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ARMY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION

and

ICE

In this issue 2010

Army Winter Sports Association

4

Season Events 2010-2011

a: Clayton Barracks, Thornhill Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 2BG t: 94222 3582 (military) t: (01252) 348582 f: 94222 3557 (military) f: (01252) 348557 e: membership@awsa.org.uk w: www.awsa.org.uk

5

AWSA News

Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO ADC

23 Nordic

7 Alpine 14 Bobsleigh 18 Cresta 20 Luge 26

Skeleton Bobsleigh

President Gen Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen

28 Snowboard

Deputy Presidents Lt Gen GR Coward CB CBE Maj Gen IC Dale CBE Maj Gen CM Deverell MBE

35 Sponsorship

32 Telemark

Chairman Maj Gen RL Kirkland CBE chairman@awsa.org.uk Vice Chairman Col GB Grossmith MBE vice-chairman@awsa.org.uk Secretary Lt Col (Retd) MK Allen secretary@awsa.org.uk

36

Patrouille des Glaciers

38

Ex SPARTAN HIKE

43

Ex PIPEDOWN

45

Ex SKI RLC

47

Army Sports Lottery

49

AWSA membership

Army Winter Sports Association

Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col TJ Wakefield sponsorship@awsa.org.uk

The Army Winter Sports Association was founded in 1947 by Field Marshal Montgomery to help provide military personnel with a break from routine training and operations. Since then it has encouraged generations of Army personnel to take to the snow and ice - often for the first time in their lives.

Public Fund Manager Maj SAJ Davis pf-manager@awsa.org.uk

The Association helps soldiers to develop their skills in demanding conditions thereby fostering self discipline, physical courage and teamwork. Many have gone on to represent their country in successive winter Olympic games.

Editor Snow and Ice Catharine Moss editor@awsa.org.uk Discipline officials are listed on individual sports pages

Winter sporting disciplines currently encompassed by the AWSA are; Alpine, Bobsleigh, Cresta, Luge, Nordic, Skeleton Bobsleigh, Snowboard and Telemark. If you are a keen snow or ice sportsperson you need to be an AWSA member to compete in any Divisional or Army Championships. For further information contact membership@ awsa.org.uk or complete the application form on page 49.

© This magazine contains official information and should be treated with discretion by the recipient. No responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised in this magazine can be accepted by the publishers or printers. Published by Forces and Corporate Publishing Ltd, Hamblin House, Hamblin Court, 92-94 High Street, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0PQ. Tel: 01933 419994 • Fax: 01933 419584 • Email: editorial@forcespublishing.co.uk

Managing Director: Ron Pearson

Designer: Kerry Wells


Season Events 2010 - 2011 AWSA Discipline Secretaries Meeting ASCB - Aldershot 08/10/10 AWSA Management Meeting 2010 Cavalry & Guards Club - London 27/10/10 AWSA AGM and Cocktail Party 2010 Cavalry & Guards Club - London 27/10/10

Alpine

Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetier - France 09/01/11 – 18/01/11 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines - France 08/01/11 – 18/01/11 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier - France 18/01/11 – 28/01/11 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 29/01/11 – 05/02/11 Royal Navy Championship Tignes - France 08/01/11 – 22/01/11 Royal Air Force Championship Saalbach Hinterglemm - Austria 08/01/11 – 22/01/11

Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Igls - Austria 04/12/10 – 18/12/10 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Königssee - Germany 30/01/11 – 05/02/11 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee - Germany 05/03/11 – 12/03/11

Cresta

Army Junction Championship 17th / 21st Lancers Cup St Moritz - Switzerland 27/01/11 Army Top Championship Scots Guards Cup St Moritz - Switzerland 01/02/11 Inter Service Cresta Championship Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz - Switzerland 03/02/11

Luge

Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Igls – Austria 04/12/10 – 18/12/10 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Königssee –- Germany 30/01/11 – 05/02/11 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee – Germany 05/03/11 – 12/03/11 Nordic LAND Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetier - France 09/01/11 –18/01/11 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines - France 08/01/11 –18/01/11 Army, Inter Service and British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding - Germany 19/01/11 – 03/02/11

Skeleton Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Igls - Austria 04/12/10 – 18/12/10 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Königssee – Germany 30/01/11 – 05/02/11 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee – Germany 05/03/11 – 12/03/11 Snowboard Army Championship EX SNOW JACK Stubai - Austria 27/11/10 – 17/12/10 Army Freestyle Championship EX SNOW METHOD Stubai - Austria 30/04/11 – 07/05/11 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 29/01/11 – 05/02/11

Telemark

Army and British Championships EX TELEMARK TITAN Rauris - Austria 08/01/11 – 20/01/11 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 29/01/11 – 05/02/11


AWSA NEWS

Another Successful Season Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland CBE - AWSA Chairman I am into my second year as Chairman and can look back with great satisfaction. The Association is in very good order and is being actively supported by the chain of command and a group of new sponsors. It was tremendously reassuring to hear CGS say publicly that ‘Winter Sports contribute to military output, are an essential part of decompression from operations and remain an important element of the moral component’. Yet again, despite the continuing high levels of operational commitments, the AWSA has had another successful season with high levels of participation and some superb individual and team performances. We were blessed with excellent conditions, heaps of snow almost everywhere and plenty of sunshine. It was a mixed bag of results; individual reports can be found later in the magazine, but I would like to highlight a few areas. The Alpine skiers had a successful event in Serre Chevalier before moving to Meribel for the Inter Service Championships where the men’s team did extremely well beating the RAF to the title. With some new faces in the ladies team it was always going to be tough to retain their title. The competition with the RAF went down to the wire and only a fall in the final slalom race prevented a victory although Cpl Annabel Franey REME took the individual title. In the Ice Sports area the novice camp in Lillehammer was successful in attracting over 60 competitors to slide on ice for the first time. The Army Championships in Igls helped to prepare our sliders for the Inter Service competition. Although we competed well in all three disciplines, the Men’s Bobsleigh Team pulled one out of the bag in defeating the Navy,and the Ladies Bobsleigh Team also retained their trophy. Both Cpl Paula Walker R Signals (Bobsleigh Driver) and Capt Henry Nwume RAMC (4 Man Brakeman) competed at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and accredited themselves well.

The Nordic skiers returned to Ruhpolding this year and the Army swept the board yet again. LCpl Lee Jackson 2 Yorks was the only athlete to represent GB in the Olympics and returned some excellent results. Snowboard continues to thrive and is proving ever popular with Army personnel with over 140 athletes taking part in the Championship in Stubai. The strength of the male team was aptly demonstrated once again as they took the honours in the Inter Service Championships with LCpl Kev Clarke REME from 2 RTR winning the individual male title. Telemark continues to thrive and there was an excellent turnout at the championship in Rauris. For the first time, the Inter Service competition took place in Meribel alongside the other events with WO2 Phil Maddox taking the individual title and helping the men’s team to victory. I fully expect Telemark to gain ‘Recognised Status’ later this year which will help reduce the costs to those taking part. Both Divisional Exercises SPARTAN HIKE and PIPEDOWN were well attended with over 700 athletes participating. This is an extremely encouraging figure considering the level of operational commitments and the moratorium on TA and OTC funding. Most significantly the AWSA managed to secure several new long term sponsors this

Princess Marina Cup On 29 July 1957 the Army Ski Association (the forerunner of the Army Winter Sports Association (AWSA)) celebrated its tenth Anniversary. To commemorate this event, the then Patron, Princess Marina Duchess of Kent presented the Association with a trophy to be awarded to the overall Champion Army Alpine and Nordic Unit. The Princess Marina Duchess of Kent Cup (usually known as ‘The Marina’) has subsequently become one of the most hard fought for trophies in the British Army. Over the last 53 years The Marina

has been won by 22 different units representing seven different Corps. The Marina is presented annually and is decided by calculating which unit has the most wins in both Alpine (Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super G and Downhill) and Nordic (15km Cross Country, 10km Biathlon, 4 x 7.5km Biathlon and the Military Patrol Race). In the event of a tie the 30km Military Patrol Race is used as the decider.

2010 Champions - 1 LSR 2010 Runners-up - 7 Regt RLC

season - many of whom were able to visit the Alpine Championships in Serre Chevalier. The principal sponsors are now the Army Sports Lottery, Selex Gallileo, Towergate Wilsons, KBR, Bloc Eyewear, BAE Systems, NP Aerospace, Universal Engineering and Thales. I am most grateful for their support and the income has helped to ease the financial burden on all disciplines and reduced individual costs to the athletes. Finally, I am extremely grateful to all Chairmen, Secretaries and officials who give up their free time to organise events. Can I wish you all the best of fortune for next season and I hope to see most of you either at the AGM on 27 October or in the Alps.

Annual General Meeting Date for your Diary - the AGM of the Army Winter Sports Association will be held in the Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7PX on 27th October 2010 at 1730 hrs.


AWSA NEWS

Thank you Celia

Snow and Ice Editor (1991-1998 and 2001-2009) The AWSA Magazine has undergone a number of changes since the ‘Army Ski Association Yearbook’ was first produced in A5 format in the mid 1950s. For aeons the Editor was Major Oliver Warman who switched to A4 size in the mid 70s and then changed the name to ‘Ski Year’ in 1989. From 1991 the magazine was jointly edited by a former AWSA Chairman, Brigadier Aubrey Fielder, and his wife Celia. They introduced full colour and widened the range of contents. It proved hugely popular and ‘Ski Year’ became the bible for the Army’s winter sports fraternity. After their last joint edition, following the 1997 ‘AWSA 50’ in St Moritz, the Committee decided that it could not afford the cost of publication. A smaller magazine, Snow and Ice, edited by the Nordic aficionado, Lt Col Mark Goodson appeared in 1999, but even this was reduced to an eight page ‘Millennium Bulletin’ in 2000. In 2001 sense prevailed and Snow and Ice went to full press once again with Celia Fielder at the editing helm. She has consistently produced a high quality magazine filled with Discipline reports, results and a host of other winter sports articles that were well received by the readership. Her dedication to the role saw no better example than in August 2005 when her husband Aubrey, whose health had deteriorated over a period of just four months, died from a brain tumour. It was a sad loss

not only to the family but also to the AWSA who had lost one of its stalwarts. He had represented Great Britain in Cross Country in the 1956 Olympic Winter Games and from 1975 until his death served the AWSA as Chairman Alpine, Chairman AWSA and Vice President. As well as editing ‘Ski Year’ he was also a past Vice President and Secretary General of the old British Ski Federation. Despite this personal loss Celia carried on as Editor in her inimitable style. After Aubrey’s death she continued her varied duties as a JP, freelance journalist and consultant for a property management company, but in between this and her routine editorial duties she spent many hours on the ski slopes of the world, writing amusing and interesting articles on her experiences. She has also managed to fill her time in supporting Service charities. In 2008 she cycled on the Halfords Big Battlefield Bike Ride, some 350 miles in Northern France, complete with a wrist plaster having been knocked off her bike whilst training in London! To cap that, in 2009 Celia climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa and her group raised £140,000 for Help for Heroes. Celia sadly decided to put down her AWSA pen earlier this year and is now enjoying a slightly quieter lifestyle in Berkshire; although we suspect she will continue to ski the world! On behalf of the Association, we wish her well in her retirement; the AWSA owes her a huge debt for the past 19 years of invaluable dedication.

The end of an era Possibly the most significant thing about the 2010 season was that it saw the retirement from Army skiing of Lt Col Aggi Hunt. It is impossible to overstate the contribution that Aggi has given to the sport over the course of his army career - a career that spans over three decades. Aggi started skiing as a young Trooper in the Queen’s Own Hussars on Exercise Snow Queen in 1972. He went on to race for the QOH ski team for 12 years before he was told to focus a bit more on his military career and a little less on his skiing! He came back to the Army Championships in 1993 where he was Chief of Course. Since then he has held the post of Chief of Race and Technical Director at every level of service skiing events including Divisional, Army and Combined Services. His qualifications go beyond the military though and he is a qualified British Alpine Technical Delegate (TD) and he has officiated at numerous national events as well as military ones. He set up the Army TD forum for the purpose of training Army TDs and race officials to ensure that

Army races were run properly and safely. Over the course of his time as an official Aggi has officiated 41 separate service championships over a 17 year period. The numbers alone speak volumes but there is a greater depth to our gratitude to Aggi. He has been a friend and confidant to generations of racers and committee members. His exceptional knowledge of the sport meant that he was the sounding block for all things to do with Alpine Skiing. His knowledge was only surpassed by his humour which was always welcome in a tense moment. Aggi was clear, Alpine racing must be challenging and competitive but it must be fun as well and he made sure it was all those things. Over the course of his tenure on the Committee Aggi has taken Army Alpine racing to new levels. Not only has he ensured the professionalism of the organisation and the championships but he has developed and trained an exceptionally capable group of people under him. His contribution to the sport is unprecedented and remarkable. We wish him well in his future endeavours and hope to welcome him back to visit us soon.


Alpine ALPINE

Maj Roddy Christie SCOTS DG

A month before the arrival of the racers the season did not look promising. Grass was the main feature of the downhill piste and snow in general was in short supply. Sometime in that month Mother Nature rallied to the cause and the conditions, by the time the racing got underway, were exceptional.

