Ski in the city”. At the BES, skiing in the school yard is possible thanks to a Neveplast slope.
At the Bilingual European School of Milan (BES), skiing in the schoolyard is now possible. On February 12th, former Alpine skiing champion Giorgio Rocca was on the Neveplast slope together with the students and gave them his personal “blessing”.
While the Alpine skiing World Championships were taking place in Cortina indeed, in Val Cismon street, in Milan, the students of the BES got to ski in their own courtyard, on a very special synthetic slopes made out of Neveplast material.
Confronting the uncertainty related to the reopening of the lifting facilities due to the current pandemic emergency, the BES came up with an innovative trick to enable its students to ski during the conventional school hours.
The slope is realized in a patented synthetic material produced by the Bergamo-based company Neveplast which replicates the feeling of skiing on a layer of real snow. 30 meters long and 10 meters wide, the slope has a gradient of 10%, enough to satisfy beginners and young children learning the basis of the sport, but also able to entertain students who already practice winter skiing and take part in competitions.
Neveplast mission has always been to make skiing and winter sports accessible to anyone, regardless of the season, place, and weather conditions, and it does so by realize ski slopes in urban areas. The concept of “urban skiing” was immediately embraced by the BES, which named its attractive educational project “Ski in the city”.
The first ski lessons took place on February 9th and were given by specialized ski instructors from the greater Milan area. Due to the closure of ski resorts they were not able to work in the mountains and took therefore the opportunity to do their job elsewhere.
The Bilingual European School has 540 students, ranging from BAPS – the British American Pre-School – to the middle school. Based on a very busy calendar, drafted with meticulous attention to the current health protocols, each student will have the chance to have at least two didactic experiences on skis. The slope will be operational until the Spring (at least) and then it will be considered whether to extend the ski season.
The ski training ground can be found in the schoolyard in a really nice open space featuring Nordic architectural imprints, where a climbing gym will soon be operational too. In order to make the skiing experience even more immersive, a mountain cabin-style kiosk has been set up right next to the slope, where, at the end of the ski lesson, students can get a hot chocolate drink.
On February 12th, Giorgio Rocca was also much awaited at the BES. He came all the way from Cortina, where he will be in the starting gate as forerunner for the technical disciplines and will cover the role of World Championship’s storyteller of EA7 social media profiles.
“ I could not refuse the invitation of the Bilingual European School which demonstrated once again its visionary spirit with the “Ski in the city” project. Many of the children who come to the Giorgio Rocca Ski Academy during the winter season, attend the BES here in Milan. They are such lucky kids, because, in addition to coming to ski with us – laughs Rocca – now they also have the opportunity to ski in their own schoolyard during the regular weekly school time.
I have known Neveplast for some time now and I share the company’s ideas about the realization of ski slopes in urban areas to broaden the number of mountain and winter sports’ enthusiasts. Neveplast’s synthetic slopes, especially when located in the heart of the city, become valuable training grounds to bring people closer to the mountains.
And let’s not forget about the Olympic Games taking place in 5 years in Milan. We definitely don’t want to be caught unprepared. I hope that the “Ski in the city” project is only the first of many others that have the same power to spread the culture of skiing in the city. Approaching the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics, I would love to see a snow village equipped with slopes of various sizes and difficulties, open all year round, located right in the city center.”
The “Ski in the city” project is perfectly in line with the mission of the BES which has always defined itself as an environment in which to grow and educate students in courage, resilience, and will to overcome limits. The attitude known in English as “risk taking” and which is a dogma at Bilingual European School.
“Luca Paloschi, the founder and director of the school– says Riccardo Garbagnati, the BES marketing manager – is a pioneer, one who doesn’t give up, a respectful and very determinate person always trying to achieve the goals.
A very short time passed from the conception of the “Ski in the city” idea to the actual realization of the project and the beginning of the first ski lessons.
With Neveplast, which we mostly knew as the manufacturer of the ski slope on the roof of CopenHill, the connection 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
The pandemic emergency – continues Garbagnati – has suddenly turned our lives upside down and disrupted all the school programs. The students had to give up on face-to-face teaching, school tripes and the many activities they were used to for months. Among our students, skiing is a very popular sport, and we were very sorry that our kids could not ski during this winter.
The “Ski in the city” project was a real surprise for all of our students and families. We notified the parents of the initiative only a few days ago.
We told them that their kids should have come to school with their regular ski equipment because there would have been a surprise for them. I will never forget the disbelief mixed with enthusiasm on the faces of both, children and parents when they saw the slope set up in the garden on Monday morning.”
Paolo De Chiesa, italian former ski racer is skiing on Neveplast-Skistar ski slope in Stockholm