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Snow & Ice

2009


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On the piste ...

CONTENTS AWSA OFFICIALS

with the Editor

...................................................................................................... 4–5

CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD

2009 has been the year of SNOW! Not only did it snow in the Alps, it snowed in UK, disrupting transport, causing salt shortages, and upsetting our normal way of life! But for boarders and skiers, including those on Nordic skis in Richmond Park, Hyde Park or Obertilliach, it has been a bumper year.The only downside has been the appalling rates for foreign currency, the Euro in particular. 2009 has brought it home to all that skiing (or boarding) is an expensive sport – but our article Letter from America highlights some of the ways to cut the costs.

................................................................................................... 6

AWSA SEASON 2009/2010 EVENTS ........................................................................ 7 ALPINE – MAJOR HUGH CAMPBELL-SMITH

...................................................................... 8–9

EX SPARTAN HIKE – ALPINE – COLONEL STEPHEN JAMES ...................................10–11 NORDIC – EX RUCKSACK – BRIGADIER JOHN MCINTOSH ......................................12–14 EX SPARTAN HIKE – NORDIC – LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHARLES BROMLEY GARDNER .......................................................16–17

We have two features on the problems faced by fit soldiers who have suffered serious injuries or amputations in the war zones of Iraq or Afghanistan. Undeterred by these injuries, a gang of intrepid soldiers have been training hard for future selection to the Paralympic Olympic Winter Games, among them Rory Mackenzie and Martin Hewitt. Both Rory and Martin I encountered on the Help for Heroes 350 mile charity bicycle ride through Northern France in May 2008. Rory shot past me at 80 kph down a hill and admitted later he was scared – a sensation which the intrepid Medic seldom acknowledges! It was hardly a surprise to learn that he had broken his one good leg on the ski hill. Rory and Martin both display the guts and determination shown by so many of our young soldiers whom we admire and of whom we are so proud.

ARMY TELEMARK – MAJOR JOHN CAREY-HUGHES ...............................................18–19 SNOWBOARD – SSGT (SSI) J CRAIG APTC.......................................................... 20–21 CRESTA – CAPTAIN RICHARD MORGAN RWXY.......................................................... 22–23 EX CRESTA – TA CHAMPIONSHIPS – LT GILES FEARN RWXY .................. 24–25 SKELETON – MAJOR PETE MCCLELLAN .................................................................... 26–27 LUGE – COLONEL JOHN SAVILLE ........................................................................................... 28 ARMY BOBSLEIGH – LIEUTENANT COLONEL MATT PERKIN .................................. 29–30 ARMY NOVICE BOBSLEIGH – MAJOR HELEN CARTER RAMC........................ 30–31

Our other disabled feature focuses on BattleBack, an initiative set up by the Ministry of Defence, which has given hope to many amputees, taking them to the slopes and giving them the opportunity to get back on snow with specialised equipment. BattleBack, based at Headley Court, supports all three Services.

THE INFERNO DOWNHILL – A DEVIL’S OWN COURSE! – LT COL M S PERKIN ................................................................................................................... 32

THE EAGLE SOARS AGAIN ........................................................................................... 33 THE ARCTIC RACE – MAJOR NEIL ASHFORD RA ................................................ 34–36

We also have an interview with intrepid Eddie“The Eagle”Edwards, and a report on a gutsy trek over the Arctic wastes by Major Neil Ashford RA. Sadly one of our Vice Presidents, Maj Gen David Horsfield, a pillar and keen supporter of the Army Ski Association and later AWSA, died in December just before his 92nd birthday.We include a tribute to him.

EX SNOW WARRIOR – MAJOR MARTIN COLCLOUGH .................................................. 37 COMBINED SERVICES DISABLED SKI TEAM – SKILLS CAMP 2008 – COLONEL DAVID EADIE (LATE QRL) ............................. 38–39 SNOASIS ............................................................................................................................... 40

On the recreational front, we revisit Formigal, a little known but good value ski resort in the Spanish Pyrenees, and endure a surfeit of snow and cheese in the Swiss resorts of Saas Fee and Lenk/Adelboden. Our Letter from America includes tips on cutting costs on the other side of the pond. 2009 may have been tough, but 2010 may prove even more expensive.We must hope that the good snow we all enjoyed this season returns to maximise the fun in 2010 and outweigh the financial constraints.

A SWISS MYSTERY .......................................................................................................... 41 LETTER FROM AMERICA – CELIA FIELDER ......................................................... 42–43 FORMIGAL – 38 YEARS ON ...................................................................................... 44 RECESSION – WILL IT KILL THE SKI INDUSTRY? ............................................... 45 OBITUARIES ................................................................................................................ 46–47 LOTTERY FORMS .............................................................................................................. 48

In the interim, the Editor is off to climb Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Help for Heroes. Anyone who may wish to lend support on this tough, and formidable adventure may do so by clicking on to www.justgiving.com/celiafielder1

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM ......................................................................... 50

Happy skiing! Celia Fielder

Printed by:

Unit 43, Romsey Industrial Estate, Greatbridge Road, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 0HR Tel: 01794 518518 Email: info@bmlprint.co.uk Web: www.bmlprint.co.uk

Mrs C F Fielder 6 Heidegger Crescent, Barnes, London SW13 8HA Tel: 0208 741 2290 Email: celiafielder@aol.com

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ARMY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION OFFICIALS LIST AWSA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE PRESIDENT

General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen CGS, MOD Main Building (Level 5 Zone M) ADC: Capt William Squires Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB PA: WO2 McGuinness

Tel: Fax: ADC Tel: Email:

Mil - 9621 86153 Civ - 0207 218 6153 Mil - 9621 82340 Civ - 0207 218 2340 Mil - 9621 87873 Civ - 0207 218 7873 william.squires907@mod.uk deborah.mcguinness216@mod.uk

CHAIRMAN

Maj Gen RL Kirkland CBE (Lamont) GOC 4 Div Steeles Road, Aldershot PS: Anne Parry (5721) Hants. GU11 2DP ADC: Capt Tom Holmes (2001)

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94872 2001 Civ - 01252 347001 anne.parry897@land.mod.uk thomas.holmes201@land.mod.uk

VICE CHAIRMAN

Col GB Grossmith MBE (Bede) c/o ASCB, Clayton Barracks Thornhill Road Aldershot Hants. GU11 2BG

Tel: Email:

Civ -01582 467468 bedegrossmith@hotmail.com

DIRECTOR ICE SPORTS

Brig MA Armstrong (Mark) Director Infra, Erskine Barracks Wilton, Salisbury Wilts. SP2 0AG

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94331 2720 Civ - 01722 432720 mark.armstrong787@mod.uk

CHAIRMAN ALPINE

Brig MP Dodson MBE (Mark) DMS, APC Glasgow, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street Glasgow G2 8EX

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94561 3040 Civ - 0141 224 3040 dodsonm986@apc.army.mod.uk

CHAIRMAN BOBSLEIGH

Lt Col MS Perkin MBE (Matt) J7 HQ JFC Naples BFPO

Tel: Email:

Civ - 0039 0815 096007 perksinkuwait@yahoo.co.uk

CHAIRMAN CRESTA

Maj Gen Sir Sebastian JL Roberts KCVO OBE RCDS Seaford House Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NS

Tel: Email:

Civ - 0207 915 4800 mg@rcds.mod.uk (SR) pa1sds@rcds.mod.uk (PA)

CHAIRMAN LUGE

Col JRC Saville (John) COS HQ DCEME HMS Sultan, Military Road, Gosport, Hants. PO12 3BY

Tel: Email:

Mil - 93843 2966 Civ - 0239 254 2966 dceme-cos@dceme.mod.uk

CHAIRMAN NORDIC

Lt Col AHMcD Cameron MBE RA (Angus) COS Royal School of Artilery RA Barracks, Larkhill, Wilts. SP4 8QT

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94322 5682 Civ - 01980 845682 artycenrsahqcos@rsa.mod.uk

CHAIRMAN SKELETON

Maj PA McClellan (Pete) SO2 Applications CRR, 160 (Wales) Bde The Barracks, Brecon, Powys LD3 7EA

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94351 2412 Civ - 01874 613412 breapplications@recruitinggroup.mod.uk

CHAIRMAN SNOWBOARD

TBC

CHAIRMAN TELEMARK

Col R Haldenby RA (Richard) DM(A), HQ AG, Trenchard Lines Upavon, Pewsey Wilts SN9 6BE

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94344 5347 Civ - 01980 615347 richard.haldenby804@mod.uk

SECRETARY/TREASURER

Lt Col (Retd) MK Allen (Martyn) ASCB, Clayton Barracks, Thornhill Road Aldershot, Hants GU11 2BG ASec: Diane Walters

Tel: Fax: Email:

Mil - 94222 3582 Civ - 01252 348582 Mil - 94222 3582 Civ - 01252 348582 mallen@ascb.uk.com

SPONSORSHIP SECRETARY

Lt Col TJ Wakefield (Tim) Customer Liaison D Ops (S), DE Operations South 1st Floor, Zone 1, DE&S North Site Monxton Road, Andover, Hants SP11 8HT

Tel: Fax: Email:

Mil - 94391 2991 Civ - 01264 382991 Mil - 94217 3010 (Aldershot office) tim.wakefield@de.mod.uk

BA(G) SPORT BOARD

Col (Retd) RI Harrison OBE (Ritson) General Secretary BA(G) Sport Board HQ UKSC(G), BFPO 140

Tel: Fax: Email:

Mil - 94872 2545 Civ - 0049 2161 4722545 Mil - 94872 2021 Civ - 0049 2161 4722021 ritson.harrison902@mod.uk

SECRETARY Ex SPARTAN HIKE

Lt Col (Retd) PA Watkins (Phil) SO2 TA PT, D Trg (A) Trenchard Lines, Upavon Pewsey, Wilts SP9 6BE

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94344 5218 philip.watkins811@mod.uk

SECRETARY Ex PIPEDOWN

Maj AB Phillips RA (Tony) SO2 HQ RA HQ 1 (UK) Armd Div BFPO 15

Tel:

Mil – 94882 3692 Civ - 0049 5221 9953692

SECRETARY Ex SNOW LION

Capt J Mann Inf (Jasper) SO3 Ops & Trg, HQ 51 (Scottish) Bde Forthside, Stirling FK7 7RR

Tel: Email:

Mil – 94741 8361 Civ – 0131 310361 747mann@armymail.mod.uk

PA: Janet Fox

PA: Sarah Box

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EX-OFFICIO MEMBER AND CO-OPTED MEMBERS OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE EX-OFFICIO MEMBER

Maj Gen CH Elliott CVO CBE (Christopher) DASCB Clayton Barracks, Thornhill Road Aldershot, Hants GU11 2BG PA: Stephanie Catney

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94222 3568 Civ - 01252 348568 director@ascb.uk.com

CO-OPTED MEMBER

Lt Col (Retd) MJH Goodson (Mark) Bryn Siriol, Old Road Bwlch, Brecon LD3 7RZ

Tel: Email:

Civ - 01874 730562 info@britishbiathlon.com

CO-OPTED MEMBER

Maj (Retd) JMC Leaning (Spud) Gothic House South Molton Devon EX36 3BW

Tel: Email:

Civ - 01769 572547 jleaning1@spud120.fsnet.co.uk

EDITOR SNOW & ICE

Mrs C Fielder (Celia) 6 Heidegger Crescent Barnes London SW13 8HA

Tel: Email:

Civ - 0208 741 2290 celiafielder@aol.com

AWSA DISCIPLINE SECRETARIES ALPINE

Maj H Campbell-Smith (Hugh) SO2 G7 EPS A HQ ARRC BFPO 140

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94872 5216 Civ - 0049 2161 565 5216 hugh.campbell-smith837@land.mod.uk

BOBSLEIGH

Maj HS Carter RAMC (Helen) RHQ 3 Med Regt Gaza Barracks Catterick Garrison, N Yorks

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94731 2802 Civ - 01748 872810 helen.carter106@mod.uk hels.armybobsleigh@yahoo.co.uk

CRESTA (Captain)

Maj JJR Kettler (James) SO2 Auto & Lt Sys ATDU Bovington Camp Wareham, Dorset BH20 6JA

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94374 3362 Civ - 01929 403362 atdu.so2auto@btconnect.com

LUGE

Capt TP Gullan RE (Tor) Hickling Barracks Nottingham NG2 3BX

Tel: Email:

tgullan@bluebottle.com

NORDIC

Maj RH Crawford RA (Richard) SO2 D Trg (A), HQ Land, Erskine Barracks, Wilton, Wilts. SP2 0AG

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94331 3796 Civ - 01722 433796 kf-dtrga-d-so2@mod.uk

SKELETON

Capt BKN Robson R Signals (Belinda) Adjt 33 Signal Regt (V) Alamein TAC, Liverpool Road Huyton, Liverpool L36 3RW

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94552 8424 Civ - 0151 481 4924 33sr-rhq-adjt@mod.uk

SNOWBOARD

Maj DW Ledger AGC (SPS) (Dennis) OC C (Campbell) Coy SPSTS, Worthy Down, Winchester, Hants. SO21 3SB

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94271 2238 Civ - 01962 887238 occcoy-spsts@dcppa-wd.mod.uk

TELEMARK

Maj AJ Clarke RA (Andrew) 23 HQ Bty, 29 Cdo Regt RA The Royal Citadel, Plymouth PL1 2PD

Tel: Email:

Mil - TBC andrewclarke2406@btinternet.com

CHIEF OF RACE ALPINE

Lt Col (Retd) AS Hunt (Aggi) GHCSO HQ Paderborn Garrison BFPO 22

Tel: Email:

Mil - 94879 3253 Civ - 0049 5251 101253 alpineonly@btopenworld.com hunta315@land.mod.uk

ICE SPORTS TRG/DEV OFFICER

WO2 P Gunn (Pete) ASPT Queens Avenue Aldershot, Hants, GU11 2LB

Tel:

07782 162388

MANAGER

Maj (Retd) D Scott (Dave) ASCB, Clayton Barracks, Thornhill Road, Aldershot, Hants. GU11 2BG

OTHER OFFICIALS AND APPOINTMENTS

ASCB LOTTERY OFFICE Tel: Fax: Email: AMgr: Mary-Jane Little

Mil - 94222 3550 Civ - 01252 348550 Mil - 94222 3687 Civ - 01252 348687 dscott@ascb.uk.com littlem@ascb.uk.com

LAND WELFARE/NUFFIELD TRUST GRANTS SECRETARY

Maj (Retd) R Evans (Robert) SO2 G1 PS Welfare HQ LAND, Erskine Barracks, Wilton Salisbury, Wilts. SP2 0AG

Tel: Email:

5

Mil - 94331 3314 Civ - 01722 433314 robert.evans401@mod.uk


Patron: HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO ADC

CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD Major General Lamont Kirkland A huge welcome to Snow and Ice – your annual Army Winter Sports Magazine. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maj Gen Mungo Melvin and Brig John Wolsey, past Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively for their hard work and dedication during their tenure. I was most pleased to have been asked to take over as Chairman in early November 08 and can look back over the past 6 months and the 2008/09 Season with huge satisfaction; your Association is in good order. Despite the continuing high levels of operational commitments, we have had a very successful season with very healthy levels of participation and some excellent individual performances. As last year, there was plenty of snow almost everywhere; too much in some cases. As always it has been a mixed bag of results from the Disciplines; individual reports can be found later in this magazine, but I would like to highlight a few areas. Telemark has gone from strength to strength with some 75 racers taking part in the Army Championships in Rauris in early January 09. A case is currently being staffed to seek“Recognised Status” for the sport, which will enable the public funding of equipment, coaching, CILOR and travel, thus reducing the cost to competitors. Both Exercises SPARTAN HIKE and PIPEDOWN went extremely well being virtually full to capacity and the redeployment of 2 Div and Northern Ireland teams to EX PIPEDOWN was a success. Exercise RUCKSACK took part in Obertilliach (Austria) and was well hosted there; it returns to Ruhpolding in 2010. The Ice Camp was in Igls, Austria in early January 09 with some 80 competitors taking up sliding on ice in the 3 pursuits for the first time over the 2 weeks; the event is planned to take place in Calgary in late October 09. The Army Female Bobsleigh team had another victory in the Inter Service Bobsleigh Championship, with Cpl Paula Walker beating her old partner Cpl Jackie Davies into second place. Once again the strength of the Army Male and Female Snowboard Teams was aptly demonstrated as both took the honours in the Inter Service Championship at Meribel in France, with Capt Dani Stone RE winning the individual female and LCpl Clarke REME winning the individual male titles. Finally there was also much success in the Alpine events with both the Mens and Ladies taking the Team titles and Maj Nikki Porter RADC winning the individual title. Capt Matt Shepherd RLC was second in Men’s individual event narrowly beaten in first place by Flt Lt Roger Cruickshank RAF.

You will be well aware, that staging high quality winter sports events continues to be expensive and my Committee is striving to get the best possible value for money from our funds. My intent for the 09/10 Season is to ensure that all events continue to be well run and organised, challenging, technically compliant and within budget, with maximum participation. Sponsorship is crucial and I have been taking an active role in attempting to secure sponsorship for the 09/10 season. BAE Systems and SELEX GALLILEO remain on board, but I am hopeful that there will be a number of new sponsors with us next season. We can look forward to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver from 12 to 28 February and hope that there will be a number of our athletes taking part. As ever, I am extremely grateful to all the Chairmen, Secretaries and Officials involved in running the AWSA and the 8 Disciplines, who give up their free time to ensure that the Association and competitions are well run and of the highest quality. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best of fortune for next season and I hope to see most of you either at the AGM on 20 October 09 or on either the slopes or the ice.

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AWSA SEASON 2009/2010 EVENT (a)

NAME (b)

LOCATION (c)

DATES (d)

All Disciplines

AWSA Discipline Secs Mtg 2009/02 AWSA Management Mtg 2009/02 AWSA AGM and CTP 2009 2010 Olympic Winter Games

ASCB, Aldershot Cavalry & Guards Club London Cavalry & Guards Club London Vancouver, CAN

TBC Oct 09 20 Oct 09 20 Oct 09 12 – 28 Feb 10

Ex SPARTAN HIKE Ex PIPEDOWN Ex LIONS CHALLENGE Ex SNOW LION ISSSC

Monetiers, FRA Les Contamines, FRA Serre Chevalier, FRA Aviemore Meribel, FRA Meribel, FRA

9–19 Jan 10 9–19 Jan 10 20 – 29 Jan 10 TBC Mar 10 30 Jan –6 Feb 10 TBC Mar 10

9/12L Cup Scots Guards Cup Prince Phillip Trophy

St Moritz, CH St Moritz, CH St Moritz, CH

22 Jan 10 26 Jan 10 28 Jan 10

Ex SPARTAN HIKE Ex PIPEDOWN Ex RUCKSACK

Monetiers, FRA Les Contamines, FRA Ruhpolding, GER

9–19 Jan 10 9–19 Jan 10 20 Jan – 4 Feb 10

Ex RACING ICE I

Calgary, CAN

31 Oct to 14 Nov 09

Ex RACING ICE II Ex RACING ICE III

Igls, AUT Igls, AUT Koenigssee, GER TBC

23 to 30 Jan 10 30 Jan to 7 Feb 10 6 – 14 Mar 10 TBC

Ex RACING ICE I

Calgary, CAN

31 Oct to 14 Nov 09

Ex RACING ICE II Ex RACING ICE III

Igls, AUT Igls, AUT Koenigssee, GER TBC

23 to 30 Jan 10 30 Jan to 7 Feb 10 6 – 14 Mar 10 TBC

Ex RACING ICE I

Calgary, CAN

31 Oct to 14 Nov 09

Ex RACING ICE II Ex RACING ICE III

Igls, AUT Igls, AUT Koenigssee, GER TBC

23 to 30 Jan 10 30 Jan to 7 Feb 10 6 – 14 Mar 10 TBC

Ex SNOW JACK Ex SNOW LION ISSSC

Stubai, AUT Aviemore Meribel, FRA Laax, CH

28 Nov – 18 Dec 09 TBC Mar 10 30 Jan – 6 Feb 10 TBC Mar 10

Ex TELEMARK TITAN ISSSC

Rauris, AUT Meribel, FRA

2 – 16 Jan 10 30 Jan – 6 Feb 10

Alpine Land Ski Championships 1 Armd Div Ski Championships Army Ski Championships Res Forces Ski & Snowboard Chps Inter Svcs Championships British Championships

Cresta Army Junction (Novice) Chps Army Top Championships Inter Svcs Championships

Nordic LAND Ski Championships 1 Armd Div Ski Championships Army/Nat/Inter Svcs Chps

Bobsleigh Army Ice Camp Weeks 1 & 2 Army Championships (Novice, Junior, & Intermediate) Army Championships (Senior) Inter Svcs Championships British Championships

Luge Army Ice Camp Weeks 1 & 2 Army Championships (Novice, Junior, & Intermediate) Army Championships (Senior) Inter Svcs Championships British Championships

Skeleton Army Ice Camp Weeks 1 & 2 Army Championships (Novice, Junior, & Intermediate) Army Championships (Senior) Inter Svcs Championships British Championships

Snowboard Army Championships Res Forces Ski & Snowboard Chps Inter Svcs Championships British Championships

Telemark Army Championships Inter Svcs Championships

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Alpine Major Hugh Campbell-Smith 2009 saw the rise of the REME, the decline of the Infantry and RAC fortunes along with the domination of the RLC and in particular 1 LSR. As always we saw some meteoric rises from novice to accomplished racers. We also saw some very difficult racing conditions in the first week: who will forget the slaloms in the heavy snow or mist or both and the difficulties of being a late starter coming down the ‘pipe’ created by the early racers. 2009 was dominated by two individuals: Lt Matt Shepherd in the men’s events and Maj Nikki Porter in the women’s - that was until Nikki injured herself in the powder on the way down to the slalom start, which threw the ladies’ event wide open with Cpl Annabel Franey, Capt Rachael Cooper and Maj Mel Hilton all winning individual disciplines. Matt on the other hand reached as high as it gets: individual winner of every race not only at the Army Championship but also at the 1 (UK) Division meeting beforehand. We also had the extremely rare result of 1 LSR taking the first four places in the individual slalom.