Contact Alpine Chairman Alpine Brig RPM Weighill Secretary Alpine Maj R Christie SCOTS DG t: 94731 2369 (military) t: (01748) 872369 f: 94731 2304 (military) f: (01748) 872304 e: alpine@awsa.org.uk

Over a hundred top Army skiers took part in the 2010 Army Alpine Championship (EX LIONS CHALLENGE) which once again saw an exceptionally high standard of racing. A number of racers, who had been away for a few years and returned, commented not only on the strength of the field but also the depth of talent - right down into the lower seeds. Given the Army’s operational tempo and budgetary constraints it is reassuring, and welcome, to see that the standard of racing remains high.


ALPINE As always there were some notable achievements this year. First is Captain Matt Shepherd, skiing this year for 29 Regt RLC, who - for the second year running - completely swept the board in the men’s individual races; he was also the fastest person in every team race as well. His racing skills are truly inspiring and it is doubly impressive that the French course setters echoed that sentiment. In the ladies events Corporal Annabel Franey dominated the speed events, but she was pipped - by only one hundredths of a second - into second place in the slalom by Lance Corporal Karen Abbot-Hull, and Major Mel Hilton won the Super G competition. In the team events the 1 LSR dominated completely. Their incredible ability to stack the top ten places is a huge tribute to their hard work and determined training and their lead was not seriously challenged throughout the Championship. The runners-up were 19 Regt RA who managed to fend off SCOTS DG.

Perhaps of greater note was the fight for third place which saw SCOTS DG take the position, by less than one seed point, from 7 AA Bn REME: all of which made for an enthralling team competition. There were some notable performances from some of the lower seeds too. Lance Corporal Collins, 10 Sig Regt, was seeded 102 at the start of Downhill training and finished the race 32nd. Once he had worked out that, he needed to turn right into Brigadier’s Jump instead of going straight on Captain Ed Howland Jackson, HCR, rose from 64th to finish 23rd in the Downhill. Of final note was Trooper Forbes, KRH, who in his first year of racing finished 47th in the Downhill. These results are particularly impressive given the sheer courage that is required to complete the Downhill. As always there were some comedic high points. Tpr Holden, LD, has developed his own Slalom style of head butting the gates out of the way. 2Lt Amos, LD, and Air Trooper Devereaux, 1

Cpl Annabel Franey REME, winner of the ISSSC Individual Downhill Race

‘These results are particularly impressive given the sheer courage that is required to complete the Downhill’

‘As always there were some comedic high points’ AAC, both felt that there was a possible shortcut in the Downhill by cutting down through a mogul field by Pylon Jump. And Corporal Meek, 6 Bn REME, who managed to ski the Downhill without any problem, but then fell off the chairlift at the bottom of the Luc Alphond in front of everyone! It would be wrong not to single out the Combined Services Disabled


ALPINE Ski Team who once President’s Race competitors again came to ski at the Championship and turned in some truly heroic performances. Sgt Mick Brennan’s tumble on the Downhill was particularly spectacular. There were a series of spectacular wipe-outs over the course of the racing: most notably on the Downhill. Capt Richard Bromley Gardener, QRH, amazingly got up without a scratch from Capt Matt Shepherd RLC, winner of the ISSSC Individual Downhill Race a tumble just below attended the event Pylon. Pte Bunning with over 40 people from 1 LSR cart-wheeled through the air visiting at one point. We marked this at the top of the wall and was air-lifted with the President’s Race; a fun Parallel from the slope. Despite initial fears of Slalom which followed the Downhill. a fractured hip and femur he was lucky The presence of our sponsors is so very enough to escape with just some pulled important to the event as it wouldn’t tendons. Just to prove that it can happen happen without them and we are to anyone the Army Team Captain, immensely grateful for all the support Captain Nick Poett, SCOTS DG, also they give. had a fall just above Pylon Jump which Finally there are two departures from stopped Capt Matt Shepherd - the next the Alpine Scene. After two years at the racer down - in his tracks. helm Brigadier Mark Dodson moves Off the race-piste this season on from being Chairman Alpine to be saw a growth in the number DA in Oman (Brigadier Rob Weighill of sponsors and VIPs who will be taking over as Chairman Alpine

LCpl Clint Hamblett ARM, competing at ISSSC

for 2011). Lt Col Aggi Hunt also leaves the committee after an extraordinary 36 years involved in Army skiing - his remarkable contribution to the sport is covered on page 6. Another year passes and we now turn our attention to the 2011 season which is particularly significant as it marks the 20th year that the Army Alpine Championships have been held in Serre Chevalier. Over that period we have built up a great network of friends in the village who ensure the success of each consecutive championship. We look forward to seeing all the racers back there next year.

Alpine Results 2009 - 2010

Alpine Events 2010 - 2011

Army Male Champion Capt Shepherd RLC Army Male Runner-up Sgt McPherson RLC Army Female Champion Cpl Franey REME Army Female Runner-up Maj Hilton RLC Army Team Champions 1 LSR Army Team Runners-up 19 Regt RA Inter Service Male Champion Flt Lt Cruickshank RAF Inter Service Male Runner-up Capt Shepherd RLC Inter Service Female Champion Cpl Franey REME Inter Service Female 4th Maj Hilton RLC Inter Service Best Female Newcomer LCpl Abbott-Hull RLC Inter Service Male Team Champions Army Inter Service Female Team Runners-up Army

Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Montiers, France 9-18 January 2011 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 8-18 January 2011 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier, France 18-28 January 2011 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 29 January-5 February 2011 Royal Navy Championship Tignes, France 8-22 January 2011 Royal Air Force Championship Saalbach/Hint-gm, Austria 8-22 January 2011


ALPINE

INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS FOR CSDST Lt Col Mike Quaile Following a Team Selection Day at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre in June and training throughout the summer of 2009, six new skiers; Capt Bernie Bambury Rifles, LCpl Pete Dunning RM, Sgt Martin Beane Rifles, Cpl Pam Grainger RAF, Sgt Stu Pearson Para and LCpl Si Wiggins Coldstream Gds, joined Capt Martin Hewitt Para, Sgt Mick Brennan R Signals and LCpl Stevie Shine RTR to become members of the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team CSDST.

Training Camp In November the whole team took part in a training camp in Neustift, in the Stubai region of Austria, to hone their basic skills and learn how to race. Sadly despite showing great potential Cpl Pam Grainger

and LCpl Si Wiggins decided not to pursue downhill racing; Capt Bernie Bambury and Sgt Stu Pearson were also not available to race this year but it is hoped they may be able to take part next season. However in spite of operations and ongoing medical treatment the remaining members of the team took part in Divisional, Army, Inter Services and International competitions this season with great success.

Divisional Championship Sgt Mick Brennan who lost both legs above the knee in a suicide-bomb blast in Iraq in 2004 and LCpl Pete Dunning who lost both legs in a mine blast in Afghanistan in 2008 both raced on mono skis in the Divisional Alpine Championship in Les Contamines in January. In the

Individual Super G Competition Mick came 66th whilst Pete came 89th out of 124 racers on uncorrected times, and Mick achieved 73rd and Pete 101st - again out of 124 racers - in the Seeding Giant Slalom Race.

Army Championship Capt Martin Hewitt who was shot through the shoulder joint in Afghanistan in 2007 and Tpr Stevie Shine who lost his left leg in an Improvised Explosive Device incident in Iraq in 2007 then joined Mick and Pete and all four took part in the Army Alpine Championship in Serre Chevalier. Unfortunately Mick had a bad fall on the Downhill. He came out of his rig, spiralled across the piste and broke his nose; luckily he escaped serious injury but he had to

‘They are all focussed on the truly demanding (but achievable) goal of becoming good enough to not only represent their country, but to win medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics’

For further information on the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team visit www.csdst.co.uk


ALPINE withdraw from the race. Despite this setback Martin, Mick and Pete all raced in the Super G event achieving speeds of 59, 57 and 54 miles an hour respectively over the finish line.

Inter Service Championships All four athletes then went on to compete in the Combined Services Winter Sports Association Inter Service Ski and Snowboard Competition (ISSSC) in Meribel. Martin completed all the races he started (Downhill, Super G and Slalom) and by any reckoning his best result of

24/45 in the combination (Super G and Slalom) was spectacular. Mick fell during downhill training injuring his shoulder which made him unavailable for the Downhill race but his best result was 31st out of 45 in the Super G. Stevie Shine, who was not able to achieve a full season of training due to medical LCpl Stevie Shine treatment, had not practiced Downhill so he was not entered into the Downhill race. However he did take part in the Super G where he Super G and Slalom) completing both finished 32nd out of 45 racers which was runs and thus gaining second position a fantastic result. Sadly he fell on the wall on the podium. In the combination race, leading to the finish in both the slalom skiers mount the podium if they finish and the GS. Stevie is a good enough skier in the top three but as the race is run in to have completed both courses but fell reverse finish order the slower skiers are due to fatigue; both courses were long and first down and are usually displaced by the punishing for all competitors let alone for faster ones. Nonetheless Pete’s shout of someone with only one leg and limited joy and enormous smile were ‘priceless’ as training opportunities. he shunned offers to lift his rig onto the In only his first season skiing Pete podium preferring instead to dive on top Dunning had a fantastic result on of it still in his rig mounted on a single ski. Combination Race Day (one run of both

International events Martin competed in an International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing race in New Zealand last summer and both he and Mick took part in the Austrian and French National Championships this season. However, the greatest success of the season was at the Canadian National Championships in Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. In two Giant Slalom events Martin came seventh and eighth in the standing category (a notoriously hard category), Pete came fourth both times (in only his first season), and Mick achieved third place winning bronze medals in both events. Martin then went on to compete in the Swiss National in April and came fourth in the Slalom and fifth in the Giant Slalom. In what was a highly competitive field he finished ahead of all the new EU development individuals, and was only beaten by Paralympians. The team’s results have been fantastic so far and the British Disabled Ski Team is showing a keen interest in the team. But this is just the beginning as they are all focussed on the truly demanding (but achievable) goal of becoming good enough to not only represent their country, but to win medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. For further information contact csdst@ awsa.org.uk or to follow the team’s progress, you can find them on Facebook by searching for ‘combined services disabled ski team’.

Sgt Mick Brennan wearing the first of his two Bronze medals won at the Canadian National Championships

Capt Martin Hewitt


ALPINE

Vancouver Paralympics In March, Capt Martin Hewitt, Sgt Mick Brennan, LCpl Pete Dunning and the coach, SSgt Mark Scorgie went as guests of the British Paralympic Association to Canada on a Battle Back trip, funded by Help For Heroes, to allow hopeful 2012 and 2014 team members to witness firsthand the Olympic experience. They supported the British Disabled Ski Team in every race, played Sledge Ice Hockey and Wheelchair Curling against ‘Soldier On’ (the Canadian version of Battle Back) and met HRH Prince Edward, Graham Bell and Lord Coe. Pete Dunning was selected to carry the Paralympic Torch the day before the opening ceremony and said, ‘It was a great honour to be able to parade around the most famous parts of Vancouver especially on my birthday. This is a day I will never forget.’

Capt Martin Hewitt being interviewed for the BBC by Graham Bell

Sgt Mick Brennan playing Sledge Ice Hockey

LCpl Pete Dunning carrying the Olympic torch the day before the opening ceremony

CSDST with Prince Edward in Whistler


BOBSLEIGH

Bobsleigh Lt Will Holden LANCS

Two-man Bobsleigh is one of the most exhilarating winter sports available to soldiers, NCOs and officers from all cap badges across the Army. It gives people the opportunity to represent the Army in a sport which requires great courage, dedication and skill. It also may lead to the chance of representing Great Britain in competitions across the globe, including the Winter Olympics which regularly sees British military personnel taking part. The British Army has a long history with the sport of Bobsleigh; in fact it was a group of British Army officers who first devised the sport whilst on duty in Europe. The close bond between the Army and Bobsleigh continues to this day with the Army team training full-time in Aldershot and the training/identification of new talent each year during the Ice Camps. The 2009-2010 Bobsleigh season has been an extremely busy time with plenty of events all across Europe. The venues and events have pushed both junior and senior athletes to their limits and it has been great to see the level of experience grow across all aspects of the sport. The first main event of the Army Bobsleigh calendar was Exercise RACING ICE I (1-14 November 2009) which was held in Lillehammer, Norway. This exercise

the coaches are handpicked and give as much of their valuable experience as possible; this resulted in the development of some cracking new athletes as the week progressed. The week consisted of slow time-track walks in the mornings (a track-walk is where a driver will walk up the track in order to remind him/herself about the technicalities of the course, specifically looking at the most difficult corners) followed by racing the track itself, including, as always, a few crashes along the way. The week concluded with the first race which provided a fun conclusion to the training and also identified those who had potential from those who needed a bit more practise. Exercise RACING ICE I is a brilliant introduction to the sport; it is run at a nice and relaxed pace and is enjoyed by all who attend.

Contact Bobsleigh is split into two separate weeks and concentrates on teaching beginners the basics of maintaining and racing a twoman Bobsleigh. During the first week the novices are taught how to act as a driver or a brakeman; usually by performing four ‘laufs’ (runs down the track) each day alternating between driving and braking. In order to ensure that the novice sportsmen are being trained correctly

Competitors at the Inter Service Ice Sports Championships 2010.

