ATC - Skiing the whole mountain

These are exciting times for Alpine Training Centre (ATC) as they react to the issues that are happening around the world at the moment. It has given them a chance to reboot and look at what is the best way to take the organisation of race training forward. There is no doubt that the training groups that are the most innovative are the ones that will come out of the pandemic stronger and ATC are definitely moving in that direction. They have been taking some unique decisions in how they will grow and shape the ATC of the future. “Adapting and adjusting to the situation has made it exciting,” Murray Howie, part of the ATC management team, feels. “We are massively changing the way we are doing things,” he adds.

Reacting to trading conditions

ATC has reacted to the tough trading conditions by responding to two of their core products. “Running training camps and continuing to offer training to the community has been very hard,” Sean Langmuir, Programme Director, explained. “We are quite pleased with what we have managed, we have run three indoor camps this summer at Landgraff, Hamburg and we also managed to get out on the glacier for a camp this summer at Val Senales. It was challenging, with the Covid regulations, with the travelling, everything had to be confirmed last minute. In order to satisfy our parents and give them confidence we also needed to offer them 100% money back guarantee if they did not feel comfortable going and we have stuck with that.”

It is tough making decisions like these but Langmuir felt that this was a necessary call to make. “It was a challenge,” Langmuir explained.

Langmuir is honest enough to explain that the pandemic has resulted in changes to how the organisation is run for the future too. “The future of how people travel and how we organise camps will mean that people have to be more flexible,” he added.

ATC operates on a mobile basis and this is something that Langmuir feels is a strength for them. “We have a unique skillset in being able to be flexible,” Langmuir continued. “If things are not available in one country we just pack up and go somewhere else.”

ATC The Charity

The big news coming out of ATC this summer, however, is that the business is transitioning to become a ‘Non for Profit Charity.’ Langmuir explains: “In January we intend to announce a new bursary programme which is aimed at offering several young 14 and 15 year old racers up to six weeks of training. And later this winter we intend to move all our children’s ski camps into ATC The Charity.” This has been a year in developing Langmuir announced.

Langmuir has always been at the forefront of supporting racers. From being an Olympic racer himself, Langmuir has built ATC up over the years and is always looking at new ways to move the operation forward.

“We have always supported kids training and it has been run in a very holistic way,” he explains when asked why have they done this. Langmuir feels that they will be able to do what they do in a better way by running things as a non for profit.

From the management team to the trustees, there is a wave of excitement as the operation moves from into a charity.

Innovation in how things are dealt with

Despite the management team being spread over many kilometres, conversations happen every day to see how the whole operation can adapt and move forward, Murray Howie explained: “:We are constantly adapting and innovating, we are always discussing how we can adapt, how we can overcome the challenges that are in our way so we can get the athletes skiing and get them out on the mountains.” By the time the athletes are allowed back out on the snow, Howie feels they will have tried everything and “will know what works.”

Langmuir adds “We have tried to be at the forefront of new ideas, new training methods and encouraging kids to ski in different ways and ATC moving into charitable status is opening a lot more doors.”

How are ATC making these changes for this season? They recognise that things will be difficult this year due to Covid and so they are looking to utilise the slopes on their doorstep in Scotland. Langmuir is a product on the strong racing environment in Scotland and is looking to try and recreate that atmosphere.

If conditions permit, racing could make a strong return to Scotland again this winter, especially if the travel to Europe is restricted. Langmuir is keen to emphasise that races in Scotland saw some great results by their athletes last winter. “It is functional for the kids to train here at a certain age,” Langmuir explained. “Sure they have got to go abroad but we can take advantage of what we have at home.”

Alliance with Scottish Ski Club and BluesSki

While other training organisations have gone about recruiting in other ways, ATC have formed a strong alliance with other clubs like the Scottish Ski Club where they provide their training programme through the use of ATC coaches. This has seen the SSC programme become more popular again Langmuir feels through the teaming up of the two organisations. ATC has also teamed up with retailer BluesSki to offer their racers great value equipment locally in Scotland. BluesSki have been supporting ski racing and ski racers in Scotland since the 1970s.