Maj Mel Hilton, HQ 52 Bde, airborne in Downhill heats

up before dawn setting the courses for the Downhill and Super G in week two. Jean Francois and his Piste Security team did a great job and thankfully the barquette was only used on 2 occasions for CASEVAC. The quality of piste preparation meant that on all days, bar one, races were able to take place. It is fair to say that Serre Chevalier has done the Army Alpine Championships proud once again.

We were lucky to have more than our usual share of visitors this year with HRH The Duke of Kent, CGS, COMARRC, Major Generals Binns, Buckland, Dale, Elliot and Kirkland, together with a cross section of Arms and Service Directors or their representatives attending. Sadly the next President AWSA, General Sir David Richards,had to pull out due to another commitment.The Duke of Kent was really impressed by the event and quality of skiing as well as those racers he met. CGS was particularly sad to complete his tenure but finished on a high,as no one called him‘mate’this year and he completed the newly instituted fun race without incident.

2009 was also the final year of sponsorship by Norwich Union. Without their support over the last six years this competition would have really struggled. But we are delighted that, despite the difficult economic climate, BAE systems will continue to sponsor us and I would like to thank particularly Major General John Russell-Jones for his pivotal role in keeping the sponsorship going and for his personal support for Alpine racing. This season saw some outstanding performances by the Disabled skiers. Captain Martin Hewitt showed that with one arm strapped up he could ski well enough to earn a seeding in the 30s of the GS main race.Trooper Shine has humbled us all by showing extraordinary strength, determination and skill with his one legged skiing which drew constant gasps and comments of admiration from the other skiers in the resort. Last but not least was Sgt Brennan who successfully negotiated the Super G before leaving his indelible mark on the finishing machinery!

The hill team of the ESF, under Jean Luc, produced some excellent courses in very difficult conditions early on, and were

Near escapes – we had a few, none closer than Maj Andy Arthurton who is lucky to be alive after a particularly stupid snowboarder burst out of the trees onto the race piste at high speed missing him by a metre, just as he was about to go over Brigadier’s leap. The race officials were very satisfied to see an ESF instructor grabbing the boarder further down the slope,

From left to right, winner Lt Matt Shepherd, 1LSR, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, CGS, HRH The Duke of Kent, Maj Gen (Retd) John Russell-Jones, Army Advisor to BAE Systems and Ladies Super G Champion 2009,Capt R Cooper 19 Regt RA

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taking his board off him and throwing it into the trees accompanied by a few choice words. 2009 has, in the view of the race officials, been a competition of a very high standard. We had no problem finding 120 skiers of the right calibre to come forward to the Army championships and the re-allocation of 2 Div and NI troops from SPARTAN HIKE to PIPEDOWN worked well from our perspective. 42 units were represented by teams or individuals, 60% of whom had been on operations in the 6 months prior to the season. Capt Nick Poett and Maj Nikki Porter were selected as the Army Team Captains for the Inter-Service Championship and both of their teams swept the board in the team events at Meribel, with Nikki also Inter-Services individual champion, rounding off a thoroughly good season. So I would like to finish by thanking all the racers for outstanding competition, good humour and commitment and also my own race committee for their excellent professionalism and their unconditional support to the sport.

CS Disabled Skier Tpr Steve Shine, 2RTR makes light work of a slalom.

Key results are as follows:

Alpine Ski Combination Men 1st 2nd 3rd

Lt MR Shepherd 1LSR Cpl MD Atkinson 7 AA Bn REME Sgt GD MacPherson 1LSR

www.bloceyewear.com

Alpine Ski Combination Women 1st 2nd 3rd

Capt R Cooper 19 Regt RA Cpl A Franey Bn REME Maj M Hilton HQ 2 Div

Alpine Team Combination 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

1 LSR 7 AA Bn REME 8 Regt RLC 21 Engr Regt 3 Bn REME 1 LANCS 28 Engr Regt QRL 1SG 19 Regt RA

For 20% online discount type blocarmy at checkout Downhill top three on dais (L to R): 3rd place – Lt Nick Poett – SCOTS DG Winner – Lt Matt Shepherd – 1LSR (holding trophy)

Runner Up – Cpl Mike Atkinson – 7 AA Bn REME

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winter sports


Alpine

Colonel Stephen James

second ahead of 2Lt Raikes of 2 AAC, OCdt Stoddart of Oxford UOTC a little over a second behind him, and then four competitors within a second of each other.

Conditions for the UK Divisional Alpine Ski Championships were superb. Held for the seventeenth year in Serre Chevalier, France, the resort had substantial snow falls at the start of the season that provided an excellent base, and the weather was cold and clear. This allowed the committee to plan the now familiar programme with Monêtier’s slopes used for the technical events of seeding giant slalom, giant slalom and at the end of the competition special slalom, and the speed events of Super Giant Slalom and Downhill on the Clot Gautier piste at Villeneuve. This approach uses the best slopes available in the valley for the competition.

Although on the same piste as recent years the start of the Downhill had been moved,as the access lift for the top section had been closed.With the new start rather higher than the old one,the course had become more challenging with steep and undulating terrain straight out of the start gate.The weather continued to be fine and sunny, and two days of training were completed, providing the all important progression for those new to downhill racing and enabling the veterans to hone their performance. Although the novices’attention was drawn by the jump at the end of the first section,a little bigger than last year’s,for the faster racers there were four points at which their skis left the snow, some managing to log significant flying time during their descent.Once again the real battle was for second and third places,Cpl Atkinson winning by two seconds and less than a second separating second from sixth places. The most courageous performance of the day was from Maj Finngan of 27 Regt RLC. Having fallen heavily towards the end of the first section on the final training run and

After completing the seeding race we moved on to the first championship race, the Team Giant Slalom.Tension in the finish area rose when Cpl Atkinson of 7 AA Bn REME was disqualified after the second run, but his team still emerged the winners by a margin of nearly four seconds ahead of 2 AAC.In the individual race the following day Cpl Atkinson made sure of his result and won by almost two seconds from Cpl McMahon of 2 RTR, with Capt Carrick of 19 Regt RA third. Another day of ideal conditions for the SuperG, and the athletes produced the closest finish of the championships, Cpl Atkinson only four hundredths of a

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business into all-terrain vehicles as well as eye protection. Clearly their sponsorship in 2008 paid off!.

been taken down the mountain in a barquette, he finished 18th, ten places ahead of his start position. In the team results 7 AA Bn REME won by a clear margin,with 27 Regt RLC second and Oxford UOTC repeating last year’s third place.

Once again there was some outstanding competitive skiing both between individuals and teams. Lt Col Stevens achieved a clean sweep of the individual races for the Veteran’s Combination, and Lt Dactler of 14 Regt RA took the Ladies prize by a close margin from OCdt Johnstone of ULOTC. The team results were particularly closely fought in 4 Division, with KRH narrowly beating Oxford UOTC for third place.Sadly the decision to transfer 2 Division Regular Army teams to Les Contamines meant that the Scottish Transport Regiment (Volunteers) were unable to defend last year’s win, and they decided not to enter as a hors concours team.The overall winners were 7 AA Bn REME by a long way, and following the example of the Light Dragoons last year, their team captain Cpl Atkinson taking the individual combination by an enormous margin.

With perfect conditions so far, light snow and cloud kept the start referee busy checking whether he could see three gates for the Slalom, but fortunately the conditions remained fairly constant throughout the races and luck played no greater role than normal. This year we benefited from having a new World Cup standard course-setter, who managed to set flowing, rhythmic courses to challenge the whole field without defeating the lower seeds. This appeared to make little difference to Cpl Atkinson who won both Team and Individual races by at least 2 seconds.19 Regiment RA repeated last year’s second place team, not having to rely on their fourth member for the first time. For the second year we received generous sponsorship from EPS UK Ltd, and congratulate them on expanding their MOD

This year we had two disabled skiers from the BattleBack programme taking part in their first divisional championship. Both elected to compete hors concours but their performance raised the question of whether disabled skiers should compete as team members in the future. In a debate rather reminiscent of the question about female team members 15 years ago, the issue seems to reflect the differing aims of civilian competition, essentially an individual sport, and Army skiing which emphasises the value of team racing. The problem with including disabled skiers in a team is that falling is a greater problem for a disabled skier, and they cannot climb back up to complete a missed gate. Potentially this could be overcome by allowing a re-run in the event of a fall, perhaps with a limit of two or three attempts. I hope this can be resolved in time for next season. It was pleasing to see that four UOTCs entered this year,some with both male and female teams. The TA were represented by only two teams again, which must represent a missed opportunity for many units. A brief straw poll indicated that over 80% of competitors had deployed on operations in the past 12 months or expected to do so in the next 12 months, so it would appear that alpine racing is making a contribution to the right people.

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Nordic EX RUCKSACK 2009 Brigadier John McIntosh Exercise RUCKSACK, the British National, Inter Services, and Army Biathlon & Cross Country Championships were held in their entirety in Obertilliach, Austria following the success of holding the first week there last year.Obertilliach is a charming mountain village in the Pustertal region of the Ost Tirol. It does have some downhill skiing for those called towards the “dark side”, (mentioning no names but he has four stars on his flag!) but its’ crowning glory is an excellent European Cup standard biathlon stadium designed by one of the world’s finest ever exponents of the sport, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Conditions in Obertilliach were exceptional but heavy snow falls caused challenging journeys for the teams which had qualified from the divisional meetings at Serre Chevalier and Les Contamines and much backache for the organizing committee - digging out vehicles, ranges and stadium routes. However, everything started on time and the Burgermeister and town of Obertilliach gave the athletes a tremendously warm welcome on the evening of Friday 23 January. The athletes paraded into the town square, with snow falling and the village band playing, to cheers from many of the local inhabitants. An Olympic style flame was lit by LCpl Pete Beyer, 28 Engr Regt, 2008 junior champion who, in his first year as a senior, has qualified for the GBR World Cup team and Sgt Adele Walker. Fortunately we had perfect cold clear conditions and firm ski tracks for the first race the following day - the biathlon sprints, which set the scene with some exciting individual races and

surprising results although it has to be said that the world cup team had just returned from the Antholz World cup so would have been tired. The sprint event consists of three 2.5 to 3.5 km loops, depending on the race, with a prone and standing shoot of five rounds each.World Cup skier, Bdr Simon Allanson, 40 Regt RA GB, beat LCpl Lee Jackson, the UK No 1,with a very fast ski, completing two penalty loops compared to LCpl Jackson who shot clear. 3 RHA won the team event with 28 Engr Regt coming second and the favourites 1LSR in third place which set the scene for an exciting team competition. Capt Alanda Scott RE Ladies, a newcomer to the World Cup, pushed the UK Nos 1 and 2, Sgt Emma Fowler, 1 LSR RLC, and Sgt Adele Walker, 29 Regt RLC, into second and third place with a typically powerful ski and surprisingly the best shooting of the three.The ladies’ team race was about the only event that went to form with the RLC Ladies taking the honours with the AGC second and RE third. Not surprisingly, with their depth of skiers the Army beat the RAF. Sunday saw the Biathlon Mass Start which consists of five ski loops and two prone and two standing shoots. Conditions were again perfect with General Sir Richard Dannatt, President of the AWSA, and Air Vice Marshall Leeson, President of the CSWSA, starting the races by firing a very impressive and noisy cannon proudly supplied by the Burgermeister of neighbouring Untertilliach. Again the races produced a number of surprising results although a few of the national team had taken the decision to rest in preparation for forthcoming events.SSgt Marc

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Alanda Scott 28 Engr Regt, Sgt Emma Fowler 1 LSR RLC, Sgt Adele Walker 29 Regt RLC, LCpl Amanda Lightfoot AGC, LCpl Lee Jackson 2 Yorks (Green Howards), Bdr Simon Allanson 40 Regt RA, Bdr Kevin Kane 40 Regt RA, LCpl Marcel Laponder 35 Engr Regt and LCpl Pete Beyer 28 Engr Regt. Wednesday 29 January saw another bright day and perfect conditions for the Biathlon Relays. We were again privileged to have a world class guest skier, Nathalie Santer-Bjoerndalen, wife of the world No 1 Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and herself an ex World cup racer who went off first for the European HC men’s team. The men’s race was very close with the first four teams staying within seconds of each other until the fourth handover when the GB Team Coach Sgt Jason Sklenar MBE, 28 Engr Regt RE, took control with some fast skiing and clear shooting. Eventually 28 Engr Regt won by a minute over the European HC team followed by 3 RHA who had led for the first half of the race with 1 LSR fourth which must have been, for them, a disappointing result. The ladies’ race went very much to form with the RLC Ladies clear favourites. Despite better shooting, the AGC, RE and RAF Ladies were not able to make up for the much stronger skiing by the RLC who had two GB skiers in their team. The final running order was RLC, AGC, RE then RAF. This concluded the Biathlon races and led into the first of the Cross Country races and the arrival of civilian junior club skiers. The first race on Saturday 31 January started with the Cross Country Classical, again in good snow conditions, albeit very cold and cloudy.These races ran more to form than the Biathlon had with Bdr Kevin Kane, 40 Regt RA, LCpl Pete Beyer, 28 Engr Regt RE and SSgt Marc Walker, 1LSR RLC, taking the men’s 15km honours ahead of 3 RHA and 28 Engr Regt.In the women’s 10km, Capt Alanda Scott 28 Engr Regt triumphed over Sgt Adele Walker 29 Regt RLC followed by another strong run by Olwen Thorn, Huntly NSC and Capt Tanya Noakes, Oxford UOTC(V). As expected, the RLC Ladies won the team event followed by AGC Ladies then RE Ladies. The next day 3 cm more snow fell, to cover the tracks and make heavy going for the Cross Country Pursuit races. The Cross Country Pursuit is a mass start with competitors beginning a classical circuit then coming into a transition area to change skis and complete the second circuit in skating style.It is traditionally fast and furious, and entertaining viewing for the spectators. As many of the recognised racers had opted to take a rest day, there were new names on the podium.In the men’s event, the honours went to Andrew Liebner, the guest racer from Alaska. The first Service racers were Pte Carl Kelly, 1 LSR, LCpl Scott Cassidy 8 Regt RLC, followed by the old man of the slopes, WO2 Paddy Paton 3 UK Div & Sig Regt.The story was the same in the ladies’race with Olwen Thorn taking first place followed by Lt Clare Brooks RE Ladies, Capt Clare Abel RLC Ladies then SSgt Jennifer Rudge REME Ladies. Gnr Ryan Solan 1 RHA won the Junior men’s and LCpl Lee Simpson, 27 Regt RLC the Senior Novice’s race.

Walker, one of the national team coaches, rediscovered his old form, taking first place with the luxury of waving to the spectators when he saw his nearest competitors head for the penalty loops as he left the range for the final time with a clear shoot. Bdr Simon Allanson followed him home by 26 seconds but had been let down with a poor shoot and had to complete 10 penalty loops compared to SSgt Walker’s four.Andrew Liebner, from Alaska, came in third after skiing eleven penalty loops with LBdr Chudley of 3RHA coming in fourth having missed 7 shots.In the ladies’ competition it was a similar story with Capt Tanya Noakes of Oxford UOTC (V) coming in first ahead of GB Team member Olwen Thorn of Huntley NSC leaving an interesting selection decision for the GB team selectors. Leading Service racers were Flt Lt Fay Potton third, Cpl Nerys Jones, AGC Ladies fourth, and LCpl Eadie McCreadie, RLC Ladies fifth. With everything in the mix there was keen anticipation for the Biathlon individual events on Tuesday 27 January.The men were due to run 20km and the women12.5km, but the men’s race was reduced to 17.5km due to heavy snow falls overnight which continued into the afternoon leaving soft powder conditions and a very challenging course.Again leading the way was SSgt Walker a minute ahead of Bdr Allanson 40 Regt RA, followed a minute later by Bdr Kevin Kane 40 Regt RA, all three hitting 75% on the range. For the women’s race, the conditions were clear but the tracks remained soft. In resort taking a rest from the World Cup was Olga Medvedtseva, the Russian Biathlon Olympic Pursuit Gold medallist of 2002 and multiple medal winner in world championships and world cup events.Olga led the way finishing 4 mins ahead of the field with 4 missed shots. Sgt Adele Walker followed with 5 missed shots which she gained on one shoot where she hit 5 targets but unfortunately all on the wrong lane. Had she shot on the correct lane she would have been the first female home. Sgt Emma Fowler with 7 missed shots came next, followed by Olwen Thorn and Capt Tanya Noakes. These races were the final races before national selection for the team to go to the World Championships in Korea.The successful qualifiers for the GB team were announced the next day: Capt

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That night saw another of the intermediate prize-giving ceremonies in the town centre under the Championship flame. GBR Biathlon squad selections were also announced with Cpl Paul Birmingham 1 RTR, LCpl Ben Woolley 17 P&M Regt RLC and Gnr Ryan Solon 1 RHA selected for the National Squad and the following for the National Development Squad 2009 (* denoting “Advanced NDS”): 29 Indep Cdo Sqn RE: Spr Ben Cottom 28 Engr Regt: Spr Ash Ashworth, Spr Si Stalgis 17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC: LCpl Chris Pfleiderer, Pte Jack Adams, Pte Kieran Simmons 2RTR: Tpr Dan Fuller 4 CS Bn REME: Cfn Ollie Parker-Grater, Cfn Carl Gibson 27 Regt RLC: LCpl Lee Simpson SEME: Cfn Josh Potter, Cfn Dan Reason 35 Engr Regt: Spr Alex Ferguson 1 LSR RLC: Pte Stuart Young, Pte Matt Haslam* Pte Carl Kelly* 2 CS Bn REME: Cfn Nathan Williams, Cfn Aaron Taylor RAF: SAC Frank Kelly 3 RHA: Gnr Steve Clarke 27 Regt RLC: Pte Benjamin Richardson 21 Engr Regt: Spr Andy Pendlebury 8 Regt RLC: Pte John Dunnett, Pte George Brown 2 RTR: Tpr Shaun Wadeson QRL: Tpr Jack Butterworth 1RTR (Jt CBRN Regt): Tpr Iain Bowen 33 Engr Regt EOD: Cfn Sean Bowen, LCpl Tom Fisher

fortunately the snow had stopped by the start of the race.The relay consists of the first two skiers skiing classical, the third and fourth skiing freestyle (skating).This is a race where the fittest prevail and 1LSR were clear winners followed by 1RHA then 8 Regt RLC. RLC won the ladies’race, followed by the RAF, with RE Ladies third. As ever, the events culminated with the blue-riband Patrol Race organised by old stalwarts Lt Col (Retd) Graham Wilding and his sidekick WO2 (Retd) Ted Mullen. This race is 30km for men and 20km for women of classic skiing on and off tracks, testing route navigation, team leadership and shooting, with some command tasks to add to the mix. Bergens are carried by all members of the team with a total team weight of 40kg. They have to pass through a Senior Officer’s Inspection before starting. This year, the inspecting officer should have been Brig John McIntosh, performing one of his last duties as Chairman of Army Nordic, but he was trapped in the UK by snow there! The inspection was instead conducted by the exercise COS, Lt Col Kevin Solly who was awarded a penalty himself for wearing the wrong cap badge. With heavy snowfalls over the preceding three weeks, the snow was neck-deep where the course deviated from the marked route.. The stands included shooting, standing and prone, supported and unsupported, a general knowledge and an observation stand (where the patrol was monitoring two warring factions in a cease fire situation), and a casualty evacuation task. RE Ladies were clear winners of the Ladies’ Patrol over RLC and REME. In the men’s it was much closer with 1LSR having to catch up 4 mins and 8 mins over 3RHA and 28 Regt RLC after some poor shooting which eventually they did, to win by less than a minute over 3RHA, the closest result for many years, followed by 8 Regt a further 6 minutes behind. As the final overall results were calculated, 1LSR despite a slow start managed eventually to come home as Overall Army Nordic Team champions taking both the Kentish & SAS Cups as Champion Army & Inter Service Team, over their closest rivals 3 RHA. However this was a very close call with both teams finishing with the same number of points, 1LSR finally taking it because they won the Patrol Race with less than a minute to spare. With their Alpine team taking all the Alpine races, 1 LSR clearly collected the ultimate prize, the Princess Marina Cup for the champion skiing unit of the British Army 2009. RLC Ladies completed the set for the RLC by taking the top podium as the champion ladies Nordic team. The course, conditions, races, facilities, accommodation and the very warm welcome provided by the mayor and town of Obertilliach resulted in the teams giving a universal thumbs up for the venue and this year’s championships. In 2010 Ex RUCKSACK will be held in Ruhpolding from 20 January – 4 February with a return to Obertilliach scheduled for 2012.