Chairman Bobsleigh Maj HS Carter RAMC Secretary Bobsleigh Lt WE Holden LANCS t: 94773 4413 (military) m: 07842 590363 e: bobsleigh@awsa.org.uk


BOBSLEIGH The next event was Exercise RACING ICE II (14-21 February 2010) which was held in Igls, Austria. This week is intended to build on the experience gained during Exercise RACING ICEI; new athletes are instructed further and given specific training designed to improve their driving skills. A great deal of time is spent working on the ‘Push Off’, learning about the mechanics of the Bobsleigh itself and the dynamics of the Bobsleigh track. Again, the instructors passed on their experience in a relaxed atmosphere but more pressure was placed on the athletes due to the increased speed which in turn highlighted the requirement for precise driving and good quality braking. Exercise RACING ICE II allowed the teams to learn how they performed under pressure and there was ample time for the Bobsleighs to be adjusted in order to set the correct weight limit for the final race. The last day on the track consisted of the Army Junior Novice Championship. This was a very close race which highlighted the fact that even after just two weeks on ice the novice athletes were performing to a reasonable standard. The third event was the Inter Services Ice Championships (1-14 March 2010) which was held in Lillehammer, Norway. This two week exercise concentrated on advanced training specifically for the track at Lillehammer and concluded with the Inter Services Race itself. Around 15-20 teams competed in the two-man Bobsleigh discipline which was spread out over two days of racing. The teams were given a lot of freedom with their race

training and preparation but the coaches were always on hand to offer support and expertise. Throughout the exercise the teams fine-tuned their timings and ironed out any creases in their performance; so much so that by the end of the training week there were some extremely quick times. It was great to see that overall the Army teams won the Championships for both male and female disciplines with SSgt Scarisbrick and Capt Nwume being runners up in the male event and Cpl Walker and LCpl Shaman coming first in the female event. 2009/2010 has been a cracking season with some great results. All the current Army athletes are to be congratulated on their work so far; they are certainly proving the point that Bobsleigh is a key Army winter sport.

Ex RACING ICE I

(Weeks 1 & 2) 4 to 18 December 2010 There are 50 places available on each week of the Army Ice Camp; these places break down roughly into Bobsleigh 24, Luge and Skeleton 13. The novice camp is being held in Igls, Austria and the cost to individuals will be approximately £450 (includes flights, hotel and track fees) but this can be offset by a £100 grant for those who are members of the Army Sports Lottery. Bids for places are welcomed from both individuals and units and can be made by emailing skeleton@awsa. org.uk

Bobsleigh Events 2010 - 2011

Bobsleigh Results 2009 - 2010

Army Ice Camp (Weeks 1 and 2) EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 4-18 December 2010

Army 2-Man Bobsleigh Male Champions Sgt Hillman PARA & SSgt Barnett R Signals Army 2-Man Bobsleigh Female Champions no competition due to Olympic commitments Inter Service Male Champions Cpl Jackson RM & Mne Devlin RM Inter Service Male Runners-up Sgt Scarisbrick RTR & Capt Nwume RAMC Inter Service Female Champions Cpl Walker R Signals & LCpl Sharman RLC Inter Service Female Runners-up Cpl Gunn R Signals & Sgt Collins RADC Inter Service Male Team Champions Army Inter Service Female Team Champions Army

Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Königssee, Germany 30 January - 5 February 2011 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee, Germany 5-12 March 2011


BOBSLEIGH

CAPT HENRY NW

Army Doctor and member of the GB1 Four-man Bobsleigh Team at th I got started in the sport back in 2006; I’d played a lot of rugby but was just starting a busy six month placement in Frimley Park Hospital and was looking for something new. I was vaguely aware of Bobsleigh when somebody mentioned that they’d been on a novice camp and how much fun they’d had. I made a few enquiries and within a couple of weeks I was off to Calgary on EX RACING ICE. I came back having really enjoyed myself and thinking this was a sport I might want to pursue further. Luckily I got a phone call asking me compete at the next Army Championship and from there I was asked to try out for the GB squad who were starting their post Olympic recruitment.

© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Bobsleigh is a sport that if you show some initial talent then opportunities are provided quickly and before you know it you are in your first competition. Once that happens athletes quickly decide whether they can tolerate the long periods away from home on the competition circuit, and if they’re motivated enough to spend long hours in the gym and on the track in the summer. I suppose it was about six months after I started Bobsleigh when I realised that getting to the Olympics might be a possibility. It has not been easy, and I am very grateful to the Army, especially the RAMC, for recognising my talent and giving me posts flexible enough so that I could train and compete. For the last two seasons the

men’s programme has been in a critical financial position, and as a team we accepted the not inconsiderable burden of having to self fund. Having to pay for our vehicle hire, flights and accommodation was a significant undertaking as we compete around Europe, the US and Canada. This meant that where money could be saved it was, and for more times than I care to mention we’ve shared beds and slept in vans to minimise hotel costs. We have learnt what is important and what is superfluous as regards to performance. When problems arose, as they did with irritating regularity, we concerned ourselves with what we could control and didn’t worry about the rest. So after three and half years of incremental improvement, of getting stronger, faster and gaining competitive experience I was lucky enough to be selected for the final Olympic crew. I suppose it didn’t really sink in until I was picking up my kit and chatting to Sir Steve Redgrave who was also on his way to Vancouver as a British Olympic Association Ambassador. Arriving at the Olympic holding camp in Utah we felt like poor orphans suddenly adopted by rich parents; all the monetary problems that had previously distracted us were now taken care of. Although we were a brand new crew we gelled straight away and our training times justified our selection. From there we joined the rest of the GB squad in Calgary to do further quality work in

the ice house before going to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremony and then on to the Olympic Village in Whistler to start training on the track. The village is an extraordinary place as there are new things to do and see everywhere. We were unlucky in that our event was on the penultimate day of the Olympics which meant there was no time or opportunity for us to enjoy the distractions going on all around us; my memories of the Village are of the track, the gym, the dining hall and my bed! We were all lost in our little world of focussed preparation right up until it was time to go home. The Olympic experience is a great leveller. The vast majority of athletes stay in the village, everyone sharing the same food, accommodation, training facilities and transport. On race day all the advantages of big money sponsorship and national governing body support are stripped away and you’re just left with yourself and your thoughts. Some are able to cope, some crumble, and some transcend expectations - I think that is why the Olympics is so compelling. As we approached the block on race day I think we were surprised by how few nerves we felt; we just fell into our normal race routine. Despite the years of preparation, and the sacrifices made, the Olympics is just another race - it’s when you try and do things differently on the big day that mistakes


happen. So as we stood on the block and looked down the track we took confidence from our preparation and the knowledge that we would produce our best effort for each other. As far as I’m concerned the rest looks after itself. After the first run we were quietly ecstatic. We’d shown we could mix it with the best starters in the world and Jacko had driven superbly. Then there was the crash; to be honest it was over very quickly and for me not too painfully - Allyn bore more of the brunt at the back. There was obvious disappointment because we’d been doing so well, but we all knew how challenging the track was and that far more experienced teams were going over as well. As soon as it was obvious we were all fine we all started looking forward. Our goals may have changed slightly but we were still there to put in our best possible performance so we raced again on the second day, and succeeded. Bobsleigh is an emotional sport, with tremendous highs and lows in short periods of time. Some days it was so frustrating I wondered what I was doing and whether I was wasting my time, and others I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having. Overall, as I look back over the last four years I’ve been involved in the sport, the things that stand out are the opportunities it’s given me, the incredible experiences I’ve had, and the wonderful friends I’ve made. I’m just very grateful that the Army gave me the opportunity to get involved.

Driver for the GB2 Women’s Bobsleigh Team at the 2010 Winter Olympics

I joined the Army in September 2002 when I was 16 years old. I have always enjoyed sport and I thought the Army would have many opportunities for me, but never in a million years did I think that I would be representing OUR country in the Olympics.

I was asked by a friend who was competing for the Army in Bobsleigh to come along to be her brakeman (person in the back). At first I was a little dubious - I hadn’t even seen Cool Runnings (the story of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team who competed at the Calgary Olympics in 1988) so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. That week was painful to say the least; I was knocked, bashed and crashed about but the weird thing was that I loved it. I then paired up with Cpl Jackie Gunn to compete in the Inter Services. A few months later the Great Britain trials were on for Bobsleigh and I was asked/nagged to go and try out, and to my amazement I was selected! During the 2006/07 season - just six months after my very first experience - I competed as a brakeman with Cpl Jackie Gunn on the World Cup circuit. At the end of this time I made the hard decision to learn to drive - which is something I have never regretted. Being in the Army has enabled me to achieve my dream of going to the Olympics. Without the Army I would never have been able to try Bobsleigh.

‘Being in the Army has enabled me to achieve my dream of going to the Olympics’

The down side to my sport is the funding situation; again the Army has been fantastic and pays me even though for half of the year I am not doing my day job of Radio System Operator. But with Bobsleigh being one of the most expensive Olympic sports out there my full wage doesn’t even come close to covering the £30,000 cost for just one season (October- March). The Olympics were absolutely amazing and to be perfectly honest, even a few months down the line, they still haven’t sunk in. My focus now is to achieve top four in the 2014 Winter Olympics; though to do this we need to find funding. I now have four years to knuckle down and achieve my goal, and hopefully the Army will continue to support me and make this possible.

© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

he 2010 Winter Olympics

Cpl Paula Walker

© Giancarlo Pradelli/twentytwenty

WUME

BOBSLEIGH


Cresta

CRESTA

Major Nick Foulerton SCOTS DG

best. This alone lost the Army second place. On a positive note, Maj Richard Morgan rode his fastest time and Maj Toby Barrington-Barnes leapt forward by a commendable four seconds. The RAF had their full complement of very experienced riders, all of whom rode some of their fastest times and in doing so won by a considerable margin. The Navy rode many personal bests, including Cdr Angus Essenhigh, who rode an incredible 53.86, winning him the Auty Speed Cup. The new Army Cresta Chairman, Maj Gen James Bucknall, came out for a flying visit riding a dart from Junction and certainly enjoyed his time in St Moritz. The increase in participation this year was the result of a major publicity This year, the Army season lasted campaign, with the aim of dispelling for three weeks, with ten regiments some of the Cresta myths, broadening represented by 27 riders, 21 of whom the spectrum of riders represented were novices. The 17th/21st Regimental Pairs Race relies on both riders completing and for the first time, including the TA. Next year the Army team all three courses and on many occasions must re-focus from recruitment the favourite team has had a faller on the third course. The favourites, Maj Nick to retention and, depending on rider availability, could Foulerton and Capt Simon Brayn-Smith, produce a potent Army managed to hold the SCOTS DG team together, beating the QRL by a reasonable team to win back the Prince Philip Trophy margin. The Junction Handicap was won after four years in RAF by novice rider, 2 Lt John Gillispie KRH, hands. narrowly beating the Army team riders and proving the Handicap Committee had got it right. The Open Novice Race saw a highly competitive group of first timers led to the medal table by Capt Dan Holloway, the first Yorkshire Regiment officer to ride the Run. The Scots Guards Cup had a field of six riders, with Majors Nick Foulerton and Johnno Palmer IG returning to run after three years away. Unfortunately this was reflected in their riding. Maj Richard Morgan from the Royal Wessex Yeomanry went on to narrowly beat Col Rupert Wieloch QRL and became the first TA rider to win the trophy. The Inter Service Championships saw the strongest three teams on the Run for some time and impressive performances were delivered in the desire for glory. On paper the Army were in good stead, however, time away from the Run saw Maj Nick Foulerton riding three seconds slower than his personal Unknowingly, all ice track sports represented in this periodical have had reason to celebrate this year as it has been 125 years since the first Cresta rider hurtled down the valley, from St Moritz to Cellerina. The St Moritz Tobogganing Club (SMTC) put on a stupendous week’s festivities in February 2010 to mark the occasion. The debt of gratitude runs both ways; firstly, it is from the Cresta Run that all other ice track sports came into being and secondly, it is thanks to the British Services that the Cresta Run survived in the aftermath of the Second World War when few others were able to continue to ride and support the Club.

‘It is from the Cresta Run that all other ice track sports came into being’


‘The Cresta is a powerful and attractive mistress. She will stand no nonsense when you are learning the ropes, and many and severe are the rebuffs that she administers to her most ardent suitors.’ Sir James Coats Situated in the village of St Moritz, in Switzerland’s Engadine Valley, the Cresta Run is a 3/4 mile toboggan course which riders descend lying face down on heavy metal ‘skeletons’ just inches from the ice. There are two starting points - Top for the experienced rider and Junction which is about a third of the way down the course. Speeds can easily reach 80 mph and the accomplished rider will complete the course in under a minute.

