ARMY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION
Army Winter Sports Association
In this issue 2012 4
Season Events 2012-2013
Spirit of Scott Expedition
Secretary Lt Col (Retd) MK Allen email@example.com
Ex SPARTAN HIKE
Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col JA Scott SCOTS firstname.lastname@example.org
a: c/o MOD ASCB, Fox Lines, Queen’s Avenue, ALdershot GU11 2LG t: 94222 7078 (military) t: (01252) 787078 f: 94222 7079 (military) f: (01252) 787079 e: email@example.com w: www.awsa.org.uk Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG CCVO KSGC ADC (P) President Gen Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen Deputy Presidents Maj Gen CJ Boag CBE Maj Gen IM Copeland Maj Gen RR Davis CBE Maj Gen PW Jaques Maj Gen GPR Norton CBE Chairman Maj Gen JG Lorimer DSO MBE firstname.lastname@example.org Vice Chairman Brig R Haldenby email@example.com
Public Fund Manager Maj SAJ Davis RAPTC firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Snow and Ice Catharine Moss email@example.com Discipline officials are listed on individual sports pages. Images are AWSA Copyright unless otherwise stated. Cover: Maj Nick Foulerton SCOTS DG on the Cresta Run. Photographed by Karl Van Beek (www.crestaphotos.com)
Army Winter Sports Association 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. 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the application form on page 58. © 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, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RU. Tel: 01933 419994 • Fax: 01933 419584 • Email: email@example.com
Managing Director: Ron Pearson
Designer: Kerry Wells
Season Events 2012 - 2013 AWSA Discipline Secretaries Meeting ASCB - Aldershot September 2012 AWSA Management Meeting 2012 ASCB - Aldershot 01/11/12 AWSA AGM and Cocktail Party 2012 Cavalry & Guards Club, London 28/11/12
Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers - France 13/01/13 - 22/01/13 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Location TBC 12/01/13 - 22/01/13 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier - France 22/01/13 - 01/02/13 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 02/02/13 - 09/02/13 Royal Navy Championship Tignes - France 12/01/13 - 26/01/13 Royal Air Force Championship Saalbach Hinterglemm - Austria 12/01/13 - 26/01/13
Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Location TBC TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Location TBC TBC January 2013 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Igls - Austria 03/03/13 - 09/03/13
Cresta Army Junction Championship 17th / 21st Lancers Cup St Moritz - Switzerland 25/01/13 Army Top Championship Scots Guards Cup St Moritz - Switzerland 29/01/13 Inter Service Cresta Championship Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz - Switzerland 31/01/13
Luge Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Location TBC TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Location TBC TBC January 2013 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Igls - Austria 03/03/13 - 09/03/13 Nordic LAND Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers - France 13/01/13 - 22/01/13 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN Location TBC 12/01/13 - 22/01/13 Army, Inter Service and British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding - Germany 23/01/13 - 07/02/13
Skeleton Bobsleigh Army Ice Camp - Weeks 1 & 2 EX RACING ICE I Location TBC TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Location TBC TBC January 2013 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Igls - Austria 03/03/13 - 09/03/13 Snowboard Army Pre-Season Event Ex SNOW SUMMER Hemel Hempstead,UK 14/09/12 Army Freestyle Championship EX SNOW METHOD Stubai - Austria 19/10/12 - 27/10/12 Army Championship EX SNOW JACK Stubai - Austria 09/03/13 - 23/03/13 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 02/09/13 - 09/02/13
Telemark Army and British Championships EX TELEMARK TITAN Inter Service Championships (ISSSC)
Rauris - Austria 05/01/13 - 17/01/13 Meribel - France 02/02/13 - 09/02/13
General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen - Chief of the General Staff
As the President of the Army Winter Sports Association, it has been a huge pleasure for me to see the enthusiasm and skill evident in our Army competitors in each of the various disciplines over the 2011/2012 season. It has been immensely heartening to see that, despite the relentless operational burden and inevitable financial challenges, so many have continued to commit themselves to their chosen events. I am hugely pleased that they, and the various Chains of Command that support them, have recognized the real operational benefits of winter sports in terms of developing and sustaining physical fitness, courage, leadership, teamwork and logistic skills. Snow and ice sports are inevitably fast, often high risk and require rapid decision-making under pressure; our people routinely face very similar challenges on operations. Participation in winter sports requires dedication and rigorous training at every level. Our soldiers and officers may start as a novice at one of the regimental or corps training
camps, but this can, with a lot of hard work, lead all the way to the Olympics. AWSA has high hopes that some of our athletes will be at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014. It has been a bumper year in terms of results, with the Army dominating the Inter-Service results sheet in many areas. Well done to all who have taken part in the many winter sports events this season, but particularly to those who have excelled at the highest levels of Service and national sport. I would also like to thank the countless officials and committee members for the hundreds of hours of work they have put in behind the scenes and on the hills and tracks. Many of them are motivated by little more than a love of the sport and a desire to put something back into it; we owe them a great deal. I would also highlight the Army Sports Control Board which does an immense amount to sustain our sport. Many of you will know that Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland has recently stood down as the Chairman of AWSA, as has Brig Richard Dennis as his Vice-Chairman. On behalf of all of you, I would like to pay tribute to the immense
contribution that both have made during their time in the Association, which is in very good shape as a result of their leadership. Finally, I know that officials and competitors alike would want to join me in publicly thanking our sponsors without whom much of our higher level competition would not be possible. They are too numerous to thank individually here, but many of them are represented elsewhere in the pages of this magazine. I would also like to thank those organizations that have already subscribed to the Team Army project, an exciting new initiative for Army sport and one which is set to support it for many years to come. Many of our athletes also benefit from grants from the Army Sports Lottery for which we are also collectively grateful; I continue to commend membership of this excellent scheme to all of you. I look forward to seeing many of you once more in the coming season, and especially new-comers competing at Army level for the first time. Best wishes for a successful season!
‘CGS talking to competitors at the 2012 Army Alpine Championship’
Do you use Facebook? If you are a facebook user, the AWSA now has its own page where all the latest news will be posted. During the season there will be daily updates and images from the various disciplines and AWSA members are encouraged to use the site as a notice board. In addition to general information and news snippets, all AWSA events will also be listed; if you register an interest in a particular event you will receive updates as they are posted rather than having to constantly monitor the AWSA website. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with our dislocated population so spread the word. Visit www.facebook.com/ArmyWinterSportsAssociation and click LIKE.
Princess Marina Cup The Princess Marina Duchess of Kent Cup (usually known as ‘The Marina’) is undoubtedly the ‘Holy Grail’ of Army skiing and one of the most fiercely contested sporting trophies in the British Army. The Marina, which is awarded to the overall Champion Army Alpine and Nordic Unit, has been won by 22 different units since 1948. The cup 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.
2012 Champions - 29 Regt RLC
2012 Runners-up - 28 Engr Regt
Annual General Meeting Date for your Diary - the AGM of the Army Winter Sports Association will be held at the Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PX on the 28th November 2012 at 1730 hrs.
AWSA Chairman Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland CBE In my fourth and last season as Chairman AWSA, I am pleased to report that winter sports are still thriving in the Army despite the burden of operational commitments and financial pressures on both public and non-public funds. If I refer to the aim of our Association, I am delighted that we continue to encourage soldiers to take part in our sports as novices, and that we achieve success in inter-service competitions while also enabling our elite athletes to compete on the international circuit. There is evidence of achieving all three goals within the discipline reports in this year’s magazine. Levels of participation continue to fluctuate across the eight sports, but the overall picture is pretty healthy. In the last four seasons, I have been able to visit nearly all the disciplines to see for myself just what is being achieved. One noticeable trend has been the reducing number of infantry units taking part. I know the new Chairman is focussed on trying to rejuvenate interest in the Infantry as our commitment in Afghanistan begins to reduce. With its clear links to core military skills, Nordic continues to attract large numbers of participants, both male and female. Regular, TA and OTCs. Our best soldiers still go on to compete on the international circuit and sights
are now set on the next Winter Olympic games. Alpine is also well supported across the board but there has been a steady decline in the numbers who are considered safe enough to compete at the Army championships on the challenging Luc Alfand slope. I have seen interest in both Snowboard and Telemark surge forward, both establishing themselves as mainstream sports with an enthusiastic support base. I was delighted to see the newly established Telemark Mountain race take place in Rauris this year, which I hope will become an iconic feature of the sport in years to come. Ice sports have had a mixed bag of fortunes over the years. Interest in Bobsleigh appears to be waning despite the Army providing male and female competitors for the GB team at the last Olympic Games. Future hopes for Olympic success lie on the shoulders of Cpl Paula Walker who continues to achieve fantastic results on the circuit. Skeleton has been able to maintain critical mass while Luge has managed to win back the inter-services crown and put an athlete into the national squad. Finally, the Army Cresta team has been able to reverse a series of poor results and is back on the way up. Financially, the association is in pretty good shape. We have been able to run all our events to a high standard and increase our reserves.
Sponsorship income has been very healthy but may be set to decline as the tough economic conditions hit our industry partners. Finally, can I thank all those volunteers within the Association who continue to give their time to help plan, organise and officiate at the many events. It has been a real privilege for Helen and I to have been part of AWSA; we have enjoyed meeting you all and taking part in the events. We would like to wish you all the best for fortune for next season and you can be assured of my continuing support as the Chief Executive of Team Army.
Team Army raises funds for sport in the Army with the aim of promoting excellence, increasing opportunity and enabling recuperation and rehabilitation from operations. We help the best to get better. For information on Team Army visit www.teamarmy.org
Thank you and farewell Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland CBE - Chairman AWSA November 2008 to May 2012 A very keen skier and former Army Rugby player and Army Athlete, Major General Lamont Kirkland was a natural choice to take over as Chairman in November 2008, especially as he was ideally placed in Aldershot as the General Officer Commanding 4th Division. During his tenure he visited many of the championships and spoke to many AWSA personnel; those who met him couldn’t fail to be impressed by his huge drive and enthusiasm for and knowledge of Winter Sports. To say that he had a most successful 31/2 years would be an understatement; on appointment he was faced with dwindling sponsorship and a serious threat to the public funding. In his inimitable style, he has maintained the level of public funding and sponsorship has trebled; the AWSA finances have never been in better shape. General Lamont has also actively engaged with the chain of command and there is huge support for Winter Sports from CGS, CLF and below.
During his tenure, he has been ably supported by his wife, Helen, a professional ski-tourer, who has provided invaluable assistance at the past three Army Alpine Championships. In addition to his Chairmanship of the AWSA, General Lamont also found the time and energy to be Chairman of Army Rugby and President
of Army Boxing. Without doubt, he was a ‘man of all sports’. Since March 2010, he has been working on sponsorship for Army sport and his Team Army concept is now bearing fruition. Team Army raises funds for Army sports and its aim is to ensure enhanced and predictable longterm revenue for the external funding of Army sport by improving and bringing efficiencies to the way in which the management of sponsorship for Army sport operates. General Lamont left the Army in May 2012 and he is now the CEO of Ethos Fundraising Ltd, which is the trading company for Team Army. The AWSA has been extremely lucky to have had such a strong individual and keen supporter at the helm and we wish him and his family well and the very best of luck in the future. For the huge amount of work that both Lamont and Helen put into the Association, the Committee unanimously awarded them both Honorary Membership of the AWSA. Whilst he may have left the Army, it is doubtful that it is the last we have seen of the Kirklands at AWSA events!