Ladies: REME RLC AGC AMS RA

Cfn Jenna Beddoe, LCpl Brogan O’Brien, Cfn Kirsty Singleton Pte Roxy Masters, Pte Emma Cope LCpl Eadie McCreadie* Lt Mel Vaggers, Cpl Nerys Jones* LCpl Tash Patton Gnr Sam Wilson, LCpl Hannah May

Monday 2 February saw the snow continuing to fall and in the evening we had the prize money event, the Meggitt Super 16 floodlit knockout sprints. The undulating 1 km course was universally popular, starting in the floodlit arena before moving on to the middle part, lit by flaming torches, and into the woods and over two bridges.This race is very fast. Only the fastest skiers enter, with the two quickest in each leg going on to the next rounds until the final four skiers race for the largest cash prize. A few misjudged the far corner and ended up off the course in deep snow holes under the trees and needed help from the officials to extract themselves.The big cash winners were LBdr Rob Chudley 3 RHA, Olwen Thorn, Huntley NSC and Gnr Ryan Solan 1RHA.The evening events finished with the competitors making a random draw to decide the starting position for Thursday’s Patrol Race. All were up early for the start of the Cross Country Relays,10km for the men and 5km for the ladies.The snow was still falling so there was some trepidation as everyone realised the conditions would be heavy. So it turned out, with the course quite soft, but

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EX SPARTAN HIKE NORDIC Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bromley Gardner

Joy upon joy – the snow conditions in January 2009 bettered even those of 2008, which themselves I claimed to be “perhaps the best for many a year”. This was topped off by fantastic, clear skies and a strong sun, giving both a firm base to the snow tracks and an effortless tan to all competitors and officials. Not that it was all plain sailing – right on cue for the Military Patrol Race, the weather broke and new snowfalls made for a physical course -just what the doctor ordered.

both competitors and organisers) and building up throughout the programme to a hard individual biathlon over 10km. The three cross country events (those without shooting) used some variations on a relatively new track, looping backwards and forwards across the side of valley in good view of most spectators. Those who skimped on a full course inspection found it difficult to remember quite where they were on the course, due to the similar loops and turns in a totally white landscape; the major descent back towards home gained in speed during each race and the more technically proficient gained significant time. For the biathlon courses we returned to the homologated track which does not allow much variation: however, a quite innocuous-looking hill tests skiers’fitness, with many a heart thumping furiously from the exertion before a good long descent into the range, where coolness and calm is required for accuracy.

227 soldiers (131 Regular and 96 TA) came to challenge themselves and each other in these great conditions. With 2nd Division units moving to the PIPEDOWN Championships, and allowing for the level of operational commitments, this implies that participation in divisional nordic skiing competitions remains as strong as ever: it obviously ‘ticks the boxes’ in commanding officers’ minds for the allocation of unit resources during the winter – great for downtime morale, as well as personal development of physical fitness, stamina, determination and leadership. The impact of operational commitments was evidenced by 3 PARA being the only Infantry representatives (and even they had returned from Afghanistan just weeks earlier): the days of many units and individuals being available to ski every winter are long past, and a significant number of competitors, Regular and TA, were expecting to be deployed on operations during winter 2009/10 – we look to see you all safely back at SH 2011.

The full results are still available on www.spartanhike.co.uk, but the main prize-winners were: 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC retaining the overall Combination Championship, winning every event; 131 Independent Commando Squadron RE(V) regaining the TA Championship, coming second overall in every event except the Individual Biathlon; 29 Regt RLC retained the Women’s Championship, sharing honours, until the Military Patrol Race, with a guest team from the REME; and Oxford UOTC swept to the front of the other four UOTCs in all the TA Women’s events. The battle for minor places in the Championships was marred by illness, both immediately prior to and during the championships, and there was little to choose between 27 Regiment RLC, SEME, with a majority of Phase 2 trainees, and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, but eventually they finished in that order, decided by the Military Patrol Race. Again, eleven regiments qualified to compete at the Army Championships, with the completely novice teams from 47 Regiment RA and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment both going through as the GOC’s selection. 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V) also went to compete in the SAS Cup, as a TA unit is not allowed to compete in the Army Championships.

So we organised the standard programme of competitions as planned, starting with a short Novice race (which serves to settle

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In the individual categories, LCpl Ben Woolley (17 P&M Regt RLC), with a particularly outstanding 15km Classic performance, moved up one place from last year to become Champion; Cpl Birmingham (1 RTR) capped a fine fortnight in which he was promoted as Runner-Up, winning the Individual Biathlon; Spr Ben Cottam, a regular soldier with 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V), was the leading Junior, in 3rd place overall, nipping ahead of last year’s leading junior Gnr Solon (1 RHA), in 5th overall and Tpr Dan Fuller (2RTR) in 7th;WO2 Paddy Paton (APTC attached HQ 3 (UK) Div) was again the top Veteran, in 4th overall (same as 2008), ahead of WO2 Butters (SEME) in 6th. The top Novice and Youth (under 19) was Cfn Josh Potter (SEME). The TA Champion was again 2Lt Simon Long (Exeter UOTC), just 4 seconds (over 87 minutes) ahead of Spr Craig Gibbs (131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V)) with the veteran Sgt Andy Moxon (HAC) again in 3rd place; JUO Rollo Sparkes (Oxford UOTC) was again the leading Junior and LCpl Robert Cowan (131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V)) the best Novice.

selfless efforts are the foundation without which none of the above would be possible. As ever, more retired ski competitors are required to ensure that we can maintain the standard of competition as the old and bold pass on – don’t be reticent, we all learnt ‘on the job’.

In the Women’s Combination Championships there was a significant improvement in the overall standard and 24 qualified to represent their Corps at the Army Championships. However there was no-one who could get close to Capt Tania Noakes (Oxford UOTC), a veteran skier in the TA, who has done so much to bring along her male and female UOTC skiers. SSgt Jennifer Rudge (REME) was the leading Regular soldier, followed by Lt Lucy Davis (17 P&M Regt RLC) and Capt Claire Abel (29 Regt RLC), both being Novice skiers. Pte Roxy Masters (29 Regt RLC) was the best Junior. The TA Runner Up was SUO Rose (Oxford UOTC) and 2Lt Wetherill (Southampton UOTC) the leading Novice.

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Army Telemark Skiing EX TITAN – Rauris 2009 Major John Carey-Hughes In January, ATSA completed its’ second successful Telemark Championships in the Austrian resort of Rauris.This year around 80 racers competed in the three race disciplines (Classic, SprintClassic and GS), with all races conducted in accordance with FIS rules. Although a British Army event, all three services were represented and the championships also doubled as the Navy Telemark championships - thus bringing strong competition for the Inter-Service prizes. In addition there was representation from the Austrian, Danish and Slovenian National Telemark teams as well as a military team from the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. Norwegian, Danish and Slovenian military representatives also observed the championships with a view to participation in 2010.

competed in the first of two development races, a Sprint Classic. The best of the novice skiers joined the top seeds in the Championship Races whilst the remainder completed another 4 days of tuition before finishing with a shortened Classic run straight after the Championship Classic. The Championship races were conducted as a Sprint Classic, held on the steep and icy Kreuzboden Piste.The Telemark GS and Classic were held on last year’s piste, the rather more forgiving Waldarm.The competition was stiff throughout the week and the Combined Champion result was very dependant on the final race.The weather provided perfect conditions for racing throughout except for the last day (the Classic) but the standard of racing was a significant step forward from last year.Despite the bad visibility the Classic made for a challenging final day and many newcomers discovered just how exhausting but rewarding Telemark racing is.

To help grow the sport, the championships are designed to cater for all levels of experience, from newcomers who have never before had the pleasure of free-heel skiing, through to experienced racers from the World Cup circuit. After an initial week of tuition, and the necessary seeding race, novices

The winners of the Pery Skis for the Individual Champion were Maj Andrew Clarke RA in the men’s competition and Lt Rachel Morgan RN in the women’s competition. 28 Engr won the Army Unit trophy, the Limerick Cup and the prize for the Champion Inter-Service Team remained in Army hands for another year. A

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services running a combined championship in Rauris and then selecting teams to race at the Inter-Service Ski, Snowboard and Telemark Championships (ISSTC) in Meribel 2010 where it is hoped a number of other national Military teams will join us. Beyond that the support from Snowsport England and Snowsport GB bodes well and we hope to develop the championships into the British Championships.

summary of the key results can be found below and a full breakdown of race results can be found on the ATSA website. After the racing in Rauris, Maj Andrew Clarke RA, Maj Huan Davies RM, Flt Lt Pat Mitchell RAF, Lt Rachel Morgan RN and CPO Paul Treanor RN went on to race at the World Cup and World Championships with the GB team. The future of Telemarking in the Army continues to look bright and the sport is set to grow from the solid foundations laid down over the last two years. Due to operational reasons many competitors from 2008 were unable to attend this year and approximately 60% of the 2009 racers were new to the Telemark racing scene.This influx of new skiers bodes well for next season and the future. Nonetheless, the long term development of the sport will be reliant on gaining “Recognised� status and the committee continue to work towards this goal in order to help competitors reduce costs and place Telemark on the same level as Alpine and Nordic skiing. Plans for next season see all three

Both the championships, and the GB team, rely heavily on the generosity of our sponsors without whom the event would not be able to take place and particular thanks must be given to Towergate Wilson, Mabway, Paramo, General Motors and Volvo. Thanks also go to the people of Rauris, and especially the Tourist Office, for their hard work, kindness and goodwill. We look forward to seeing you in Rauris next year! For further information please visit the ATSA website: http://www.telemark.army.mod.uk/

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SSGT (SSI) J Craig APTC On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month I had the honour to stand 3000 meters above sea level in the Austrian Alps with five motivated and extremely inspiring winter athletes. They were not there for themselves, or to gain sympathy for their disabilities. They were there to remember fallen friends and those whom they considered less fortunate - the ones who had made the ultimate sacrifice. It started with a suggestion from Major Dennis Ledger and a phone call from Major Ian Large which broke down the barriers between the skiing and snowboarding fraternities and allowed me to join the Combined Service Ski Team Training Camp. I was the obvious choice being in the Army Physical Training Corps and trained as an RI (Remedial Instructor) as well as being a BASI snowboard instructor. Or perhaps nobody else was available! Nevertheless the idea was to establish a snowboard instructor at the camp so that, in the future, when a disabled snowboarder came along there would be provisions for them which had been highlighted earlier in the year at a camp in Bavaria. At first I thought I might be a redundant member of the group as I am not a skier nor trained to coach disabled snow sports. This apprehension thankfully was short lived when I saw first hand that the aid required was not solely on the mountain and certainly not just based around ski tuition. Simple tasks were hurdles that had never crossed my mind:: how does a man with no legs carry his breakfast from the kitchen to the diner? Or how does a man with only one functional arm cut up his food? On the mountain it was no different with many obstacles rearing their heads which were soon quashed by the enthusiastic helpers, coaches and indeed the athletes themselves. Once on the snow the administration pressures eased and the coaches were able to concentrate on teaching skiing whether that was on a single ski, sit ski or two skis. After watching the skiers for a while, I soon realised that they experienced the same problems that any ski or snowboard racer experiences:how do you get more power out of the plank? What is the racing line? Where should my body be in relation to this stick under my foot? Why do I turn better one way than the other? These are questions that all snow sport racers face and have to deal with.From that,I determined that the ski was simply just a really narrow snowboard and gave tips that I had picked up from ten years’snowboard racing.The advice worked and I would like to think that I made a positive impact on the athletes’ progression. It didn’t take long to form a relationship with the athletes and a bond.This was in part due to the low numbers of athletes but mostly because of their attitudes. Nobody felt sorry for themselves. In fact Rory Mckenzie, a three tracker, made a deal with me that should he ever blame his inability to ski on his disability then I was to throw a snowball at him…needless to say, I threw a lot of snowballs! There was no political correctness here,everyone’s disability was fair game and that included my bad snowboard attire which was the brunt of all jokes whenever I appeared at breakfast.The highlight for me had to be when inevitably someone told the story about how the injury was caused, only to be drowned out by the well known Radio 1 sob story tune that had been copied to everyone’s phones. If you complained of sore legs you would hear the quote“I wish I had legs”, which put into perspective how we sometimes complain about things that really don’t matter.This was the first time that I had been out on my snowboard without concentrating on racing or riding for myself on holiday.This was the first time that my descent down the mountain was not determined by the condition of the snow or which wax I had chosen the night before.I was not there for my own self-gratifying achievements.I was there to support and help others

and, if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure I was up to it. I wondered if I could actually be less selfish and pass up a powder day to side slide a slope helping others learn the basics. I shouldn’t have worried. I loved passing on what I had learned over the years and seeing other people improve at incredible speed due to their determination and back to basics ‘Forces Grit’. When the Camp ended, everybody had plans for the rest of the season.Steven Shine went off to the American version of BattleBack, Wounded Warrior. Capt Martin Hewitt went off to the able bodied Engineer Ski Camp, Sgt Mick Brennen was going to get a new sit ski and practise on that and the others departed to their various camps, all to meet again at the Combined Service Championships in Meribel three months later. I went off to coach the Royal Artillery and run an APTC Snowboard Camp in Hintertux and then compete at the Army Snowboard Championships hoping that I would be able to qualify for the Army Snowboard Team so that I would be able to meet up with the athletes, people I now considered, my friends. On arriving at the Army Snowboard Championships on the Stubai Glacier in Austria, I soon realised that re-qualifying for the team would not be easy.Age and injuries had taken their toll and the influx of a new breed of snowboarders caused a massive psychological barrier. These new guys were good, really good. On top of that it seemed their bodies were made of unbreakable composites, bending, twisting and shaking off impact as if it were twelve centimetres they had fallen from not twelve feet. If this was not enough, the championships were the biggest ever. 186 riders had registered of whom 114 were in the senior category.This meant that the tiniest of mistakes would result in giving up a place on the Army Snowboard Team and losing the opportunity to compete in Meribel. The first event was played out under brilliant blue skies with perfect racing conditions. The Parallel Giant Slalom is a game of speed, control and experience. While racing against your opposition, it is easy to forget to read the slope and judge the gates. I had a blinder and made the final, only to be beaten by the up and coming LCpl Kev Clarke, with Cpl Lee Robinson coming third. Since Kev Clarke subsequently spent the second half of the season on the GB Boarder Cross Development squad, I feel second was a reasonable effort! Capt Chrissie Elesmore and Cpl Sarah Marriot had an equally enthralling battle in the final, with Chrissie just taking it. LCpl Vicki Fox, back after a couple of years, finished third. It was at this point the weather intervened and forced the championships to move away from the programme.You expect one or two days of foul weather but six days were lost. All credit has to go to the committee who, day in day out, braved blizzard and temperatures below -20 to attempt to set a course in the hope that it might clear.We had two days of half good weather and squeezed in a full Slope Style competition and then attempted to complete the competition with the Boarder Cross. The Slope Style is probably the most open event in the competition as it is generally where the new lads with no race experience show that being a ne’er-do-well on a skate board through childhood does count. The favourite, Sgt Ben Shropshire lived up to his reputation

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and won with front flips and lazy big 3s. The young and mad Spr Paul Crawshore and calm and measured Capt Chris Brown came a joint second. Capt Dani Stone was a revelation in the ladies’ event, bigger, smoother and with more rotation than most of the men! Cpl Sarah Marriot and Capt Chrissie Elesmore came in behind her. The committee almost managed to squeeze in the last event despite wretched conditions but sadly they could not get a team result. Instead a whacky knock competition with a grid of 120 people was organised.Boarder Cross is one of those events that can really produce a strange result with four to six people jostling to get down a bank run,over jumps and through gates.To be the first over the finish means that sometimes the favourite gets taken out before the first turn.This didn’t happen in the men’s event and LCpl Kev Clarke proved to be too strong for the rest.Sgt Ben Shropshire was cursing his slow PGS as he came second again and can only wonder whether he could have won the overall. Capt Ed Alderson did really well and came third. In the ladies’ event there was a great show from Gnr Gemma Cooper, who came good at the end to beat Cpl Sarah Marriott and Capt Chrissie Elesmore into second and third respectively. The Army Championships continue to grow and the assistance provided by Nissan Export with the provision of excellent 4x4s for the season and Dare2B providing prizes for the novices really help this happen. Luckily, my experience shone through and consistency rather than specialty in any one event allowed me to take overall second place and a position on the Army Team. At the Combined Service Championships in Meribel our first event was the Parallel Giant Slalom held under floodlights. I had only just made it into the top 16 at 15th and was unlucky enough to face Flt Lt Jim Smith RAF (another member of the Great Britain Development Squad) in my first round. On my first run down I was easily beaten and then faced an onslaught of abuse from Steve Shine and Mick Brennen for not living up to the standard that I had portrayed at their training camp. An outsider would have thought that there was only contempt towards me from these skiers, but I like to think that they respected and liked me enough to know that they could make fun of me at

the most inopportune moment! Whatever, they were there on the finish line watching and supporting me and the other competitors whenever their timetable allowed. I think it is fair to say I had probably peaked at the Army Championships.While I gave everything a good shot,the youngsters were clearly firing on all cylinders. LCpl Kev Clarke won the PGS and Sgt Ben Shropshire won the Slope Style. Flt Lt Jim Smith from the RAF deserves a mention for winning the Boarder Cross..This was the only event that the Army did not win.Both as a team and individually we showed how far the Army has improved: Capt Dani Stone won the Slope Style and Boarder Cross, while Cpl Sarah Marriott won the PGS. The overall Men’s champion was LCpl Kev Clarke and Ladies’ champion was Capt Dani Stone.The Army won every team event. Our last formal event of the season was the British National Snowboard Championships in Laax, as part of a combined services team. The British Championships are open to all and the UK’s top riders turn up to show their skills.The Army riders did well this year: Capt Dani Stone finished third in the open ladies’Boarder Cross and Lt Si Nicholson finished fifth. Capt Del Elesmore and I came second and third respectively in the Seniors’ Boarder Cross. It has been a fantastic season.Maybe I did not perform as well as I had in previous years, but I felt I had achieved more. I started the season providing support to disabled servicemen who, in some cases, had never been on snow, and finished by being supported by the same disabled skiers in combined services’ racing. I have a huge respect for those I have met through the initial camp including the helpers and coaches. It was great to see that the work that Steve Shine, Mick Brennen and Martin Hewitt had put in had paid off and their skiing abilities improved ten fold by the time they reached Meribel. The problems they now face are not disability based but racing based like the rest of us.The question will not be:“How do I get down the hill with one leg or no legs?” It will be:“How do I win?”Then, when they fall whilst racing, as we all do, they won’t hear excuses made for them because of their disabilities. They will hear me shouting….“That’s racing”!