Contact Cresta Chairman Cresta Maj Gen JJC Bucknall CBE Secretary Cresta Maj NG Foulerton SCOTS DG e: cresta@awsa.org.uk

The first Run was completed in January 1885 and took nearly nine weeks to build; it is still built from scratch every year using the natural contours of the valley and earth banks to provide a framework on which to pile the snow. The Run has ten corners (see diagram below), the most infamous being Shuttlecock. This long, low, raking, left-hand bank, about half-way down is designed as a safety valve for the course. Out-of-control riders tend to be ejected at this point into a bed of snow and straw to break their fall. Riders have metal rakes attached to their boots to help influence speed and direction but on average one ride out of every 1,000 lands in hospital (there are around 12,000 rides per year). It is a dangerous sport and definitely not for the faint hearted; since 1885 four people have died on the course - the last in 1974. The Cresta Run usually opens two or three days before Christmas and continues for nine weeks until the end of February - it is a private club but non-members are welcome to ride for a fee. For safety reasons women have not been allowed to ride competitively on the Cresta since 1925, however they traditionally take to the track on the last day of the season. If you would like further information on the Cresta run visit www.cresta-run.com

© Shem Compion - (www.shemimages.com)

Events 2010-2011 Army Junction Championship 17th/21st Lancers Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 27 January 2011 Army Top Championship Scots Guards Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 1 February 2011 Inter Service Championships Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz, Switzerland 3 February 2011

Results 2009-2010 Army Champion Maj RM Morgan RWY Army Runner-up Col WR Wieloch Army Novice Champion Capt Holloway YORKS Open Pairs Champions SCOTS DG Inter Service Champions RAF Inter Service Best Placed Army Rider Maj RM Morgan RWY

The Cresta Run


LUGE

Capt Tor Gullan RE Icebreaker 2010 The sliding year kicked off again, after a summer of much planning and preparation by various staff from Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge, with EX RACING ICE I - Icebreaker as we tend to call it. This season, the chosen venue was Lillehammer in Norway - the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics - and with the hotel virtually on the doorstep of the track the location was perfect. Icebreaker was opened up to all three Services, with a smattering of civilians attending too, making for a fantastic mix of personalities during the two week-long beginner and novice training camps. As the

staff began their journeys from all over Europe a few days in advance of the main body, the British Pound nose-dived against the Norwegian Kroner - not to mention most other Western currencies! This didn’t dampen spirits at all, and while a couple of staff members were frantically adjusting the budget to allow for the rapidly changing exchange rate, the teaching and training programme got under way in earnest. Luge saw two cohorts of around ten sliders with Lance Bombardier Jamie Ross returning after a season away - and a painful break to his ankle on his last slide at Igls, Austria! GB Development Squad hopefuls Trooper ‘Harry’ Foulkes and

Contact Luge Chairman Luge Capt TP Gullan RE m: 07801 240742 Secretary Luge SSgt G Holmes RLC t: 94222 3547 (military) t: (01252) 348547 e: luge@awsa.org.uk

Capt Gullan sets off on Race Day

‘Sliding feet-first down the side of a mountain on a highly-tuned racing tea-tray at awe-inspiring speeds’ Guardsman ‘Ray’ Thompson were also in attendance; their units kindly sponsoring them to ensure both soldiers had the maximum time on ice to further develop their talents. Soldiers and officers from the Engineers, Cavalry, Guards and Parachute Regiment made up the final sliders. The Territorial Army was well-represented with a contingent from 4 Para putting in some sterling performances. Everyone had a fantastic time even though the weather in the first week was rather damp. With a lack of shelters along the track at all the entry points, other than the Junior Ladies and Mens, our beginners found that waiting to slide was less comfortable than hurtling down an icy tube on a tea-tray at sixty miles per hour! A couple of injuries saw me, as the native speaker, making trips to the local hospital; I managed to sustain minor whiplash after just three days on ice, and a member of the RAF luge team bruised his arm so badly that his hand seemed to swell to the size of a small football. Interestingly he now drives a bob sled rather than a luge; readers can be assured that this is, quite frankly, pedestrian when compared to the industrial strength adrenalin injection produced by sliding feet-first down the side of a mountain on a highly-tuned racing tea-tray at aweinspiring speeds through gravity-defying corners! Week two saw greatly improved conditions with far smoother ice and some fantastic sliding by the new beginners. With strong times and an almost serene approach to sliding Gdmn ‘Ray’ Thompson set an impressively calm and composed example. Tpr ‘Harry’ Foulkes took the prize for courage in the face of adversity as the technical nature of the track frequently left him touching the sides not to mention upside down! For those not in the know a ‘touch’ usually results in some fairly colourful skin tones within a few hours, and much darker shades the following day!


cost me dearly though and meant I was out of the running for the Army Champion title this year. In a morning of tense and unpredictable competition Trooper ‘Harry’ Foulkes took first place and Guardsman ‘Ray’ Thompson came a close runner-up in the Army Championship. Trooper Nathan Keys ended his first week on ice since Icebreaker (January 2009) as the Army Novice Luge Champion - he was subsequently selected for the Army Team for the Inter Service Championships.

Inter Service Ice Sports Championships The Inter Service Championships which were held in Lillehammer, Norway - saw the other two Services holding their individual championships in the week prior to the competition whilst we arrived in trickle-feed fashion from the 3rd of March. Training got underway the next day, with all three disciplines starting in earnest on the 7th March. The different Service The Army Team L-R - Mike Howard (Coach), Sgt Mooney, teams were split across three hotels in the Tpr Keys, Tpr Foulkes, Capt Gullan and Capt Croucher valley and daily training on the track was At the end of Icebreaker all the sliders, sliding consistently within tenths (if not busy. Over 100 athletes honed their skills; having been put through their paces, were mere hundredths) of a second of each either learning the track for the first time packed safely onto a coach for the return other prior to race day the tension was or refreshing their memory of it during the journey to the airport. The advance party rising in the athletes’ camp! days building up to the event. then faced up to forty-six hours on the After what seemed like only a day or As the week unfolded the Army Team road to recover themselves, their vehicles two of preparation the training week was was finally assembled on Tuesday night and their equipment back to Aldershot! over, and the race was upon us. Drawing with the arrival of Capt Andy Croucher, second in the start order I managed to REME. An ex-international slider he was end up on my shoulder to be our ‘secret Army Championship going into the second weapon’; this caused ‘...for those not in the know bend and had to fight much consternation In the blink of an eye Christmas and a ‘touch’ usually results in in the RAF camp! to right the sled as I New Year had passed and EX RACING ICE rode up the ice entering some fairly colourful skin His experience of II loomed large on the horizon. With the Curve Six. It seemed an sporting world’s attention firmly focussed tones within a few hours!’ the track proved eternity until I managed invaluable and on Canada the European tracks weren’t to get both my steels this, combined as busy as in previous years and Igls was (runners) back on the ice; in reality only with guidance from our coaches, again chosen as the venue for the Army fractions of a second had passed. This error saw a continued improvement in the Ice Sports Championships. The Vancouver Winter Olympics TV coverage was featuring plenty of sliding in all disciplines as we loaded sleds and safety gear into trucks and a trailer in Arborfield. However as the convoy of Land Rover Discoveries approached Dover the news broke. A Georgian luge had exited the track during a training run on the eve of the Games, killing the rider. Shocked and stunned at the news we continued to Igls all very aware that we were about to race on a course that had seen its own fair share of injuries during the last season. Due to operational commitments a large number of the Army’s lugers were in sunnier climes or inextricably engaged in preparations for operations. The end result was that the field of competition on race day was somewhat slimmer than in previous years but nevertheless exciting Sgt Mooney’s best racing face! racing beckoned. With all the competitors


LUGE performance of the team. Notching up faster and faster times as the daytime temperatures rose, from -20 degrees when we arrived to a more palatable -15 degrees, the ice was hard and fast. The first day of racing was cold and bright and when the buzzer launched the first racer down the ramp from Women’s Start the tone of the day was set with a fast time for the remainder to beat! The event was not without crashes - though thankfully all were relatively injury-free. With just two laufs (runs) from each slider to count, and in order to allow our team to compete with no female slider, the best six lauf times from each team were to count towards an aggregate total. To complicate matters the track had been re-shaped not once, but twice on the two evenings prior to the race. This led to some interesting and unpredictable performances with the track getting the better of both Capt Croucher and Tpr Foulkes during the race. Tpr Foulkes ran his sled across the line on his first lauf having come off it in Curve 14! With a strong and consistent performance the RAF held first place again and retained the trophy from last year. We came a close second improving on our performance at Königssee last season. Day two of racing saw the introduction of a tri-discipline team event consisting of aggregate times from two lugers from Women’s Start, male and female skeletons and male and female two-man bobs from Bob Start. With competition extremely close and not even the slightest margin for error, the pressure was on. With each

slider having to complete the run or face a potentially crippling time penalty, and only one lauf per slider, you could cut the atmosphere in the start hut with a knife. Capt Croucher and I represented the Army with Andy setting off first. Hearing that he had come off his sled in Curve 12 put the pressure on me but I needn’t have worried as I finally cracked Curve 13 and the subsequent straight; achieving a new personal best in the process! The Army was still in the running as we moved up the track to cheer our fellow team members in the skeleton and bob laufs. A tense final beckoned: right down to the last bob lauf!

However, with only fractions of a second between them, the Navy clinched victory with some impressive sliding from their bobbers. After the heat of the competition thirty or so athletes, VIPs and staff spent the afternoon relaxing on the Olympic ski slopes on the other side of the valley before attending the prize giving ceremony that evening and a well-earned night off to celebrate - or drown - their sorrows! As another year’s competition drew to a close the teams left by road, rail and air, all looking back on a fantastic season and forward to next year.

Luge Results 2009 - 2010

Luge Events 2010 - 2011

Army Male Champion Tpr Foulkes QRL Army Male Runner-up Gdmn Thompson LG Army Male Novice Champion Tpr Keyes RTR Army Male Junior Champion Tpr Foulkes QRL Inter Service Team Champions RAF Inter Service Team Runners-up Army Inter Service Male Individual Champion Cpl Foster RAF Inter Service Male Individual Runner-up Capt Gullan RE Inter Service Female Individual Champion Flt Lt Houghton RAF Inter Service Female Individual Runner-up NA(AH) A Edwards RN

Army Ice Camp (Weeks 1 & 2) EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 4-18 December 2010 See page 15 for details Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Königssee, Germany 30 January - 5 February 2011 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee, Germany 5-12 March 2011

Obituary LBdr Mark ‘Bing’ Chandler, 3RHA On Tuesday 8th June 2010 Lance Bombardier Mark ‘Bing’ Chandler was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A young man of humour and courage, with an irrepressible zest for life and taste for adventure, Mark embarked upon his luge career in 2007. He was the most promising newcomer that year, and his natural ability and feel for the speed encountered on the track earned him not just an invitation to the Army Championship that season, but also a place in the Army Team for the Inter Service Championships. An excellent winter sportsman, Mark was equally at home on both snow and ice. An accomplished skier, he raced for both his Regiment and the Artillery. On his sled, he was confident and courageous just as he was in both his professional and personal life. He could be relied on for

sound advice and while still only relatively new to the sport, he was always quick to assist others with both practical help and sound advice. He represented 3 RHA in the 2007 and

2008 Army Championships and also went on to compete for the Army team at the Inter Service Championships both these years. His strong individual performances at the Army Championship saw him crowned the Army Novice Champion in 2007 and he went on to help the Army gain second place in that year’s Inter Service Championships. Returning to the track for the 2008 season, Mark went on to win both the Junior Army Luge Championship and take the title of Army Luge Champion at Igls in Austria, before heading off to Konigssee in Germany to race at his second Inter Service Championships. A strong and talented slider, his team spirit and sense of humour infected all those who came into contact with him, both on and off the ice. As a friend, a sportsman and a soldier, he will be sorely missed by us all.


Nordic

NORDIC

Maj Richard Crawford RA

The 63rd Army & British National Nordic Ski Championships were held in Ruhpolding, Germany after a year’s absence. Ruhpolding boasts world class facilities and in 2012 it will hold the World Championships. The competition was opened by General Sir David Richards in his capacity as President of the Army Winter Sports Association. He praised the athletes for their dedication to sport and the Army as a whole. He was also full of praise for the town in their help with organising the competition. Although General Richards had not been there since 1980 the warm welcome had not changed. LCpl Lee-Steve Jackson, 2 Yorks (Green Howards) - who was the sole British biathlete at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics - was invited to open the Championships on behalf of the athletes. Three weeks later he came 55th in the 10km Sprint and qualified for the Pursuit the first time a British biathlete has done this at the Olympic Winter Games (see article on next page). The snow conditions were less than perfect at the start of the competition, but the Cross Country phase went ahead without too many problems. 1 LSR RLC set the early pace, that they were to maintain through the competition, and SSgt Marc Walker, 1 LSR RLC, showed that despite missing Olympic Cross Country qualification, and being older than the rest of the field, he was still the man to catch. The snow fell in abundance for the Biathlon stage. Indeed, whilst the practise

days were held under blue skies, many of the races were held in blizzard conditions which made it all the more tricky; but the sport was not designed to be easy. Bdr Kevin Kane, 40 Regt RA, was the best male biathlete: winning two biathlon races. In the ladies competition Cpl Amanda Lightfoot (AGC Ladies) edged out Sgt Emma Fowler (RLC Ladies) in two of the three biathlon races. The Patrol race route had to be amended due to excess snow - the original plan has now been filed for another year - but the teams were set an arduous 30km ski up and down the valley. The ski was interspersed with memory tests, a jerry can carry, two shoots and a final stretcher carry. After a three hour race 3 RHA won by a margin of six minutes: revenge over 1 LSR who beat them in 2009 by only 45 seconds. 1 LSR RLC were crowned Male Champions - for the fourth year in a

row - and won the Princess Marina Cup for the sixth consecutive year. The RLC Ladies Team retained their crown and the Gunners kept the Inter-Corps Cup but the Army maintained their stranglehold at the Inter Services competition. Biathlon is one of only two sports to be classed as military training; marksmanship, fitness and the team building of the Patrol race are all core skills to any soldier. 175 members of the Army competed this year and gave it their all from start to finish. Rather than being soldiers who spend their time on snow over half the competitors were novices; 33% of the competitors had deployed on operations in 2009 and 55% are scheduled to deploy in 2010/11 - a point mentioned by CGS. However, the quality of racing was as high as it has been for a number of years. Ruhpolding will host the 2011 Army Championship in the brand new â‚Ź18 million stadium and it promises to be a great competition.

