At the Bilingual European School of Milan (BES) in Italy, students can now ski in the schoolyard. A special synthetic slope made with Neveplast material enables beginners to learn the basics and also provides a possibility to exercise for more experienced students who take part in competitions.
Skiing during school hours
In response to ongoing uncertainty related to the reopening of the ski lifts due to the current pandemic emergency, the BES came up with an innovative solution to enable its students to ski during normal school hours.
In February Giorgio Rocca, the former Italian Alpine ski champion, was on the Neveplast slope with the students as an expression of personal support. While the 2021 Alpine World Ski Championships were taking place in Cortina, students of the BES got to ski in their own schoolyard in Milan on a very special synthetic slope made with Neveplast material.
The Bilingual European School has 540 students, ranging from BAPS – the British American Pre-School – to the middle school. Based on a very tight schedule drafted with meticulous attention to current health regulations, every student is being offered at least two ski instruction sessions. The slope will be operational until late spring in the first instance, although the ski season may be extended beyond that.
Ideal for beginners and advanced students
The slope produced by the Italian Neveplast company is made of a patented synthetic material which replicates the feeling of skiing on real snow. Thirty meters long and ten meters wide, the slope has a gradient of 10%, which is ideal for beginners and young children learning the basics of the sport while also steep enough for students who can already ski and take part in competitions.
The Neveplast mission has always been to make skiing and winter sports accessible to everyone, regardless of the season, place and weather conditions. It is being achieved by creating ski slopes in urban areas, and this urban skiing concept was immediately embraced by the BES, which has named its attractive educational project Skiing in the City.
The ski lessons are given by specialized ski instructors from the greater Milan area. As the ski resorts are currently closed, they have no employment in the mountains and have seized the opportunity to work elsewhere.
Valuable training grounds
Giorgio Rocca, a former elite skier who retired from Alpine skiing competitions in 2010, never really gave up skiing. On the contrary, driven by his passion for the sport, he has reinvented himself in a thousand different roles in the snow sector.
“I couldn’t refuse the invitation of the Bilingual European School, which once again demonstrated its visionary spirit with the Skiing in the City project. I have known Neveplast for some time now and I share the company’s ideas about providing ski slopes in urban areas so as to popularize mountain and winter sports. Neveplast’s synthetic slopes, especially when located in the heart of the city, are valuable training grounds that bring people closer to the mountains. And let’s not forget about the Olympic Games due to take place in five years’ time in Milan. We definitely don’t want to be caught unprepared. I hope that the Skiing in the City project will only be the first of many with the same power to bring skiing to the city. In the run-up to the 2026 Milan Cortina Olympics, I would love to see a snow village set up right in the city center, with slopes of various sizes and levels of difficulty and open all year round.”
A dream come true
Riccardo Garbagnati, BES’ Marketing manager says: “The pandemic emergency has suddenly turned our lives upside down and disrupted all the school programs. For months nows, the students have had to go without face-to-face teaching, school trips and the many other activities they have always been used to. Among our students, skiing is a very popular sport, and we were very sorry that they couldn’t go skiing this winter. The Skiing in the City project has come as a real surprise for all of our students and their families. We notified the parents of the scheme only a few days ago. We told them that their kids should come to school with their ski equipment because there was going to be a surprise for them. I will never forget the disbelief mixed with enthusiasm on the faces of both the students and their parents when they saw the slope set up in the school grounds on Monday morning. It did not take long to move from the initial idea of Skiing in the City to the installation of the slope and the first ski lessons. With Neveplast, a company we were familiar with as the manufacturer of the ski slope on the roof of the CopenHill power plant, the response was immediate. We at the BES are a team of dreamers always trying to get out of the comfort zone and, just like Neveplast we love to turn dreams into reality.”