Lausanne – The magnificent scenario of the Tatra Mountains, in Poland, has hosted from April 12-16 a ski mountaineering Development Camp organised by the ISMF and the Polish Mountaineering Association, funded by the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity. Young athletes from 11 countries enjoyed a week of race and mountain training in excellent conditions, and shared experiences to grow their sport in their own communities.
The Development Camp had 38 participants between athletes and coaches, coming from Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. All of them stayed at the Olympic Preparation Hotel in Zakopane, at the foot of the highest Polish mountains – the Tatra Mountains.
The athletes, all under 23 years-old, received education on race training, but also on topics like avalanche training, mountain conditions, winter sports and first aids, all under the supervision of Tatra and international mountain guides. The young skimo athletes also learned the basics of yoga and physical training, while the coaches received and learned about the possibilities of the Olympic Solidarity funds.
The Camp was organised and led by Monika Strojny, Council Member of the ISMF and also responsible of supervising projects within the Olympic Solidarity environment for the International Federation.
On the last day of the Development Camp, some of the young participants also took part in the final leg of the Polish Lotto Cup – the Malinowski Memorial competition, with athletes from Slovakia, Spain and Germany standing on the podium in their categories.
“It has been a great experience for all of us. Giving us this opportunity to know more people from other countries and also learn a lot about training and how to stay safe in the mountains means a lot for young athletes like me. I really hope I can implement all that I have learned these days next year in the ISMF competitions, and that I will see my new colleagues in the circuit in 2023”, said Inigo Velazquez, one of the participants from Spain.
The athletes enjoyed not only excellent snow conditions in the Polish mountains, but also a fantastic atmosphere and integration among countries, sharing experiences and atmosphere. All participant countries, coaches and athletes will work on expanding the reach of the sport, with the aim of having more participants in the next editions of these Development Camps.
ISMF is planning on supporting at least two more Camps in 2023 and 2024, and is now looking for National Federations interested on applying for organising these activities.