Contact Nordic

Nordic Results 2009 - 2010

Chairman Nordic Lt Col AHMcD Cameron MBE RA

Army Champion Nordic Ski Team 1 LSR Army Nordic Ski Team Runners-up 3 RHA Army Ladies Nordic Ski Team RLC Inter Service Champions Army

Secretary Nordic Maj RH Crawford RA t: 94331 3796 (military) t: (01722) 433796 e: nordic@awsa.org.uk


NORDIC

Nordic Events 2010 - 2011 Joint Service Biathlon Course EX HARZ CHALLENGE Sonnenberg, Germany 17-25 July 2010 AWSA Nordic Symposium Larkhill, England 16 September 2010 Army & Wessex Roller Ski Championships Castle Coombe, England 24 October 2010

RAC, RA & AAC Championships EX WHITE FIST Hochfilzen, Austria 1-7 January 2011 Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetier, France 9-18 January 2011 1 (UK) Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 8-18 January 2011 Army, Inter Service & British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding, Germany 19 January-3 February 2011

Vanc

British Biathlon Union The BBU is the National Governing Body for the sport of biathlon in Great Britain. Although tasked to develop the sport at all levels it has particular responsibility for the training and selection of the National teams. All the team members, less one, are currently serving in the Army. The BBU also holds National selection races every November and runs the National Development Squad (NDS) which is based in Scotland during the summer. For further information on Biathlon in the UK, International events and the British Championships 2011 visit www. britishbiathlon.com. Until the new BSS (British Ski & Snowboard) open their own website, we shall also be publishing some Cross Country news - including the diary of UK summer roller-ski races.

Lance Corporal Lee-Steve Jackson, from 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards), failed by a whisker to qualify for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Since then he had one aim in life: to compete in Vancouver 2010. With five World Championships and 1362.5 km of competitive skiing behind him in an International career that started in 1999, ‘Jacko’ has been the GBR number one biathlete for the past four seasons. Jacko, who hails from that well known winter sports town of Stockton-on-Tees, takes up his Olympic story ...

When I arrived in London, to be kitted out at Heathrow Airport before embarking on my Olympic journey to Vancouver, it finally sunk in that I was starting the biggest adventure of my life. Putting on the Team GB tracksuit for the first time was the proudest moment of my life. After the eight hour flight to Calgary we were met by the British Olympic Association (BOA) staff we would be working with for the next ten days in the Team GB Holding Camp. From the outset it was clear that this was not a normal competition. The professionalism and support was second to none and the environment and ethos that the BOA was trying to create was that athletes’ performance was paramount. The Performance Centres that were set up for the athletes had eight spinning bikes, numerous mats and stretching equipment,


couver 2010 an amazing physiotherapist in the form of Maggie Bush, and the physiologist I had worked with for the past four years, Dr Stewart Laing. These two, along with great admin and support staff, made life in the Holding Camp so easy to get everything done. From morning mobility followed by recovery after training, to physio / massage after my ice bath (10 minutes in cold water between 4 - 6°C in the early evenings after my harder training sessions) it was all superb. The time in the holding camp was fantastic; it prepared us for the level of performance and the arena we were moving into at the Whistler Olympic Village. When we were met by Sir Clive Woodward (BOA Director of Elite Performance) on arrival at the Whistler Olympic Village it was clear that this was going to be the highlight of our athletic career to date. The continuation of the professionalism created in the holding camp was reinforced, and with seven days left until my first race the excitement was growing. The next week was filled by acclimatising to the Olympic atmosphere and race venue, putting the final touches on my training, recovery and lots of physiotherapy and ice baths. Life in the village was pretty impressive. Living with around 3,000 other Olympic athletes and support staff from all over the world was a great experience; it was very interesting to see the interaction between people from 71 nations. The food hall and entertainment facilities were brilliant and

even the restaurant that supplies athletes with great nutrition, McDonald’s, was on hand 24 hours a day.... just in case. Come the first competition day and the 10 km Sprint I was in great shape, both physically and mentally, for the performance of my life. Unfortunately I got caught in the snow and rain at the end of my second 3.3 km loop, and also the whole of my last, which made a big difference to my ski speed in comparison to the winners. Shooting 80% on the range wasn’t bad on the day and secured my 55th place and a joint Personal Best and a place in the pursuit race in two days time. The Pursuit was my best race of the games; I also had the honour of being the first ever British biathlete to qualify for this race. In perfect weather I shot 0-1-3-0 and - together with the great skis prepared for me by our wax technician Martin Glagow (his third time at the Olympics with GBR) - I finished just 11% race-time © Lars Baron/Getty Images

‘The hardest thing about the Olympics is to get to them. Preparing for the games is a long road which has quite a few sharp turns, bumps and pot holes along the way. It’s not just the sacrifice that it entails - hours and hours of physical training 364 days of the year - but also the cutting edge of science behind heart rate, hydration, correct diet, proper sleep and reduced alcohol/caffeine etc. This is part of the plan for improving performance in every sport, but in the increasingly competitive arena of biathlon - with its lung busting cross-country skiing and precise shooting - it is paramount. Elite athletes like Jacko make sport look easier than it often is; if it looks hard, you can bet it’s even harder than you first thought!’ SSgt Jason Sklenar RE - GB Biathlon Manager/Coach and double Olympian

© Sean Botterill/Getty Images

NORDIC

behind the winner in 57th place. The squally weather conditions for the 20 km resulted in quite hard going for all the athletes. Once again I hit the 80% shooting mark with 1-21-0 but was a little disappointed to finish in 67th place. The race was memorable for a unique second place tie between Sergey Novikov from Belarus and Norway’s eleven time Olympic medallist Ole Einar Bjørndalen; just 10 seconds would have give Ole Einar his seventh Olympic Gold rather than his fourth silver! After competing - which because GBR had no Relay Team meant I finished racing with ten days to go - there was lots to enjoy and soak up. We were sharing a house with GBR’s only gold medallist, Amy Williams, and the whole of Team GB went to support her medal ceremony; the atmosphere was electric. Indeed every evening in Whistler Centre there were emotional, and exciting, medal ceremonies followed by live music from the likes of the Stereophonics, One Republic, The Fray, Jet, Usher and Inxs, to name but a few. Although I missed the Opening Ceremony, due to racing the following morning, I did go to the Closing Ceremony which was a brilliant finale to the whole experience of my first Olympics. The choreography was stunning and amongst the highlights were speeches by Canadians William Shatner (aka Capt James T Kirk of Star Trek), and Back to the Future star Michael J Fox, plus live performances by numerous great Canadian acts. The handing of the flag to Sochi (holders of the 2014 Games in Russia) and their Olympic presentation was an inspiration to all the athletes; at least to those who are not retiring - and I am not! The commitment and drive to achieve the level of performance required to represent GB in the Olympic Winter Games is huge, but it is worth every second of training and every social or family event cut short or missed. So, after an exhausting but unbelievably amazing time in Vancouver and Whistler, I have come to a conclusion..... I will be in Russia in four years time.


SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Skeleton Bobsleigh Capt Belinda Robson R Signals Ex RACING ICE I

The novice Ice Sports Camp, was held in Lillehammer, Norway from 1st to 14th November 2009. Trying to keep costs to a minimum resulted in us taking a very early flight from London, arriving at one of Oslo’s outer airports before embarking on a four hour coach journey to Hunderfossen near Lillehammer. Luckily ice sports do not need snow, as Hunderfossen had a very late snow fall this year which unfortunately left us with very cold, wet weather. After allocating the cabins to the participants, they were split into the three disciplines and introduced to the track; finally realising what they had let themselves in for. We had fifteen volunteers attempt Skeleton over the two weeks, all surviving with only a few bruises. They showed remarkable courage, most having a battle of wills with themselves every day at the top of the track but continuing to slide and finishing the end of the camp with a new found love of ice sports. This year’s Ice Camp produced some very promising sliders, two of whom made this year’s selection for the Army team!

Ex RACING ICE II & III Due to limited track availability we decided to combine Ex RACING ICE II and III this year. This proved to be a very successful event and we had 15 competitors take part in the Skeleton race. The Championship was held in Igls, Austria from 14th to 21st February 2010. There was a good split between novices and seniors and due to the Army team selection, WO1 Steve Anson REME and SSgt Michael Robson RE came out of

retirement to loosen their joints in preparation for the Inter Service Championships; both having to fit sliding in-between coaching sessions. We also welcomed back Sgt Julia Bloomer (nee Cartwright) APTC who also competed and coached. The track was in an excellent condition which provided a great setting for training and the competition at the end of the week. Timings were close all week, however, race preparation and the controlling of race nerves decided the final result.

Inter Service Ice Sports Championships The Inter Services were held In Lillehammer this season. The Army Skeleton team selection was restricted by operational commitments, career courses and a honeymoon! Two novices, two retired athletes and one senior formed the men’s team and despite every effort they placed third again this year, beaten by well established RAF and RN teams. However, the team certainly looked the part after Skeleton Chairman Major Pete McClellan had purchased new sleds, helmets, race suits and warm up suits. We managed to enter a women’s team but at risk with only two out of the required three athletes. Unfortunately the risk did not pay off as injury reduced the team to one! Thankfully LCpl Sarah Raby was still

Army Ice Camp (Weeks 1 & 2) EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 4-18 December 2010 See page 15 for details Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Königssee, Germany 30 January - 5 February 2011 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Königssee, Germany 5-12 March 2011

‘Race preparation and the controlling of race nerves decided the final result’ able to race, substituted by a RN spare. She had a great novice year sliding, placing individually third out of eight experienced competitors.

So long and thanks for all the coaching We sadly had to say goodbye to WO1 Steve Anson at the end of the season as he is retiring from the British Army and transferring to the Australian Army. He has been involved in Skeleton for 15 years and has provided unconditional support to the Army athletes at all levels. He is a fantastic coach, showing persistence and patience and most importantly a sense of humour. He will be sorely missed. The next novice Ice Sports Camp (Ex RACING ICE I), will be held in December, interested participants should contact Capt Belinda Robson at skeleton@awsa. org.uk

Army Male Champion Army Male Runner-up Army Female Champion Army Female Runner-up Army Novice Champion Army Novice Runner-up Inter Service Male Champion Inter Service Male Runner-up Inter Service Female Champion Inter Service Female Runner-up Inter Service Male Team Champions Inter Service Female Team Champions

WO1 Anson REME Cpl D Evans RLC Sgt Bloomer APTC LCpl Sarah Raby R Signals Cpl D Evans RLC Capt H Chaganis Rifles Flt Lt Mesa RAF Sgt Millar RAF Flt Lt Wolstenholme RAF AB (CIS) Veneti RN RAF RN


SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

AMY WILLIAMS At her debut Olympic Winter Games, 27 year old Amy Williams won Britain’s only gold medal of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Amy dominated the Skeleton Bobsleigh event from the start; leading from her very first run - when she broke the track record at the Whistler Sliding Centre - and going on to win the event by an impressive 0.56 seconds. In winning a gold medal she became Britain’s first individual Olympic Winter Games gold medallist for 30 years - and the first woman individual gold medallist for 58 years. The last woman to win an individual gold was Jeannette Altwegg, who won figure skating gold in Oslo in 1952. This takes Britain’s tally of gold medals since the inception of the Winter Olympics to nine - the last being won by the women’s curling team in Salt Lake City in 2002. Amy’s career has revolved around the city of Bath. It’s where she grew up and went to school, college and university, and it’s now where her sporting career is based as part of the GB Skeleton Team. Her career began with a trial go on the skeleton push track before she entered the World Push Championships in 2002 where she won a silver medal and never looked back. Last year Amy won a silver medal in the World Championship and in the World Cup race in Whistler. It is amazing to think that Amy achieved all of this after her first start on the wet stuff at an Army Ice Camp in Norway. Here’s how Amy described her first run, ‘My very first run on a skeleton track was at Lillehammer on an Army Ice Camp as I had paid to join in for two weeks with a

few other civilians. I wanted to try out a new sport something that was different and that I hadn’t thought about doing before. However, my first reaction after the first run was that I hated it! I actually cried when I got to the bottom - from shock and the sheer emotions it made me feel. But I wasn’t going to let it get to me and went back to the top for more!’ You never know when something is going to be a life changing event but this certainly was for Amy. Thankfully, even though she hated her first run on ice, she stuck with Skeleton and went on to become a world class athlete. Amy had the following words of encouragement to say to any soldiers who might be thinking of trying the sport out, ‘Even if you give the sport a go just to teach yourself more about who you are as a person, or if you want to do it for the adrenaline rush it gives you - you could find a hidden talent inside you like I did....and after eight years of working and training hard get an Olympic Gold.’ If you think you have what it takes to try out Skeleton Bobsleigh on the next Army Ice Camp, email skeleton@awsa. org.uk for further information.

© Shaun Bottrill/Getty Images

Skeleton Bobsleigh 2010 Olympic Gold Medallist

‘Amy achieved all of this after her first start on the wet stuff at an Army Ice Camp’

Contact Skeleton Bobsleigh Chairman Skeleton Bobsleigh Maj PA McClellan RE (V) Secretary Skeleton Bobsleigh Capt BKN Robson R Signals e: skeleton@awsa.org.uk

Both images © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images


SNOWBOARD

SNOWBOA Major Dennis Ledger AGC (SPS)

It is with due amount of pride that we can say that the 2009/10 Snowboard season saw Army Snowboarding come of age. Building on the success of the previous year, we have really started to build a framework of competitions and performances from Novice to National that encapsulates the energy of the sport. The season began in earnest with a number of well attended Corps Camps in November which fed nicely into EX SNOW JACK 2009 - the Army Snowboarding Championship held in December 2009 on Stubai Glacier, Austria.