CRESTA Captain Richard Morgan RWxY

consistent riding in The Lord Trenchard Trophy (individual competition for riders competing in the Prince Philip Trophy), coming sixth and twelfth respectively. The Army fared significantly better in the Harland Trophy (the handicapped competition from Top for Reservists, retired personnel, and those who haven’t been selected for their Service team). After an extremely close competition Captain Will Snook formerly RHG/D, Captain Richard Morgan RWxY, and Captain The Lord Wrottesley formerly Gren Gds came first, second and third respectively, separated by only 0.28 secs. The Silver Spoon competition (the handicapped competition from Junction for all serving or retired personnel who aren’t qualified or are too old to ride from Top) was won by a retired RN officer, with Maj Robin Hitchcock formerly Sherwood Foresters coming second, and Captain Tom Perrott KRH coming third.

Inter-Services Championships For the second year running, the Army was only able to produce a much depleted squad in St Mortiz.The Scots DG were the only Regular Regiment to produce a team during Army Junction week, and as a result the Army Junction Championships on 23 January were cancelled,although the TA Championships were still able to take place on the same day. Due to lack of competitors the Army Top Championships were also cancelled the following week.

It is very much hoped that more serving Army personnel will be given the opportunity to compete on the Cresta Run next year, in order to allow the Army Championships to take place, and to increase its’number of riders qualified to ride from Top thus giving the Army a chance of regaining its hold on the Prince Philip Trophy.

The KRH produced a team, their first appearance on the Cresta Run in years, to compete in Inter-Services week, and it is hoped that some of them will return next year to compete in the Army Junction Championships and hopefully qualify to go from Top.

Results of all competitions are reproduced below.

With just two Regular Army riders in St Moritz qualified to ride from Top (Colonel Rupert Wieloch late QRL and Captain Simon Brayn-Smith Scots DG) it was looking extremely doubtful that the Army would even be able to raise a team to compete in the Inter-Services. Following some personal coaching, along with a certain amount of determination (no-doubt encouraged by peer-pressure!), Captain Jamie Irwin Scots DG went from Top a few days before the Inter-Services on a Traditional (as opposed to Flat-top) toboggan, taking the Army Team up to three riders.

THE PRINCE PHILIP TROPHY 1. The Royal Navy 2. The Royal Air Force 3. The Army

525.97 531.32

THE LORD TRENCHARD TROPHY Wg Cdr T.J. Hill RAF, NASOC RAF High Wycombe 2 Sgt I.D. Breeze RM 3 Wg Cdr A.D. Green OBE RAF Directorate of Air Staff MOD 4 Sgt R.C. King, Joint School of Adventurous Training Instructors 5 Gp Capt T.D.Q. Below RAF, Chief Test Pilot MOD Boscombe Down 6 Capt S.R. Brayn-Smith, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards 7 WO2 C. Birkby RN Joint Force Harrier 8 Sqn Ldr D.K. Sington RAF No 111(F) Sqn RAF Leuchars 9 PO O.W. Dale, Naval Strike Wing 10 Flt Lt J.N. Murray RAF Station Intelligence Flight RAF Brize Norton 11 Wg Cdr G.C. Cook RAF Operations Directorate MOD 12 Lt J. St G. Irwin, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Maj J.A.E. Summers RM Col W.R. Wieloch late the Queen’s Royal Lancers 2nd Lt J.P. McElvenney RM

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

58.08 58.71

57.98 57.77

57.11 57.80

173.17 174.28

58.95

58.02

57.73

174.70

59.82

59.17

59.05

178.04

60.05

59.13

58.92

178.10

59.46

59.94

59.41

178.81

59.72

58.82

60.46

179.00

60.27 62.10

60.06 60.00

59.09 59.84

179.42 181.94

62.13

60.44

59.98

182.55

61.20

64.74

61.86

187.80

67.72 58.17

67.59 58.09

68.03 Fall(S)

203.34

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Services’ Cresta teams are meant to be“teams of six riders whose best four riders’times count”,so the Army was still some way short. However,the Cresta Secretaries of the other Services kindly agreed to amend the rules to “teams of up to six riders whose best three riders’times counted”, in order to enable the Army to take part. The Championships were held on 29 January. With a cold night (-8 degrees C), followed by an overcast start to the morning with speckles of frost in the air, the Run would be faster than it had been during the training period leading up to the Championships. With only three riders, one of whom had only gone from Top for the first time a few days earlier, the Army was at a significant disadvantage. The only way they could win the Prince Philip Trophy (the Service team competition) would be for none of their riders to fall, and for the aggregate of their times to be less than the aggregate times of the fastest three riders from each of the other Services’ teams of six (both of which had been selected from a larger pool of qualified riders). The first Army rider of the morning was Colonel Rupert Wieloch who, appropriately for a Queen’s Royal Lancer, went for a Death or Glory approach. Unfortunately he fell at Shuttlecock, only his second fall in 22 yrs, and the Army was thus disqualified from the Prince Philip Trophy. The RN, attempting to win the Prince Philip Trophy for the third year running, led for the first two courses, with the RAF following extremely close behind. Disaster struck the RN when their Team Captain, Major Jamie Summers RM, fell on the third course after some very courageous riding. The RAF seized the opportunity and went on to win.

Fall(S) Fall(S)

THE AUTY SPEED CUP (Fastest Time in the Services Event) Wg Cdr T.J. Hill RAF: 57.1 Pilot Courses: Lt Cdr A. Mills RN (Retd) 59.25 Lt J-N. Prade (Retd) 65.49

Captains Simon Brayn-Smith and Jamie Irwin produced some

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THE HARLAND TROPHY (Top Handicap) 31 January 2009 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

H’cap 3.30 6.50 Scr 9.50 7.50 7.50 2.00 2.00 8.50 3.50 7.00 6.50 2.00 2.00 3.70

Capt W.H.A.G. Snook, The Blues & Royals (Retd) Capt R.M. Morgan, Royal Wessex Yeomanry Capt The Lord Wrottesley, Grenadier Guards (Retd) Sqn Ldr P.G. Cochrane RAF, No 30 Sqn RAF Lyneham Maj J.R. Kelly, Scots Guards (Retd) Air Cdre S. Abbott CBE RAF, Commandant General RAF Regiment Surg Lt D.L. Potter RN, HMS DRAKE Flt Lt S.A. Brassington RAF, Station Flight RAF Northolt Col A.W.G. Snook OBE, The Parachute Regiment (Retd) Lt M.L. Child, 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles (Retd) Wg Cdr C.J. Gowers RAF (Retd) Flt Lt M.R. Adams RAF (Retd) Mne L.T. Kurpanik RM Mne J.G. Lavery RM Capt B.C. Ayling, Army Air Corps (Retd)

1st 55.97 59.80 52.32 65.67 65.13 65.08 71.48 77.33 62.29 56.13 60.79 60.70 61.80 69.67 56.27

2nd 55.56 58.33 52.64 63.57 61.58 62.30 68.22 72.32 61.10 57.28 Fall(S) Fall(S) Fall(S) Fall(S) Fall(S)

3rd 55.56 58.77 52.51 62.99 60.78 61.09 65.87 69.20 Fall(S) Fall(S)

Net Total 157.19 157.40 157.47 163.73 164.99 165.97 199.57 212.85

1st 52.31 51.08 54.81 54.86 58.45 57.65 58.30 63.68 81.22 57.12 50.85

2nd 50.33 51.69 53.25 53.86 56.77 55.83 54.88 60.27 82.85 56.09 48.80

3rd 49.20 51.23 51.43 53.79 54.63 54.89 56.66 58.02 66.30 Fall(S) Fall(S)

Net Total 147.34 151.00 151.99 155.01 157.85 156.37 160.84 175.97 224.37

Fastest Time of Race and Season: Capt The Lord Wrottesley: 52.32

THE SERVICES SILVER SPOON (Junction Handicap) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

H’cap Lt A.T. Jeans RN, (Retd) 1.50 Maj R.A. Hitchcock, Sherwood Foresters (45th/95th) (Retd) 1.00 Capt T.H.M. Perrott, King’s Royal Hussars 2.50 Maj N.J. D’Ambrumenil, Life Guards (Retd) 2.50 Capt M.R. Harrison, King’s Royal Hussars 4.00 Lt N.A.P. Beattie, King’s Royal Hussars 4.00 Capt M.R. Farrage RN, HMS TEMERAIRE 3.00 Air Mshl Sir Barry Thornton KCB, Chief of Materiel (Air) 2.00 Capt J.E. Clark, 1/52 Lowland Brigade (Retd) 2.00 Lt R.M. Adkin, King’s Royal Hussars 3.50 Maj Gen A.R.D. Pringle CBE, Royal Green Jackets (Retd) Scr Fastest Time of Race: Maj Gen A.R.D. Pringle 48.80

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EX CRESTA – TA Championships Lt Giles Fearn RWxY It started with an innocuous e-mail in mid December saying that, in less than five weeks, you too could be hurtling head first down an icy run in the not so expensive alpine resort of St Moritz participating in the TA Cresta Championships, the organisation of a separate TA Championships being necessary this year as the TA were not permitted to participate in the Army Championships. So it was that 8 members of the TA found both the time and finances.The final roll for the Championships was 2 x RWxY, 2 x HAC, 2 x RY, 1 x 7 RIFLES and 1 x RMLY with a mix of both officers and OR’s. Considering the time of year and short notice this was not a bad turn out. The Cresta Run is a hand built natural toboggan run that follows a small valley leading out of St Moritz and is managed by the St Moritz Tobogganing Club. This is a private members club that allows non-members to ride the run; rules abound, as do numerous traditions which all go to give the feel of being back at basic training! The pre-Championship training – or rather introduction to the sport for all except Capt Morgan RWxY – began at the ungodly hour of 0645hrs on a cold and overcast Monday morning with signing in and“the death talk”.This is a frank description of what

happens in the Club, the rules, the equipment and the danger, given by the Club Secretary. All the while he is overlooked by an x-ray montage of a skeleton showing the various injuries of members of the Club’s committee – it did seem that every possible bone had been broken at least once. We were then allocated our “Guru” and it was his duty to teach us the rudiments of riding the run and to help us get down in one piece. Armed with the most basic knowledge, equipment and toboggan, the moment arrived when you had to do it. The “Tower” calls your name, hand raised to acknowledge, track marshal helps lift the toboggan on to the start line, you lie down, dig the metal teeth on your boots into the ice and you stare down what appears to be a never ending ice tube that drops off into space. As you let go, you raise your feet and begin to accelerate away from the start, the toboggan seems to fight you all the way down the straight wanting to throw you into the solid ice walls – which it does. The noise of metal runners against ice increases as your speed rises. The first corner approaches, then the second and now the infamous Shuttlecock corner – some make it round, others don’t and end up thrown out of the run into rotting straw and soft snow - now you stop breaking and the toboggan hurtles down the run, the corners flashing by as your speed increases and then you are at Finish, exhilarated and strangely breathless.

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This ritual was then repeated two more times before the “Guru” left you to your own devices and you rode the run as often as time and money allowed, each time you went a little faster and enjoyed it a lot more. It was a case of trial and error to improve. The Run is only open in the mornings, before it gets too warm and the ice melts, so early starts were part of life for that week.

A full breakdown of competition results is below. The TA Championships – 23 January 2009

1

With the Championships’ day approaching most were making suitable progress as their times came down from an initial 70 odd seconds to around 55 seconds. The Championships consisted of 4 races, to be run concurrently over 3 timed runs (or courses as they’re referred to by the Club), made up of 2 individual and 2 pairs competitions, one of each of which was handicapped. Championships’day dawned with clear blue skies and a hard and fast run. LCpl Beauchamp HAC fell on his first course thus disqualifying him from the individual competitions, and meaning that he was under pressure not to fall again or the HAC pair would be disqualified from the Inter-Regimental Pairs Competition.

2 3 4 5 6 7

In the second course Lt Fearn RWxY experienced his first fall of the week thus disqualifying RWxY from the Yeomanry Cup. This took the pressure off the RY pair as it meant that they only had to complete 2 more courses each without falling in order to win the Cup, which they managed to achieve.

H’Cap Capt RM Morgan Royal Wessex Yeomanry Scratch Lt GB Fearn Royal Wessex Yeomanry 8.00 Lt OP Mulligan 10.00 Royal Yeomanry Lt MW Hodgkinson Royal Yeomanry 14.00 LCpl AI Anderson Honourable Artillery Company 9.00 LCpl IPM Beauchamp Honourable Artillery Company 18.50 Cpl DWF Phillips, RIFLES 18.50

1st

2nd

3rd

48.29

47.23

47.50

56.27

Fall(S)

54.57

55.60

56.74

54.67

59.67

62.18

60.06

55.41

57.03

54.04

Fall(S) 64.25

57.98 60.02

Fall(S) 64.13

Individual Open (3 courses) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

In the final course LCpl Beauchamp HAC fell again, thus disqualifying the HAC from the Inter-Regimental Pairs Competition. Although it was clear that the RY pair had also won the Inter-Regimental Pairs Competition, the result of the Individual Handicap Competition was much closer and it wasn’t until the prize-giving that the competitors knew where they had been placed.

Capt RM Morgan, Royal Wessex Yeomanry LCpl AI Anderson,, Honourable Artillery Company Lt OP Mulligan, Royal Yeomanry Lt MW Hodgkinson, Royal Yeomanry Cpl DWF Philips, RIFLES Lt GB Fearn, Royal Wessex Yeomanry LCpl IPM Beauchamp Honourable Artillery Company

143.02 166.48 167.01 181.91 188.40 Disqualified Disqualified

Individual Handicap (3 courses) 1. Cpl DWF Philips, RIFLES 2. Lt OP Mulligan, Royal Yeomanry 3. LCpl AI Anderson Honourable Artillery Company 4. Lt MW Hodgkinson, Royal Yeomanry 5. Capt RM Morgan, Royal Wessex Yeomanry Lt GB Fearn, Royal Wessex Yeomanry LCpl IPM Beauchamp, Honourable Artillery Company

Capt Morgan took the Individual Open prize, and the Royal Wessex Yeomanry came second in the Inter-Regimental Pairs Handicap competition; the Individual Handicap went to Cpl Philips from 7 RIFLES, with the RY winning both pairs competitions. The week was a great success much due to the hard work of Capt Morgan and the benefit to the Army of such adventure is beyond doubt. It is only to be hoped that more soldiers in the future can be offered the opportunity to experience the rush of riding down hill on a toboggan at up to 80 mph with your chin 6 inches from the ice.

132.90 137.01 139.48 139.91 143.02 Disqualified Disqualified

Inter-Regimental Pairs Handicap (2 courses) 1. Lt OP Mulligan and Lt MW Hodgkinson Royal Yeomanry 2. Capt RM Morgan and Lt GB Fearn Royal Wessex Yeomanry LCpl AI Anderson and LCpl IPM Beauchamp Honourable Artillery Company

182.00 189.57 Disqualified

Yeomanry Cup (Open Yeomanry Pairs – 3 courses) 1. Lt OP Mulligan and Lt MW Hodgkinson Royal Yeomanry Capt RM Morgan and Lt GB Fearn Royal Wessex Yeomanry Fastest Time of Competition: Capt RM Morgan, Royal Wessex Yeomanry

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348.92 Disqualified

47.23


SKELETON Major Pete McClellan

off to the track for an initial track walk. It was the first time that they had ever seen an ice track before. This was particularly daunting, especially as international athletes were training at the time, so the novices were able to witness some of the speeds that they would be experiencing by the end of the week. The skeleton group were then introduced to the equipment, the importance of strategic padding and balancing of the sleds.

What an up and down season! The old Drifters’ song “Up on the Roof” sprang readily to mind as I spent most of the season building my new house on the Welsh border near Hereford.This meant I had to rely on a number of others to hold the fort including Capt James Stuart SCOTS (now at the City of Edinburgh UOTC) my outgoing Secretary, his most able successor, Capt “B” Robson R SIGNALS, and WO1 (ASM) Steve Anson REME. We said farewell to WO2 Donna Leslie RLC on retirement from the Army and welcomed back Sgt “Robbo” Robson RE into the fold. Martyn and Diane at the AWSA office were infinitely patient. To all of you, a very heartfelt “thank you”. I could not have managed otherwise.

On the first day the novices entered the track at the Ladies Start, about three quarters of the way up. This allowed them to get used to the feeling of sliding but at half-speed. The following day, everyone moved to the top. This first run from the top is always the most intimidating as the students have experienced what it feels like to slide but now have the added fear of knowing that it will be so much faster.Despite some taking huge hits, both groups showed tremendous courage and were running off the top by day three, encouraging each other and using their shared experiences and fears to bond as a team. At the end of the week there were some spectacular bruises and good stories for the bar but, most importantly, this Ice Camp produced some very promising newcomers whom we hope will return next season.

This year’s Ice Sports Camp was held in Igls, Austria over two weeks from 4-17 January 2009 and we were inundated with volunteers willing to throw themselves down the ice track. Overall, seventy-nine novices attended over the two weeks, twenty trying Skeleton. After a very early flight the participants arrived at the Walzl hotel, Lans and received an arrival brief, and it was non-stop day from then on, They were split into the three disciplines and whisked

The next event was the Army Novice and Junior Skeleton

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championships which took place at Igls in the second week of February. Ten competitors made it to this event, including an interloper from the Channel Islands, with coaching provided by Sgt Robson and Capt Stuart. The event’s proximity to the Ice Camp meant that training got off to a flying start with the entire course starting straight from the top of the track on Day One not something we normally manage or encourage. This set the tone for an excellent week’s training, with all competitors developing considerably despite a couple of days of extremely heavy (40cm) snowfall. There was an equal split of novice and junior sliders on the course and all agreed to compete in one race and extract the results. As race day approached life became more serious and the competitors could be found polishing their runners late into the evening and making final preparations to their sleds. This was probably the best novice week’s competition held in the past five years and there was a great feel to the course, with the students all working together brilliantly, all desperate to develop their sliding further. Results were as follows: Novice Championships Novice Champion Runner-up

Lt James Nightingale RTR Capt Ed Stroud RAMC

Junior Championships Junior Champion Runner-up

SSgt Kev Pierce REME Capt Andy Stuart RAMC

Anson had to return to his unit before the event started and the Army team were left without a coach while the Royal Navy had hired in a GB international to coach and the RAF also had an experienced athlete for the whole event. A great disappointment was the lack of women athletes coming through the system, and we were unable to field a team for the ladies event.The results were as follows: 1st. 2nd. 3rd.

