LAUSANNE, 14th April 2017 – Rebecca Vernon ended up in the Italy due to her love of snow and mountains, before this work was based around managing international projects and NGOs. After originally volunteering with her local race, Scialpinistica  Lagorai Cima d'Asta, Rebecca Vernon gradually became involved with the international skimo scene, and now enjoys the challenge of international race organisation and all it entails.

How long have you been ISMF Chief of Sport dep. and how has changed your job through the years? A few years ago the ISMF didn't have a real Sport department or at least there was no director, only a political role, that of the Vice president for sport. This is a role that I carried out for a few seasons starting in 2012, however it was clear that there was a lot of work to do and that a hands-on position was required.

What are the main issues you have to take into account and how different is your role from other winter disciplines like alpine skiing? In my role I have to take everything into account! From politics and diplomacy, to snow conditions and logistics and the media. The ISMF is a smaller organisation than FIS so it's perhaps more hands-on as our team is much smaller.

Individual, Vertical and Sprint: from you point of view, what is the most difficult thing to assess in each race, according to the difference features of these 3 disciplines? Many athletes participate in all three disciplines, but now that the sport is maturing there are also athletes who have a tendency to do much better in one discipline than another and indeed there are athletes that are starting to specialise.  The Individual and Team events are often more difficult to work on from the referee point of view, the Sprint however, is more complicated than perhaps it seems, creating the right track and then it's  a very fast race. The Vertical doesn't include any downhill, so is a different game all together.

Any curious, funny or hard memories you would like to share?  It was very important to me when I was invited to participate in the high altitude skimo camp in China in 2013 with the Asian federations, opening up a whole new world. Every race, however has something that will exhilarate, make me laugh or pull my hair out.

What do you like most of your job? It has great variety so its inherently an interesting job, from planning to implementing. The possibility to interact with people from different cultures, being able to share ideas about developing the sport.

What can be improved in the future? There are many people working hard in skimo to bring the sport forward from volunteers, to federations, we all need more time and more resources. It would be great to have more media coverage.

After the IOC full rec, what does it mean for you to dream about an Olympic debut? I prefer  to concentrate on the concrete measures we are trying to put in place to reach the Olympics, there's a lot of hard work to do. The dream sits in my back pocket.   

How do they regard skimo in your country of origin? Will we ever have a race in Uk? Having grown up in the South-East of England I didn't grow up amidst the mountains, the first I saw in real life,  was when I was about 6 years old on holiday in Switzerland and Germany, since then I've loved visiting and getting to know all that  mountains have to offer. I love snow, maybe because it still seems novel, when you don't grow up with snow all this white stuff seems very magical every winter when it arrives. Over the past 3-4 years the British have become much more interested in skimo, both at home and in Europe. There is a skimo circuit in Scotland that is now going very well – so you cannot ask will there ever be a race in the UK! Check out the website http://www.skimoscotland.co.uk

What are your favourite mountains? The mountains closest to home are always the favourite mountains, the Lagorai in Trentino! But it's always interesting and thrilling to see different mountains, the Qillian Shan in China, the Highlands of Scotland, I'd love to visit the Karakorum and other ranges in Central Asia.


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