Army Championship EX SNOW JACK, Stubai, Austria 27 November - 17 December 2010 Army Freestyle Championship EX SNOW METHOD Stubai, Austria 30 April - 7 May 2011 Inter Service Championships ISSSC, Meribel, France 29 January - 5 February 2011

Army Male Champion Army Male Runner-up Army Female Champion Army Female Runner-up Army Team Champions Army Freestyle Champion Inter Service Male Champion Inter Service Male Runner-up Inter Service Female Champion Inter Service Female Runner-up Inter Service Best Female Newcomer Inter Service Male Team Champions Inter Service Female Team Champions

Capt Nicholson REME Spr Crawshaw RE Cpl Swift R Signals Maj Tattersall AGC (ETS) 32 Engr Regt Capt Taylor R ANGLIAN LCpl Clarke RTR Capt Nicholson REME Cpl Hargreaves RAF Capt Beszant RE Capt Beszant RE Army RAF


ARD

SNOWBOARD

Army Championship 2009

Attendance at the event was slightly down from last year owing to last minute withdrawals of teams being surged out to Operations as well as some of the regular ‘stars’ of previous years also being deployed. Neither of these detracted from the event but it presented an exciting opportunity for newcomers to rise to the top. The events at the Championship follow the same profile as the Inter Services and Olympics: Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS), Snowboard X and a Freestyle event (in our case Slopestyle). The weather was particularly kind to us this year, with only two days being affected. This coupled with a strong hill team and a professional field of competitors meant the Championship ran without a hitch and strong performances were witnessed all round. The success of this year’s event could not have been achieved without the generous support of Nissan Export, Dare2B, Bern Helmets and BLOC Eyewear. Their generous provision of vehicles, clothing and equipment for the competitors helped add the finishing touches to the championships. Open Mens Competition The Open Mens Competition should have been a runaway victory for Capt Si Nicholson ATR(P): his selection for the GB development squad in the summer meant that, on paper, he was the hot favourite to win the overall individual title. However, after winning the PGS he came a cropper in the semi-finals of the Snowboard X (anyone remember the USA girl at the 2006 Winter Olympics?). The best he could manage was 5th and this meant the competition was wide open again. Especially as relative newcomer Spr Paul Crawshaw 35 Engr Regt, and SSgt John ‘the old sweat’ Craig 3 AAC were both competing well. The Slopestyle ultimately decided the outcome and the above three fought it out with some outstanding tricks, but Capt Si Nicholson proved too strong. Open Ladies Competition The Open Ladies Competition was a different affair all together. The absence of nearly all of the previous year’s Army team due to deployments meant that there were barely enough competitors to create a meaningful competition. This, coupled with some of those registered being unable to compete in all three events, created varied results and left the overall competition wide open.

Capt Naomi Ledger AGC(SPS) took victory in the PGS in a close run final against Pte Fiona Ross 225 Med Regt. However, Maj Pip Tattersall AGC (ETS) took the next two events, beating Cpl Denise Swift 228 Sig Sqn into 2nd place in both Snowboard X and Slopestyle. Fittingly, the overall champion went to Cpl Denise Swift, who managed to put in three solid performances across all three events. Novice Mens Competition The Novice Mens Competition was an exciting affair: no one individual being able to dominate. All the events were nailbitingly fought out and each event produced a different victor. This year was certainly the highest quality of novice competition seen to date, which bodes well for the future of Army Snowboarding. The nature of the Novice competition is such that the competitors improve exponentially with each event and Spr Cameron Baldry 38 Engr Regt set the pace with a convincing win in the Giant Slalom. Pte Michael Heffernan 1 LSR won the PGS, having finished 6th previously, and LCpl Doug Arnull won the Snowboard X having finished 20th on his 1st event. However, Spr Cameron Baldry managed to hold it together throughout the competition and took the overall champion position. Novice Ladies Competition The Novice Ladies Competition was stymied by a shortage of competitors. However, the standard of the top two riders ensured that despite lacking depth, the finals between Pte Kayleigh Preston 1 LSR and Gnr Gema Quinn 19 Regt RA were compelling. Pte Kayleigh Preston won the first two events, which was enough to take the overall champion, but it was hard fought all the way.

Inter Service Championships The Army Snowboarding Team travelled to Meribel in late January to compete in the Inter Service Championships (ISSSC 10). Last year, both the mens and the ladies teams had been hugely successful, winning a clean sweep in both competitions. With the absence of some of last year’s winning team members, the pressure was definitely on to be able to replicate this success. Fortunately the mens team was bolstered by the inclusion of Cpl Kev Clarke REME, who was using his R&R from Afghanistan to participate, and the ladies team saw the return of Maj Chrissie Elesmore Int Corps. However, after the PGS it was apparent the competition was not going to be a walkover event for either team. Parallel Giant Slalom The Mens PGS was dominated by the Army and RAF; unfortunately, despite Capt Si Nicholson and Cpl Kev Clarke coming 2nd and 3rd respectively, the RAF team’s faster qualification runs ensured they had the edge in the overall result. The same occurred in the Ladies PGS: Capt Rachel Beszant RE and Maj Chrissie Elesmore Int Corps finished 2nd and 3rd, but the RAF again won the event with their faster qualification times.


SNOWBOARD Snowboard X The Mens Snowboard X event was not as close... the Army’s riposte to the PGS competition was to take 8 of the final 16 spots in the qualifications. There was to be no showboating in the finals: 1st Capt Si Nicholson, 2nd Cpl Kev Clarke, 3rd Lt Hugo Cox RE! Such was the Army team’s dominance they also bagged 5th, 7th and 8th. Sadly the ladies could not share the success of the men and were well beaten into overall 2nd. Slopestyle The Slopestyle has always been an open event with subjective marking and different skills required from the other two events. This time it was the Royal Navy’s turn to dominate. The mens team managed to take the top three spots and in doing so won an event for the first time in Inter Service Snowboarding history. However, the Army still maintained enough composure to come 2nd and in doing so retained their overall status as Inter Service Champions. Capt Rachel Beszant came 3rd in the Ladies Slopestyle, but again the RAF proved too strong and the Army was beaten into 2nd place and had to relinquish the overall championship title to the RAF.

snowboarding competition. The Championship also aims to provide a progressive atmosphere in which riders of all abilities are able to develop their riding technique and freestyle skills without the worry of having to ride a Boarder X or PGS the following day! The Army’s resident technical coach Mike Pearse and UK freestyle legend Nelson Pratt were on hand to provide expert coaching throughout the week in what Nelson described as ‘an international quality freestyle park’. With perfectly sunny conditions the competition was unusually dominated by the Infantry with Capt Ben Obese-Jecty determined to make his first 360° at seemingly any cost, whilst the slightly more cautious LCpl Fiona Ross concentrated on the ‘going big’ factor. The novices attending the week were the proof in the progressive pudding, with Pte Johnson making the ‘zero to hero’ leap. Having stepped on a snowboard for the first time at the start of SNOW METHOD he had completed his first 180° off a jump in just under a week! However, the spoils of war fell to the Infantry with Capt Mark Taylor winning the first ever Army Freestyle Championship and the much sought after, ‘Golden Binding’ Award.

Contact Snowboard Chairman Snowboard Col RNH Bennett MVO

Individual Champions Cpl Kev Clarke was crowned Overall Individual Mens Champion, and flew out to Afghanistan two days later. Capt Si Nicholson was runner-up, despite not competing in the Slopestyle, and Capt Rachel Beszant was also runner up in the Individual Ladies Competition.

Secretary Snowboard Lt Col JC Connelly RLC t: 94775 5123 (military) t: (01904) 665123 e: snowboard@awsa.org.uk

Army Freestyle Championship

If you are interested in Army Snowboarding check out the Army snowboard webpage at www.armynet.mod.uk (sports, clubs & associations, snowboarding) or visit www. armysnowboarding.com

In its inaugural year, The Army Freestyle Championship (Ex SNOW METHOD) sought to establish a freestyle focused competition to give snowboarders who were unable to attend the December Championship through operational or unit commitments, another chance to compete at an Army level

EX SNOW

JACK 2010

Army Snowboarding Championship 2010 - Stubai, Austria - 27 November to 17 December 2010 Snowboarding has been an established Army winter sport for over ten years now and each season more and more Army boarders are taking to the slopes on EX SNOW JACK to see if they can BE THE BEST. The Army Snowboarding Championship caters for both experienced and novice riders and focuses on three disciplines: Slalom, Freestyle and Boarder X.

Which event is the one for you? Parallel Giant Slalom - If you are a fan of technique and speed then this is for you. You race another rider on an identical steep slalom course, first to the bottom wins. SlopeStyle - This is the newest event at the championships, a total freestyle event that requires confidence (or stupidity) in the air. Height, skill and elegance receive marks and the one who goes biggest whilst looking really great normally wins. Boarder X - The blue ribbon event that tests all your abilities as a snowboarder. Four boarders race together and only the brave prevail as there are jumps, berms and rollers to negotiate (not forgetting other riders). If you are after an adrenaline filled rollercoaster-ride of a race, then Boarder X is for you. For more information on Ex SNOW JACK 2010 email 150TPTRHQ-Clerk@mod.uk

www.awsa.org.uk


TELEMARK

Lt Col Iain Saker QDG ‘We hope that we have finally done enough to become a Recognised Army and Combined Services winter sport’

Contact Telemark Chairman Telemark Brig R Haldenby Secretary Telemark Maj AD Pery LD e: telemark@awsa.org.uk

For further information about Army Telemark skiing visit www.telemark.army.mod.uk


2010 has been a really exciting year for Army Telemark, and we hope that we have finally done enough to become a Recognised Army and Combined Services winter sport. Recognition will be this year’s prize, but the two big achievements of the season have been running a FIS World Cup Telemark event alongside the Army Championship in January and then formally taking part in the Inter Service Championships at Meribel in February. The season has been ‘quite a ride’, but the careful planning has paid off and the events have all been enjoyable and successful. For the third year, the Army Championship took place in Rauris, Austria. This charming little village sits in a wide valley south of Zell am See and Kaprun. It is only a small resort, but it is an ideal location for the Championship, with space enough for training in the first week and a challenging hill for race week. Again, the Army event played host to the Royal Navy Telemark Championship and also doubled as the British National Championships with an increased number of UK civilians competing for open prizes. Our oldest skier was Mrs Sylvia Mercer, a 74 year-old lady from the Birmingham Ski Club, while the youngest was 10 year old Ollie Wotton, son of a GB Team Telemarker, who did remarkably well in the Championship races. As a small but growing discipline, Telemark has no Regimental training camps, or Corps and Divisional championships, before the Army Championship. Thus we continue to provide support for Novices, provide race training and then run an Army Championship, all within the 12-day event in January. For those not up to the standard of racing the Championship courses, a series of development races are run in parallel to the main event. These are set to an appropriate standard to encourage the novice skiers and are run in a more relaxed atmosphere whilst maintaining the same elements as the main races.

World Cup During 2009 a gap emerged in the 2010

World Cup Telemark programme that coincided with the Army Championship dates. Consequently the Army Telemark Ski Association ended up running the opening event for the 2010 Telemark World Cup programme - the first time that Britain has run a FIS Telemark World Cup ski event. So, while Army Championship race training was going on, an additional 68 World Cup racers, from across 12 European countries, arrived in Rauris along with their support teams. We were able to start the event with a day of training down the race hill, which was unusual for them, but very popular. Then the racing began in earnest, with a Telemark Giant Slalom on the first race day, followed by a Telemark Sprint Classic on day two. Given the stiff competition, our top level Army telemarkers were pleased to be finishing around the 30 mark - Maj Andrew Clarke 33rd in the Tele GS and WO2 Phil Maddox 29th in the Tele Sprint - and it was inspiring stuff seeing the very best racers on the hill. The World Cup racers thought the hill was excellent and enjoyed themselves enough to ask us to run an event again in 2011.

Army Championship As soon as the World Cup racers departed, we started a hectic six day race programme, interweaving Development and Championship races. The weather held up beautifully and while there wasn’t much snow generally, the race hill was in excellent condition and the light was ideal for racing. Telemark makes a great spectator sport, characterised by the graceful telemark turn

and the perilous nature of the athlete’s descent. Races offer a variety of challenges, including gates, a jump (where a minimum distance must be cleared), a 360° banked turn and a skating section. With much of the course in sight from the finish area, spectators could watch racers through the demanding mid-section of the course, before lining up for the jump. It takes skill and courage to gain sufficient ‘air’ to clear the distance line and then successfully negotiate the next gate. For the Telemark Sprint and the Telemark Classic, racers came off the bottom of the hill fast into the 360° turn, before heading into the final, exhausting skating section up to the finish line. Competition at the top was tight, with WO2 Phil Maddox being declared 2010 Army Champion and 29 Cdo Regiment RA winners of the Team prize. Sadly, the Army Female champion prize was not contested this year, owing to injury. This year the magnificent Tom Sawyer prize was awarded for the first time, to Tpr Holmes LD as best Novice. This trophy was donated by Katy Sawyer, in memory of her husband Tom, who took part in the championships in 2008 and was killed in action in Afghanistan in January 2009 (see inset picture).

Inter Service Championships The Army Championship resulted in Maj Andrew Clarke (Team Captain), WO2 Phil Maddox, WO1 Muzz Murray, Capt Johnny Black LD, WO1 Andy Reid and Capt Magnus Jeffery being selected to represent the Army at the Inter Services. A mere two weeks later, the Army and Royal Navy


Telemark teams, accompanied by a single racer from the RAF, faced each other over new ground and some slightly different challenges. Whilst the Individual result came down to the last race, the team result was clearer cut, with the Army team dominating from the outset. Blessed with good weather and well prepared courses the racing was of a high standard and, with the skating in the finish area allowing for sponsors and VIPs to be interactive, this first official foray at the ISSSC made a great impact. Overall WO2 Maddox APTC narrowly edged ahead of Maj Huan Davies RM in the final race to take the Individual trophy with Capt Johnny Black LD coming 3rd. The Army team beat the Navy team by a comfortable margin.