New Chairman for AWSA Personal Message from Major General John Lorimer DSO MBE
When the selector’s eye fell on me, I was delighted. I have been skiing for 30 odd years - both down-hill and cross-country - and I have a passion for arduous military training, sport and adventurous training. The AWSA disciplines all fit squarely into these categories. We need to do more Winter Sports across the Army. Despite the operational tempo and the current national and departmental financial constraints, the British Army must continue to invest in and support all the AWSA disciplines. So many key military qualities are demonstrated on snow and ice by our soldiers: physical fitness, mental robustness, courage, will to win, technical expertise ..... I could go on. As we reset for the future and Contingency operations, Winter Sports must play an important part in achieving that balanced, demanding and varied training programme that will ensure that we are mentally and physically prepared for the next military challenge. I am particularly keen that the Field Army returns to the slopes and ice tracks in greater numbers. I also want to see more
involvement from the Army Reserves in our AWSA events and exercises. Inevitably the national financial situation is having an effect on all Army sports, both in terms of Public Funds and sponsorship. All of the Winter Sports disciplines will have to show appropriate ‘prudence’ over the next couple of years and unsurprisingly they will have to tighten their purse strings. However, CGS and the Army’s Chain of Command are absolutely determined that the Army should continue its long tradition of conducting Winter Sports at all levels, particularly novices. We also want to compete again at the highest levels in some of the disciplines; it was not that long ago that serving soldiers were winning Olympic medals in bobsleigh and there is no reason why we cannot do so again. Finally, I just wanted to thank my predecessor, Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland, formally on all of our behalf, for the enthusiastic and industrious leadership that he has demonstrated over the last three years or so as Chairman. Good luck to both you and Helen - and many thanks for
your unstinting support for all Winter Sports disciplines. 2012/13 should be a cracking Winter Sports season; I look forward to seeing you at some of the AWSA events and exercises.
Major General J G Lorimer DSO MBE John Lorimer joined the Army in 1981 and was commissioned into the Parachute Regiment. Early Regimental service included commanding a rifle platoon in 1 PARA - including two deployments to Norway as part of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land) (AMF(L)). It was during these winters that he learned to ski, both Nordic and Alpine. John Lorimer served in all three of the regular Parachute Regiment battalions and conducted a number of overseas deployments to Belize, Kenya and USA, with multiple operational tours in Northern Ireland. He commanded 3 PARA in Kuwait
and Iraq on Op TELIC 1. He later returned to Iraq as the Commander of 12 Mech Bde in 2005. He also deployed with the Brigade to Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 6. He assumed command of 3 (UK) Div in June 2011. On the staff, he served in 5 AB Bde as DCOS, in the MOD as an MA and at CENTCOM in Tampa and Qatar. He has completed two tours in the bunker at PJHQ in the J3 and J5 Divisions. He attended the Army Staff College at Aldershot in 1994 and the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham in 2004. He also attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2008. In 2010 he was promoted to Major General and he served as the Chief of Defence
Staff’s Strategic Communication Officer and the MOD’s operational media spokesman. John Lorimer is married to Philippa who is a proficient Nordic and Alpine skier. They have three sons, who are now all faster than their parents on the slopes. The family lives in Tidworth. Other than skiing, John’s hobbies are shooting, stalking and Scottish rugby, the last of which causes him no end of frustration. In addition to being Chairman of Army Winter Sports, John Lorimer is Deputy President of the Army Rugby Union and Chairman of the Army shoot at Bramley. He also holds a number of responsibilities on behalf of the Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment.
Olympic Torch Relay Olympic athlete, Sgt Emma Fowler RCL (GBR Olympic Biathlete at the Turin Winter Olympics 2006) received the Olympic Flame from Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am on 21 May in Taunton. The Flame started its journey when it was lit from the rays of the sun using a parabolic mirror in a ceremony on 10th May at Olympia in Greece. It was taken on a 1,800 mile relay around Greece before being handed over to the Princess Royal at the Panathenaic stadium, Athens. The flame was then flown from Athens to the UK on 18 May in four lanterns on seats 1A and 1B of the plane. Over the 70 day relay to the London Olpymic Opening Ceremony the torch will cover 8,000 miles and visit over a 1,000 cities, towns and villages in Great Britain.
Maj Roddy Christie SCOTS DG
For the 21st year in a row the Army Alpine Championship (Ex LIONS CHALLENGE) descended on the village of Chantemerle in the Serre Chevalier valley. Once again we were greeted by huge amounts of snow and cold temperatures which made for some excellent race conditions. There was a noticeable lack of numbers with a much reduced field of only 82 competitors. This seems to be due to the pressure of operational commitments and it seems likely that as the commitments in Afghanistan reduce, the competitor numbers - particularly of the Infantry and RAC units - will increase again. One of the ‘no shows’ this year was 1 LSR RLC - the victors in team events for the past seven years - this threw the team event wide open which made for an exciting competition. The Championship followed the usual format and benefited hugely from the excellent snow conditions. The only hiccup was very high winds on the second day of downhill training which mean that every piste on the mountain was closed apart from the Luc Alpand. It was not long before there was a virtual riot taking place at the top of the course with hundreds of the paying public trying to get onto the
only open run on the mountains. The hill team contemplated deploying batons and shields, then though better of it and cancelled the training run. Despite the absence of 1 LSR, the championship remained dominated by the RLC and 29 Regt RLC stormed to a comprehensive win in the team event. They were trailed by 7AA Bn REME and 3CS Bn REME, who put in a fantastic effort to secure second place and demonstrated the strength of REME skiing. A special mention is necessary for the haute concours University Officer Training Corps team who, despite being named ‘On the Piste’, managed to ski into what would have been third place, showing that there is a great future for Army skiing. The individual competition was once again won by SSgt Dougie MacPherson, this year racing for 29 Regt RLC; however it would be unfair not to mention Capt Matt Shepherd who missed out on the top slot due to injury. In the ladies event Maj Nikki Jordan (nee Porter) RADC swept the field in her last year of racing - definitely going out on a high. At the other end of the spectrum in her first season of racing Capt Lizzie Canfield came second. The Army team went on to the Inter Service
Championships in Meribel and managed a clean sweep in both the men’s and ladies team events. In the individual competition Capt Matt Shepherd RLC was once again crowned the Men’s Inter Service Champion, with Maj Nikki Jordan sadly missing the ladies top place after pulling her knee in the final run of the Ladies Giant Slalom. In the wider Alpine world, there has been significant work ongoing to develop the governance of the sport within the Army. This started with the inaugural meeting of the Alpine Management Meeting in September 2011, which had representation from all Corps and Divisional Championships. It will be taken forward further this year as the management committee seeks to bring in guidelines on the running of Alpine events as well as mandatory training for officials. This will bring us in line with National Governing Body regulations. However this does not come without cost and therefore the promised Alpine Development Fund will become a reality this year.
Contact Alpine Chairman Alpine Brig RPM Weighill CBE Secretary Alpine Lt Col H Campbell-Smith MBE t: 07722 487096 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpine Results 2011 - 2012
‘The hill team contemplated deploying batons and shields, then thought better of it and cancelled the training run!’
Army Male Champion Army Male Runner-up Army Female Champion Army Female Runner-up Army Team Champions Army Team Runners-up Inter Service Male Champion Inter Service Female Champion Inter Service Best Male Newcomer Inter Service Best Female Newcomer Inter Service Male Team Champions Inter Service Female Team Champions
SSgt MacPherson RLC Capt Ronz RA Maj Jordan RADC Capt Cranfield AAC 29 Regt RLC 7 AA Bn REME Capt Shepherd RLC Flt Lt Wroe RAF Capt Thomas REME Capt Cranfield AAC Army Army
Alpine Events 2012 - 2013 Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetier, France 13/01/13 - 22/01/13 1 Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN 12/01/13 - 22/01/13 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier, France 22/01/13 - 01/02/13 Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 02/02/13 - 09/02/13 Royal Navy Championship Tignes, France 12/01/13 - 26/01/13 Royal Air Force Championship Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria 12/01/13 - 26/01/13
Images: Capt Dave Scammell and Fiona Stapley-Harding
Celia Fielder (Snow and Ice Editor 1991 - 2009) skis with the US Women’s Ski Team Before I had time to draw breath, she was out of sight! It sounds a dream - but life as an Olympic skier is unforgiving and tough, as I discovered one weekend in January when I joined three of the US women’s ski team at their winter training base in Obergurgl to learn more of their fierce boot camp schedule. Obergurgl has sponsored the US squad for six months over the winter but for the boys and girls, it is no picnic. Three hours skiing on an ice-injected piste each morning is followed by long hours poring over the video, analysing each turn, then fitness training and more exercises. Diet and social life are closely monitored. Rising star, Michaela Schiffer, fresh from bronze medal position in the slalom at Flachau, was first off the blocks down the icy run. Michaela, a bouncy 16 year old, left Vail, her Colorado birthplace, to go to boarding school in Vermont, but has put her studies on hold for the winter. Her mother, Eileen - a very competent skier - has joined her on the training circuit and keeps her up to the mark with school work on her one day off each week.
Next to go was 24 year old Megan McJames from Park City, followed by team veteran, Resi Stiegler, the daughter of Pepi Stiegler, Olympic gold medallist in the 1948 Winter Games, who became ski school director in Jackson Hole, Wyoming when he gave up racing. The big names, Lindsay Vonn, Bodie Millar, and Ted Ligattee were racing elsewhere that weekend. Resi is back in the squad after a three year gap - fully recovered after a series of injuries and fifteen operations to mend first a broken arm, then leg, femur and ankle. She started racing in the US squad aged 14 - but admits her attitude has changed after the gap. Back now with renewed vigour at the advanced age of 26, she is the experienced one to whom the youngsters turn for moral support. Her best result before the injuries was fourth in a World Cup - now she’s fired up and training hard for a podium place in the slalom and GS events. The squad are on skis for ten of twelve months. In June, they move en bloc to New Zealand for three months, before returning to the Alps to their winter base in Obergurgl. Resi’s
season has been brightened by the arrival of her younger brother, Zepp, in the US team and the occasional visit from her supportive fiancé, Kevin, who lives in Maui - a windsurf instructor whom she met in Hawai when recuperating from the leg injuries. Obergurgl, with its high altitude, reliable snow record and lack of crowds, is an ideal winter base - the US team squad rent an apartment down the valley, with skiers coming and going between the various world cup events around Europe. Even Obergurgl’s frequent high winds blow to their advantage, whipping off the fresh powder and leaving the exposed slopes crisp and hard although their training pistes - closed to the public - are watered and iced for added speed. Our runs with the girls were scary - too fast for comfort! It was fun, and an eye opener. For life on the circuit is clearly no jolly - it is hard graft, day after relentless day of training in all weathers in a sport where hundredths of a second separate the winner from the also-rans. It is cut throat, it is fierce - glory for those on the podium. For the rest - nothing.
Farewell to Lt Col Bob Moore Chief of Race for many years at the Army Alpine Championships Probably the most significant event of this season was the retirement of Lt Col Bob Moore RLC. Bob has been at the heart of Army Skiing for 18 years - prior to that he was a racer. Bob officiated at all levels of the sport from Corps through to Army Championships and, rather famously, used his R & R from Iraq to come back and run the 1 Div Championship, something his wife Caron has never quite forgiven him for. He has been the Chief of Race for the Army Alpine Championship for a number of years and his exuberant personality and joie de vivre has been apparent in all aspects of the Championships. His dedication to the sport and the incredible effort he has put in over so many years will leave a large hole in Army Skiing. Sadly we did not have the opportunity to say goodbye properly to Bob at this year’s Championship as his new life and new job meant he could not be there. He will be sorely missed and we wish him well in his new life in Cyprus.