We do have the core of a potentially very good team, and already plans are under way which will see significant strides forward next season. A coaching course will be held at (but separate to) the Ice Camp. New equipment and clothing will be available to the Army team, there will be places on the Ice Camp for selected returners, a development week in addition to the competitions for those showing potential and gaps between events which allow time for both athletes to re-group before the next one. The planned programme (tbc) for next season is as follows:

The Army Championships were held in Cesana, Italy between 2 and 7 March, the week immediately prior to the Inter-Services competition. Cesana was a new track for us, having being built to host the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The track is unusually long, and ranks in the top third of tracks in terms of difficulty. The decision to expose relatively inexperienced athletes to this level of difficulty was not taken lightly and had our head coach, WO1 Anson, not been available, we may have had to go elsewhere. In the event, all the athletes showed a very high degree of commitment and courage despite some serious knocks. For Capt Ed Stroud RAMC, it was a particularly demanding time. His chin was stitched up after sliding skeleton in the morning and he did brakeman in the bob session in the afternoon. It was a tough week on a tough track. Army Champion Runner-up 3rd Place

Royal Air Force Royal Navy Army

31 Oct – 14 Nov 09

Ice Sport Camp in Calgary.

23 – 30 Jan 10

Development week in Winterberg.

1 – 6 Feb 10

Army Novice, Junior and Senior Championships in Igls.

4 – 13 Mar 10

Inter-Service Championships in Konigsee.

There is, of course, the added excitement of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. The Ice Sport events are taking place from 14 to 18 February and the Inter-Service dates have been planned to allow Service athletes competing at the OWG to get back in time to compete at Konigsee. There are 50 places available on each of the two weeks of the Ice Sport Camp, and these are broken down roughly as follows: 24 Bobsleigh, 13 Luge and 13 Skeleton. The costs to individuals will be approximately £600 (includes flights, hotel, track fees) but this can be subsidised by a £100 grant for those who are members of the Army Sports Lottery and the event also attracts CILOR. Commanding Officers have the ability to subsidise further their participants. General Montgomery founded the Army Winter Sports Association over 60 years ago as “an antidote to operations”. Surely these activities were never more relevant? Bids for places are welcomed from both individuals or units and can be made by emailing Maj Pete McClellan at breapplications@recruitinggroup.mod.uk . See you there.

Cpl Dave Manning R SIGNALS Capt James Nightingale RTR SSgt Kev Pierce REME

The Inter-Service Championships followed straight on and did not go as well for us as we had hoped. For the third year running, the Army team were beaten into third place by well-established RAF and RN teams. The RAF team were exceptionally athletic with a couple of national squad members and both the RN and RAF benefited from top quality equipment which is only used once or twice a year. Our equipment, though serviceable, was not competitive, and this will be redressed by next season.WO1

P.S.The house is finished….

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Luge Colonel John Saville The 2008/2009 Army Luge season consisted of three main events prior to the Inter-Services Championships: Ex RACING ICE I

The Army Ice Camp held in Igls 05 – 18 Jan 09 Ex RACING ICE II The Army Novice/Junior Champs in Igls, 16 – 22 Feb 09 Ex RACING ICE III The concurrent Army Senior Champs in Igls 16-22 Feb 09 The Ice Camp in Igls in January was once again a roaring success, with all 40 places for the three Ice disciplines filled. Of these, Luge filled eleven places both weeks in spite of Operations and other pressures on units. The weather conditions this year were perfect, and the track was in the best condition for a long time. We had two very good weeks novice training, which included a contingent of eight from the Irish Guards, who all put heart and soul into it, at the expense of some bruises (to skins, not egos).

Results: Army Championships 2008/2009

Three weeks later, we were back at Igls in Austria with the RAF and RN luge squads for a combined Single-Service luge championships. At the same time, Army Bobsleigh and Army Skeleton held their novice and junior championships in Igls, so it was truly combined event! The week coincided with Austria’s Fasching festival, which did not directly affect racing, but did produce some surprising costumes, and sore heads, amongst the locals.

1st 2nd

LBdr Mark Chandler, 3RHA (also Army Junior Champion) Capt Tor Gullan, 73 Engr Regt

Army Novice Championships 2008/2009 1st 2nd

Capt Tor Gullan, 73 Engr Regt Gdsm Ray Thompson, Irish Guards

For further details on Luge, contact: SSgt Graham Holmes, Secretary Army Luge on 01252348547 graham.holmes294@mod.uk

The Army races were tight, although in the end went to form, with LBdr Mark Chandler in his second season winning the Army Championship. Capt Tor Gullan and Gdsm Ray Thompson, who had both shown clear talent at the Novice Ice Camp three weeks previously, returned to take first and second place respectively in the Army Novice Championships. Capt Gullan also recorded the fastest ever time from Damen-Start for a novice.

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Army Bobsleigh Championships CESANA OLYMPIC TRACK TESTS THE METAL! Lieutenant Colonel Matt Perkin With only a few elite Army athletes having previously had the privilege to race on the new Italian Olympic track at Cesana Pariole since it opened for business three years ago, it was time to‘test the metal’for the majority of less experienced Army crews. The track was recently described by its’Italian designer and Head of Events, Ivo Ferriani, as an ‘unforgiving woman’. We never really knew what he meant. But we did know it had a fearsome reputation for both high speed and technical difficulty. Excellent! So with a detailed risk assessment and medical first aid facilities firmly in place, we embarked on this year’s championship, which turned out to be a steep learning curve for many. It was necessary for Army Bobsleigh and Skeleton to go to Cesana, high in the Italian Alps, not only to challenge our athletes with a new track – for some, well out of their comfort zone – but also to prepare and select the best Army Team possible for the Inter Service Championship the following week. So, as the plan began to swing into action, two trucks laden with bobs eventually arrived in Sestriere following a marathon trip from Northern Germany. Our thanks, as ever, go to the Equipment Manager,WO2 Kenney Pereira and coach, CSgt Sean Olsson, for their sterling work on the long haul drives. And thanks too, to the 2LANCS team, who were always there to assist in ‘humping and dumping’ sleds….by far the least glamorous aspect of our great sport.

Novice Champions. Fus Gordon Mackenzie & Cpl Greig Chisholm 2 SCOTS

was headed up by Julie Turner and they were a genuine pleasure to have at the event. With a keen interest in the racing, huge admiration for our soldiers and free beer at the Prize Giving – we could ask for no more support than that! The Men’s Championship turned out to be a fascinating event, with individual battles taking place simultaneously at the top, middle and back end of the pack. To demonstrate, the fight at the bottom saw the novice teams from 2LANCS, 2RTR and 2 SCOTS all jockeying for positions which, after the second and final lauf, resulted in a separation of only 34/100ths total time between the three teams. It was an incredible performance by these newcomers. And closer still, in the middle rankings, the LANCS team of Lt Col Matt Perkin pushed by rookie Kingsman Niall Johnson, squeezed past QDG driver Captain Harry Pilcher in the second lauf by the most slender of margins - 3/100ths - to take fourth place. Whilst finally at the top, the Para/REME team of Sgt John Hillman and Cfn Richard Sharman took the championship, by a lesser margin of only 2/100ths, from coach and veteran Olympian, CSgt Sean Olsson.

Fifteen teams were registered to compete in the championships, 12 male and 3 female, of which 7 teams were driven by novice pilots. This was particularly satisfying as it demonstrated both an increase in overall numbers in recent years, and also that the novices had talent – they had previously passed the selection criteria laid down, in order to filter out the less able athletes from potentially serious injury in Italy. Training was to be spread over 5 days and 10 runs per team,each day seeking to start higher, go faster and make fewer mistakes than on the last. This of course is difficult to achieve,because the faster you whip through the twisting, turning 19 bends on the 1431 metre track,the more mistakes you inevitably make. By Day 3 – the Wednesday – all teams had graduated to starting at the top of the track, which paid testimony both to the high quality coaching and to the professional approach of all the pilots. Crashes occurred of course, with four on the Wednesday alone, but rarely did the pilots make the same mistake (at least, not on the same bend) twice! The teams started to believe in themselves and that they could “nail” the nightmare ‘Curve 14’ without being spat out at the end of it!

Meanwhile, the result for the Women’s event, which had been whittled down to only two racing teams due to the demanding rigours of the track, was more decisive. The Royal Signals pairing of Cpls Paula Walker (GB2 driver) and Jackie Gunn (GB1 brakewoman) was, not surprisingly, too strong for the plucky newcomer team of pilot Captain Charlie Peters (RA) and her brakewoman Captain Belinda Robson. Our championships ended in the traditional style, with the announcement of the Army Team for the Inter Service championships and followed by the Champagne Reception and Prize Giving alongside our skeleton riders. It all took place in the Grand Hotel Sestriere, with many of the prizes being presented by Julie Turner. The hotel proved to be an excellent location for athletes and sponsors alike in which to unwind after a nerve jangling week …despite the outrageous bar prices!

Race Day on Saturday 6 March loomed all too quickly, but before that our very generous sponsors from BANNER Business Supplies arrived in Sestriere. Now in their ninth year of sponsorship for the Army Bobsleigh Finals, their ‘team’ this year

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3rd

LSgt Deen Gren Gds Capt Stroud RAMC

1:59.13

Army Novice and Junior Bobsleigh Championship

4th

Lt Col Perkin LANCS Kgn Johnson 2LANCS

2:01.13

Major Helen Carter RAMC

Men’s Championship Total Time 1st

2nd

Sgt Hillman PARA Cfn Sharman REME

1:57.18

CSgt Olsson PARA Cpl Smith PARA

1:57.20

5th

Capt Pilcher QDG Capt Plunkett QRL

6th

Fus McLaren 2SCOTS SAC Meadowcroft

7th

Pte Hawker PARA Pte Clarke PARA

2:02.73

8th

Kgn Garratt 2LANCS Kgn Luleck 2LANCS

2:03.66

9th

Tpr Boyd 2RTR Tpr Coplestone 2RTR

2:03.83

10th Fus McKenzie 2SCOTS Cpl Chisholm 2SCOTS 11th 2Lt Holden 2LANCS Cpl Kelton 2LANCS

The Novice and Junior Bobsleigh Championships were held at the Olympic Bobsleigh Track in Igls, Austria from 15 to 22 February 2009. The event is aimed at personnel who learnt to bobsleigh at the Ice Camp (held in January 2009) as well as encouraging those sliders who attended the Ice Camp in 2007 to return for their second season as a driver to compete for the Junior Trophy. The Novice and Junior Skeleton and Luge Championships were also held during the same week. The military sliders took over the Walzl Hotel in Lans and were well looked after by Gerhard and his staff. The bobsleigh coaching team consisted of Capt Rob Hinton RAMC, WO2 Kenney Pereira RAMC and Sgt Dai Palmer APTC and my thanks go out to them for their professionalism and great humour. A very healthy number of bobsleigh teams turned up for the Championships and everyone was briefed on the week ahead on the Sunday evening before sliding began on Monday morning. Meetings continued each evening after sliding.

2:01.16

2:02.30 HC

2:04.00

The first day of the Championships was spent issuing bobsleighs and runners, and the drivers walked the track in preparation for the first run down the mountain. Although most of the sliders had been on ice only a few weeks before, all bobsleighers took their first 2 runs from the Damen Start (which is just before corner 5) rather than heading straight from the top of the bob track. It was a successful first day and all the sleds got down the track safely. There were a number of new brakemen being introduced to bobsleigh for the first time, all of whom survived the experience. The role of brakeman does not suit everyone so it was great to know that they were all happy to continue sliding for the rest of the week.

2:04.81

Women’s Championship 1st

Cpl Walker RSignals Cpl Gunn RSignals

2nd

Capt Peters RA Capt Robson RSignals

Total Time 2:00.94

2:06.01

Unfortunately the weather caused havoc on Tuesday. It had snowed all night on the Monday and it continued to fall during Tuesday. Snow is great news for skiers but unfortunately it is bad news for bobsleighers. Life was made extremely difficult for personnel to get up the track and training runs were reduced to one run per bobsleigh from the top. The snow was settling quicker than it could be cleared off the track so the lost run had to be fitted in later on in the week. Sliding for the rest of the week went well and there were very few crashes although a number of bobsleighs took some hard knocks (as did the occupants of the sleds). One of the 2 LANCS brakemen (Kgn Niall Johnson) suffered a nasty knock in one of the sleds and broke a number of ribs - however he took this with great humour and continued to turn up and support the teams at the track. The race draw took place on Friday evening with 3 female teams and 9 male teams all ready to race. It was decided that the women would slide first in draw order followed by the men. Friday night was a relatively quiet evening as the sliders went back to their rooms to finish polishing their race runners. The

The Bobsleigh coaching team: L-R: Capt Rob Hinton RAMC, Sgt Dai Palmer APTC, WO2 Kenney Pereira RAMC, Major Helen Carter RAMC

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race took place at 0900 hrs on Saturday morning which meant that everyone was at the track by 0700 hrs preparing sleds and walking the track for the final time. The race began with a“spur sled”, in our case one of the skeleton instructors, to test the timing equipment on the track. It was then the turn of the women, with the three sleds going off in race order. All three sleds got to the bottom of the track with sliders and equipment in one piece. The men’s race then began. Unfortunately one of the bobsleighs, piloted by Fusilier James McLaren, crashed (having gained the fastest novice start time). However the sled crossed the finish line with both athletes and all equipment still in the bobsleigh and, as a result, they received a finish time! LCpl Jim Naqarasi (aka Big Jim) suffered an ice burn to his back and shoulder but he was patched up by the doctor and bravely returned to the top of the track ready for the second run. The second run was due to start 30 minutes after the last bobsleigh had reached the top of the track in reverse order (slowest would slide first). Again, the women went first and Capt Charlie Peters from 14 Regt RA, together with her brakewoman, Lt Kelly Rhodes, took the female title after two extremely strong and consistent runs. Once the women had finished, the male teams were ready to slide. In reverse order, McLaren and Naqarasi were first to go as they were lying in ninth position after their first run crash. They had an absolutely tremendous second run and had the fastest novice run time of the championships. The Novice Championship was decided on the second run. After the first run, Sappers Ian Chapman and Lee Cross were in the lead with Fusilier Gordon Mackenzie and Cpl Greg Chisholm in second place. Mackenzie had a terrific second run with a time of 56.168 seconds. It was then down to Chapman to get a good time. He had a 6/100th second lead on Mackenzie so he needed to get a fast down time. He finished the run in 56.627 seconds which meant that Mackenzie and Chisholm took the Novice trophy. The Junior title went to LSgt Lamin Deen who had the pressure of not letting any of the novice sliders beat him. With his brakeman, LSgt Horace Thomas, he achieved this and set a great example to all the novice sliders.

The prize giving followed a champagne reception in the Walzl Hotel on Saturday evening and we were very pleased to have representatives from the Worshipful Company of Vintners in our midst. Mr Anthony Sykes, Senior Member of the Worshipful Company of Vintners very kindly presented the prizes and the “Spirit of the Event” Award, sponsored by the Vintners, which is presented annually to the person/team who contribute most to the event. This year the prize went to the 2 LANCS team who demonstrated great spirit and were always ready to assist other teams both on and off the track, even to the extent of loaning out a brakeman. 2Lt Will Holden received the prize on behalf of his team. It was a very successful week on the ice and the humour and courage of all competitors impressed all the coaching staff and visitors to the Championships. Hopefully we will see all the novice competitors next season at the Junior Championships. The results are as follows: Army Novice Female Championships 1st place

Capt Charlie Peters & Lt Kelly Rhodes 14 Regt RA

2nd place

Jessica Lee Channing & Jenny Acton Phillips (Team Jersey)

3rd place

Pte Hannah Williams (7 Bn REME) & Alex Parkes (Team Jersey)

Fastest Brakewoman Lt Kelly Rhodes – 6.78 seconds Army Novice Male Championships 1st place

Fus Gordon Mackenzie & Cpl Greg Chisholm 2 SCOTS

2nd place

Spr Ian Chapman & Spr Lee Cross 299 Para RE(V)

3rd place

LCpl Daniel Hawker & LCpl Paul Clarke 3 PARA

4th place

Fus James McLaren & LCpl Jim Naqarasi 2 SCOTS

5th place

Andrew Truscott & Paul Murray (Team Jersey)

6th place

LCpl Sammy Boyd & Tpr Martin Copleston 2 RTR

7th place

2Lt Will Holden & Kgn Craig Lulek 2 LANCS

8th place

Kgn John Garratt & LCpl Lee Kelton 2 LANCS

Fastest Brakeman

LCpl Jim Naqarasi – 5.60 seconds

Army Junior Championsips 1st place

3 PARA – third in the Novices’ at their first attempt. LCpl Dan Hawker (driver) & LCpl Paul Clarke (brakeman)

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LSgt Lamin Deen & LSgt Horace Thomas Gren Gds


The Inferno Downhill – A Devil’s Own Course! Lt Col M S Perkin

that all the Inferno ‘virgins’go at the very end, irrespective of their past form and pedigree.“Even if you are Hermann Maier, for the first time here you go last” the nice rennburo lady explained whilst smiling at us. So with many hundreds of racers setting off before us at 12 second intervals throughout the day, we envisaged the sharp bends on the course would have ruts the size of bobsleigh track corners by the time we went down the mountain. We were not to be disappointed. The race starts just below the summit of the Schilthorn at an altitude of around 2,900m. Situated at this peak is the world famous Piz Gloria revolving restaurant, which was built for the filming of the 1967 James Bond film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The early part of the race is down fairly steep slopes followed by long valley paths, technically not too difficult, but this is the lull before the storm. As you leave the Engetal valley one enters a series of gullies that lead on to The Kanonenrohr or ‘gun-barrel’. This section of the race at best concentrates the mind and at worst sends you flying into oblivion! On one side is a wall of rock, and on the other strategically placed netting to stop you falling a very long way. Perhaps fortunately for us, this upper section was closed this year.Too much recent snow had created a high avalanche risk, so we started the race below the Kanonenrohr, above a section known as the Hog’s Back. From here you shoot downhill to a section where speed is of paramount importance, as following the run-out one has to skate and climb the next three hundred metres up a wood-cutters’ path, along the edge of a forest. This lung-bursting exercise on 210cm skis was critical – a good place to overtake the less fit and make up time. The next long section takes racers down a fast rollercoaster ride through meadows towards Winteregg and the second of the two climbs in the race.Winteregg is the halfway house along the Mürrenbahn railway with many supporters in place to provide encouragement as racers’legs and lungs began to feel the strain. Over the railway bridge and on down for another 5 kilometres towards the finishing post in Lauterbrunnen. This section has many tight twisting turns and concentration is incredibly important as the body feels on the verge of collapse. Once out of the trees and into the fields above the finish, the route becomes less defined as racers select their own course, effectively creating a mogul field to be negotiated at speed. Any feeble attempt at adopting a stylish tuck for the benefit of the many crash-seeking onlookers and photographers at the finish is quickly quashed, as one fights for survival on two skis, more akin to an out of control spider on drugs. Through the Finish, collapsing, vomiting, at the feet of laughing friends who completed their ordeal hours earlier, you are greeted with hot soup, gallons of beer and the lingering question – how did the efficient Swiss race organisers get your gear to the bottom of the mountain in less time than it took to race the course? The race is superbly organised by the Mürren Ski Club and is incredibly addictive. So next year, the aim is to crack the Kanonenrohr ...and beat my kit down the mountain!

