Stephanie Cook sounds like a woman who found success.
“ Business is booming, I have lots of groups signed up and starting in September..”
…This year Stephanie – or Steph, as she prefers to call herself – has launched a rollerskiing academy ( although she doesn’t use the word ‘academy’) in Bracknell, Berkshire near London, UK.
Together with her business partner Jordan Andrews ( Great Britain’s national rollerski series champion) Ms Cook, 28 runs the only dedicated kids rollerskiing project in England. It is aimed at getting children aged 5-11 a into rollerskiing “in the playground” – i.e right where they live. The goal is to develop the next generation of English skiers.
“We started in January with one group of 10 now we have 3 groups of 15 each week at 3 different schools. We also coach other one-off groups with around 30- 40 signing up to sessions. Since starting we have trained over 1000 kids.
I’m concentrating mostly on getting kids to try the sport. I have a few juniors who are advanced and are starting racing in the adult GB series. But majority are beginner’s level”
Stephanie is from Richmond, North Yorkshire originally. She was 15 when she started skiing – on a family holiday in New Zealand of all places – and loved it so much that she decided to move to Finland within a year to train full time with junior Finnish coach and, eventually, race on the FIS circuit. But had to unclip her skis on top level after 3.5 years – alas, not enough sponsors to sustain the life of a pro-sportsmen. By expanding the reach of rollersking in her homeland, Stepahie wants to make sure the appeal of the sport broadens to such an extent that sponsors run after skiers, not other way around.
The trick, it appears, is to make it accessible to as many as possible through “demystifying” rollersking for parents – and making it exciting for kids.
“Apart from the small cost of the club, parents don’t have to commit to buying equipment – we’re bringing all the necessary equipment to the playground. Instead of spending hours doing boring drills we play game after game in the playground. Chasing us around the playground is a definite favourite for many of the kids. We are also trying to make kids rollerskiing accessible to kids from all backgrounds and sometimes offer a free place to a family who couldn’t normally do it. ”
Here you go: some people day-dream year after year – and then are some who just to turn their dreams, their passion into reality.
“…It all has happened very fast but taken lots of hours of work behind the scenes to get to this stage.. I am really excited with how well kids rollerskiing is going. And I have big plans for the future too!”
We at the DailySkier, in turn, have “big plans” of following the story of Ms. Cook and her budding rollerskiing empire – and wish her the best of luck.