View from the Finish Line OCdt Matthew Waterston, Oxford University OTC – EX LIONS CHALLENGE Finish Referee
Fantastic snow conditions and a good forecast led to some great expectations for the Army Alpine Championship. From a personal point of view however the chance of competing had ended with a bad crash in the Divisional Downhill Championship (EX SPARTAN HIKE) the previous week. I therefore approached Major Roddy Christie and was given the opportunity to be the Finish Referee at the Army Championship something completely new to me. The kit we were issued was fantastic, a nice red, blue and white number that would make sure we wouldn’t be missed on the mountain. However, the highlight of the ‘stash’ was the bright red and shiny under jacket fashioned from the 80s! The first race was the seeding Giant Slalom (GS) which gave the officials a chance to get to grips with our different officiating roles. Voice procedure was the main lesson of the day as everyone tried to get their bit in over the radio - for the race itself this was cut down to a minimum! Being my first day as an official it was really interesting to see all the background
work that goes on. From the ESF staff to the scoreboard operators, everybody plays an important part to ensure the smooth running of the event. The first day was a steep learning curve but hugely enjoyable. Every morning the race committee would travel up the mountain in the early hours to set the course. The racers would then be on the first lift in order to undertake inspections of the courses. There would be two runs for both the GS and the Slalom, but only one for the Super G and the Downhill proper. The GS saw a couple of hairy moments on the race day itself when racers caught edges and came careering towards me - fortunately the padding surrounding the finish line and the timing devices managed to deflect them! Two key days for the Finish Referee were the Downhill and Super G which both ended at the bottom of the Luc Alphand Downhill course. The final wall was a popular spot for taking a tumble as knackered legs approached the end of the race; also just after the finish line itself there was a small compression which often caught out racers - one in particular suffered a badly broken leg. When there was a fall I had to quickly decide if it would block the line of the following racer (racers depart in 40 second intervals) and call ‘Start Stop’. This would ensure that any racers coming down would be yellow
flagged (stopped) and have to go back up to the start for a re-run. A great thing about standing at the finishing line was hearing the times coming in - mainly to see how my five fellow Officer Cadets were getting on in their races and their own personal rivalries! It was also a privilege to see the elation on so many racers faces as they finished - the Downhill especially. The course was not for the faint hearted and it took a lot of nerve and courage, especially coming down the final wall. The famous French skier Luc Alphand (whom the race piste was named after) was often at the finish to watch the racers come in and to pass on congratulations. Being in a ski resort and not being able to ski is hard enough, but being at the end of the race and seeing them all come down was even harder. However, being around the competitors and racers throughout the week far outweighed this disappointment. It wasn’t just the officiating but also the socialising that was a fantastic part of the event as everyone was so friendly to a mere officer cadet standing at the finish line. Playing the bagpipes for the Burns Supper was a real highlight for me, probably due to being a staunch Scot! Thanks to all that made it possible for such a great week and I hope to come back and compete in future years when I hopefully join the Regular Army!
View from the Piste! OCdt James Gray, Oxford University OTC To be given the chance to compete in the British Army Ski Championship while being a current member of Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps was a truly fantastic experience. Having trained at the Royal Artillery ski camp in Alp d’huez in mid December and then competed in the Royal Artillery Championship and the Divisional Championships in January, competing at the Army Championship was a brilliant way to end the race season. As expected, the standard of skiing was a lot higher than I had experienced at the Divisional Championships but my initial seed of 25 put me in a good position to reach my aim of finishing in the top 20 overall. With the Giant Slalom and the Slalom events out of the way in the first four days, I was able to concentrate on my preferred speed events, the Super G and the notorious Downhill on the Luc Alphand - a slope that is used on the world cup circuit. My performance in these two events allowed me to reach my goal of finishing in the top 20. The Army Championship was a great opportunity to mix with both TA and Regular Army personnel. In particular, skiing alongside the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team was a huge inspiration to me as I witnessed their determination and motivation to not let their injuries hinder them in such a competitive environment.
‘My knee groans at the thought of another race season, though my heart still wants to keep going’
Maj Nikki Jordan (nee Porter) RADC started her career in the RAF but - fortunately for us - she transferred to the Army in 2007. She has won many events during her racing career, including an impressive five Inter-Service Ladies Individual Champion titles, and since being made Army Ladies Team Captain in 2008 she has led her team to Inter-Service victory four times. Nikki retires this year but we hope it’s not the last we have seen of her on the Alpine racing/coaching circuit. I started skiing on straight Kastle skis, bought for me by my father on my sixteenth birthday. I loved them and they went perfectly with my rear entry Raichle boots. I didn’t get to wear them much, just the odd day in Glenshee, but when I did, I may as well have been on a monoski. I didn’t even know what carving was! I joined the RAF aged 22 and never considered ski racing. Not even in 2002 when I was asked to attend the RAF Championship in Les Menuires as part of the RAF Cosford Team. It was portrayed to me as more of a ski trip than a competition and all I had to do was race at least once to get my CILOR. So, I entered the first race, the GS, and came fourth in the ladies competition. I certainly didn’t burst on to the scene and set the world alight but the RAF ladies needed some new blood so I made the call to request another three weeks off work to train and race at the Combined-Services. I found myself quickly getting the bug and my competitive nature was showing in training, where my technique was being taken apart and rebuilt by the RAF coach. The 2002 Combined-Services was held in Megeve. It was here that I found I had a raw
Winner - Individual GS 2012
S TEAM CAPTAIN Maj Nikki Jordan RADC
talent for the speed events. Mainly because at that stage, though my technique was somewhat dubious, I certainly had the proverbial balls to do it. The training runs had been going well but, to my dismay, race day ruined any hopes of a miracle ending to my first race season when a nasty crash on the jump section of the Downhill left me with a ruptured ACL. After my reconstructive surgery in May 2002, I focused entirely on getting fit for the 2003 season. My hard work paid off and I made the Team for the Combined-Services. I had made headway but I still wasn’t winning any trophies. But gradual progression through 2004 into 2005 saw me win my first Combined-Services Championship in the fantastic resort of Saalbach Hinterglemm in Austria. The race week was cut back to two races due to adverse weather conditions (or rather two metres of snow in two days!) but it was a proud moment when I won the GS and the Downhill to claim my first ladies title. By the start of the 2006 season I had made the decision to transfer to the Army for personal reasons. There was to be no denying that I’d miss the personalities and camaraderie that existed within the RAF Ski Team and on top of winning the RAF Championship again, I was named as RAF Ladies Team Captain. Training was going well until the last day before we travelled to Crans Montana for the CombinedServices. Just as my knee had troubled me during my first season, it was to compromise my last in the RAF. An awkward fall in training left it inflamed and stiff - I later found out that I had actually re-ruptured my ACL. This didn’t stop me racing in Crans Montana and I spent the first three days (during which I missed the training runs and Downhill race), icing, resting and mobilising my knee. I was ready by the time the Super-G came round and won it, along with the GS and Slalom. I couldn’t win the individual combined, but the RAF Ladies Team won in my only season as Team Captain. That was enough for me! The following year, I began a new chapter as I involved myself in Army skiing. I enjoyed individual victory at both the Army Championship and the Combined-Services (which had moved to the magnificent and challenging hill in Meribel) but the Army Ladies lost out to the RAF by a narrow margin. My allegiances were well and truly changed and when I was asked to be Army Ladies Team Captain in 2008, I accepted with delight and honour. It gave me immense pride to lead the Ladies Team to victory in both 2008 and 2009 and also to win the individual combined. Furthermore, in 2009 I was selected to attend the British Championships as part of the Combined-Services Team. I was skiing well and
had even managed to place fourth overall (men included!) in the GS at the Combined-Services. The British Championships are also held in Meribel, so at the end of March, we travelled for one week of training, followed by race week. Looking back, I probably did feel a little strange during the first week but nothing would prepare me for what I discovered in the middle of the second. I was finding it difficult to find the courage for the downhill and this was very unlike me. Maybe it was some kind of maternal instinct but I just couldn’t push myself out of the start gate on race day. Instead, to the disbelief of the rest of the team, I skied straight passed it at the last possible moment and all the way down to the pharmacy! I had Sophie on 11 Dec 2009 by emergency caesarean and understandably missed the following season. In 2011, I came back. The RAF had beaten the Army ladies during my absence and I was set on resolving this. I was gutted when a fall in the GS ruled me out of the individual combined in Meribel, but we did what we set out to achieve and brought back the team trophy. Every girl on the team that year had a time that contributed to the results and I sensed a real determination from them all. By the end of the year, I had decided that 2012 would be my last season racing at this level. I missed my family when I was away and besides that, I’m getting old. It was so nearly my most successful year ever. On a personal note, I won every race at the Divisional and Army Championships, the Downhill and Super-G at the Combined-Services (where I was third overall, eh boys!) As Team Captain again, I led the ladies to a resounding victory. The five girls who formed part of the team were a particularly great bunch to work with and special mention has to be made to Capt Vic Brumpton who should also have been there, but so tragically broke her leg in Serre Chevalier. Alas, it was all to be marred by a fall in the slalom, where once again, my ACL gave up. I limped to the end and even raced the GS the next day (mainly on my left leg), but it wasn’t enough to snatch individual victory in my last year. So another ACL reconstruction looms in May, followed (on a better note) by a posting to Cyprus for three years. So, ten years on I’m older, wiser and my head is telling me to stop. My knee groans at the thought of another race season, though my heart still wants to keep going. I have had countless proud moments during which I have won many trophies and led some extraordinary ladies teams to glory. I’ve been part of an incredibly courageous and committed group of people who enjoy pushing their limits, testing their souls and most importantly, going fast downhill. See you all soon...but maybe not on my race skis.