As one creeps inexorably towards retirement and old age, the effects manifest themselves in different ways; some suffer a midlife crisis, plumping for fast cars and loose women; others focus on producing the finest garden in the village, or concentrate on increasing the growth of their investments; whilst others, and I include myself in this category, stupidly seek to challenge themselves in new pursuits, perhaps better left to people many years younger. Against this background, in 2008 I heard (from a considerably older ski racer!) of a unique ski race called the Inferno. He himself had fallen in practice, suffering concussion, amnesia and three broken ribs. Although casevac-ed off the mountain by helicopter, most remarkably he wanted to try the race again. So, with a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” frame of mind, I too put myself forward for the 2009 “Devil’s Race”. The race was originally organised by the Kandahar Ski Club, founded in Mürren in 1924 by Sir Arnold Lunn, although some years later that responsibility passed to the Mürren Ski Club.The first race was held on 29 January 1928 and it remains unique on two counts;firstly,at 15.8km in length,it is the longest downhill in the world with a descent of 2,100m dropping from the Schilthorn mountain to Lauterbrunnen, and secondly, 1800 amateur and professional competitors take part. It is open to allcomers over the age of 18 and,interestingly for me,there is no upper age limit! Back in 1928 the inaugural Inferno was won by Harold Mitchell in a time of 72 minutes, whilst today the record time is under 14 minutes. The last British winner of the race was Royston Varley in 1970. He was a member of the British ski team for several years and,in the late 1990’s,Konrad Bartelski,like his predecessor,came out of retirement to race this famous downhill. The location could not be more dramatic. Mürren is a car-free hamlet in Switzerland, perched on a sunny shelf overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley, facing the north wall of The Eiger. Most of the racers hail from Switzerland and Germany, although some competitors arrive from all corners of the world, including America, New Zealand and Japan. Over 3,500 skiers annually apply to enter this classic race, of whom only 1800 are successful. So as potential ‘new boys’ to the event, it was with some relief that both I and Lt Col Al Wicks, an old chum from Sandhurst course SMC16 were allocated a place. As we arrived in Lauterbrunnen to collect our race bibs – numbers 1622 and 1542 respectively – it was clearly explained

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The Eagle soars again . . . Remember Eddie the Eagle? Britain’s infamous ski jumper who was so maligned after his attempts to soar with the world’s best in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games at Calgary flopped. Those thick, round glasses, the protruding lower jaw, the stubble around the chin and face – Eddie, a plasterer from Gloucestershire, was certainly no James Bond lookalike. The Press ridiculed his valiant efforts – the British Ski Federation changed the rules to prevent others coming from nowhere and grabbing the headlines. Where is Eddie now, twenty years on? Did he sink without trace? Far from it! Last time I saw Eddie, he was ski instructing at the opening of the Snowdome in Tamworth in 1993, Britain’s first indoor ski slope with “real” snow. For unknown to most, Eddie was, and is, a top class BASI trained skier. Aged 15, he was in the England alpine ski squad. Aged 17, he was in the British squad. In 1986, when he was 22, he went to race at Lake Placid, host city of the 1980 Olympics, ran out of money, saw the ski jumping hill and thought:“Britain doesn’t have anyone ski jumping – let’s give it a go”!

jumping career was ended with the rules’ change, Eddie “went back to school. “I couldn’t qualify under the new rules, so I did more GCSE’s, A levels and then a law degree at Leicester.”In between he kept up his plastering and building skills to buy life’s essentials. Eddie is clearly back on top of the world with a supportive wife, Sam, and two little girls, Ottilie aged 4 and Honey 20 months. “We were married in a drive-thru in Las Vegas in 2003” – he chuckled, his eyes sparkling. Somehow, this bizarre wedding location seemed appropriate for a man who has repeatedly bucked the trends and establishment over the years and refused to lie down, however hard he was kicked.

Within two years, Eddie had made the ski jumping team selection and was off to Calgary to the Winter Olympics to represent Great Britain. While the British establishment ridiculed his attempts, as he flopped off the hill into last position, the Europeans and North Americans recognised his determination and single-minded purpose in achieving Olympic status and the guts he showed to leap off the 120 metre ramp. He may have come 58th out of 58, but he held his head up high and – in my opinion – was a great ambassador for the sport and our country.

2008 has seen Eddie soar to new heights. He is currently employed by the Canadian state of Alberta, to promote both winter and summer destinations, he travels the world lecturing on cruise ships, and has a busy schedule with after-dinner speeches. Days after we met, he was flying off to Canada to speak in Edmonton, and on to Australia for further engagements. In between, ITV have signed him up for a food programme, and he is talking with a film company about his extraordinary life.

However, not everyone thought similarly and the rules were changed to ensure the likes of Eddie the Eagle would never fly again. Twenty years on, Eddie has resurfaced. As I waited at the appointed hour for my scheduled interview –there was no sign of the bespectacled, diminutive figure I remembered of old. Suddenly the PR girl appeared, accompanied by a good-looking, clean-shaven man with a big grin. “This is Eddie”, she said – obviously aware of my blank look! Gone are the thick-lensed glasses, gone is the stubble, the protruding lower jaw - at 44, Eddie has blossomed and bubbles with enthusiasm.

Has he ever been back on a ski jumping hill? “Yes. Three years ago I went to Oberstdorff for the opening of a new World Cup hill, and jumped off their 40 metre ski ramp, and in 2002 I was in Park City where I tried out the 90 km hill before the Salt Lake Winter Games.” They say life begins at 40. For Eddie, nothing could be more apt. The Eagle has not just landed – he has taken off on a thermal, soaring to new, exciting heights!

The intervening decades have not been easy. In 1995, he had major jaw surgery for dental reasons, and also lens implants into the eyes, ditching the thick glasses. In 1997, recognising that his

The Editor interviewed Eddie the Eagle at the London Metro Ski Show in October 2008.

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THE ARCTIC CIRCLE RACE Major Neil Ashford RA The first 11 kilometres are uphill and I blame the poet William Blake. Occasionally if I work late I sleep in my office. I rarely sleep well as either the traffic or the steady trickle of constant revellers on City Road ensure enough background noise to keep me awake. The QM’s office in the HAC overlooks the Bunhill Fields Cemetery, an historic graveyard with some famous inmates but most notably,William Blake. So in the dog stag hours when sleep evades, I began to muse at what burns bright in me and why.

I was accommodated within the halls of residence in the Arctic College of Construction. Some of the students who live in the halls can see the family home that they have just left, which we think as odd.They don’t as they have few opportunities to leave home! The accommodation was superb and the College is clearly well funded. Greenland is rich in untapped minerals and oil, and interest and exploration in these areas is clearly gathering pace. However, they view global warming as their biggest challenge and all ACR participants were given a mandatory presentation on the facts, figures and data which highlighted that, over the past ten years, Greenland has had a warmer climate. The locals prefer it cold, and we had arrived during a particularly cold period, which pleased them no end.

I had come across the Arctic Circle Race (ACR) after following a hyper link off a Nordic ski site in June last year and instantly knew I had to compete in the event as, like a red rag to the proverbial bull, it was billed as the most difficult, hardest Nordic ski race on the planet. I suppose I just had to find out. My Nordic ski CV began with 1 RHA in 1975 and, after a ridiculously long gap where the career bit occurred, there was, some might say, a poorly judged deployment with 16 Regt RA (I was the QM) Nordic team in 2004 starting at the Nordic RA Scheme in Norway and competing at all stops in between before making the Army Championships at Ruhpolding, Germany. I defend my right to Nordic ski race and compete as a middle-aged bloke as it is a cheaper alternative to a large motorbike, less disruptive to the working day and cheaper too than a mistress. The HAC has always had a great reputation for its’Nordic ski team, which was in my thinking when I took the post of QM. Last season the HAC Nordic team spent one month training and competing in France (Ex Spartan Hike) as one of the top-flight TA teams who commit heavily to the sport,for the enormous benefit of all who participate in Nordic Skiing and Biathlon racing.

I began my journey on Monday 23 March 2009 and with the start of the race on Friday 27 March this left time for the inevitable sight seeing. You can walk the whole of Sisimuit in a morning and the internal roads are ice covered for most of the year. There are no external roads.Within the town most folk get about by using skidoo, one of many taxis or remarkably, the bus service. I have struggled to try to describe Sisimuit. The best I can suggest is a combination of planet Mars, Ice station Zebra and the Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby. Before the race, the Sisimuit inhabitants organise a public church service, as tradition dictates a thanksgiving prior to the commencement of any major local event.The service included a fair amount of singing (well known tunes, impossible words) and Inuit chanting, which builds an eerily fitting atmosphere for the challenge ahead.

The ACR takes place in Greenland, hosted by the town of Sisimuit, which has a population of 5,600. Sisimuit is a small fishing community with a natural harbour and huge fish processing plant located on the south west coast of Greenland. The harbour spends most of the year ice bound and the ice flow is visible out in the Davis Straits. The ACR which must be completed using the Nordic classic method is a distance of 160km, competed over three days through the harsh, bleak Arctic landscape just short of the Arctic circle. When we have difficulty in pigeon holing we tend to use equivalents - the ACR is equivalent to 4 back-to-back marathons and the climb on day 1 is akin to that of two ascents of Snowdon.

Although I skied on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it was in deteriorating conditions. Daytime temperatures stayed steady at about –25c, and last light was about 1900hrs. During the first days I skied as far as the prepared tracks would allow.The snow formation is granular (no good for snowballs) and with constant wind the powdered snow covers the prepared tracks in moments, which is bad when skiing alone as the track is your only means of return navigation. It was clear that the organisers had their work cut out to prepare over 160km of tracks in mountainous conditions. I had read a great deal about this event, prepared well in all areas and was physically in top condition. I knew what the challenges were, namely freezing conditions, brutal distances, intense fatigue all complemented by exhaustion. However, nothing but nothing can prepare you for the Arctic and you sensed in the other competitors an unmistakable look and odour of anticipation.

The journey from UK to Greenland is epic - a flight to Copenhagen followed by a 4.5hr flight to Kangerlussuaq, and finally a 25 minute transfer by the local 40 seat air taxi in to Sisimuit. Greenland has a fascinating history but while I need to share the skiing story and not Greenlandic interesting facts, here are a few.Total population 54,000, not one town or village in iceand snow-bound Greenland is connected by road, and the only way in or out is by air or by dog sledge or, for the foolhardy, on ski. There are more sledge dogs than people in Greenland. In some towns people are outnumbered 5 to1 by the dogs.

This event attracts a worldwide audience of around 150 skiers who descend on the small fishing town of Sisimuit every year. I was the only Englishman, with one Welshman and a Scottish

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woman. The organising panel are assisted by 200 volunteers who man the feeding and drinking stations and complete the colossal job of administration including building the competitor’s race camp.To compete in the ACR you must own a sleeping bag system capable of withstanding temperatures to – 30c, and, thanks to the HAC Nordic ski sponsors ‘Cotswolds’ outdoor clothing specialists, this was achieved.

and was content with my progress. As you leave the town there is a drink and food station, and you must use each station to refuel and re-hydrate or the temperature and the environment will finish you very quickly. The next 11kms were uphill during which I actually managed a rhythm of sorts but quickly came to realise that for the vast majority of racers this was less about racing and more about survival. The next drink station, due to a skimobile accident, meant that it had not been stocked with the life saving ingredients. The loss of this drink station had a huge detrimental effect on my race plan which,at the 15km point,had me in the grips of the Marathon style ‘wall’ scenario. I had mentally hit something which, 20 minutes later, I had eaten and drunk my way out of.The cold was a huge problem and we were racing in temperatures that immediately froze anything containing moisture, or any exposed area of skin. As I write this article in the April sunshine of SE18 just over a week after my return, I have yet to get the feeling back in to my fingertips. Thankfully other extremities were give the 4 layer treatment but remarkably I still managed to race in 3 layers albeit specialist equipment. Having got my world back on track, I continued through the devastatingly and breathtakingly beautiful Arctic scenery and flogged on with this most brutal of races.Words fail me when I try to explain the challenges but the best I can do is ask you to imagine being at the base of a snow-covered Snowdon in Nordic skis.The ups went on for ages.Exhausted and sapped of energy, all the skiers around me were reduced to a herring bone step or indeed removing skis, something I was desperate not to do. Energy levels at the 25km point were depressingly low but you have to come to terms quickly with how the cold and terrain affect you. At this point I knew that this event only has one aim, survival. I was at the 25km after about 2.5 hours; I then spent the next 5 hrs completing the gruelling course.Occasionally exhilarating,scenery always stunning,terrain always brutal, I finally finished day 1 after skiing for 7hrs 26mins. After crossing the line after each day’s racing your time is noted and you enter the tented area where high quality 2 person tents for all racers have been erected along with mess, drying and massage tents. There is no time to waste and admin has to be sorted quickly to ensure maximum time eating and sleeping (something that I’ve always been good at). You are responsible

The weather continued to decline.Huge overnight snowfalls of 68 feet of snow accompanied by gale force winds dictated that the whole of the Thur would be spent reading or watching the drama unfold outside,constantly thinking about and considering the chances in a race that was clearly going to be extreme. That evening we all attended the daily mandatory briefing during which hours were spent discussing the weather patterns in eyewatering detail, cross-referencing temperature and wind speeds against possible snow fall locations. All in all a Friday start was looking improbable. All ACR participants were not due to leave Sisimuit until the following Tuesday,so if the race was postponed on Friday this would still leave the Saturday,Sunday and Monday to race.The event relies almost exclusively on volunteers whose availability on the Monday would be difficult and therefore the race might have to be shortened to 2 days over the weekend and the weather forecast for Friday was not good. Friday 27 March: Race postponed. The race will now be run over two days with a total distance of 122.8km. In the words of the organisers,the hardest Nordic ski race on the planet just got harder. Saturday 28 March: Saturday dawns as a predicted calm after the storm, crystal cobalt blue skies set against a bleak black and brilliant white mountainous backdrop.The race on. Day 1 would be a distance of 62km with the remainder the following day. The town’s folk turn out, and I mean the whole town, to count down and send you on your way. The first 3 kms is skied around the town area, which is good for the town and it makes for quite a spectacle.My early aim was to find a skiing rhythm,which I could then try to maintain. Nothing prepares you for what is coming unless you’ve completed the event before and although ski wax in this race became irrelevant,I was aware that I was moving well

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for ensuring that you have sufficient food for the whole race period and good old ‘boil in the bag’ came in to play which in these conditions are ideal. Paraffin cookers are supplied which are fantastic bits of kit in these temperatures. Having used up between 7-8000 calories, replacing them in such a short time is difficult.You have to spend a long time eating and drinking.The tented camp is set on a frozen fjord; the fresh water supply is maintained by boring a hole in the ice (BQMS’s please note), which is located next to the cook’s tent, which supplied a constant supply of hot water. I shared a tent with the Welshman who was rather excited about camping. I explained why I was not having done a bit over the years and prayed that he didn’t snore. Prayers unanswered, I was able to watch the ice form on my bivi bag as a result of the moisture in the tent, although inside I was superbly warm.The Welshman made a fundamental error by having to leave his doss bag during the night: the plastic bottle brought just for the job ensured that Ashford stayed put for a warm but fitful night’s sleep.

for over 3kms during which I thanked who ever was listening for the equipment that I was using which was first class and never once let me down.The final 5km was hell on earth, emotionally and physically. It should have taken me less than 25 minutes but I struggled for over 40 minutes, not with cold or hills or hunger or thirst, but with coming to terms with the magnitude of the event, just concentrating that each glide was taking me closer to the eventual finish line.I crossed the finish line after another 7hrs 45 mins skiing. I did so alone knowing that some had finished ahead and that many were still behind, in a flood of personal emotion, which overflowed for just a moment, but you quickly have to turn your attention towards more practical matters like warmth, food and drink.The rest of the day was spent patching up my blisters, which were bad, and beginning the recovery phase as best I could. For the sake of brevity and this article, the recovery phase of body and mind is best left in the wings. It was a messy affair, which will continue for some time! The Gala party was good fun with the added bonus of a fashion show. Fashion in Greenland means only one thing and that is sealskin trimmed with other animal skins. The people of Greenland have made skins and fur haute couture and the results are stunning.The following day I travelled back to the UK and will spare you the detail of the night I spent on the floor of Copenhagen airport.

Sunday 29 March: Get up, find your gear, eat, drink, pack and prepare to race. A digital thermometer read –34c with a wind chill taking it to –42c. In weather such as this you have only one immediate thought and that is movement. Day 2 got underway with endless blue skies and the promise of another 60km. The terrain lends itself to loops that involve frozen fjords. Routes down to the fjord are fast, icy and perilous. Round the fjord is flat and good skiing and back up the other side is unforgiving and long. Day 2 consisted of two fjord loops and then a 30km ski to the finish. The terrain denies you the opportunity to hit a rhythm and trying to find a ski buddy is futile as everyone is dealing with their own race and personal fight which is self absorbing and insular, focusing solely on the challenge, the surroundings and what needs to be achieved - hour after hour of continual painful slog in what was undoubtedly the most stunningly beautiful landscape that I have ever witnessed. The skis had to come off. The trail of smart advice stretching before me was the combat indicator. A straggle of individuals, some as tiny black specks in the far distance, most of whom were carrying their skis. I joined in to find that this was slightly quicker and more comfortable. I spent 1hr 40 mins climbing the final hill. With tired legs full of lactic acid, I found controlling skis on the icy downhill sections very difficult. One of these sections lasted

The Arctic Circle Race is a brutal, brutal event held on a stage of the harshest of conditions against a backcloth of unsurpassed natural beauty.Hardest Nordic race on the planet? I would guess it is. William Blake to blame? Not really. He just fed me a really great idea. I feel genuinely privileged at having been able to take part in this amazing adventure. Participation in the ACR is expensive and I thank all those who provided generous financial assistance to make the trip achievable - the HAC, the RAI, TA Sport Board, Cotswolds outdoor clothing supplier and the HAC supporter of all things Nordic skiing, Maj Charles Marment. Without these organisations and individuals the trip would not have taken place. I thank you for all for your generosity. If I have fired your imagination please do not hesitate to contact me and I’ll let you know how to survive the Arctic Circle Race.

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Ex Snow Warrior Major Martin Colclough reports on BattleBack Disabled military personnel took to the ski slopes in southern Germany in mid March as part of the second Armed Forces annual winter training initiative, Exercise Snow Warrior.

most important, tries to ensure that injured soldiers have the confidence to know they can still lead a full and active life. As Major Martin Colclough, Officer Commanding ‘BattleBack’, explained: “The principal aim of ‘BattleBack’ is to use challenging outdoor activities and sports to complement the rehabilitation in which injured soldiers will have already participated. When the medical phase starts to deliver great results in fitness and general well-being,then you can start to challenge the bleak outlook which many feel and have of their own capabilities either by reintroducing them to an adaptive form of an activity they loved and enjoyed before they were injured,or by introducing them to an activity they have never done previously.”

During EX SNOW WARRIOR Service personnel are put through their paces as they hurtle down slopes, conquer menacing courses, and compete against each other on the snow-covered mountains of Bavaria. And, this year, a specially designed skiing course, specifically for six disabled military personnel, was included in the Exercise. Some had skied before the accidents that resulted in their disabilities and were having to adjust to completely different techniques. Others were starting as complete beginners, having to contend with the added disadvantage of their disabilities.

The adaptive skiing students, assisted by a large team of specially trained military and civilian instructors and helpers, trained alongside seventy able-bodied colleagues, further aiding their re-integration back into the military family and highlighting just how much can be achieved following significant traumatic injury.

However, by the end of the first day of the ten-day course, all the participants had successfully skied down a variety of slopes which many able-bodied would fear to attempt, as well as taking part in a competitive race at the end of the course. The adaptive skiing course is part of the wider military programme ‘BattleBack’, which encourages members of the Armed Forces, injured not just while on duty but also while off duty, to participate in skiing and other adventurous training activities and sports.

Major Colclough added: “This is crucial. We use the term ‘normalisation’ – treating them no differently from an able-bodied athlete and, as a result, we see their improved mood with psychological benefits. We don’t treat them as special. This course is delivered as part of the able-bodied winter programme. They are doing the same activities, skiing the same mountains, sharing the same rooms,and eating alongside their able-bodied counterparts.”

The initiative develops core skills, including leadership, teamwork, physical fitness, and moral and physical courage and,

Tpr Steve Shine 2RTR proves that he can race with 0ne leg as well as two

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Combined Services Disabled Ski Team — Skills Camp 2008 in 2006, does not have the use of his right arm and therefore has to ski with it slung across his chest. As all able-bodied skiers would recognise, this makes balance a complete nightmare and tends to induce undesirable rotation when he is turning. However, Martin has clearly now got the hang of this and his racing technique is advancing far more rapidly than the team coaches can believe. Like all the athletes, Martin has a savagely competitive attitude and as a result has taken a couple of nasty falls onto his damaged shoulder. Most of us think we know how much a fall on hard-packed snow can hurt, but when you land on an already badly damaged limb, the pain is clearly going to be excruciating. The resilience with which these young men bear levels of pain that most of us cannot even begin to imagine is nothing short of super-human … in my humble opinion.