‘It was inspiring stuff seeing the very best racers on the hill’

Future plans Next season we see the same format continuing in Rauris and it seems likely that we will run a World Cup event again. Assuming that we have achieved Recognition, we hope that the reduced cost for the racer will translate into more regimental teams coming and an increasing number of individual ‘returners’. We will continue to specifically encourage Novices, but we also intend to stretch the entire field with a new ‘Mountain Race’ - this will be a new style of event that will challenge athletes, either as an individual or as a team, both physically and technically away from the traditional race piste.

Army and British Championships EX TELEMARK TITAN Rauris, Austria 8-20 January 2011 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 29 January-5 February 2011

Army Telemark Ski Association

The Army Telemark Ski Association (ATSA) was set up in 2007 to establish Army Telemark racing and to encourage new Telemark skiers. The ATSA Championships follow the format of Telemark World Cup events which comprise of three types of racing, Sprint Classic, Giant Slalom and Classic. For further information visit www.gbtelemark.co.uk (the British Telemark Team website) or www.escnordic.org.uk (the Nordic site for SnowSport England (SSE) which is the governing body for all English snow sports.

Fantastic News Congratulations to Maj Andrew Clarke RA on his appointment as Chairman of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Telemark Committee which is a tremendous personal achievement.

Army Male Champion WO2 Maddox APTC Army Male Runner-up WO1 Murray REME Army Female Champion No competition Army Team Champions 29 Cdo Regt RA Army Team Runners-up LD Inter Service Male Champion WO2 Maddox APTC Inter Service Female Champion Lt Morgan RN Inter Service Champions Army


Sponsors - we love ‘em! Lt Col Tim Wakefield RE- AWSA Sponsorship Secretary Another season has passed with over 500 competitors making it through to various Army-level competitions to pitch their wit and courage to become the best on snow or ice. This is not to ignore the 700 who first took part in the Nordic and Alpine Divisional-level championships in the French Alps at both Les Contamines and Villeneuve. Explaining the healthy numbers is partly testament to the value the chain of command places on such activities and its contribution to morale, decompression and the benefits of developing courage, fitness and teamwork. Unlike the beleaguered Olympics in Canada there was plenty of snow and the excellent conditions helped make all the championships particularly successful - despite the pressures of heavy operational commitments, a shocking exchange rate and a squeeze on public funding; nothing new there then! However, 2009 saw a big increase in the level of private sponsorship which has dramatically helped with the demise of Norwich Union and as public funds shrink. Many of our new sponsors have been able to see at first hand our exploits on the slopes which although focussed on the Alpine Championships at Serre Chevalier also included Snowboard, Nordic and the Ice Sports. It is clear that we are likely to be increasingly dependent on sponsorship to enable us to keep competing and providing affordable opportunities for those able and willing to rise to the challenges these pursuits present. So for the next few years we hope to cement

these relationships and enjoy the support and commitment these companies have shown. Some sponsors are perhaps more visible than others with the likes of Towergate Wilsons - one of our prime sponsors providing bespoke, competitive insurance which has proved to be very successful. Similarly, Bloc Eyewear has been extremely generous in its provision of substantial sponsorship and also prizes, freebies and a 20% discount on all their range. I hope readers continue to support such benefactors, who - whilst being so very supportive of the Army and its personnel - nevertheless do have a commercial bottom line! Selex Galileo, a defence company, has put tremendous weight behind its support of winter sports; particularly by offering both financial and engineering support to the Disabled Ski Team. KBR has similarly become a prime sponsor and supports both able-bodied and disabled competitors; KBRs funding of Trainers to help Army teams compete at the Inter Services was also an added bonus. Other newcomers to our sponsors are Universal Engineering, Thales and NP Aerospace and the list would not be complete without BAE Systems who have for many years provided sponsorship to the Alpine Championship. Our biggest thanks however must go to the Army

Sports Lottery as without their generous funding the AWSA would cease to exist. Whilst the above names provide the AWSA with its core of central funding, we mustn’t forget the many individuals and sponsors who have enabled various disciplines to get off the ground and who remain vital to the individual discipline sponsorship portfolios. These include the likes of Mark and Anne O’Reilly of Mabway (a training company), Parimo, Volvo, Vauxhall and Trinity to name but a few. Typical of these is Dave Hull of Nissan Export and his loan of several 4x4s during the season. He’s an avid boarder and has been a loyal, long term sponsor of Ex SNOW JACK but this year he extended the use of his vehicles throughout the season. We would have been stuck without them, in every way! The bottom line is that we could not run winter sports without this commercial support and so we end the season with enormous thanks and appreciation to all our sponsors from the AWSA, the organising volunteers that make it happen and the many, many AWSA winter sports competitors. Thank you all for 2010; a cracker! For further information about sponsoring the AWSA contact Lt Col TJ Wakefield on 07825 522543 or email sponsorship@awsa.org.uk


EXERCISE SWISS TOUR

PATROUILLE DES CSgt Joss Dobbie HAC

After a four year break from their race in 2006, CSgt Dobbie, Sgt Moxon and Tpr Alcock with a collective age of 122 agreed to enter the Patrouille des Glaciers (PdG). Lt Ring kindly agreed to step in as team reserve, therefore lowering the team average age significantly. The PdG race starts from either Zermatt or Arolla, and finishes in Verbier, with the route taking virtually a straight line passing over the glaciers and cols en route. The race is of military origin, being masterminded by 10 Mountain Brigade as an endurance test for its troops defending the Swiss border. In 1984 the race was reinvented permitting a limited number of civilian teams to race, and was instantly heralded as one of the world’s toughest endurance tests. Back in 2006 the team completed the Arolla race in 7 hours and 6 minutes, coming 53rd out of 103 teams in the Seniors category. In 2010 the team were aiming to finish in the top third of the field. To do this we had to acquire proper ski hardware and clothing as a result of our kit in 2006 being woefully inappropriate which disadvantaged us considerably. However buying ski mountaineering race equipment in the UK is no easy task with few authorised suppliers. We therefore had to import the skis, bindings and boots directly from Norway and Italy. Due to the restrictive time scales (the bindings only became available 36 hours before departure), we had to transport the component parts to Switzerland to be custom fitted; but more on that later. Races are not won with good equipment alone, and the team put in plenty of training, now well aware what this race required. As well as UK based training, Moxon spent a week ski touring in north Norway following Ex SPARTAN HIKE. For Dobbie, training had to be managed to not undo a recent femoral osteotomy operation. Road running was strictly off limits and instead he put together a programme of fell running dragging a 25lb LGV tyre. Alcock carried out 2 weeks ski tour training in Switzerland and France as well as routine training back in the UK. We hoped that this, together with five days acclimatising in Verbier the week before the race, would be enough to meet and exceed our objective of coming in the top third of the field.

So we were fit, and well equipped. Surely now we just had to get out there and do the race? Not so easy. Eyjafjallajokull erupted 36 hours before our departure and our carefully laid plans turned upside down. Moxon was stranded in north Norway with our ski bindings with no prospect of leaving by air, and after closely monitoring the flight information, Dobbie and Alcock fled the country by car. Moxon was to endure a gruelling three day overland journey using a combination of boats; trains and busses. The team were united in Verbier, but Eyjafjallajokull had cost us 50% of our in-country training time - not to mention significant travel expenses. Now in Verbier we had a chance to custom fit our new race boots and get our Dynafit bindings drilled to our skis. We then had a mere two days of endurance and altitude training during which we managed a 2,750m vertical climb (mostly skiing up red and black runs). The third day was spent familiarising ourselves with our new racing equipment and practicing ski changeover routines. It is of note that the locals recommend putting in 20,00030,000m of vertical climb, so our 2,750m fell well short of the norm. Furthermore the captain of the ski mountaineering GB team recommended we practice on our lightweight racing kit for two weeks prior to the race! We did have two days. Would that be enough? The day before the race we headed by car to Arolla to check-in, followed by several hours of race admin where every item of race equipment was checked by the Swiss Army officials. The race officials took this inspection seriously and unfortunately our rope did not meet with the regulations, despite having been passed in 2006 - a costly error. That evening we


S GLACIERS attended a race presentation from the PdG Commandant and joined in with a communal meal before retiring to our accommodation 30 mins down the valley in Les Haudieres. The race day alarm woke us at 0155hrs. We forced down some breakfast, and jumped on a shuttle bus to Arolla with our fellow competitors. At 0330hrs we had a more civilised breakfast in the warmth of the PdG marquee and at 0400hrs we headed out into the cold, put our skins onto our skis and walked up to the start line. There was one final check that our ski boots were legal and our avalanche transceivers were functioning and at 0430hrs a volley of flares signalled the start of our race and we were off skiing into the night. The first leg is a 1000 metre (75 minute) steady ascent on skis to the Col Riedmatten checkpoint, where the last 150 vertical metres comprised a fixed rope climb to the col itself, before an abseil in darkness off the back. At the time of our descent, one competitor was stuck up to his waist in snow and was being dug out by the Swiss Army mountain troops! From the base of the col it’s a five minute ski down to the Pas du Chat checkpoint on an icy, rutted off piste track equivalent to a black run. A 5km traverse follows this skirting around the edge of Lac du Dix and onto Le Barma. Only the top teams skate this leg, but as current/ex SPARTAN HIKE biathletes, we elected to do so too, and as a result overtook in excess of 20 teams. From Le Barma, we donned skins and climbed to Rosablanche, which at 3,160m is the highest point on the Arolla-Verbier course. The ascent has a few false summits en route, and this, combined with the thinning air at this altitude makes for a very psychologically demanding leg. From the summit there is a 500 vertical metre (10 minute) descent down a skied out icy slope, before the final 300 metre climb to Le Col de Chaux. From here the view is magnificent, but there is no time for that, instead it is skins off; thrust down the fronts of our jackets and then the longest ski descent (some 10 minutes) into Verbier. We threw caution to the wind on this leg, determined to beat a 6 hour time, straight lining down most of 1300 vertical metres of pisted slopes. Downhill skiing is meant to be fun, but holding the tuck for ten minutes

in lightweight skis on old snow isn’t; after an exhilarating 60 seconds, thigh muscles start to ache, then burn and the latter stages of the downhill leg are quite unbearable. The snow stopped at the high street and, to huge cheering from the locals lining both sides of the road, there followed a final 1,200 metre run in ski boots carrying our skis and poles. We crossed the finish line in 6 hours and 6 minutes, smashing over an hour off our 2006 time. We were delighted to be in the upper quartile of competing teams, but disappointed not to have beaten 6 hours. The equipment and clothing had performed better than we could have hoped and most definitely contributed to a more enjoyable race and a much faster time. With the race behind us, the afternoon was spent relaxing in the Fer a Cheval and cheering on the competing teams as they made the final run down Verbier High Street and on towards the finish line. Hopefully we will see you at the next PdG in April 2012.

For further information about the Patrouille des Glaciers, visit www.pdg.ch Exercise SWISS TOUR would not have happened without the help of many people. Our thanks go far and wide but specifically we would like to thank: • Brigitte Mottiez the PdG Cmdt Secreteriat for securing us a place in PdG 2010 • For their very generous financial support: the RFCA City and Corporation Grants; the Land Welfare Grant; the TA Sports Fund, and the CO and TM HAC • For their assistance in guiding us through the complexities of Sports & AT military exercises: Major Andy Chapple LONDIST; the Regimental QM and RQ • For their equipment and clothing guidance, Cotswold Outdoor.