2010’s Big Win - Sophie
Winner - Super GS 2012
Winner - Individual Slalom 2012
Inter Service CH Maj Helen Smyth RAMC
The Inter Service Bobsleigh Championship 11/12 was held in Igls, Austria which is a great venue for both racers and spectators. Running in parallel with the Inter Service Skeleton and Luge Championships, the whole event was branded as Ice 2012. The Army fielded four male and two female teams for the event. Capt Rob Hinton RAMC was the Army Bobsleigh coach and WO2 Kenney Pereira RAMC the Army Team and Equipment Manager. As a result of a number of Army drivers and brakemen/women being deployed on Op HERRICK 15, the Army Team was a mixture of experience and youth. Whilst this was a perfect opportunity to introduce youth into the team, it also meant that every second counted in the race as the Army were taking on the experienced RN/RM team which contained the current GB1 driver and the recently retired GB1 driver together with an Olympian as a brakeman. Over recent years the RAF (who traditionally take home the wooden spoon) has been snapping at the heels of the Army so the challenge was on to avoid the wooden spoon at all costs! The Inter Service Championships mirror the World Championship and Olympic bobsleigh events by racing four laufs over two days. The rules allow four male and three female teams to race, with the top three male and top two female teams to count. The times of the teams are added together with the fastest overall accumulated time being the winning team. There are also individual trophies for the fastest male and female teams. The Army welcomed Sgt John Hillman and Cpl Steve “Smudge” Smith (both 3 PARA) back after a two year absence and at the 11th hour, Sgt Lee Parker (3 PARA) flew out as a brakeman
behind Sgt John Hillman. Unfortunately he sustained an injury on Day 1 of race day so was unable to race on Day 2. Pte “Sisco” Sikhosana (29 Regt RLC), who had injured himself during training, raced behind Sgt Hillman on Day 2. The Army also welcomed back Olympic brakeman, Maj Henry Nwume RAMC who was paired with LCpl Richard Sharman REME. LCpl Sharman has only recently moved from the back seat to the front but you would not have guessed this when watching him slide. He had an excellent week on the ice. LSgt Lamin Deen (Gren Gds) is part of the GB bobsleigh team and the Army No 1 driver; he was pushed by Cpl Steve Smith. The fourth Army team comprising of Cpl Sean Darby and LCpl Sean Connolly (2 RTR) did not race due to illness. This meant that every bobsleigh had to count - the pressure was on! The Army fielded two female teams, Cpl Paula Walker R Signals who is the GB1 driver on the World Cup circuit competed with LCpl Alicia Jarman (ex GB slider who is based at AFC Harrogate). Pte Kelly Thomas (AGC (SPS)), a relative newcomer to the Army but not bobsleigh (she has an International pedigree as a brakewoman), drove the other female sled; she was pushed by a brand new brakewoman, Sgt Sarah Jane Smith of 4 Regt RA. At the end of Day 1, Cpl Walker/LCpl Jarman were leading the female competition with Pte Thomas/Sgt Smith lying in third place. They were separated by the RAF sled whose driver (Cpl Kerry Cockman) has had experience on the Europa Cup circuit. There was still everything to play for on the second day of racing as the second RAF sled was piloted by Sgt Michelle Coy; a veteran of many years of International sliding including the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Her experience shone through and she finished in third place,
HAMPIONSHIP Contact Bobsleigh Chairman Bobsleigh Maj HS Smyth RAMC Secretary Bobsleigh Capt WGA Holden LANCS m: 07842 590363 e: email@example.com
Bobsleigh Results 2011-2012 Army 2-Man Bobsleigh Male Champions
Cpl Darby RTC & Cpl Connolly RTR
Inter Service Female Champions
Cpl Walker R Signals & Cpl Jarman RLC
Inter Service Male Team Champions
Inter Service Male Team Runner Up
Inter Service Female Team Champions
pushing Pte Thomas into fourth. However this was not enough to prevent the Army Female Team from retaining the Team Trophy as the Army combined time was faster than that of the RAF. Cpl Walker/LCpl Jarman also retained their individual title. It was very impressive to see a new Army team (Pte Thomas/Sgt Smith) perform so well; they are certainly ones to watch in the future and it is hoped that they will continue to slide. The male race proved to be just as exciting with LSgt Lamin Deen/Cpl Smith lying in second position at the end of Day 1 behind Mne Lee Johnston (recently retired GB1 driver). LCpl Sharman/Maj Nwume were in fourth place with Sgt Hillman/Sgt Parker in eighth. Unfortunately Sgt Parker injured himself and had to pull out of the race at the end of Day 1. On Day 2, Sgt Hillman was pushed by Pte Sikhosana (who had sustained an injury earlier on in the week) but the composition of the other Army teams remained the same. LSgt Deen beat Mne Johnston but remained in second place due to Sgt Jackson (current GB1 driver) beating both LSgt Deen and Mne Johnston down the track. However it must be noted that after three heats, there was only 4/100th of a second between LSgt Deen and Sgt Jackson! LCpl Sharman finished in a highly respectable fourth place, holding off the RAF team, and Sgt Hillman finished eighth. The performance from the Army meant that they took the Runner Up trophy in the Team event, beating the RAF who retained their wooden spoon for another year. With only three Army Teams in the male race, and no margin for error, they performed exceptionally well especially with this added pressure. Thanks must go to the Army Team for giving up their time to compete at the Championships. Thanks also go to the Army Bobsleigh Coach who froze on the side of the track during all the training yet managed to maintain his sense of humour! Last but by no means least a huge thank you must go to the Team Manager who kept everyone organised and who also drove the bobsleigh truck out to Austria.
Bobsleigh Events 2012-2013 Army Ice Camp (weeks 1 and 2) EX RACING ICE I TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) TBC January 2013 Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igls, Austria 3-9 March 2013
Ex RACING ICE Capt Will Holden LANCS
Army Ice Camp Winterberg, Germany The aim of EX RACING ICE 1 is to train novice drivers and brakemen in the discipline of 2-man Bobsleigh. Every year, new sportsmen and women are taught the basic skills required to enable them to race at an Army Novice event. The main effort during the event was the delivery of safe, exciting and enjoyable training in relaxed but professional atmosphere. Each week started with the Novice sportsmen being processed and accommodated at the Steyman Guesthouse. Maj Helen Smyth, the exercise OIC, then briefed the troops before they moved up to the Bobsleigh track to meet the Army Head Coach, Capt Rob Hinton, the GB Coach, Mr Steve McFall and the Equipment Manager, WO2 Kenney Periera. Kenney issued out the 2 man Bobsleighs and any kit that was deficient from the Novice kit list. The Novice sportsmen were then taught the basic mechanics of the Bobsleighs and how to conduct day to day maintenance safely and correctly. Concurrently Rob Hinton introduced the Novices to the movement of the kit around the Bobstart (the highest start on the track) and the finish straight. Once he was happy that the group had learned the basics he took them up to the top of the track in order to conduct their first ‘Track walk’. Rob’s coaching style managed to relax the Novices to the extent that nobody refused to slide. Once all preparation had taken place it was time for the Novices to take the
leap of faith from the ‘Damend start’ (the Ladies start). The first few ‘Laufs’ (runs down the track) saw the Novices crash, bump and churn their way to the finish straight just about in one piece. Slowly but surely they refined their driving skills; as the week went on the laufs became smoother and faster. Winterberg is notorious for being a very technical track. This meant that it was very unforgiving when the Novice drivers made small mistakes. Minor problems which may have been rectifiable on another ice track became show stoppers at Winterberg! Due to the nature of the track and its difficulty, the usual Novice race ‘The first few ‘Laufs’ saw the Novices could not take place. However, this did not stop the staff from identifying potential talent for crash, bump and churn their way to the the 2011/12 Army Championships.
Army Championship Igls, Austria EXERCISE RACING ICE 2 concentrated on training the Novice and Junior Army teams and the week concluded with the Army Novice and Junior Championship race. Some of the Novice Sportsmen who missed the Ice Camp due to work commitments also attended the Army Championship to race as Novices. The group comprised of three Army teams, one Junior team and two Novice teams. Igls was a new track to all but two of the sportsmen; it’s a brilliant track for Novice sportsmen to learn the basics of Bobsleigh due to its steady course of corners. The week progressed in a similar fashion to EXERCISE RACING ICE 1. The mornings would start with WO2 Kenney Periera checking the
finish straight just about in one piece’
equipment and Bobsleighs with the teams, as the Army Bobsleigh Equipment Manager it was Kenney’s role to ensure that all of the kit was serviceable to use throughout the week. In the afternoons the head Bobsleigh coaches, Mr Steve McFall and LSgt Lamin Deen would take the drivers through the track walk prior to the training laufs. Monday and Tuesday saw a few shaky starts as the drivers became accustomed to the track. The Bobsleighs took a battering but with Kenney’s attention to detail and hard work they lasted the week. Steves’s coaching techniques proved very effective as the crashes became fewer and the timings became faster. The Drivers worked very hard to master
Officials and prize winners at the Army Championship
SOCHI IN HER SIGHTS! Cpl Paula Walker R SIGNALS - Driver for the GB1 Women’s Bobsleigh Team and 2011 Junior World Bobsleigh Champion
the nuances of the track and by Thursday morning the teams were ready to race from the Bobstart. The Brakemen had worked extremely hard moving the equipment around during the week and their bruised bodies had started to ache. The Army Novice and Junior Championship race took place on the Saturday morning. The race was great fun with all of the sportsmen putting in 100% effort. The race draw meant that Sean Darby and Sean Connolly would start the race followed by OCdt Scott Freemantle and LH Graham Humm then Pte Kelly Thomas and Lt Cdr Steve Beard would bring up the rear. The race was quick but very exciting proving that even with just one week of training the Novices could get a good time on a race lauf; the average time was 57 seconds. Considering that the course is 1.4 Km long this meant that the average speed was around 116 Kph. The Ice proved to be faster than usual as the temperature during the race was -17C, this meant that the Ice was harder with less resistance. The Army Champions were Cpl Sean Darby and Cpl Sean Connolly, the Army runnersup and by default Novice Champions were Pte Kelly Thomas and Lt Cdr Steve Beard, the Novice runners-up were OCdt Scott Freemantle and LH Graham Humm and the Fastest Novice Brakeman was Cpl Sean Connolly. The prize giving was extra special as we were lucky enough to have Maj Gen Deverell and the Master Vintner in attendance to give out the prizes. The Vintners Society provides a lot of financial support towards the grass roots sportsmen and it was a pleasure to have them with us during the week.
© Giancarlo Pradelli/twenty twenty
My 2011/12 International season has come to a close, finishing with the World Championships which were held in Lake Placid. This season has been all about testing everything we have in order to make sure we are the best come February 2014 (Sochi Winter Olympics). This season we managed to purchase a new bobsleigh and runners but we also had a massive search for new talent which saw a number of new athletes being selected for the development tier of the International Europa Cup Competition. My Team consists of myself and two civilians; Rebekah Wilson (whom I won the Junior World Championships with in 2011) and Gillian Cooke (who won the World Championships in 2009 with Nicola Minichiello). We started the season with a high, winning two Gold medals in Park City, USA at the Americas Cup Competitions.
Then it was onto Europe for the start of the World Cup competition where we were a little disappointed with our results. Although we were consistently in the top ten I felt we had a lot more to give and that we needed to address our equipment. When the World Cup competition moved stateside our adjustments started to pay off; I had my best ever World Cup finish (in Calgary, Canada) of sixth, which is a medal position in bobsleigh. However, I knew from the offset that we needed an overall top eight finish to satisfy the needs of the British Bobsleigh Association and the funding agency, UK Sport; this was a tough goal to achieve, especially as the first half of the season didn’t go exactly to plan. Thankfully our determination paid off and we managed to finish a very credible seventh overall in the 2012 World Championships - just 0.24 sec off the sixth medal position! If you would like to follow Paula on her Olympic quest visit www.teamwalker.co.uk
FROM TRIUMPH TO DISASTER ….. AND BACK AGAIN A season of highs and lows for the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team For the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team (CSDST) the 2011/12 season brought with it challenges, changes, and ultimately, a champion. Despite a difficult start, which saw numbers depleted due to injury, classification problems and conflicting commitments, the team rallied to finish the season on a high at all levels of competition. Veteran member Mick Brennan not only won a Bronze Medal in the Super Combined at the Austrian National Championships, but went on to win Gold in the Giant Slalom at the Italian National Championships (see article on page 21). His success followed on from the Inter-Services Snow Sport Championships in Meribel (ISSSC), which saw the newer members of the squad also deliver confident performances and raise hopes for the future. At the same time the team has undergone changes behind the
scenes to improve not only its governance and administration but also the delivery of tailored training to its members.
Training Roundup Much of the CSDST’s continued success can be attributed to its progressive training programme, which this season was as packed as ever. During the summer of 2011 the team conducted almost daily training sessions at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, the team’s “home slope” in the UK. Meanwhile Ian Bishop and Pete ‘the feet’ Dunning went to New Zealand for summer training and three Continental Cup races. Pete brought back two Bronze Medals however, ‘Bish’ had a significant crash, resulting in his decision to retire prematurely from ski racing; a pragmatic and difficult decision for a talented and ambitious athlete. An Initial Skills Camp in
October/November in Stubai gave members of all abilities a chance to hone their skill set, followed by regular training that continued into December. The newer members made great improvements but disaster struck when Pete Dunning dislocated his shoulder, leading to him missing the rest of the racing season. After Christmas the team geared up for the Divisional, Army and Inter-Service Championships circuit, which gave everyone an opportunity to build on their training in a competitive atmosphere.
