Freestyle backed for 2026 Olympics as alpine ski funding is slashed

GB alpine skiers have had their funding cut by UK Sport as the government agency prioritises freestyle disciplines. Racers launch appeal

UK Sport, responsible for investing in Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United Kingdom, has cut funding for alpine, cross-country and Nordic ski disciplines.

According to UK Sport, funding is allocated to national governing bodies to “support sports and athletes with realistic medal capabilities at Olympic Games”.

And it looks like investment will be focused more towards freestyle events at the 2026 Games. A statement reads:

“UK Sport is aiming to become an ever greater force in winter sport, while powering a broader range of sports and champions who reflect the diversity of British society.

“We recognise GB Snowsport and some of their athletes will be disappointed by our recent investment decisions, but our investment going forward for snowsport is now more targeted, with a focus on the freestyle ski and snowboard disciplines, albeit not exclusively.”

In response, GB alpine skiers have launched an appeal for funding and support, for when the current cycle comes to an end on 1 October.

Ski racers Billy Major, Charlie Guest, Charlie Raposo, Dave Ryding and Laurie Taylor have released a statement alongside a GoFundMe page with a goal of £500,000.

“We, Britain’s strongest ever Alpine team, are here, asking for your help so that we can continue to defy norms, break barriers and continue to lay the foundations for British success in Alpine Skiing for many years to come.”

“We are currently standing up to one of the toughest challenges of our careers. Despite a record-breaking season, with Britain’s first World Cup win, UK Sport decided to heavily reduce our funding.”

The decision came just months after Dave Ryding carried Team GB’s flag at Beijing 2022 and fellow slalom skier Charlie Guest recorded Britain’s best World Cup result by a female skier in 33 years.

Donate here

GB Snowsport’s chief executive, Vicky Gosling, said: “We fully support and share the disappointment of our Alpine team and all other GB Snowsport athletes impacted by UK Sport’s funding decision for the Milan-Cortina Olympic and Paralympic cycle. As an organisation, we are actively exploring all avenues to help make sure British athletes are able to compete to the best of their abilities in world-class competition, as they have done so successfully over the past few years.”

It follows a season of success for British skiers. Team highlights for the 2022 season:

Dave Ryding – 2022 Kitzbuehl World Cup slalom winner and the first Brit ever to win an Alpine World Cup. He is staring down the barrel of having no program from October the 1st , which will mean his 2023 season will cease to exist, an announcement that shook the world of Ski Racing.

Billy Major – Competed in his first Olympic Games at Beijing 2022 as well as having his first World Cup points at historic Schladming night slalom. Billy finished 18th with a strong second run to move up the field.

Charlie Guest – Recorded the best result for a British female in Slalom since 1989 with a PB of 13th in January and finished the 2022 season ranked 26th in the World Cup Slalom Standings.

Charlie Raposo – Made history for Britain after scoring World Cup points in Men’s giant slalom for the first time is 54 years with a 16th and 27th place alongside with a 17th place in World Cup Parallel.

Laurie Taylor – Skied to a strong 25th place in Madonna di Campiglio, one of the biggest slalom night event world cups of the season.

Team GB’s medals from the 2022 Winter Olympics came in curling, with Eve Muirhead taking gold and Bruce Mouat men’s silver.