We got a glimpse of how everyday life looks like when running a non-profit ski school. SAM Nordic is proud partners to Totalskidskolan in Åre, Sweden. Meet Erika, the Snowboss making sure skiing is accessible for everyone.
Totalskidskolan is a non-profit organisation and has been so since its foundation in 1987. They are based in Åre, and Erika Berglund, also called “The Snowboss”, has worked with this for the past 15 years.
“We welcome all kinds of skiers with a permanent disability, and we want to be able to say yes to everyone who wants to participate.”
Erika emphasises that Totalskidskolan is for everyone, regardless of their challenges.
Winter is intense, with an average of 250 guests per season and the vast majority return year after year. The crew consists of 6 to 15 ski instructors, depending on the week and the number of guests during the winter.
“I have met so many families and followed them from childhood to young adulthood. It is absolutely fantastic to be able to share the joy of skiing with others who love skiing.”
Erika describes the activities and what characterises Totalskidskolan.
“The equipment used for functional skiing is quite different from traditional equipment. Some guests need a 24-hour escort, but at the ski school, you can experience the mountain independently with your ski instructor. The equipment is customised based on needs and prepared before the guest arrives.”
Safety and the joy of skiing mean everything to those who work on snow. All teachers are trained in this field, and a license is required to operate the equipment on the slopes. The ski-cart, which can be attached to ski lifts, is unique and a Swedish-made device, a kind of seated ski sledge for the skier. SAM Nordic has proudly sponsored one of them for the activities at Totalskidskolan. But it is not the only one. Totalskidskolan has a wide range of equipment for all kinds of skiers. The equipment required to meet all the different needs costs a lot, but Totalskidskolan does not want a lesson to be more expensive than one at a traditional ski school.
Erika continues: “We are financed entirely by sponsors and funds and have had the luxury of never having to market ourselves. It is thanks to all the sponsors, good friends and contacts that we can welcome all the fantastic skiers.”
Everyone who comes to the ski school loves skiing, and if you don’t, hopefully you will when you leave Totalskidskolan. Erika describes the feeling of coming home as one of the success factors.
“One parent told us, ‘What if the world could be like Totalskidskolan?’ It was a great testament to our work.”
Erika is humble about the future and about continuing to run Totalskidskolan on a non-profit basis. She describes that their guests grow as people with self-confidence and all that we sometimes take for granted. For many people, this week is the highlight of the year.
“Come visit us and see what we do on snow! We want to keep saying yes for another 37 years.”