New Talent While Mick Brennan represented the team on the international stage, the newer members showed that the future is bright. The Newcomers Event in June 2011 involved eight new athletes; five sit-skiers and three stand-up skiers, one of whom was visually impaired. Many of the new skiers continued to
For more information on the CSDST visit www.csdst.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CSDST ‘To see our members who started back in 2008 skiing to the standard they are now is a delight’
train with the team at the slope throughout the summer and into the autumn training camps. Hopes were high, however some of the new athletes were subsequently not medically classified by disabled skiing’s governing body, a great disappointment for coaching staff and team members alike. The remaining new skiers however continued to show great promise. The ISSSC brought home the progress made, with sit-skier Alex Krol, a former Marine Reservist and stand-up skier Fusilier Andy Barlow both delivering remarkable performances in the Super G. The team was also joined by prospective member Anna Poole, who is no stranger to competitive Winter Sports. Anna was a member of the British Luge Team when she sustained a devastating injury to her left leg in Latvia in 2005, whilst training for the Turin Olympics. Following years of pain and immobility, she elected to have her leg amputated at the knee last June. “I’d been in a wheel chair for two years” said Anna. “I’d lost function in my foot and my knee was pretty much destroyed. It came naturally. Everyone says ‘oh, it must have been a really difficult decision’, but actually it’s one of the easier decisions I’ve made. The past seven or eight months of my life have probably been the most liberating. I learnt to walk again without crutches and braces and callipers. I was injured just weeks before the start of the world cup season. My first thought was: ‘I’m not going to the Olympics’. It was gutting. I was within arm’s reach and I didn’t get to go. I really enjoyed being an elite athlete. I want that person back and I want to have something to work towards.”
Speaking of the progress made at the ISSSC, Head Coach Mark Scorgie commented: “It was brilliant because it gave people the opportunity to race in the best conditions on top class courses”, he said. “Seeing Andy Barlow complete the Super G safely and strongly was a real highlight. Another proud moment was to see Alex Krol, who has a very high spinal break, come down the Super G. Anna’s also a bright prospect for the future. How far we take it is down to her hard work and effort and determination to get to the places she wants to go.”
Change With some of its members setting their sights on qualification for the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi and beyond, and others just embarking on their careers as adaptive skiers, the CSDST has recognised the need for bespoke levels of coaching for its members. It has begun to focus on its development stream, with links to veterans’ charities such as BLESMA and dedicated skiing organisations, an approach that is already paying dividends. Team Director, Major Ian Large explained: “The creation of the Foundation Training Team will ensure newcomers are given the technical training they want in a more structured and controlled environment. For a young guy who might recently have lost a limb and is just learning to ski it’s a lot to ask for them to race. Now people will spend their first year training. Not everyone is going to be a Paralympian or win a World Cup but if we have a broad enough base to build on, we may be able to get that one person up to the top of
the triangle who is going to be a Paralympian. We also continue to make improvements to the governance and administration of the CSDST as a Charitable Company.”
Looking ahead With links to Snow Warrior Adaptive serials in April and a Newcomers Event in Hemmel Hempstead in May the CSDST ended the 2011/12 season with its eyes very firmly on 2013. As Sochi 2014 draws nearer there is every reason for confidence on the Performance Squad. 2012/13 will prove crucial both in terms of build-up for the elite athletes and the continued development of new talent so the team looks forward to exciting times ahead. However, despite a clear vision for the future, there are still a number of challenges facing the CSDST. “We have two objectives both linked to sport skiing; the first is linked to military efficiency for serving disabled personnel and the second is relief in need for disabled veterans” said Ian Large. “To continue to do that we depend on donors and of course the financial situation at the moment affects everyone. We aim to raise over £100,000 every year, which sounds a lot but it has to pay for accommodation, equipment, food, vehicles etc for the team and staff. We’re very well supported and we remain incredibly grateful to our donors but we’re always actively looking for additional donors. This is the right thing to do. These guys deserve the same opportunities that are available to other serving soldiers. To see our members who started back in 2008 skiing to the standard they are now is a delight.”
Mick Brennan Following Ian Bishop’s retirement and Pete Dunning’s injury, Mick Brennan was left as this season’s sole international competitor. His hard work throughout the season paid off, culminating in February with his medalwinning performances in Austria and Italy. In Lackenhof he placed 5th in the Slalom, and then 5th in the Super G and 2nd in the Slalom runs of the Super Combined, earning him his Bronze Medal. He and Head Coach Mark Scorgie then travelled to Innerkrems for some valuable training with Team GB and the Finnish and Croatian able-bodied teams on the steepest training hill in Europe. They headed to the Italian National Championships in Sestriere full of confidence, and rightly so, because it was very nearly a double Gold for Mick. In addition to his victory in the Giant Slalom, he found himself 6.7 seconds clear of the field after the first run of the Slalom. Had he not unfortunately crashed out on the second run, the top spot could have been his for the taking. It is widely thought that it is not a case of ‘if’ Mick breaks through to the top level of the sport but ‘when’, as Mark Scorgie explained: “Mick’s got everything it takes to be up there at the top. It’s more than just a way of life; it’s a performance based attitude; it’s about conditioning, nutrition and life-style choices. It’s making a difference and it’s showing. The season has finished on a high. We had some lower level medals last year and for Mick to win a national championship of a very strong skiing nation is absolutely fantastic”. Meanwhile, Mick is already preparing for next season, having taken delivery of a new sit-ski in March. Instead of continuing on the international race circuit, he decided to devote the rest of the season to familiarizing himself with his new kit. Provided by Supacat, NP Aerospace and Help for Heroes and built to his exact requirements, the rig is
‘... it is not a case of ‘if’ Mick breaks through to the top level of the sport but ‘when’’ expected to make a dramatic difference to his racing. Mick said: ‘Instead of an up and down motion, like a pogo stick, it’s up and forwards; pushing me into my turns and stopping the back of the ski leaving the snow. I’ve got the very best equipment now, no more excuses. We’re implementing new things and things have started to click. It’s the unknown. I have to be patient and work hard and reap the rewards at the end. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy’.
Supporters and Donors
The CSDST is very grateful to all its donors for their continued assistance. Selex Galileo remain staunch supporters of the team and without their contribution, many of the team’s activities simply would not be possible. The now traditional season launch at the Snow Centre in October unveiled the team’s new Tog24 clothing and branded team minibus, generously provided by Ford. Mick’s new top-of-the-range rig has cutting edge suspension, provided and developed by Supacat, a custom-molded seat provided by NP Aerospace, a Nissin-built frame, kindly donated by Help for Heroes and even Union Flag buckles, supplied by Bartlett’s.
CRESTA Major Nick Foulerton SCOTS DG
‘And the next rider is……………’ The infamous words uttered by the Secretary that every Cresta rider waits for with a heady mixture of excited anticipation and foreboding. It is the myth and legend surrounding the ‘Cresta Run’ that lures men from around the world to the beautiful town of St Moritz, so that they may launch themselves down that treacherous ice run. An enduring theme among this eclectic group is British Servicemen who have been an integral part of the St Moritz Tobogganing Club since it was founded in 1885. It was British Servicemen that kept the Club alive after the Second World War as Europe licked its wounds and for this the Club is eternally indebted and reflect this in the support that they give to the Services. This year produced its annual crowd of soldiers wishing to experience what it is like to ride the icy banks of the Engadine valley and I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which the 27 riders approached the sport. The ability shown by many of the novices was very impressive and it is these men that will be the future of the Army team. This Cresta season was reduced to two weeks, the first week allowed regimental teams to bring their novice riders to the Run and participate in the Army Junction Championship. The composition of the Army Junction Championship encourages team riding in the pairs race, but allows novices the chance of
Images: Karl van Beek (www.crestaphotos.com)
silver in both the open and handicapped races. This format works well and encourages the development of those that show talent and these individuals can then be taken forward to the Inter Service Championship the following week. As with all Cresta riding, everything is still unsigned until the last rider is at finish. The third course of the Army Junction Championship saw the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards knocked into
Contact Cresta Chairman Cresta Lt Gen JJC Bucknall CBE QCVS Secretary Cresta Maj NG Foulerton SCOTS DG
second place by the Royal Wessex Yeomanry after an impressive third ride by Captain Henry Kemp-Gee. The winners were the favourites; The Life Guards, represented by Captain Paul Chishick and Lieutenant Archie Horne. The Inter Services week started with the Army Top Championship which was won by Lieutenant Horne, and the race showed that the Army team was very much in the running for the Prince Philip Trophy against the favourites, the Royal Air Force. The Inter Services race day had much at stake, especially for the RAF, for whom this season would be the last for their Captain, Wing Commander Till Hill. I wish to take this opportunity to thank him for his enormous contribution towards Army Cresta, especially in his tuition of young riders; myself included. After the first course the Army were in the lead but dropped back slightly in the second course, with the RAF narrowly beating us in the third and final. Lieutenant Horne won the Lord Trenchard Trophy after an excellent performance throughout the season. In the reserve and retired races, Captain, The Lord Wrottesley, Grenadier Guards (Retd) came third in the Harland Trophy and Capt Ben McNeil, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards came first in the Silver Spoon, which was a spectacular achievement for a novice rider. Army Cresta now looks forward to delivering a very strong team for the 2013 Season in order to hopefully retrieve the illusive Prince Philip Trophy.