ALPINE

Ex SPARTAN Col Stephen James

One might have expected that the transfer of the 2 Division Regular Army units to Les Contamines and the policy that TA soldiers could not be paid might have depressed entries for Exercise SPARTAN HIKE, but a late flurry of activity brought 26 teams and a total of 136 competitors to the start of the first race. Perhaps it was the best-ever snow conditions that drew them in. Held for the eighteenth year in Monetier, Serre Chevalier, France, we were set for an exciting championship, even though the need for economy had reduced the programme by two race days, leaving the officials with little flexibility. This year the plan was to use the Villeneuve slopes for all the events - again to save money. Thus in addition to the speed events of Super Giant Slalom and Downhill

being scheduled for the Clot Gautier piste, we ran the Giant Slaloms there too. Although the travelling time to and from the piste puts pressure on a technical race, the monotony proved to be a bonus when Downhill training was reduced to a single day due to heavy snowfall. After completing the seeding race and the two championship giant slaloms things were running smoothly

and the competition was hotting up. Although 7 Air Assault Battalion REME were expected to do well they had slipped to seventh on the hill in the Team GS with the King’s Royal Hussars, Light Dragoons, 19 Regiment RA and the University of London OTC teams all looking strong. It was also apparent that we had an unusually wide range of skiing ability, but the competitive spirit was keen throughout the field. Capt Matt Shepherd 29 Regt RLC was setting a high standard for the rest of the top seeds. The snow-cover was the best ever experienced in the resort, which gave the course setters complete freedom to use the terrain. We experienced the full range of weather - often with significant changes during the races - but we were fortunate

‘The snow-cover was the best ever experienced in the resort, which gave the course setters complete freedom to use the terrain’ to complete the Super G before the weather closed in. Cfn Atkinson of 6 Bn REME travelled throughout the night to the start of the Super G, completing his journey back from Helmand province at the end of his tour. He achieved a respectable 38th place; quite a remarkable performance in view of his lack of preparation and that this was his first race for several years. The SPARTAN HIKE officials always try to make the Downhill both memorable and different to previous years. This time the superb snow cover meant we could start the race right at the top of the mountain, adding a twenty-

Regt RA in the Super G Gnr Templeton 29 Cdo

Main photo: Capt James Carrick 19 Regt RA in the Team Slalom


N HIKE OCdt Coxon ULOTC in the Team Slalom

second gliding section below the start. We also dispensed with the man-man jumps, instead using a deceptive line over a natural feature halfway down the course. There were some close results on the day: less than four seconds separated second from ninth place. This underlined the achievement of Capt Matt Shepherd who won by a clear margin of 4.7 seconds. There were some close team results as well with 19 Regiment RA beating the KRH for second place by less than five seconds. The slalom races saw a particularly determined attempt by 19 Regiment RA to beat their old rivals the Light Dragoons, but they had to settle for second place behind a dominant 7 AA Bn REME. Going into the final race, the Individual Slalom, the snow was hard and the sun was shining. Again there was fierce competition but Matt Shepherd won by over five seconds to confirm his clean-

‘There can be little doubt that the lack of pay forced most TA teams to withdraw so the commitment of the two OTC teams and the large contingent from 100 Regt RA can only be applauded’ sweep of first places. We were fortunate this year to benefit once again from generous sponsorship by EPS UK Ltd. For the third successive year they also provided John Stoddart to the hill team. We hope to find more sponsors for 2011. Overall there was some outstanding competitive skiing between the individual participants and the teams. Lt Col Tony Stevens RSME secured the Veterans prize - by a substantial margin demonstrating the value of experience and persistence! The team results reflected many achievements across the field; although there were no particularly tight margins between the places. University of London OTC did particularly well to finish fourth overall. Many teams included novice skiers and in some cases they only had a few days on snow before the first race: they can look back on their achievements with particular satisfaction. The overall champions were 7 AA Bn REME who won

three of the four team races; achieving a consistently higher level of performance than any other team. The Commander in Chief’s award for Alpine was presented to Captain Alan Jackson of the Household Cavalry Regiment for being judged the individual who made the greatest contribution to the sport by being an excellent leader and always taking the time to help other teams. There can be little doubt that the lack of pay forced most TA teams to withdraw so the commitment of the two OTC teams and the large contingent from 100 Regt RA can only be applauded. Whilst there was particularly strong representation from REME and RLC teams (four and three respectively), it was disappointing that there were only three teams from the infantry and foot guards. Next season we will be back in Serre Chevalier so teams are encouraged to enter early to be sure of a place. For a detailed inspection of the results and some excellent photographs visit www. spartanhike.co.uk


NORDIC

Ex SPARTAN HIKE Lt Col Charles Bromley Gardner MBE QRH

For the third year in a row the weather conditions in Serre Chevalier were unbeatable - clear skies, cold temperatures in spite of a bright sun, and a really good base of snow which Patrick Maure and his team of pisteurs transformed into excellent tracks and trails. Even when it snowed during the week the gods’ timing could not be faulted - this was essential as affordability had cut two days (but only one competition) out of the Championship so there was no room for manoeuvre. The total number of competitors (190) was down on previous years due to the limits on TA training (down from 96 to 43), although this was offset by three extra Regular Army units participating. 61% of all competitors were novice, 19% were female and 46% committed to operations during 2009 and 2010. The shortened competition programme meant that that the first event was the Cross Country Relay which meant that neither the novice competitors nor the organisers had the individual novice event

‘Biathlon competitions involve the additional challenge of controlling your shooting whilst all around you are rushing’

to practice procedures. However, all went well and the Championship got off to a great start on the twisting course which provides such good spectator value. Spr Cottam (131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V)) set the standard for the rest of the Championship with a 2m 40s (7.5%) lead; the quality of

this ski is demonstrated by 131’s eventual winning margin over all four legs of 2m 50s! In second place was 17 Port & Maritime Regt RLC who were eventually to win the overall Championship with victory in the two individual competitions. In the Women’s Competition, the REME Women showed their experience and skill by leading the field of five teams; challenging them in every event was the top unit team - and SPARTAN HIKE Champions - 29 Regt RLC. The course setters provided a really excellent cross country course for the Individual Classic Cross Country. Sweeping turns, undulating and always skiable, although the long uphill was a stern test of stamina - and it had to be skied twice! The course just missed about 50m of

Contact Ex Spartan Hike Secretary Ex Spartan Hike Lt Col (Retd) PA Watkins t: 94344 5218 (military) t: (01980) 615218 e: ex-spartanhike@awsa.org.uk

14 Regt RA being inspected by Maj Gen Martin Rutledge GOC 5 Div

Main photo: Cfn Sangster 10 Trg Bn REME (3rd Junior in Combination) in the Biathlon Relay


NORDIC NORDIC

17 Port & Maritime Regt RLC

steep herringbone for it to be an all-round test of classic skiing technique. Individual performances get more recognition in these events, and it was Cpl Lamb 17 Port & Maritime Regt RLC who was 31/2 minutes ahead of Sgt Paine 16 Regt RA with Spr Cottam just 61/2 seconds further adrift. This would also be the finishing

Biathlon Relay 1st Leg competitors standing shoot

order in the Biathlon Sprint, albeit behind LCpl Birmingham 1 RTR who was ill for the cross country, and therefore the Individual Combination Championship. LCpl McCreadie 29 Regt RLC led Cpl Patton 254 Med Regt RAMC at the top of the Women’s competition; retaining their Combination placings in spite of losing time later on in the Biathlon. The Novice Combination was a close competition with Cfn Hoare REME keeping herself in front of her team captain Capt BadhamThornhill. LCpl Harding 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V) was unmatched in the Men’s Novice Combination. Biathlon competitions involve the additional challenge of controlling your shooting whilst all around you are rushing. It was 1RTR who coped best with the pressure and led the field home, having missed only four targets throughout the

team; rising from fifth place in the cross country relay this just demonstrates the effect that accurate marksmanship can achieve. The final event, as always, was the Military Patrol Race. The weather stayed fine, so Lt Col Riches included some testing terrain off the normal tracks. Teams can only ‘expect the unexpected’ and must devise their tactics of making best speed within their capabilities when they see what is in front of them. The navigation - whilst certainly not faultless - was at least corrected in every case, as the effort put into producing accurate and readable maps at the right scale from GPS tracking and Google Earth proved successful. The enormous range of ability was demonstrated, yet again, with 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V) skiing the course in 2h 32m 21s, whilst the slowest team took twice as long! 2 RTR took second place to cement their third place overall and 17 Port & Maritime Regt RLC Women almost caught the REME through better shooting. There were slightly fewer qualifying teams for the Army Championship this year, but they all acquitted themselves well at the higher level of competition; particularly 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V) who, as a TA unit, had put so much of their own resources into a really successful season.

a clean mass start Men’s Biathlon Relay: and they’re off -


EXERCISE PIPEDOWN

Capt David Ferguson RA 1 (UK) Armoured Division hosted Exercise PIPEDOWN (now in its 16th year) at Les Contamines in the heart of the French Alps with 342 competitors, making it the biggest contest to date. Commander Royal Artillery of the 1st Division, Brigadier Haldenby, described the event as ‘excellent value for developing the essential military skills soldiers and officers need.’ He also said: ‘Team Captains have to organise their teams and look after them, and all the competitors have to demonstrate strength, stamina and physical courage. Adventurous training like this is extremely valuable and really important; everyone who has taken part will finish the exercise fitter, stronger and fresher than they were before. I would say to anyone who questions the value of staging an event like this to stand at the top of a race hill and look down. I have been really impressed

‘Bananaman’ tags his partner during the floodlit challenge.

with the professional way everyone has approached their training, as well as their courage and attitude. I am in no doubt that this is an absolutely valid aspect of military activity’ Troops from across Germany accompanied by soldiers from 2 Div, and units based in Northern Ireland all took part. A significant addition to the competition this year was the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team. Despite a packed race programme for both disciplines, there was still time for a little light relief in the form of the Floodlit Challenge. A combined short Slalom and Nordic relay event, the top 16 teams entered two person teams. Fancy dress ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous was very much the order of the evening, with 3RHA taking first prize. Once again Gutersloh based 1 Logistics Support Regiment (1LSR) took many of

the honours; winning the overall Divisional Combined Ski Champion Unit Competition as well as the team competitions in both the men’s Alpine and Nordic disciplines. The 1LSR men’s team also won the Military Patrol race - an event designed to test soldiers in essential military skills expected of them on operations including marksmanship, map reading and physical endurance. In the women’s events the MDHU Northallerton, triumphed in the Nordic team combination while 1 Medical Regiment won the Military Patrol Race. Corporal Franey of 3 (CS) Bn REME won the women’s individual Alpine combination competition as well as the Super G and the Downhill race. Lance Corporal Pete Dunning RM, won the Best Overall Disabled Competitor. During his last tour in Afghanistan in May 2008, while providing top cover from a


EXERCISE PIPEDOWN Viking vehicle, he lost both his legs when the vehicle, was hit by an improvised explosive device. Despite never having skied before being injured, LCpl Dunning managed to beat many of the able-bodied skiers in the Alpine events and is now aiming to compete in the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Russia. Major General A J Bradshaw CBE, General Officer Commanding 1(UK) Armoured Division and President of the Rhino Ski Club, visited the Championships and met with many of the competitors. He reinforced the need for such events, stating that adventurous training opportunities such as this are part of the Army fulfilling its military covenant with soldiers. He explained: ‘In these days of intense

operational commitments exercises like this give our people a change which is important for the process of coming down after an operational tour. It is incredibly valuable and important, a chance for our people to put their hearts and souls into a different activity a world away from Afghanistan, maintaining their health and well-being. This is a valid military activity which develops all the traits we expect soldiers to have on operations such as good marksmanship, fitness, coordination, teamwork, leadership and organisation, courage, boldness and cooperation - but PIPEDOWN is also a chance for soldiers to enjoy themselves. The Army promises a life of adventure and opportunity. This is one of those opportunities.’

Contact Ex PIPEDOWN Secretary EX PIPEDOWN Maj AB Phillips RA t: 94882 3513 (military) t: (00) 49 5221 9953293 f: 94882 3586 (military) f: (00) 49 5221 9953586 e: ex-pipedown@awsa.org.uk

Patrol Race Ranges


EXERCISE SKI RLC

Ex SKI RLC Capt Julia Symons RLC

Situated approximately 60 km east of Munich next to the Austrian border is the small Bavarian town of Ruhpolding. This is where 360 skiers from across 35 Royal Logistic Corps Units, and invited guest teams descended for two weeks to take part in Exercise SKI RLC which was sponsored by DHL, DefLogVQ Trust and TQ Training and Education Ltd. Just outside of Ruhpolding is the Chiemgau Arena which is one of the world’s most famous Biathlon courses - it is due to be the venue of the 2012 Biathlon World Championships. This became the home of 41 male and female teams from across the Territorial and Regular Army - 138 competitors were novice skiers experiencing Nordic for the first time.

Nordic Championship The race programme consisted of five races, the 7.5 km Sprint, 5 km Relay, 10 km Mass Start, 15 km Classic and the Military Patrol Race. In the women’s competition 29 Postal, Courier and Movements Regiment, RLC showed their strength winning all races, although they were pushed hard by a determined 17 Port & Maritime Regt, RLC. The men’s competition was won by 17 Port & Maritime Regt, RLC winning all but the

final Military Patrol Race which was won by a strong patrol team from 13 Air Assault Support Regt, RLC taking them up to second in the overall combination. The TA winners were the Scottish Transport Regiment, followed by the Welsh Transport Regiment. A very deserving WO2 Karen Baker from 17 Port & Maritime Regt, RLC finished an excellent season collecting the overall Female Champion. Cpl Scott Cassidy, 8 Regt RLC was the overall Male Champion.


‘112 competitors threw themselves down a Giant Slalom race course with every single skier completing the course, albeit with a crash or two on the way down’

Alpine Championship On day one of the Alpine competition over one hundred skiers ranging from accomplished racers to nursery slope novices poled up at the Untenberg race piste in Ruhpolding, Bavaria. The 1 Logistic Support Regiment Alpine Ski Team, fresh from the Army Championship and Princess Marina victories, met the competitors for a whirlwind introduction to ski racing. On the third day 112 competitors threw themselves down a Giant Slalom race course with every single skier completing the course, albeit with a crash or two on the way down. There followed two further days of Giant Slalom racing in which Sgt MacDonagh, 7 Regt, RLC claimed

individual Gold and 25 Trg Sp Regt, RLC the team glory. After the practise weekend, the competition moved to the World Cup ski slope at Goetschen for the blue ribbon Super G event. A great deal of courage was shown, particularly by the less experienced, and some big air was demonstrated at the jump by those at the sharp end of the competition. LCpl Robertson emerged victorious with his team 25 Trg Sp Regt, RLC also taking the Gold. The final discipline of the Championship was the bête noir of many skiers: the Slalom. Due to unseasonably high temperatures and poor snow conditions

in Ruhpolding the two slalom events were also run at Goetshen, where the conditions were superb. After an excellent two days of racing LCpl Robertson and 25 Trg Sp Regt, RLC again took the individual and team spoils. The Alpine Championship was an enormous success; an extremely high level of skiing was demonstrated with two Army skiers in the competition being pushed hard by a clutch of seasoned racers. The biggest achievement however was that of the less experienced skiers who improved vastly over the week displaying courage, determination and team spirit to make it down the race pistes.


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Snow and Ice Magazine 2010