December 27 - A special calendar has been released to help raise funds for the British Disabled Ski Team as it continues its preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.

The money raised from the calendar help the team pay for a ski technician, whose expertise in the mechanics of skiing would enable the athletes to reach their full potential on the slopes.

Jane Sowerby (pictured), a member of the team, started sit-skiing with the help of charity the Spinal Injuries and Adaptive Snowsports Milton Keynes (ASMK) after breaking her back in a fall and losing the use of her legs in 2003.

The 34-year-old from Ampthill in Bedfordshire, a former music programming manager for MTV, is now a contender to qualify for Vancouver but needs sponsorship.

Last season she had nine podium finishes at Europa Cup and NorAm races, winning a gold, five silver and three bronze medals.  

She competed in her first World Championships and World Cups and her combined world ranking is now 11th, including a seventh ranking in Super G.

At the Europa Cup finals she was awarded overall third place in the European Cup rankings for the 2008-09 season and has already met most of the qualification criteria for Vancouver.

Sowerby said: "People expect that because we are the British team we get Government funding.

"We get some but this does not cover even half the costs.

"It is an expensive sport and we are competing against Alpine nations like Austria and Canada that have a better support network.

"Each member of the team needs around £25,000 for a season and most of this comes out of our own pockets, with support from family or from sponsorship.

"If we don't raise enough there is a risk of not being able to get to the Paralympics.

"It really could make the difference between a podium finish or not."

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