Cresta Results 2012 Army Championship Army Top Champion Army Top Runner-up Army Junction Novice Champion Army Junction Handicapped Race Open Pairs Champions
Lt AGF Horne LG Capt PJR Chishick LG LCpl RJ Murphy Blues & Royals Capt EPA Harden 9/12 Lancers The Life Guards
17th/21st Lancers Cup
Inter Service Championships Prince Philip Trophy Inter Services Top Open Team Race Harland Trophy Reserve and Retired Top Handicapped Race Lord Trenchard Trophy Fastest Combined Time Silver Spoon Reserve and Retired Junction Handicapped Race
RAF Flt Lt NM Smorthit RAF (Retd) Lt AGF Horne LG Capt BA McNeil RSDG
Cresta Events 2013 Army Junction Championship 17th/21st Lancers Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 25 January 2013 Army Top Championship Scots Guards Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 29 January 2013 Inter Service Championship Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz, Switzerland 31 January 2013
LUGE Maj Tor Gullan RE
The Army Luge season covers three main events and this season it began in November 2011, with EXERCISE RACING ICE 1 which is the event that allows complete novices to learn the skills required to pilot a 23kg toboggan down an international bobsled track - both competently and safely. This annual event marks the start of every season, and this year the chosen venue was Winterberg in Germany. The event is structured so that two separate groups of novices can attend a seven-day training camp. It is an intense introduction to what is the fastest, most technical and possibly the most exhilarating of the three ice sports. While the event was not oversubscribed this year- unlike the four previous years seven soldiers were put through their paces and introduced to the thrills and spills of the Olympic sport that is luge. In a break from tradition, the event was opened up to the Royal Navy, and a number of sailors were also lucky enough to experience the unique adrenaline charge that is luge. Both weeks went extremely well with some good sliding by both Army and Royal Navy. With a healthy air of Inter-Service rivalry, the novice participants all did extremely well, reaching speeds of up to 105km/h in the lower sections of the track. At over 60 miles an hour, the world moves very quickly when travelling feet first just five inches above the ground, and all this was achieved in just a few days! With expert coaching from Mr Mike Howard and SSgt Graham Holmes (now retired), the novice participants returned from the exercise knowing whether or not the sport was for them and something they wished to pursue, or a more developmental experience where their courage, determination, adaptability and speed and willingness to learn something difficult and completely new were all tested to levels some had never previously experienced. The exercise is key to recruiting new talent
into the Army Luge Squad, with talented participants invited back to compete in the Army Luge Championship (EXERCISE RACING ICE 2 & 3) held in February. This event is the pinnacle of single service competition for soldiers and officers alike, and encompasses Novice, Junior (for those athletes whom have competed at novice level the previous season) and the Army Championship itself, open to all
‘Images © Stuart Knowles’
levels of competitor. With a male and female champion in each category, the Championship can prove to be a very hotly contested event! This season the Army Luge Championship took place in Igls, Austria (near Innsbruck) for the first time in three years. The track was used for the 1972 Olympics, and had recently played host to the European Youth Olympics 2012, as well as various world class bobsled and skeleton competitions this year. It is testimony both to the skills of the coaching staff and the athletes themselves that in such a short space of time athletes are able to compete successfully on world level tracks such as the one at Igls. The Army Championship was a tightlycontested event, with Tpr Henry “Harry” Foulkes of the Queens Royal Lancers returning from fulltime training with the Canadian Development Squad to take the Army Men’s Championship title for the second year running. Guardsman Ray Thompson of 1st Battalion, the Irish Guards returned after a season’s absence and a tour of Afghanistan to clinch the Runner Up’s title with a solid performance, demonstrating as
LUGE ‘The season ended with a resounding win for the Army’
always his natural talent and unflappable approach to competition. The Army Women’s Championship brought with it its fair share of surprises, with Corporal Helen “Pinky” Pinkstone continuing a great week of sliding, overcoming some hefty crashes and injury to claim both the Army Women’s Champion and Army Novice Women’s Champion titles. Corporal Dani Scott of the Queen Alexandra Royal Auxiliary Nursing Corps, though unseated as the Army Women’s Champion, claimed the Runner Up position after a challenging week on the ice. The season culminated in ICE 2012, the Inter-Service Ice Sports Championship in March, again held at Igls, Austria. This was a major event for the Army Luge Team, with the Army holding both the team Inter-Service title and the male and female Individual titles from the previous year. The Army team had been selected from those athletes who performed best at the Army Luge Championship one month earlier, so all the team were familiar with the track. Nevertheless, a week of pre-training was held prior to the week of ICE 2012 to ensure that all our Army sliders would perform to their best on race day. This week was immediately followed by ICE 2012, which included five days of training runs to prepare for the races themselves, which took place over two days. The week was marked by unpredictable sliding for some, and markedly consistent sliding for others. Sleds were tuned and tweaked as the team’s sliders approached the competition days. Finally, after a hard week of sliding with some bumps and scrapes, the day of racing dawned and the Army team once again sought to perform, to win and to retain the titles they had won during the previous two seasons. The racing was close, with Trooper Harry Foulkes displaying his talents to retain the top position, while other members of the team also showed off their skills and abilities. In particular,
Corporal Helen “Pinky” Pinkstone deserves special mention, for this was her first season. She had only been on the ice for three weeks yet she went on to win the Inter-Service Women’s Champion title! The season ended with a resounding win for the Army. In the words of Air Marshall Sir Kevin Leeson, ‘never in my time as President of the CSWSA have I seen such a convincing victory’! The team had once again performed fabulously, and even improved on the previous year’s success by winning every possible luge trophy! This performance was made possible by having an outstanding team; coaches, support staff and athletes deserve the highest praise for this most amazing performance! The Army Luge Association is currently looking for new members. This year’s Ex RACING ICE 1 is likely to take place in either Calgary, Canada or again at Igls, Austria. If you would like to know more about the sport, or even to give it a go, contact the Chairman of the Army Luge Association (see right). Places on Ex RACING ICE 1 are expected to be fairly limited, so do book early to avoid disappointment and to ensure that you get your chance to try this amazing sport!
Luge Results 2011 - 2012 Army Male Champion Tpr Harry Foulkes QRL Army Male Runner up Gdmn Ray Thomspon 1 IG Army Female Champion Cpl Helen Pinkstone QARANC Army Female Runner up Cpl Dani Scott QARANC Army Female Novice Champion Cpl Helen Pinkstone QARANC Inter Service Team Champions ARMY Inter Service Male Champion Tpr Harry Foulkes QRL Inter Service Male - 2nd place Maj Tor Gullan RE Inter Service Male - 3rd place Gdmn Ray Thompson 1IG Inter Service Female Champion Cpl Helen Pinkstone QARANC Inter Service Female - 2nd place Cpl Dani Scott QARANC Inter Service Female - 3rd place Cpl Kerr Howard QARANC
Luge Events 2012 - 2013 Army Ice Camp (weeks 1 & 2) EX RACING ICE I TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) TBC January 2013 Inter Service Ice Sports Championships Igls, Austria 3-9 March 2013
Contact Luge Chairman Luge Maj TP Gullan RE t: 96770 1917(military) (03067) 701917 m: 07801 240742 e: email@example.com Secretary Luge Mr G Holmes RLC m: 07957 564677 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
WORLD CUP CIRCUIT
Trooper Henry “Harry” Foulkes, Queen’s Royal Lancers and current Inter Service Champion reports on his first International race! My Viessmann Luge World Cup week in IGLS (Austria) started with a nice lauf from ladies start. The ice was like no other ice I had trained on before, fast almost like glass in finish; World Cup ice is so smooth, there’s no chance for error. I took a leap of faith and went straight to the mens start for my next runs. The first went well but the second not so good; once you have had your first run you tend to relax for the second, meaning you miss your lines and steer a little bit less than you should, this is not advisable on fast ice. The next few days/runs from mens start did not go without fault as I crashed on nearly every other run which left me slightly worried for the looming qualifying race. However, when it came around to the run that would put me into my first National Cup race, it went down without fault and I pulled off a 53.7! This was it, I had qualified for the race; no turning back now! I then had two more training runs from mens
before the race, one of those I also crashed - I forgot my steering point on corner 12 which pushed me too high and I then came out of the curve too late - this was my last run before the race so it shook me slightly. That night I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was about to race some of the top sliders in the world! The time came for my run - I was slider 30 - I walked up to the start house, visor prepped, coach waiting for me with my sledge. He placed it on the scales (I had to weigh in before the race - not telling you how much though!). Walking my sledge to the handles to start the race, I had never felt pressure like it. Do I break and have a good easy run or do I go all out, death or glory! My coach zipped my shoes and told me I had to be aggressive then calm, the track was running through my head at the speed of light. Suddenly over the speaker I heard that the track had been closed due to a crash, this threw me!
I had to wait an agonising five minutes or so before the speaker blared again. With the track now free, the light went green, visor down and this was it the start of the run. I pulled off three quick paddles on the ice, then lay still and flat on the sledge. I entered corner one which is such a small corner it doesn’t have much impact, the ice walls flew by and I reached curve six slightly late but you can correct on the straight. All the curves that followed went seamlessly, eight and nine were smooth and high, ten was nice and smooth, eleven I let it roll in and drove out, twelve was nice going in but then a problem. I steered out far too late and with no chance to correct I felt the sledge tip throwing me off. Gripping hold of the sledge I was determined to finish the race in contact with it and as I crossed the line, the judge gave a thumbs up and said I was safe! I came 34th with a 55.258 but I was still impressed with my first race and can’t wait for the next one!
Army Luge team at the Inter-Service Championships - Tpr Foulkes third from right
Nordic Capt Dom Cugudda RLC
Exercise RUCKSACK 12 was the 65th Inter Service and Army Nordic Ski Championships and took place in Ruhpolding, Germany from 19 January to 3 February 2012. The Exercise also provided the platform for the British Championships and 247 military and civilian skiers battled it out in sub-zero temperature over an action packed two weeks of racing. This year saw competitive numbers increase by 59, up from 188 in 2011 to 247 in 2012 with the biggest rise coming from the number of civilian skiers; up from 9 to 57 this year. The championships were a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Biathlon World Championships which were held in the Chiemgau Arena, Ruhpolding in March (see page 30). The aim of Ex RUCKSACK is to provide participants with an arduous and challenging racing programme, using world class, stateof-the-art facilities and physically demanding, technical courses in order to identify the Inter Service and Army Champion Nordic Skiers and Nordic Skiing units of the British Army whilst enhancing the moral and physical components of fighting power. Nordic Skiing and Biathlon epitomise the true warrior ethos in our soldiers; tough, resilient and highly motivated. For the competitors not only does participation raise standards of fitness, marksmanship and leadership, it also instils confidence, courage and teamwork. The Championships started with a week of classical cross country races followed by a week of Biathlon events. The military patrol race, inspected by Maj Gen N Caplin GOC UKSC(G) was the highlight of the championships testing the mental and physical attributes of the athletes to the extreme with kit inspections, skiing, shooting and command tasks over a 30km course in -18°C temperatures. 1 Log Sp Regt RLC, led by Capt Andy Martin continued their dominance of Mens Service Nordic skiing by winning the Patrol Race as well as every team race and were awarded The SAS Cup; becoming The Champion Mens Inter Service Nordic Ski Team. Capt Reg Gentry and the team from 2 CS Bn REME pushed them hard and were close runners-up, finishing second in every team race and overall. The RAF Regiment were the highest non Army team finishing fifth from a total of 23 teams. In the womens competition, the RLC ladies matched 1 Log Sp Regt RLC by winning every team race and becoming The Champion Army Ladies Nordic Ski Team. There were notable performances from Cpl Amanda
Lightfoot who won every race she entered! (Ladies 10km Cross Country, 12.5km, 7.5km and 10km Biathlon Races) with Spr Charlotte Harris winning the Ladies 7.5km Mass Start. Notable Mens performances were from SSgt Marc Walker (15km Cross Country), SSgt Ash Allen (10km Cross Country), Bdr Kev Kane (20km Biathon), LCpl Pete Beyer (10km Biathlon Sprint) and Cpl Paul Birmingham (12.5km Biathlon). The Princess Marina Cup which is awarded to the Champion Skiing Unit in the British Army; combining Nordic and Alpine Skiing was hotly contested this year and went right down to the wire during Ex RUCKSACK. With one event left,
there were only two points separating three teams; 28 Engr Regt, 29 Regt RLC and 27 Regt RLC. A better position in the Military Patrol Race meant that 29 Regt RLC made it a clean sweep for the RLC beating 28 Engr Regt by one point and winning the Princess Marina for the first time. General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff and AWSA President, was on hand to present the Marina Cup at the final Prize Giving. A final thank you to all the Officials and support staff (and their chain of command for releasing them) who ensured Ex RUCKSACK 12 ran smoothly.
‘Nordic Skiing and Biathlon epitomise the true warrior ethos in our soldiers; tough, resilient and highly motivated’
LCpl Pete Bayer 1LSR RLC
Patrol Race Inspections Officer, Maj Gen Caplin
29 Cdo Rest RA
Nordic Results 2011 - 2012 Army Mens Champion
SSgt Walker 1 LSR RLC
Army Ladies Champion
Cpl Lightfoot AGC(SPS)
Army Mens Team Champions
1 Log Sp Regt RLC
Army Ladies Team Champions
Inter Service Mens Champion
SSgt Walker 1 LSR RLC
Inter Service Ladies Champion
Cpl Lightfoot AGC(SPS)
Inter Service Mens Team Champions
1 Log Sp Regt RLC
Inter Service Mens Team Runners-up
2 CS Bn REME
Inter Service Champions Army All results can be found at www.britishbiathlon.com
Nordic Events 2012 - 2013
Land Championship EX SPARTAN HIKE, Monetiers, France 13-22 January 2013
Chairman Nordic Brig N Marshall OBE
1 (UK) Armd Div Championship EX PIPEDOWN 12-22 January 2013 Army, Inter Service & British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding, Germany 23 January - 7 February 2013
Images: Foto Kaesberg (www.photo-kaesberg.de)
Secretary Nordic Lt Col AM Thurgood RLC e: email@example.com
Lt Col (Retd) Mark Goodson, Secretary General, British Biathlon Union For all athletes the pinnacle of their sporting dream is to compete in the Olympics. Yet for many, as a result of quota and qualification systems, it is a World Championships that is their realistic goal. With a GBR maximum quota of one man and one woman in the Winter Olympics at Sochi in 2014, the 53rd Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding this year meant that a ‘Home Games’ would be a special event for those selected.
