OWIA and Snow Australia receive $28m funding boost for snow sports

BEIJING, CHINA - February 11: Scotty James of Australia in the men's snowboard halfpipe final at Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park during the Winter Olympic Games on February 11th, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. (AAP Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Australian Government and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) today announced it will invest $28.6 million in core funding for snow sports over the next four years in the lead in to the 2026 Winter Olympics.

For the first time ever, Australia’s winter sports have been given a funding commitment in advance for their full four-year preparation, enabling sports and athletes to focus all their energy towards preparations for the 2026 Games in Milan-Cortina.

The funding will go to the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and Snow Australia, through to the end of June 2026.

Federal Minister for Sport Anika Wells said the long-term investment was a show of confidence in Australia’s representative athletes.

“This is an investment that tells our Australian Winter athletes that we believe in you, we support you and we know you’ll make us proud,” Minister Wells said.

“Australia’s Winter Olympics team finished with a record four medals at Beijing earlier this year, including a break-through gold medal for moguls skier Jakara Anthony while Snowboarder Ben Tudhope earned bronze at the Paralympic Games.

“Australia continues to build its reputation as a competitive international force in Winter sports and this longer-term investment gives athletes the chance to build plans for sustainable improvement and success.”

As Australian sport embarks on a Green and Gold decade of major events towards the Brisbane 2032 Games, Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said strategic planning was crucial to success.

“We’re in one of the most exciting periods in Australian sporting history, we have the opportunity to build sustainable sporting success that will inspire and motivate Australians for generations to come. I thank the Australian Government for sharing the vision of the AIS and providing longer-term funding to sports,” Mr Perkins said.

“We’ve also confirmed core funding to our Summer Olympic and Paralympic sports through to Paris 2024.

“In addition to this direct core funding to National Sporting Organisations, the AIS continues supporting athletes and sports through targeted funding strategies, including direct athlete grants and performance pathways, as well as coaching and leadership, innovation and technology, medicine and science, wellbeing and community engagement, and high performance facilities.”

OWIA CEO Geoff Lipshut said it was a great way to start the four-year approach to Milan-Cortina 2026.

“The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia is very appreciative of this support from the Federal Government and Australian Sports Commission, it provides funding certainty and an increase leading into Italy,” Mr Lipshut said.

“The Australian Sports Commission, via the Australian Institute of Sport, provided a lot of additional support to the winter sport athletes and our organisation in the lead up to the excellent success at the 2022 Beijing Games during COVID and the very difficult circumstances around travel, qualification and competition overseas. We look forward to working together over the next four years.”

Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said, “Australia’s growing success in Olympic, Paralympic and World Cup competition tells us that we are on the right track, so this funding will be a tremendous boost for our longer-term planning as we look to provide the best possible training environments and athlete development programs in the years ahead.”

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.