Racing in Scotland

Langmuir feels that the opportunities to race in Scotland this winter will be greater there than in Europe due to the pandemic issues. Howie agrees in that the importance of having built great relations with the hills in Scotland means that they will be able to pull things off in terms of setting up camps and creating racing. Howie explained that this is snow dependent “whether they are seeded or not. We have loads of opportunities to get kids racing in Scotland.”

There is a lot of talk on how the British Children’s team will operate this season. Much will depend in the pandemic but it could well have a huge positive impact on allowing athletes, of all ages, the possibility to focus on training in a more relaxed way.

Howie explains: “If we can make it more fun, more relaxed, the kids are not going to be as stressed about not scoring points and then are going to produce better performances.”

Quality not necessarily Quantity

ATC coaches have had to explain to their athletes that they may not have had as much training on the longer skis this summer but having a year where they train more is actually a good thing.

Langmuir is a firm believer in the need for the parents to understand the value of training over just racing. Langmuir explains “pushing the opportunities for doing a camp at different times. Spring is an amazing time to train, June at Hintertux on the glacier is possibly the best training you can get as you can get winter snow in summer conditions.” It is not unusual to see World Cup teams training then because the crowds are not there then.

“You have to adapt,” Langmuir continues “but communication is key,” he adds. “Some parents may be thinking ‘no races therefor no skiing so no point in training,’ but we have to advertise and promote all the values of training and the enjoyment of skiing in general.”


Langmuir and Howie have put together a great group of coaches for this season. Howie is joined by another ex-British team racer, Andrew Freshwater in looking after their under 12 programme; Kate Angus has joined the programme and will look after the under 14 programme. The under 16 programme will be run by Sean Langmuir and Iain Innes, another ex British team racer and past British Champion.

Langmuir is a firm believer of supporting the Snowsport Scotland FIS programme for racers that continue racing beyond U16.

“The national governing bodies should be runing the most effective programmes for FIS athletes,” Langmuir explained. “The clubs and academies should support and feed the National Governing Bodies by running the best children’s racing programmes.

“There is a lot to be said for just doing one part of the racer pathway with quality and not trying to do all of the pathway and getting a little bit diluted.

“We have dabbled in that in the past because we had people that needed support but the ideal scenario is for the governing bodies to run a good FIS programmes and the academies and clubs like ATC to support them and feed into them with athletes that are under 16.”

Langmuir recognises that it is not an ideal world and that there might not be FIS programmes that suit everyone and people might not be selected but this is a good target to aim for. Langmuir is full of praise for the academies and clubs in how they go about training the under 16 and 14 age groups and to this extent he believes there is no need for the NGB’s to be running programmes in these age groups.

He welcomes Snowsport Scotland’s decision to review the value and benefit of running a National programme for kids as young as 14 and 15 years old. “With over 40 athletes selected to the Scottish Team I think it would be a positive move to re-focus our limited National resources on consolidating a decent FIS programme and letting the clubs and academies continue doing a great job of feeding U16 talent in to the National FIS programme.”

Through ATC the charity Langmuir is keen to work with the other clubs and academies to create a solid pathway that would take into account the limited resources available. “We can all feed into a quality pathway if we work together,” Langmuir believes.

Post u16 racing with ATC

Once an ATC racer has reached the end of the line with them, that is not it. It would be hoped that the best go on to join the Home Nation team but Langmuir is keen to encourage athletes to get qualifications. For those that do not take that pathway ATC have initiatives through the charity to support athletes with professional qualifications. “We would like to support racers going through the pathway but also encourage racers to get qualifications in coaching and instructing. ATC can provide a community for support for them.

ATC has also introduced back country and free ride into the programme at the children’s age groups. “We like to show the athletes where they can take their skiing beyond children’s racing,” Howie continues.

Looking to provide for the future

ATC is a pan UK organisation and are keen to promote this. Innovation is a much used word this summer but from moving into charity statues, ATC are also looking at the bigger picture. Doing one area of the pathway very well is what they are now focussing on. The boxes are all being ticked. Now it is time for the winter to start, covid permitting.

As the website states: “Our camps are not only about learning to ski as fast as humanly possible. They are about building valuable life skills, making friends, and having fun while working extremely hard. As a community ATC strives to to produce extremely talented individuals who can not only succeed on snow but also in life.”

To find out more about ATC go to their website -

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