A ‘Home Games’ in Germany? For many readers of Snow and Ice, Ruhpolding is best known as the venue of the Army & British Nordic Championships (EX RUCKSACK) which have been held in this delightful corner of the Chiemgau Alps in eastern Bavaria since 1998. For the biathletes in the British teams Ruhpolding is, however, a year round training base where the AWSA and British Biathlon Union have established many contacts and friendships over the years. Moreover with 28 World Cups having been held in the Chiemgau Arena as well as the 1979, 1985 and 1996 World Championships, Ruhpolding really is a ‘home’ to the GBR Biathlon Team.
Who were the GBR team?
Cpl Nerys Jones AGC
Unsurprisingly all were serving military, and all bar one were from the Army. The Men’s team was Olympian LCpl Lee-Steve Jackson 2 YORKS (competing in his 7th World Championships), LCpl Pete Beyer 1 LSR RLC (3rd), LCpl Carl Gibson 2 CS Bn REME (2nd), Bdr Kevin Kane 40 Regt RA (5th), LCpl Marcel Laponder 28 Engr Regt (4th) and LCpl Ben Woolley 1 LSR RLC (1st). They were joined by Cpls Nerys Jones (2nd) and Amanda Lightfoot (3rd) AGC, SSgt Adele Walker 29 Regt RLC (5th) and Flt Lt Fay Potton RAF (2nd). The Support Staff were Manager: SSgt Marc Walker 1 LSR RLC; Assistants: Bdr Simon Allanson 40 Regt RA & Hldr Scott
Banes 4 SCOTS, Roger Roberts late RA, plus one of the world’s top wax technicians Martin Glagow of Germany. 45 Nations and over 400 athletes (300 more than in 1979) were present at the gala Opening Ceremony in Champions Park, in front of a crowd of 8,000; at the last EX RUCKSACK Opening Ceremony we had just 20 spectators! The first event took place in glorious sunshine and the first Gold Medal went to Norway in the mixed relay. This gave the great Ole Einar Bjørndalen his 21st Olympic/World Champs Gold Medal. Two days later, under perfect blue skies, German prayers and expectations were answered when Magdalena Neuner the absolute golden girl of German sport – ‘sport’, not just biathlon - won the first of her two gold medals in the Sprint. ‘Lena’ is a sensation, but within a week of the Closing Ceremony she had raced her last International race having already committed herself to retiring at the end of the season. At the ripe old age of 25 she has a total of 11 Olympic /World Champs Gold Medals! She also won the first of her seven Junior World Golds when she was just 17 (most of our athletes have never even heard of biathlon at that age!), and in 2008 was a World Junior & Senior Champion in the same year. It was no wonder that a live TV audience in Germany of 7.3 million watched her next race, the Pursuit and were no doubt very disappointed when she only won Silver. But, GBR was not disappointed with the Pursuit, because for the first time ever we had a female competitor - Amanda Lightfoot. Following on from an excellent British best ever 36th place in the Sprint where she hit all ten targets and was only just over two minutes behind Neuner, she missed just two out of twenty in the Pursuit, finishing 43rd. Martin Fourcade of France won both the Men’s Sprint and Pursuit and was to later claim a 3rd Gold in the Mass Start. In the 1979 World Champs there had been just 70 media. In 2012 there were 10 times that figure with some 400 TV production crew alone. Six times Olympian and ex Royal Engineer Mike Dixon was there for Eurosport, with some 50 km of cable having been laid for TV alone during the summer. The stadium had a complete EUR 20M rebuild in 2010, with EX RUCKSACK 2011 being the second ever event there! From a few thousand spectators in 1979, some 30,000 (1,500 in the double decker VIP tent alone) attended daily this year. Nearly all of them were transported to the stadium by over 50 shuttle buses, which supplemented the 50 team buses and dozen or so VVIP cars. Can you imagine 30,000 people flooding into Catterick daily for two weeks? 1100 volunteers were on hand to ensure the whole event ran smoothly, although a Police Force of 200 (more than 10 times the
LCpl Lee Jackson 2 Yorks
normal Ruhpolding force) helped a little! The main street was closed daily and turned into a fan mile and the Norwegian visitors celebrated from dawn until well after dusk. Amongst those VVIPs were the Interim President of Germany (Frau Merkel, the Patron, had a few problems to sort out in Greece), Prince Albert of Monaco, many Olympic medallists and Franz Beckenbauer, who has aged far better than the author! In Week two Amanda Lightfoot continued her good form in the 15 km Individual, just missing a top half of the field slot. The Men had
LCpl Pete Beyer 1LSR RLC
a difficult Championships and the early season form of Lee Jackson who had recorded a string of Personal Bests deserted him in Ruhpolding. Pete Beyer had severe ice burns after a horrific fall when he broke his rifle, and Marcel Laponder became a TV star when he fell several times in a most photogenic part of the course, but still only missed one from twenty beating several â€˜big namesâ€™. The Men had a rather poor day in the office for their Relay but the Women finished on a high with Amanda Lightfoot, Nerys Jones and Adele Walker all shooting clear to give GBR the best ever Relay result.
LCpl Marcel Laponder 28 Eng Regt
An amazing ten days saw the biggest and best ever Biathlon World Championships. Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic has a lot to live up to next February. The British Biathlon Union (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 bar one are currently serving in the Army. For further information visit www.britishbiathlon.com
Goody tea Becken ches the grea bauer a t Franz bout fo otball!
SKELETON BOB Major Belinda Robson R SIGNALS Another bumpy year for Army Skeleton Bobsleigh with attendance on the Ex RACING ICE’s fluctuating throughout the season. Ex RACING ICE I, the Ice Sports camp, was sadly poorly attended. This year the camp was held in Winterberg, Germany between the 12to 26 November 2011. Participants headed across by coach and in true military style left in the early hours of the morning. On arrival in Winterberg they were briefed on the equipment, kitted out with helmets and padding and then introduced to the track. A daunting sight if you have not seen one before. The only injuries were sustained by the coaches, Maj Pete McClellan and Mrs Donna Leslie. Donna slipped on the ice and broke her wrist and Maj McClellan nearly took his eye out on the bobsleigh crane. It was safer to get down the mountain head first on a tea tray! Despite low numbers, those that attended were promising sliders and will help form a competitive Army team in future years. In contrast, Ex RACING ICE II the Novice, Junior and Senior Army Championships, had an excellent attendance. Fourteen competitors raced at Igls, Austria to fight for the title of Army
Champion. The championship was held over the period 29 January to 5 February 2012. Unusually this year sliding was cancelled on the first day as a huge hole had appeared in the track due to an ammonia leak. With the championship in doubt, the track workers worked overnight to ensure we could slide the following day. After a couple of runs from Damen start, to dust off the cobwebs, the competitors made their way to the top of the track. Every training run would now count to knock off those vital seconds. Times were not the only thing to drop over the week as temperatures fell as low as -20°C. Down times varied throughout training leaving the race open to anyone; anything can happen on race day! After the first lauf Capt Howard Chaganis and Maj Taff Edwards were neck and neck for first place and Sgt Dave Manning was third. However, Capt Chaganis had a fantastic run on the second lauf, crossing the line with a PB time and taking the title. Sgt Manning retained his composure and crept back into the runner up position. The women’s competition wasn’t as nail biting but still had some surprises. Sgt Nicki Moxon produced some fantastic results, becoming Army
Champion with a three second lead. However, Pte Robin Ellis, the runner up, slid exceptionally well considering the race laufs were only her fifth and sixth runs from the top. Operational and work commitments were against us this year when trying to select an Army team. Despite contacting over twenty Army sliders we had to field a men’s team with two complete novices and a women’s team with only two sliders. Feeling the pressure from day one, especially after the Navy and RAF teams had been on the track for a week already, the team had a lot of catching up to do. The men’s and women’s team continued to improve their times throughout the week but were not as competitive as the other services and placed third. However, in the Combined Race, the Army were victorious and Sgt Nicki Moxon R SIGNALS and Capt James Nightingale 2 RTR won Gold medals. Ex RACING ICE I, the Novice Ice Sports camp, will be held in October/November 2012. Interested participants should contact Maj Belinda Robson, email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Operational and work commitments were against us this year when trying to select an Army team’
Contact Skeleton Bobsleigh Chairman Maj PA McClellan RE Secretary Maj BNK Robson R SIGNALS e: email@example.com 32
BLEIGH Skeleton Bobsleigh Events 2012 - 2013 Army Ice Camp (weeks 1 and 2) EX RACING ICE I TBC October/November 2012 Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) TBC January 2013 Inter Services Ice Sports Championships EX RACING ICE III Igls, Austria 3-9 March 2013
Ex Racing Ice 1 (weeks 1 & 2) November/December 2012
There are 50 places available on each week of the Army Ice Camp: 24 Bobsleigh, 13 Luge and 13 Skeleton Bobsleigh. The Ice Camp is being held in either Igls or Calgary this year and the cost to individuals will be around £500(TBC) per person per week (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 (see back inside cover for joining details). Bids for places are welcomed from both individuals and units (Regular and TA) and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Skeleton Bobsleigh Results 2011-2012 Army Male Champion
Capt Chaganis RIFLES
Army Male Runner-up
Cpl Manning R SIGNALS
Army Female Champion
Sgt Moxon R SIGNALS
Army Female Runner-up
Pte Ellis QARANC
Army Novice Champion
Capt Crofts 2 RTR
Army Novice Runner-up
Tpr Laslett 2 RTR
Army Junior Champion
Capt Chaganis RIFLES
Army Junior Runner-up
Maj Edwards RAMC
SNOWBOARD Lt Col John Connelly RLC
The season has been another excellent and progressive one, with wider development of core skills, high participation in the sport and the overall quality of the riding all leading towards strong competitive riding in a well organized Army Championship. The season commenced with an inaugural season launch event (Ex SNOWSUMMER) at the indoor Chill Factore in Manchester which proved very popular and will be repeated in 2012. Corps training camps in November prepared riders for the Army Championship in December 2011. The removal of the Novice Competition reduced the overall competitor numbers at the Army Championship but also changed the atmosphere, enabling greater focus on the higher level riders. The Army Team then competed at the Inter Service Championships in Meribel in February 2012, winning the Men’s and achieving Runnerup in the Ladies competition. The best riders went on to compete in the British Championships in Laax in February 2012.
Army Indoor Freestyle Event Ex SNOW SUMMER was held at the Chill Factore in Manchester on 14 September 2011. The event was supported by several professional riders and 40 boarders attended, including TA and UOTC representation. Both these cohorts are seen as potential areas of expansion and were subsequently welcomed at the Army Championship, but regrettably they were not allowed to represent the Army at the Inter Service Championships. Freestyle training in the morning led into a boxes freestyle competition in the afternoon. The event proved to be enormously successful generating energy and interest in the sport at the start of the season. It is planned to hold two indoor events during the 2012/13 season. The first on14 September 2012 in Hemel Hempstead. The second event has yet to be confirmed, although it is intended to use the Langraff Snowdome in Holland.
there were 103 Males and 31 Female open competitors; this was the highest recorded number of female competitors. There were 35 novice riders and 32 military units were represented. There was good turnout from across the Corps with the exception of the Infantry. The Championship consisted of a Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS), Snowboard Cross (SBX), and Slopestyle (SS) competition; with Mens and Ladies Open Individual, inter-Unit and inter-Corps competitions within each event. The standard at the Army Championship, although lacking some of its more experienced riders due to operations and training, remained high. A number of young riders achieved strong results in the middle and upper rankings.
