The Disability Snowsport (DSUK) Skiathon returned for its 3rd year at ski centres across the UK on Tuesday, 17 May. The challenge, dubbed ‘666 the number of the piste’ was to ski or board 666 runs in 6 hours with a team of 6 people. ITV covered the event in Milton Keynes –

The 13 teams and 75 TUI SHG staff raised so far over £9241 in sponsorship for this event and more is expected in the next few weeks. The teams have until end of June to raise as much money as they can and the team from each snow-centre who raises the most money will each get a Columbia Omni-Heat ski jacket.

These are the teams and their money raised as per 19 May 2011 (in no particular order!):

Après-Ski Specialists – Crawley £730

Suzanne Harvey (team leader), James White, Ross Widdows, Scott Langridge, Niel Alobaidi, Pete Bell

Davis’ Dollies – £415 (+ Cyprus holiday raffle money still to be added)

Ian Davis (team leader), Suzanne Owen, Sue Vincent , Lesley Rollo, Katie Parsons , Emma Taylor

Team Customer Services & Design, Crawley – £873.22

Catherine Philip (team leader), Hugo King-Fretts, Charlotte Williams , Sharon Nash , John Bacon , Joanna Green

Totally Piste – £916.11

Phil Beicken (team leader), Kelly Marie Hobson, Fiona Boyd, John Byron, David Hill , Jenny Blackford

The Fast and The Feeble – £756

Jo Dronsfield (team leader), Julia Cooper , George Kent , Valentina Gaggero, Shelley Tasker, Donna Elias

667: The Neighbour of the Piste – £516

John Williams (team leader), Tash Sears, Sina Schlichting, Janet Bond, Jon Paget

Team EX-MP – £860

Gary Mason (team leader), Leticia Gallego, Rob Richards, Daniel Smith, James Nye, Anais Traore

King-Stunners – £595

Anita Rose (team leader), Pete Hillyard, Tom Wake, Alistair Randall , Eric Vincent, Paul Baynton

Kingston Devils  – £575

Mason Lomax-Wormald (team leader), Lindsay Matthews, Matthew Parker, Laura Mourton, Leanne Morley, Ian Burton Baynton

Overseas Recruitment Team – £744.90

Julie Scoltock (team leader), Kat Oliver, Will Conder, Kirsty MacFarlane, Lee Reeves, Nial McLean

Go like the Clappers – Manchester  – £770

Sam Clapton (team leader), Mathew Prior, Sharon Smith, Susan Allan, Rachel Wood, Paul Quinlan

Poles Apart – £941.32

Debbie Galvin (team leader), Joanna Pristernik, Sarah Cawthorne, Simon Andrews, Nathan Yelton, Kyriesa Wilson

Where Eagles Dare ! (Austravel in Liverpool / Manchester slope) – £550

Mike Maguire (team leader), Suzy Jones , Daniel Royle, Cheryl Dootson

For pictures, please see ski-buzz or the Skiathon set on flickr.

Here’s a short summary from Jon Paget and Ali Randall (both Crystal Ski) who enjoyed their day at the Milton Keynes Sno!zone.

The day according to Jon:

“Leaving Euston at around 8am and destined for sunny Milton Keynes, news broke that our 6 member team had been reduced to 5. Not the ideal start to what was already a mighty challenge. On arriving to the Sno!zone we booted up and, with a reduced total of 555 runs to achieve (given our smaller team), headed out onto the slope. We were surrounded by other teams keen to reach the target, raise money for the cause and (hopefully) win some prizes. After a few words from both DSUK and the British Disabled Ski Team, we were off. Unfortunately for those of us on snowboards this represented the first challenge of the day as we would quickly have to get used to using a drag lift – some hundred times or so – over the next 6 hours.

The first run of the day brought out a few nerves and our team captain, skiing for only his second time, pirouetted beautifully before landing face first in the snow. Nonetheless, he and the rest of the team battled the slopes and we soon broke through the 100 run barrier. 

 Extra layers and a sizable lunch later and we were ready for the afternoon. Colin Jackson joined us on the slopes and it was great to see him take to the slopes on both skis and a monoski.  Our team named 667: the neighbour of the piste, were starting to hit a rhythm just as the afternoon challenges started. All the teams managed to earn some precious bonus points, the best of which had to be the race to bombard the event’s team with snowballs – which the RAF team all took very seriously.

The last few minutes seemed to race by as everyone was trying their hardest to rack up their team’s points, but by this point the RAF Ski team were well out in front. Team 667 didn’t win any prizes for finishing first (or second or third for that matter) or for style, but we had a lot of fun and have helped raise a lot of money for DSUK.” 

The day according to Ali:

“The King Stunners (a delightful mixture of Flexi Ski and Crystal Ski staff) joined the Kingston Devils at a wonderful 6:30 am to make their way to Milton Keynes for our days’ skiing! Chorus’s of ‘how difficult can it be, really?!’ were voiced from those us new to the event – well I can now tell you (with aching muscles and joints – the day after the event) that ‘yes, it really is that difficult’.

Decked out in our Skiathon bright blue t-shirts and spurred on by the event’s staff and the fantastic volunteers, who counted us in (every last slope run), we got underway!

The question of ‘how cold can it be?’ was answered clearly as I soon found myself at the rentals desk hiring a ski jacket!

I feel for the snowboarders who quickly realised the difficulty that the day was going to present just getting up to the top of the slope, let alone getting down! Huge credit to everyone who joined in, amongst us where the RAF Ski team – who displayed all their skills and speed throughout the day, and the British Disabled Ski team who challenged the RAF right up until the last run for the competition to see who could do the most runs. TUI Ski teams were well represented and it gave an added opportunity to form new friendships and have a lot of laughs through the day.

 What a fantastic event and if anyone is thinking about joining in next year, do it! Congratulations to everyone who took part in the event, both on the slope and in the huge fundraising efforts that have been on display.”

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