a short period of time is incredible! The personal growth I have seen in the young people has been awesome, Michael being a leading example. Congratulations to Michael and to the staff at Snow Camp!

Snow-Camp is growing in stature north of the border and hopes to be able to expand to other areas of deprivation across the Scotland in the next few years. Michael’s successes prove that young people who haven’t had the best start in life can succeed with effort and commitment and the will to try something new.


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