Sunderland and Teesside’s university snowsports clubs are set to host a 24-hour ski and snowboard event in the name of charity.
The event will be hosted at Silksworth Ski Slope on February 24, with both Universities coming together to raise money for Disability Snowsports UK (DSUK) and The North East Air Ambulance service.
Two of the chief organisers, Sunderland president Andy Grange and his Teesside counterpart Matt Blesovsky, drew up the idea following success with similar events in the past.
“Personally I did a 24 hour charity event back in Switzerland while I was living there for DSUK, and that’s how it branched out,” said Blesovsky.
“Each team of four members had to raise 1000 francs, or £800, and that was entry fee. In total they raised a good £30,000 just for DSUK. There was a music festival; they brought artists over for the event. It was amazing!”
“I think another reason we chose 24 hours is that personally, I see a lot of events where people just go to get drunk, sit there and talk. We want to feel like we’ve earned it, putting our body through 24 hours gruelling dry-slope snowboarding and skiing will be worth it.”
Grange added: “Instead of it being a rivalry between two universities, we thought it would be a great thing to try and do something together. That’s where the basis of trying to get something similar to what Matt did in Switzerland.”
Beginning at midday, members of both snowsports clubs will start the gruelling task of taking on the dry slope continuously until the following day. Shifts will be rotated, with each member likely to complete an hour each shift.
And while the skiing and snowboarding can only be left to those with training or experience due to the demanding nature of the event, both presidents are keen to encourage people from all walks of life to come along and see what snowsports has to offer.
“One of the things we really want to strive for is that snowsports isn’t just for the niche,” stressed Grange. “Anyone can get involved, and there is support out there if you’re less able. The support is there to make the sport accessible.
“Snowsports is a passion of both of ours, and having it be an inclusive sport for anybody is ultimately something we’ve been hoping for. That’s something DSUK strives for.”
As well as DSUK, the event will also be raising money and awareness for The North East Air Ambulance service.
“That is a close one to me. I work in the health sector already, and it’s always been a vital service to the North East, so any support that we can give to them is going to be ideal. To raise a lot for them would be absolutely fantastic,” said Grange.
Anyone wanting to donate to the cause can do so by visiting the club’s Just Giving page.