WINTER is on its way as hundreds of schoolchildren climbed the slopes and battled it out in a national ski competition.
Teams of young skiers from 38 schools across the North East, took part in the northern regional qualifier of the English Schools Ski Association (Esskia) competition at Silksworth Ski Centre.
More than 150 young skiers took part and are now anxiously waiting to see if they have gained a place in the national finals in Stoke next month.
The young people are also hoping they performed well enough to be selected for the English Schools junior and senior ski squads.
Sunderland’s Deputy Mayor Coun Iain Kay and the Deputy Mayoress Coun Barbara McClennan went along to the event to officially start the race and enjoyed speaking with competitors, teachers and parents to learn a lot more about the world of skiing at Silksworth.
Lesley Maitland, regional representative of Esskia, said there were a number of races and lots of youngsters who picked up medals for their performances.
She added: “It’s always a very good day, but this year was the biggest we have had with the amount of competitors who took part.
“It was a fab day all round and we were very lucky with the weather. All the children thoroughly enjoyed it.”
She said Esskia, along with Ragsdale Photography which was taking photos on the day, also managed to raise cash for the Grace House Hospice Appeal.
Tigers Ski Club, based at Silksworth, sponsored the races and provided the medals and free membership to Esskia to the winners.