Colonel David Eadie (late QRL)

Five athletes, with only six legs between them, spent two weeks in late November learning to weave their way round Slalom and Giant Slalom Poles high on the Stubai Glacier in the Austrian Tirol. All are members of the fledgling Combined Services Disabled Ski Team (CSDST), which has been set up this year by Major Ian Large AGC, a former Army Downhill Ski Champion and Army Team Captain. As Adaptive Skiers, they had learnt to ski, all for the very first time, in March 2008 on Exercise Snow Warrior. These particular five were identified as having the proficiency to take their skiing to the next level, with the ultimate goal of

LCpl Rory Mackenzie RAMC is a Medic of South African origin who was serving in Iraq when his vehicle was hit by an IED. The explosion drove a fragment of metal into his right buttock, up through his thigh and out through his knee; the consequent amputation was therefore very high above the knee. Rory is not a small man, standing over 6’2” and being built like most South African prop forwards, so the momentum he generates travelling down the piste can be spectacular when not fully controlled! Rory skis on one ski with two crutch-length outriggers with which to maintain balance. All of the adaptive outriggers have a mechanism that allows the small ski on the end to be flipped up and locked so that they can be used to push off at the beginning of a run, or from a starting gate in the same way that you will see able-bodied racers doing with their sticks on Ski Sunday. Their added difficulty is remembering to flick the ski down as soon as they get going, otherwise the outrigger simply doesn’t slide and a crash ensues!

qualifying for the British Disabled Ski Team during the 08/09 season. The way they performed on the glacier has given a very strong indication that they are likely to succeed in that goal. Sgt Mick Brennan R SIGNALS is the most disabled of all those in the team, having lost both his legs above the knee after a suicide bomber attacked the EOD team with whom he was working in Iraq. Despite what most would consider to be an immense handicap, Mick’s determination and courage on the snow is extraordinary and his skiing abilities are already being widely recognised. Strapped into a fibreglass seat that looks as though it would be more at home in a canoe, and with counter balance weights at the front of his rig to compensate for the loss of his legs, Mick uses two small outriggers to propel himself off down the slope and then guide his mono-ski around corners. The angles to which he manages to cant his “rig” are quite breathtaking and he achieves speeds which leave many able-bodied skiers open-mouthed. Perhaps most frightening of all though, is watching him somersault the entire rig end-over-end when the laws of physics simply overmatch his abilities. Given the weight of the rig, which somehow usually conspires to land on top of him, it is very humbling to watch him swing it round and lever it upright before anyone even has a chance to reach him to offer assistance. Indeed it is a mark of all these athletes that they steadfastly refuse any attempts to help them, so fierce is their determination to be self-sufficient.

Sgt Ian Harvey RAF is the only non-Army skier in the team at present, although Ian Large is hoping that this will change next season. “I feel sure that there are some disabled Royal Marines and RAF Regt personnel out there who would welcome the chance to prove themselves competitively on the slopes. I am really hoping that this year’s Snow Warrior programme will provide us with potential racers for next season from all three services.” Ian Harvey was unfortunate enough to come off a motorbike and break his back in two places. Although he can walk, it is with

Capt Martin Hewitt from the Parachute Regiment, who was shot through the shoulder during a bitter firefight with the Taleban

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one suspects that Stevie must be putting in nearer 400%. Nonetheless, his 3-track skiing is quite remarkable and he demonstrated an almost uncanny ability to read the racing line and attack courses in a manner which would put many ablebodied racers to shame. Given his youth, there is every chance that Stevie could go a very long way in the Disabled Ski Team. This was an inspiring fortnight, in so many ways. The athletes gained considerably more confidence in their skiing and really raised their game. The Team Coach, SSgt Mark Scorgie RE, has very high hopes for their potential. “They are all going on to their various Corps’ Camps in December and will then race in the Divisional, Army and Inter-Service Championships in the New Year. I am confident that some of them will move up from the British Development Squad, where 4 currently sit, to gain full British Team places next season. SSgt Steve Hutchinson RLC, who’s a one-armed skier, is already on the British Team and is hoping to represent Britain in the 2010 Winter Paralympics. The remainder of the current military disabled team have their sights on the 2014 Games – if they carry on as they have been this is very achievable!”

extreme difficulty and he does not have the strength or stability in his legs to be able to ski in the usual fashion; he too is therefore a mono-skier. His rig is similar to Mick’s, although his has a complete pod that encapsulates his legs. These mono-rigs are mounted on an articulated suspension system, which is clamped into a single racing ski. Quite incredibly, both monoskiers are able to go up T-Bars and Chair Lifts. The former is achieved by having a strap at the front of their rigs through which the lift-operator threads one of the bars of the T. This is usually not too much of a problem, but dismounting at the top can be something of a nightmare and requires an alert liftoperator to ensure that the T-Bar is slowed down. Fortunately, most of the ones on the Stubai Glacier were alert … but definitely not all!

The other three Adaptive Instructors working with “Scorgie”, were SSgt Colin “Eddie” Edwards REME and two civilians; CIO Henry Methold and Ms Cath Sibbald. The final two members of the team were CPO Steph Groves RN, the lone Naval rep, who is a PTI and Rehabilitation Instructor, and Kate Sherman from Headley Court who specialises in rehabilitation physiotherapy. Both Lt Col Mike Quaile and I were lucky enough to spend a few days each in the role of Helper, although, as mentioned before, these guys resist help right up to the point where it becomes impractical for them to refuse. They are positively inspirational!

Watching the mono-skiers get onto a chair lift is an altogether more disturbing experience. As they approach the lift, they release a catch in their suspension system and then, as the chair approaches, they push down with their outriggers, throw their backsides up into the air and settle rapidly back onto the seat so that they don’t over-balance. Let me assure you, it is daunting to watch! Then, because the rigs are relatively high on the seat, they cannot have the safety bar pulled right down or else they would be rotated forward and out of the chair. We spent some time trying to teach Mick and Ian to say “Kein Gewicht auf dem Bar bitte” (No weight on the bar please) to make their lives easier, but as most of the skiers in Austria last week seemed to be from Poland, this didn’t seem to be a great help!

One of the more poignant moments during the Camp came at 11 o’clock on 11th November, when Ian Large held a short Remembrance Day service up on the Stubai Glacier between training serials. Unsurprisingly, everyone was extremely moved, not least because they all knew someone who had lost their life on Op TELIC or Op HERRICK and, in the case of one or two of the athletes, in the same incident in which they themselves had been injured. It was an extremely pertinent moment and a very memorable point during a very memorable Training Camp.

The final member of the team training in Austria was Tpr Stevie Shine 2RTR who was also in a vehicle that was hit by a major explosive device. He lost one of his legs above the knee and suffered considerable damage to the lower part of the other. So, not only does he have to ski on one ski, but the other leg is not as strong as it once was. It is often said that disabled skiers have to put in 300% of the effort that able-bodied skiers do and the signs of complete exhaustion amongst the athletes at the end of each day bore testimony to that. However, that being the case,

Further Info: If you would like to know more about Adaptive Skiing and Racing or any other disabled sport in which you would like to participate, please go to the BattleBack website: http://www.battleback.mod.uk or contact Maj Martin Colclough (OC BattleBack) at: E-Mail: MartColc@dsca.mod.uk Military: 95238 7042 Civil : 01372 378271 ext 7042

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SnOasis – on track and sponsoring

Army Snowboarders

After seven years of delay while the future of the great crested newts was discussed and deliberated, Government approval was finally given in November 2008 for the go-ahead for SnOasis, a £350 million winter sports playground to be built on a 350 acre site near Ipswich.

Alongside these facilities there will be a multi purpose sports hall, health and fitness centre, rollerblading track, sports pitches, triathlon course, 20 lane Ten Pin bowling alley, tennis courts and rowing, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and fishing! In addition, there will be a National Winter Sports Academy with a 200 bed hostel, 350 room 4* hotel and conference centre, and 350 self catering lodges, plus 100 one and two bedroom apartments – something for everyone.

Shortly after the decision was announced, SnOasis grabbed the opportunity to sponsor The 16th Signal Regiment snowboard team with intensive training before their Championships on the Stubai glacier in December. Not just for the team, who had been working and fighting in 40 degree heat in Helmand province in Afghanistan, this was a huge fillip for the Regiment as a whole and an incentive to look forward to at the end of their operational tour.

For Army ice sports’ athletes in particular, this astonishing complex should prove a winner, improving British chances to compete and succeed in future Winter Olympic Games!

After a well-deserved rest, 16 Signal Regt headed off to Ex SNOW JACK X11 in Kaprun, with the aim of bringing new talent to the snowboard scene, and to prepare the soldiers for both the divisional and Army championships, encouraged by SnOasis’ involvement with equipment, clothing, travel and living expenses. The SnOasis complex, which is due for completion in 2012, will include Europe’s largest indoor ski slope as well as the UK’s first 100 metre dry Bobsleigh push start and 400 metre ice speed skating track plus a 1.5 km cross country ski track. The ski slope, with an international standard 100 metre vertical drop and capacity for 2400 skiers per hour will be 415 metres long. There are plans for a nursery slope in addition, and an ice climbing wall.

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A Swiss Mystery

Switzerland’s mighty peaks, thirteen over 4000 metres high, towered above the car-free village of Saas Fee but alas, we never saw them. During the two days of our visit – eight ski journalists from around the globe, two from Russia, one from America, another from Japan, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Dutch girl and the editor of Snow & Ice – the peaks were shrouded in thick cloud, as gale force winds and driving snow closed all the ski lifts for 24 hours. Even the T bars at village level were grounded.

It is difficult to form an impression of a ski resort if you are confined to barracks for one of only two days, unable to see a yard ahead. So instead we hired snow shoes to trek through the forest, climbing for two hours breathlessly after too much cheese for lunch. Raclette is delicious but notoriously indigestible – far from ideal before snow-shoeing halfway up a mountain! Earlier we had swum in the warm waters of the 5* FerienArt hotel and spa opposite our roost, watching the trees and flags outside, bent horizontal in the whistling gale, as the snow fell relentlessly. Later we ate more cheese – and then dreamt of those ski runs.

on the run. With two further changes and three trains, we might have been in trouble, but in Switzerland there is, apparently, usually another 30 minutes later! Lenk and Adelboden are gentle areas, ideally suited for families, children or those learning to ski later in life. With a very luxurious hotel and spa, the Lenkerhof, it is also clearly a very popular destination for the elderly to SKI – spend their kids’ inheritance! Opposite the hotel, from the Betelberg gondola summit at 1943 metres, you can make a 3 mile toboggan ride back to base on specially designated toboggan tracks – we met one couple with their traditional wooden sleighs who rated it “not as good as Grindelwald, but definitely in the same league as Davos!” You can hire toboggans, faster plastic sledges, or even inflatables for the ride! There is also an extensive network of cross country tracks, classical and skating up top, with a second circuit along the valley floor towards Lenk’s cheese factory. With over 100 local farmers, each with their quota of Simmenthal cows, our tour of the factory was a fascinating insight into cheese making. And of course we ate more cheese!

Like Zermatt, its’ near neighbour, the village of Saas Fee is a silent haven, free of cars and with an unspoilt charm. A selection of gondolas criss-cross the valley at various points, and much of the skiing is above the treeline – always a problem if the weather turns sour. The lifts did open on our second day, but the snow continued to fall and visibility remained close to zero. We struggled in the flat light before lunching in the world’s highest revolving restaurant on the Allalin summit at 3500 metres. We could only imagine the views out over the eighteen 4000 metre peaks in the area, towards Milan where, allegedly, you can see the lights at dusk on a clear day! To reach this restaurant eyrie, we had taken the world’s highest underground cable railway, stopping briefly to look around the world’s largest Ice Pavilion – an astonishing network of caves and passages carved deep into the glacier, including a wedding chapel! For the American, it must have been galling to find three of the “world’s biggest and bests” - a series of superlatives - outside his native land.

On the Adelboden side of the valley, the runs are more extensive – long blues and reds, as well as the World Cup giant slalom course which is steep and fun to ski. But sadly the flat light closed in yet again, and we had to call it a day – before a candlelit open-air cheese (more cheese!) fondue deep in the woods, to the accompaniment of two accordions, father and son, plus friend on double bass. Afterwards, with flaming torches, we trudged through the snow back to the hotel a mile away – determined that cheese would be off our various menus for a while. It was a whistle stop trip, eight trains, two buses, three ski areas in four days plus cheese - fondue, raclette and cheese at every meal!

The glacier itself was menacing and impressive, as we skied past, with giant crevasses the size of London’s infamous Gherkin, and blocks of ice the size of houses, balanced atop each other, in a surreal shade of blue. But the gale force winds had returned, and we slipped and slid our way to base unable to work out whether we were skiing uphill or down, on the piste, or off it in deep drifts, for our onward journey to Lenk. Sadly we had missed the scenic delights of Saas Fee. Lenk, which links with Adelboden in the Bernese Oberland, we reached by a succession of trains and first the local bus. This was running late, after a crowd of local schoolchildren jostled and squeezed on board, and the driver stopped to remove his snow chains. But by a miracle, our main line train was three minutes late arriving at Spiez – a rarity in Switzerland – and we caught it

Pity about the weather: these are two ski areas well worth a visit. Celia Fielder was invited to join the International Media Trip by Switzerland Tourism in London and Zurich. Transport was arranged with Swiss air, and by the Swiss Travel System. For further details on Saas Fee and Lenk/Adelboden, or travel within and to Switzerland, see www.MySwitzerland.com

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LETTER FROM AMERICA Celia Fielder shares a few secrets

World Cup downhill race run, Cimarron. These are all graded black, but the tree runs are ungroomed.

At this time of recession it may appear crass to be jetting across the Atlantic to ski – but the reality is that skiing in America may not prove any more expensive than in the Alps.

For snowboarders, Breckenridge is a sure hit! This was the first North American ski area to encourage boarders and there are no fewer than four terrain parks, including the world class half pipe at Peak 8. Here you can join champions honing their skills and summersaulting off the walls! To a non-boarder, it looks terrifying!

First tip – book a Season Pass as soon as they become available.This is often May, but passes may still be bought up to October at earlyseason prices, sometimes under $400. Compare this with a 2009 daily rate of $92 at Breckenridge, an eye-watering amount! If you go for an A-Basin Plus season pass (www.arapahoe-basin.com) it includes five days elsewhere – including Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, or Keystone which is a great deal! And with the new Montezuma Bowl open at A-Basin (which I have yet to try) the acreage is doubled at this low-key but seriously challenging ski area.

Over at Winter Park, on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide and across the Berthoud Pass, a new six-pack chair, the Panoramic Express, has replaced the old, slow chair to the Parsenn Bowl. This is a huge improvement – resiting the base of the lift has opened up a series of blue and black runs through the trees to the left, while the more modern lift is able to cope better with the winds on the exposed bowl. From the top, after a hike, advanced and adventurous skiers have miles of uncharted powder off the Vasquez Cirque – all double black chutes. A new lift, Eagle Wind was installed in 2006 to take you back up for another blast through this ultra-wild territory!

Over in Breckenridge, the new Imperial Express chairlift, allegedly the highest in North America, has opened up miles of uncharted bowl skiing high above the treeline, previously only accessible after a long hike. Imperial Bowl, Horseshoe Bowl and the chutes off Peak 7 can all now be reached and skied by an advanced intermediate – although a short hike to the summit and beyond across the ridge is advisable only for hard-core experts who will relish the deep and steep powder the further they trek.

Winter Park has changed in character completely since Intrawest took over management in 1991, and started to redevelop the base area, pouring millions of dollars into both the mountain and accommodations to provide ski-in, ski-out facilities. While these are very comfortable, they are perhaps a shade soulless – one Intrawest resort has become like another, in the same way that a Hilton hotel or a Comfort Inn is the same worldwide. But self-catering accommodation can be good if you are on a budget, and these new condos have every kitchen facility and gadget you will need!

Below on Peak 7 at Breckenridge, the chairlift installed five years ago is the place to head if you want to put miles under the skis with minimum effort! Here, a series of trails have been cut through the trees, each with their own character and thrill, long, undulating, and exciting. With no lift-lines, you can work your way across the piste map – Monte Cristo, Angel’s Rest, Lincoln Meadows, Wirepatch, Pioneer, Claimjumper and the Fort Mary B and Swan City cut-offs - for a series of high-speed roller-coaster rides with hardly a soul to interrupt the rhythm!

To appreciate the character and charm of Winter Park as it was, you have to stay in the town – there is a frequent bus shuttle to and fro, or you can hire a car and drive to the Mary Jane base, a tip for years I have kept secret! Here you can literally ski to and from the car door! And the skiing on the Mary Jane side is more adventurous and fun! Mary Jane and Sleeper are both graded blue, or blue/black, Edelweiss and Roundhouse are easier blues,

Another good place to head at Breckenridge is Peak 10 – here there are some seriously steep, tough sections through the trees at the boundary edge where few venture as well as the former

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and the Corona Way winds back down forever to the car! Winter Park is a great area for keen skiers but those who prefer the nightlife – if they can cope with the altitude which does not mix well with the beer – might be better heading for Breckenridge where the town is larger with more bars and restaurants. But there are still good spots to try at Winter Park – Deno’s remains popular, as does the Crooked Creek at Fraser, a few hundred yards from the Tubing Hill which is the best fun $17 can provide in an hour! Be sure to go in a group – the more people you can cling onto as you hurtle down the hill, the faster you go! A rope tow takes you back to the top for another ride – whether head or feet first, this is a great way to work up an appetite for another huge hunk of meat! Over in Vermont on the East Coast, Stowe and Sugarbush have both poured multi millions of dollars into improving their base areas. At Stowe, owned (and up for sale) by AIG, $450 million has been spent on a vast new ski-in,ski-out hotel, a golf course halfway up the mountain, an interconnecting gondola from Spruce Peak to Mt Mansfield, and a new base lodge. This is all pretty impressive, but somehow there are still two peaks on which to ski at Stowe and wherever you are parked, it is marginally inconvenient to ski the other. The day I was at Stowe admittedly it was “like shovelling cement” in the words of my guide – in other words, thick, warm, leg-breaking slush. The sun was shining brilliantly, but alas, there is no mountain restaurant atop Spruce Peak for a restorative coffee, or lazy hour in the sun, and nowhere to sit outside at Spruce base.

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Sugarbush have spent considerably fewer millions and achieved a much more satisfactory result. They too have two mountains, but each is well served with facilities. This is an understated, and great ski area, with variety of terrain to suit every level. Be sure to take First Tracks at dawn if you are there – I had the best skiing of the season with five inches of fresh powder on a groomed base with Sugarbush’s owner, Win Smith, before most of the world stirred. Sugarbush have invested in a new 12 person snowcat which they use sometimes for Fresh Tracks, at other times for birthday parties, or to take people to dine at Allyn’s Lodge halfway up Lincoln Peak. You ski back for pudding at Timbers at Clay Brook, part of the rejuvenated and rebuilt Lincoln Base area. Lincoln Peak, one of the two mountains covered by the Sugarbush ski pass, is linked with Mt. Ellen by the Slidebrook Express quad, an 18 minute ride, but this lift only operates at weekends and holiday times. Otherwise, there is a frequent shuttle bus. Mt Ellen is a quieter mountain, but has some great views towards the Adirondack Mountains over Lake Champlain, and interesting ski terrain. There are 2000 acres of wilderness terrain accessible with a guide below the Slidebrook Express for tree skiing as well as steep glades at Castlerock for adventurous experts.

www.ski-i.com

soup. The equivalent sum in the US will buy you a vast burger, or six-inch pizza, fries, beer, and probably a Snicker bar as well. Skiing – or boarding – will never be a cheap exercise, but there are ways to ski in America on a tight budget so do not be off-put by the initial cost of an airfare. That too is variable, especially if you are able to avoid the weekends. Hire a car, stay in a B&B or a condo with a few friends, shop in Safeway, have a picnic midday on the mountain, buy a season pass or seek out cheap pass deals at local shops– these are my 2009 tips for a funfilled trip! PS Don’t tell too many others about the parking at Mary Jane! ***

Of the smaller Vermont ski areas, Smugglers Notch and Mad River Glen both have tree skiing which will keep experts happy, although Smugglers Notch tends to market itself for families. This is misleading, for there is some very tough, and interesting skiing in this charming purpose built area and excellent selfcatering accommodation.

For further information on Colorado log on to www.colorado.com or call 08456 020 574 for a free destination guide. British Airways (www.ba.com) has a daily service to Denver from London Heathrow. Fares start at £421 return including all taxes, fees and charges including skis. For more information on Winter Park ski resort visit www.skiwinterpark.com or log onto www.frasercrossing.com for information about accommodation at the base area. For information on Breckenridge visit www.gobreck.com or www.breckenridge.snow.com or log onto www.beaverrun.com for details of ski-in,ski-out accommodation at the Peak 9 base.

Mad River Glen relies only on natural snow, does virtually no grooming, so this is challenging skiing, reminiscent of decades gone-by. Telemark skiers flock to Mad River Glen – the resort motto: “Ski it if you Can” sums up the terrain! There may only be 45 marked pistes, and four lifts (two in the Birdland beginner area) but the scope within the trees at MRG is unlimited – powder heaven for the super confident and competent! America can be done on a budget. Eating on the mountain will not set you back a fortune as it most certainly will in Europe where it is not unusual to pay at least 15 euros for a bowl of

For information on all the ski areas, visit www.ultimateski.com

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FORMIGAL – 38 years on The shiny blue bubble cars from the hotel door to the slopes had disappeared – replaced by shuttle bus to the bustling base area of Formigal Sextas a mile away on the opposite side of the road. The blue gondola was all I remembered of Formigal 38 years ago – then the cheapest place to ski in Europe as decimalisation and the pound’s devaluation hit Britain in January 1971. At the time, we were prohibited from taking more than £50 out of the country in one year, so price was a major issue - I clearly remember the week in the Hotel Formigal, the better of only two hotels, cost £54 for full board, with a further £6 for the lift pass!

authorities, from Gatwick to Huesca on Sundays, to include transfers, lift pass and lodging. Not everyone, however, wants to be packaged into a week and Ryannair’s cheap flights to Zaragoza plus hire car, offer a more flexible alternative for the independent skier or boarder, keen to squeeze an extra few days on the slopes at the last minute. Zaragoza is less than two hours by road from Formigal, which makes a long weekend, or mid week break affordable and convenient. Buy your lift pass on arrival and park your car at the Sarrios, Anayet or Portalet base areas – all the buses drop off at Sextas!

Four decades on, the Spanish resort high in the Pyrenees is almost unrecognisable. It has quadrupled in size. The Hotel Formigal, renamed the Abba Formigal, with its popular swimming pool and atmospheric cosy bar, now vies for custom with four other 4 star hotels, the 3 star Hotel Nieve Sol, still a popular choice with British skiers, and 56 affordable studio-style apartments. Since 2000, the ski area has been expanded and developed over the adjoining three valleys, opening up 2300 hectares above the treeline with 137 kilometres of pistes! Five extra long poma drag lifts and eleven hi-speed chairs, including an 8-seater from Formigal Sextas, ensure there is no queueing. Skiing Formigal is a dream – uninterrupted miles of open, cruising with scarcely another soul in sight! No danger of being elbowed out of line, or wiped out on congested slopes as happens in too many of the French, Austrian or even Swiss ski resorts. The only queue we faced at Formigal was 15 minutes for the unique Ratrack tow below the Anayet summit, which hauls 30 skiers or boarders at a time on parallel pomas behind a grooming machine! It’s a novel way to climb, but environmentalists were unhappy with another chairlift. The double blacks were worth the wait!

Couples seeing an intimate break should head for the supremely comfortable Aragon Hills 4 star hotel with spa. If you are joining a group of friends, then I would recommend the Hotel Abba Formigal. Families might prefer the informality of the Nieve Sol with its’ wholesome food, and those keeping a close eye on the budget will have money to spare for the beer if based in the apartments! Formigal is a gem, a rediscovered secret.

If you seek a change of scenery, or if the weekends prove crowded with day skiers from Madrid, San Sebastian or Bilbao, the neighbouring hamlet of Panticosa has 35 km slopes. The runs here are shorter, but there is good variety and the lift pass is interchangeable with Formigal if bought locally. Panticosa, dating back to the 12th century, has an old world charm and magnificent Church. We passed more large cats wandering the cobbled streets than humans! Cost for the independent traveller was one question I failed to resolve. Whatever the reason – and it was hinted that some of the British tour operators had pressed too hard for two-for-one deals - Formigal fell off the map for British skiers for decades. Happily these issues have been resolved, and Crystal, Thompson and Neilson all now offer package deals based on Monarch’s flight, backed by the Aragon regional

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RECESSION will it kill the ski industry? did find that self-drive was very convenient, especially with a family. It was also a last-minute decision encouraged by great snow conditions which meant we felt that the deals available were not too expensive.”

As the recession shows no sign of abating, and indeed deepens, how will this affect skiers in 2010? Could it kill the ski industry? Britain’s oldest tour operator, Erna Low, which has been involved with Army skiers since the Association ran its’ successful holiday programme before the advent of the mass package market thinks not. Joanna Yellowlees-Bound, CEO of Erna Low, is upbeat: “2010 is going to be different and skiers need to be aware of this.”

In reality, the 2010 season is likely to see another fall in overseas holiday bookings. Bargains will be few with reduced bed capacity. Resorts have had to reduce their lift prices, especially in America to attract skiers and boarders both from home and overseas, and more people will surely fill their cars and head for the European Alps for a self catering apartment. Be bold and try a smaller area – you may be pleasantly surprised! Check out www.ernalow.co.uk Their new ski holiday website launched in June has comprehensive search facilities and a ski holiday calculator. It is ironic that the oldest firm in this playing field has come up with the most innovative ideas to retain their loyal clients and capture their share of bookings in a discerning and dwindling market.

In 2008 - 09 the major tour operators and chalet companies failed to see the crunch coming, taking large bed guarantees and then having to sell come what may. Many were badly burnt as prices were slashed in an attempt to fill beds. This enabled many skiers and boarders to scoop last minute trips at bargain prices. In 2010, however, there will be greater caution and fewer bed guarantees which means reduced capacity. “It’s a question of good housekeeping to ensure survival”, adds Yellowlees-Bound.

www.ernalow.co.uk 0845 863 0525 Also on Facebook and Twitter.

The statistics on the 2008 – 09 season based on clients booking through Erna Low makes interesting reading. Where did the firm lose bookings? Where did they gain? And will skiers ski next winter in the light of the economic uncertainty and gloom, or opt for sunshine and a beach alternative?

Great value ski holidays in the finest resorts

Less expensive departure dates, self-catering packages (rather than a catered chalet), self-drive and smaller, less well-known resorts with good quality accommodation are ways to reduce the budget. 45% of the bookings lost in 2009 were blamed on the financial situation with new bookers concentrating on price and value, and shunning the expensive package operators. Comments received included: “The current economic climate did change our plans and we took a self-catering rather than hotel option – surprisingly we

Visit www.ernalow.co.uk for early booking incentives, and the widest choice of accommodation and travel options.

Original ski specialists since 1932

0845 863 0525 www.ernalow.co.uk

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Obituaries him and the late King Hussein. Probably noone was more surprised than David to receive an invitation to the King’s magnificent 40th birthday celebrations in Jordan, and no less astonished and humbled to receive a letter following Nigel, his blind brother’s death in 1987 inviting him and his wife, Sheelah to come over to the Kingdom. From start to finish, including a chauffeur driven car to the airport, everything was laid on in style by the King who – over the years – had gone out of his way to remember with appreciation “my company commander at Sandhurst”. It is a delightful chapter reflecting the unique qualities which David Horsfield possessed. David Horsfield was a supremely loyal man whose love for skiing and the Army never diminished with age, attending the AWSA 50th celebrations in St Moritz at his own expense and with gusto at the age of 80. He is survived by his wife, Sheelah and their two sons, and two daughters to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.

Major General D R Horsfield OBE 1916 - 2008

David Horsfield in his ski-ing prime

Barry (“Hoppy”) Hopkins It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Barry (“Hoppy”) Hopkins on Friday 22nd August 2008.

Major General David Horsfield , who died on 7 December 2008, just ten days before his 92nd birthday, was a pioneer of British skiing, and Vice President and loyal supporter of the Army Winter Sports Association.

Hoppy had an extraordinary career in the Australian Armed Forces and served as a Biathlon Coach to the Army, Air Force and Australian Biathlon Association. However it is as a long term supporter of British Biathlon that he was best known to the UK and British Army Biathlon Family.

David Horsfield always acknowledged that it was his mother’s determination to find some way of using up the energy of three boys in the winter holidays that led them to the ski slopes – not St Moritz which was fashionable at the time (1920’s) but to the Swiss Jura. From those early winter forays, young David’s skiing talents progressed to instructor, to British Downhill champion, as well as becoming a leading light in the Ski Club of Great Britain and founding the White Hare Ski Club. Ski mountaineering in both Europe and the Himalayas was another passion, and one which he pursued and enjoyed over the decades.

For over a decade he, and partner Tina Willmett, were regular attendees at the British Championships where he spent many long cold hours spotting on the range and photographing countless hundreds of athletes. For many years he was an assistant coach at the East Grange Biathlon Centre for the autumn courses, and also at the Infantry Championships in Norway. He made many friends in the British Championship venues of Ruhpolding and Obertilliach.

David Horsfield was born into a military family. Educated at Oundle, RMA Woolwich and Cambridge, he was commissioned into the Royal Signals in 1936. During the 1939 – 45 War, he served in Egypt, Burma and Quetta, where he was Instructor at the Staff College.. Between 1950 and 1953, as Instructor at RMA Sandhurst, he was Company Commander to HM King Hussein of Jordan. After commanding 2 Signal Regt, 1956 – 59, he served in Malaya, was Director of Telecommunications (Army) 1966 – 68. ADC to HM The Queen 1968 – 69. Deputy Communications and Electronics, Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe 1968 – 69, and Chief Signal Officer, BAOR 1969 – 72.

His enthusiasm for Biathlon and the support he gave to young biathletes was matched only by his generosity and legendary gifts of the best Australian reds and was as infectious as the courage he showed fighting a long battle with leukaemia. We extend our profound condolences to his family and friends in the military and sporting worlds and to Tina.

A man with instinctive natural charm and modesty, David Horsfield’s delightful memoirs, put together on www.davidhorsfield.org.uk by his son, Crispin, highlight the longstanding respect and friendship which developed between

Hoppy, we will all miss you; you were a true friend and “Coach to the Guns”.

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Jonathan Woodall MBE 1946 - 2009

Cup at Cervinia and British Seniors 2-man Champion in 2002 and 2003. A true ice track all-rounder, Jonnie was British Luge Champion in single and doubles in 1972 and competed at the Sapporo Winter Olympics in his first season, finishing 35 out of 54. His nickname amongst ice sportsmen was ‘Teakman’ for obvious reasons!

Jonathan Woodall, formerly 4/7 Dragoon Guards, achieved the unique distinction of representing Great Britain in two sports at Olympic level. He competed in the Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan in 1972 in both the Luge Pairs and Luge Singles events, and in the 1976 Games at Innsbruck in the Luge Singles. Jonnie then switched to Bobsleigh, and represented Great Britain in the 1980 Games at Lake Placid in both the 2man and 4-man Bobsleigh events. A regular Cresta rider in addition, he was one of very few Army winter sports athletes to be awarded his Colours for Bobsleigh, Cresta and Luge.

His sliding sports career started at the St. Moritz Cresta Run in 1970. He was a member of the Army Cresta Team 1971-1985 and Services Champion 1973-1984. He also won the Brabazon Trophy in 1973 and was holder of the track record in 1975 and Flying Junction record from 1975-1983. He went on to compete in the 1983 European Skeleton Championships at Igls. Formerly President of the BBSKA, Johnnie was Racing Manager at the time of his unexpected death. After leaving the Army, Jonnie was a television commentator for Eurosport, the Pan European sports channel on ice events. Latterly he pursued a financial career in the City, and took up cycling. It was ironic that this latest passion should lead to his death when he was hit by a train on a remote railway line close to his home on 3 April. His ebullient wife, Tricia, and four six-foot tall daughters survive him. To them, we extend our deepest sympathy. Jonnie was one of the great Army ice sports’ pioneers and most loyal supporters.

In his Bobsleigh career he was British Bobsleigh Champion Brakeman 1976, British Novices’ Champion 1978, British Champion in 2-man and 4-man in 1980 and British Champion in 4 man in 1981 and 1982. In the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, he was placed 10th in 2-man and 9th in 4 man. Further achievements include a Bronze medal in the 1983 World

HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR ADDRESS? Since the publication of Snow & Ice 2008 a massive amount of work has been carried out on the membership database but there are still over 350 members who are effectively non-contactable. There is still clearly some way to go, so if you are a member of the AWSA and do not have a new style membership card (every membership number now contains 5 figures) then please contact the Assistant Secretary at the AWSA office in Aldershot immediately to update your details and rectify the problem. Members who pay annually, by cheque, should receive a new card each year with an expiry date of 31 December 20XX. Members who pay by Direct Debit should have already been issued with a new style card and this card will remain valid for the duration of their membership. If a new card is required due to loss or damage, then please contact the Assistant Secretary who will replace it as necessary. Please remember that unless you notify us of your postings or house move, we are not able to despatch your membership packs to you when Snow & Ice is published at the beginning of August. Life Membership has been reinstated for the 2009/10 Season for a one-off payment of £125.

Further details can be obtained by calling the Assistant Secretary in the AWSA Office

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Army Sports Lottery Application Form

In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Ministry of Defence will collect, use, protect and retain the information on this form in connection with all matters relating to personnel administration and policy

To:

JS Form JPA E015

(Introduced 09/05)

From: (Unit or Private Address) (Army- Military Address only)

Army Sports Lottery Manager Army Sports Control Board Clayton Barracks ALDERSHOT Hampshire GU11 2BG

Unit: Address:

Postcode/BFPO: (See addresses below)

Telephone:

UIN (Army only) Rank

Regt/Corps/Arm Initials

Surname (in BLOCK capitals)

Service / Employee Number

I wish to START buying lottery tickets – number of tickets required I wish to INCREASE / DECREASE my number of tickets from

(max of 5 Army, 5 for RAF and 6 for RN)

to

I wish to STOP buying lottery of tickets* (See Note below)

( * - delete as appropriate)

Date

Signature

(All personnel (Army/RN/RAF) must sign) Unit Stamp Note In order to conform to the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976, which states that you must pay for your tickets before you enter into the Lottery, tickets will be valid from the month after deductions, or changes to deductions, are made from your pay. The cost of each ticket is 75p each week.

Lottery Manager’s Signature

Lottery Stamp RN Address RN/RM Sports Lottery Manager HMS Temeraire Burnaby Road PORTSMOUTH Hampshire PO1 2HB (Tel: 023 9272 3806) (Mil: 9380 23806) (Temeraire-LOTMAN Lewis P Mr)

Army Address Army Sports Lottery Manager Army Sport Control Board Clayton Barracks ALDERSHOT Hampshire GU11 2BG (Tel: 01252 348550) (Mil: 94222 3550) (Fax: 01252 348687) (Mil: 94222 3687) lottery@ascb.uk.com Visit www.armynet.mod.uk

48

RAF Address RAF Sports Lottery Room 43, Kermode Hall RAF Halton AYLESBURY Bucks HP22 5PG (Tel: 01296 657132/657131) (Mil: 95237 7132/7131) (sportsboard-deplottman@halton.raf.mod.uk)


Weekly Prizes 1s t £10,000 2nd £ 5,00 0 3 rd £ 2 , 5 0 0 4th £1,0 00 5th £ 5 0 0

P lu s 1 c o nso 5 l at i o n prize s of £100

Join the Army Sports Lottery Army Sport Control Board Army Sports Lottery Clayton Barracks Aldershot Hampshire GU11 2BG Tel: 01252 348550 Aldershot Military: 94222 3550 lottery@ascb.uk.com


Army Golf & Winter Sports Associations Army Golf & Winter Sports Associations

Membership Application Membership Application

Cost per annum (for all levels of membership): Cost per annum (for all levels of membership):

Army Golf Association Army Winter Sports Association rmy Golf Association Army Winter Sports Association

Which association are you applying to: Which association are you applyingto: Golf  Winter Sports Golf  Handicap:

-

£10.00 £15.00 10.00 £15.00

Cheques to be made payable either to: heques made payable ither Membership or o: AGAtoforbeGolf AWSA for Winter Sports Membership AGA for Golf Membership or WSA for Winter Sports Membership

Date of first competition you intend to enter: _________________

Handicap:

Winter Sports  Date ofCresta first competition you intend to enter: _________________ Discipline: Alpine Bobsleigh Luge Nordic Skeleton Snowboard Telemark (Circle as appropriate) Discipline: (if any):Alpine Bobsleigh Cresta Luge Nordic Skeleton Snowboard Telemark Qualifications (Circle as appropriate) Qualifications (if any): ________________________________________________________________________

Army No:

________________________________________________________________________ Postal Address

If applicable

Army No: IfRank/Title: applicable

Postal Address

Rank/Title: Initials:

Postcode/BFPO:

Initials: First Name:

Postcode/BFPO: Date of Birth:

First Name: Surname:

Date of Birth: Telephone:

Surname: Post Noms:

Telephone: Mobile:

If applicable

Mobile: Email:

Post Noms: Corps/Arm: If applicable Corps/Arm: Male/Female:

Email:

Male/Female: Status:

Date due next posting: Date due next posting: Membership Type*:

Eg – Regular, TA, Status: NRPS, Retd etc

Membership Type*:

Eg – Regular, TA, *NRPS, Insert theetc type of membership you are applying for: Retd



Full (Serving Army Personnel paying by direct debit) Life Member Membership (£125)

   

Full Member (Serving(Serving Army Personnel paying by directby debit) Annual Full Member Army Personnel paying cheque annually) Full Member (Serving Army Personnel paying by direct debit) Associate fullArmy member, TA and NRPSbyserving retired, Annual FullMember Member(Retired (Serving Personnel paying chequeand annually) Annual Full RAF Member paying by cheque Serving RN, and (Serving overseasArmy forcesPersonnel on Army Foundation Staffs, annually) MOD(A) Associate Member (Retired full member, TA and NRPS serving and retired, Civilians  Associate fullforces member, TA and NRPS serving retired, Serving RN,Member RAF and(Retired overseas on Army Foundation Staffs,and MOD(A) Serving and overseas forces on Army Foundation Staffs, MOD(A) CiviliansRN, RAF Please return this application and your payment/direct debit form by post (please do not fax) to: Civilians

* Insert the type of membership you are applying for:

Please return Membership this application and your payment/direct debit formClayton by postBarracks (please do not fax) to: Secretary, Army Golf & Winter Sports, Thornhill Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 2BG Membership Secretary, Golf & Winter Sports, Clayton Tel: Mil (94222) 3582 Civ (01252)Army 348582 Fax: Mil (94222) 3557 Barracks Civ (01252) 348557 ThornhillEmail: Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 2BG dwalters@ascb.uk.com Tel: Mil (94222) 3582 Civ (01252) 348582 Fax: Mil (94222) 3557 Civ (01252) 348557 For office use only: Email: dwalters@ascb.uk.com

Membership For office use No: only: District: Membership No: District:

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Comprehensive Insurance however you choose to get up or down the mountain. Towergate Wilsons is a specialist insurance provider with over 60 years of service dedicated to British Military personnel and their families. We have developed a full range of insurance products covering every aspect of military life, from kit and contents to personal accident, motor, life cover and of course ski and adventurous training insurance including competitive training and racing. For more information about insurance products from Towergate Wilsons or details of the work we do in support of military charities and associations, please telephone: 0116 240 7773 or visit www.towergatewilsons.co.uk

Towergate Wilsons are delighted to sponsor the Army Winter Sports Association.

Snow & Ice 2009  

Snow & Ice Magazine 2009

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