Army Freestyle Championship Ex SNOWMETHOD continues to grow in popularity since its inception last season; its aim is to raise the technical confidence level of riders whilst concurrently delivering a demanding Freestyle Competition. The final competition delivered Inter Service winning runs from both Army Squad members and newcomers to the sport. It was attended by 38 riders including representation from the TA and UOTC. For the 12/13 season Ex SNOWMETHOD will move from Spring to Autumn, the intent being to balance indoor events and training to allow maximum access to the sport and add more competitive events to expand interest in the sport.
Inter Service Championships The Army Male and Female team, completed a week of training at Val Thorens under the management of WO2 Moore in late January before competing at Meribel in early February. The Inter Service events were closely contested but the Army Men’s team managed to retain their title. The Ladies Team was severely depleted by operational commitments and as a result they were unable to fend off the RAF team.
Army Championship Ex SNOW JACK took place in December 2011 on the Stubai Glacier in Austria. In total
Several riders competed in the British Championships with Capt Si Nicholson
Snowboarding Results 2011 - 2012 Army Male Champion Army Male Runner-up Army Female Champion Army Female Runner-up Army Team Champions Army Team Runners-up Army Freestyle Champion Male Army Freestyle Champion Female Army SBX Champion Male Army SBX Champion Female Inter Service Male Team Champions Inter Service Female Team Runner-up
Capt James Scott KRH Capt Simon Nicholson REME Sgt Sarah Marriot RAMC Cpl Vicky Fox RA REME (Corps), 3 AAC (Unit) R SIGNALS (Corps), 1 CS Bn REME (Unit) Capt James Scott KRH Sgt Sarah Marriot RAMC Capt Simon Nicholson REME Sgt Sarah Marriot RAMC ARMY ARMY
achieving a podium place on the SBX and great results from Sgt Sarah Marriott and Cpl Sam Bibby.
Future Championships In the last three competitive seasons 13 days of competition have been lost to inclement weather, often with extreme risk of contact cold injury and/or frostbite. After much consideration it has been decided for safety and other reasons to hold the next Ex SNOW JACK in March 2013. It is accepted that this is a very congested period in the Alps and that significant turbulence will ensue as Corps competitions re-align. If the time of year shift proves to be successful then the ASBA might also seek to change the location of the event; Mayrhofen, Kaunetal and Saalbach Hintertux are all potential alternative locations. Army Snowboarding has built upon the previous season’s success, with various events organized throughout the year to captivate interest. The Army Championship is appropriately funded, well attended and the Chain of Command has demonstrated ample support for Corps and Regimental teams. Commanding Officers have been very supportive of personnel being released and the majority of those attending remain the junior soldiers; this season around 70% were Corporals or below. Thank you JC The Secretary of Army Snowboarding for the past two years, Lt Col John Connelly has been succeeded by Maj Mike Lewis RE. The Committee wish to offer their thanks to Lt Col Connelly for his passionate enthusiasm and exceptional organizational ability which has taken the competitive aspect of the sport forward and widened participation.
Contact Snowboard Chairman Snowboard Col RNH Bennett MVO Secretary Snowboard Maj M Lewis RE e: email@example.com
SNOWBOARD CROSS What does it take to qualify for the Olympics?
Capt Simon Nicholson REME - Winner of numerous Service competitions and ex-member of the GB Snowboard Cross Development Team Freestyle snowboarding in the UK has an extremely strong mechanism for developing young riders. Since the emergence of the indoor snow domes we have managed to produce some of the best freestylers in the world - Jamie Nichols, Amy Fuller, Jenny Jones, Billy Morgan, Becky Menday to name but a few. These guys compete at the very highest levels, achieving top results against the best American and European riders. The progression for snowboard cross in the UK is unlike most winter sports, or any sports for that matter. Currently it has no formalised programme that takes riders from the early stages of ‘grassroots’ racing through to the Olympics. When compared to other sports (which generally have strong local club level programmes to develop athletes that feed into the County, England and then GB teams) it is no surprise that we struggle to produce high level riders in snowboard cross. Snowboard cross is still in its infancy over here whereas mainland Europe and America have already built up strong local club teams to feed their World Cup teams. It is generally agreed that an athlete will require approximately 10,000 hours of training (in their particular sport) before they reach the top flight. This typically means they must start very young in order to take advantage of the physiological advantages that youth brings. We are lagging behind because of this time disadvantage but it doesn’t mean that we cannot develop some excellent snowboard cross riders; Zoe Gillings is a testament to this fact. So although not insurmountable, the odds are currently against those riders from the UK who want to progress to the Olympics. But, assuming that the talent and determination is there, this is the route you would need to take. Firstly it is useful to gain general snowboarding skills. This can be done at any indoor or quality outdoor centre within the UK, but specifically freestyle skills. Remember the 10,000 hours rule; get as much slope time in
as possible - hitting jumps, rails, and any other obstacles which might be available to you. This means going every night that you have available and attending the Army freestyle events such as Ex SNOWSUMMER or SNOW METHOD. You will soon develop the necessary snowboarding skills and be riding like a ninja! At this stage you will not have developed much edge control and this can really only come from high quality tuition. Carving skills (where the board edge is used to turn the board without skidding) will form the basis of your ability to carry speed in the snowboard cross tracks and must be learned. The quickest and most effective way I have found of getting the necessary quality tuition is to gain a basic instructor qualification. This costs a little bit but will improve your riding tenfold (Enhanced Learning Credits anyone?). The next stage is to get some racing experience; unfortunately there are few opportunities to do this apart from at the Army Championship and Corps/Regt competitions. However, once you get to a stage where you are consistently coming in the top four of the Army Championship and have been selected for the Army Team; you can further hone your skills with better riders at the Inter Service Championships. Meanwhile you must not be focusing too much on boarder cross, but should be working hard on your freestyle skills. Hitting bigger jumps and becoming confident at spinning, grabbing, and landing cleanly is very important for later on. Should you attain the status of guru snowboarder within the Army Team you will be selected to attend the BRITS in Laax. This is where you will come up against some of the best riders in the UK. If you should qualify in the top eight here, this is a good indicator that you are knocking at the door of stardom. Here the GB team run a selection camp to look for new talent. Seek out one of the coaches and
say that you are interested in taking your riding to the next level. Should you do well at the selection you will be invited to join the GB Team for the following season. Now you have to ask your CO very nicely if you can have six months off work to go snowboarding... You still have quite a way to go though and your first season will be spent re-learning how to snowboard. Racing technique is very different to what your BASI instructor will have taught you. In fact most BASI instructors are terrible racers because their technique just does not work on the faster snowboard cross courses. You will race on many challenging courses around Europe and against some excellent riders. You will be lucky to qualify in the top 80 in the first few you attend, but hopefully you will steadily improve as you learn better techniques. Then once you start to achieve top 32 results you will look to more challenging courses with better riders to race against, onwards to Europa Cup. The Europa Cup is a big step up and it will probably take you three seasons before you are really holding your own. Finally (should you be successful here and gain the necessary points) you will qualify for the World Cup and one of the two places open to GB riders. The World Cup is where you will face the best racers from around the world. This is where your off-snow training programme will become even more important than your on-snow training. Strength & conditioning, nutrition, and psychology will all play a role in helping you achieve your best form. Then the simple matter of qualifying in the top 30 in the World before the BOA allows you to enter the Olympics. Job done! So far only one GB athlete has made it to the Olympics in snowboard cross, Zoe Gillings. She is currently training very hard to make it to the next one in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
Sgt Sarah Marriott RAMC - Team Captain It has been an action packed year for the Women’s Army Snowboard Team with a mixture of successes and defeats. The female team started the season pitched against each other at the Army Snowboarding Championship held on the Stubai glacier in Austria. The competition was fierce but the weather was kind for the full two weeks leading to some glorious days of competition. All three disciplines ran smoothly, Duel Slalom, Boarder X and Slopestyle which is a rarity at this event. I, Sgt Sarah Marriott, managed to win the first event against Cpl Vicki Fox by a narrow margin of only a few hundredths of a second closely followed by Cpl Denis Swift and Capt Catherina Jones.
Inter Service Championships The next progression was the Inter Service Snowboarding Championships held in Meribel, France. We spent the first week training and honing our skills. All members of the team had been on strict fitness programs over the Christmas and New Year period so everyone was fit, ready and able to put 100% into their technical training. This was a good job because the starts were early and the days long....and après ski was a forbidden word during training week. The female team selected to represent the Army consisted of Sgt Marriott (team captain), Capt Catherina Jones, Cpl Vicki Fox, Cpl Denise Swift and Sgt Christina Dodd. We were lucky to have freestyle pro-coaching from Nelson Pratt (who also coaches the GB freestyle development team) and Jenny Jones! Now if you have just read this and had to ask yourself who Jenny Jones is then I would recommend you get yourself onto a computer and Google her name! All I will say is World X-Games and Champion! Our other Coach was Ben Kennier who is not only one of the most highly respected members within the BASI snowboarding company but also their Director of snowboarding. Boarder X training was delivered by Capt Simon Nicolson who has spent the last few years riding on the GB Boarder X Development Team. Training was tough for the girls with many of us sustaining minor injuries but this didn’t stop us focusing on the competition and we pushed on regardless. A change to the schedule meant that the Boarder X Race would be the first competition instead of the second. This would turn out to have devastating consequences for the female team. We made it through to the final with myself and Cpl Fox in the final four riders, along with one RAF and one Australian (Australian Defence Force, ADF). We were confident they could be beaten but it would not be easy. After the first jump and two rollers in I was nudged by another rider into the line of the ADF rider who unfortunately at this point was already in mid
Image © Graeme Main, Soldier Magazine
air awaiting imminent impact which took me down and quite literally, out. I am unaware of the distance travelled but know that immense pain and multiple summersaults were predominant factors in the equation! Needless to say I did not get up from this crash and was carted off the mountain in a rather undignified fashion. But it was not all doom and gloom, Cpl Vicki Fox came in a well deserved second and was only fractionally beaten by Lindsay Hind (RAF). The next day saw the remaining girl’s team competing in the qualifiers for the dual slalom with the finals being run later that evening under floodlit conditions. Three girls made it through to the evening race which saw some truly amazing riding by all three services. However, storming through the finish line to take her first number one podium spot at the Inter Services was Cpl Vicky Fox. It was an all red finish with the Army men’s team also getting a first and second position. Celebrations had to be short lived as we woke up the next morning for our official training day in the Freestyle park... well ‘all’ bar me! It was an intense and emotional day for all due to this being the last opportunity for the team to get their competition run committed to memory and perfection. It was also the first and last time the team had an opportunity to see what the competition had to offer. The Army female team at this point, even being one rider down, was still only five points behind the RAF. Having now had two days off and having regained a modest amount of mobility - and some rather good pain medication from the local French pharmacy - I decided to strap back in and try and make the numbers up for the girl’s team so we could claw back those five points. But unfortunately it was not meant to be, and although I managed to get to the end of the day in a surprising third position, Cpl Denise Swift fell in the qualifier round onto an already injured shoulder which meant she also had to be evacuated off the mountain. Without
the fifth rider we were unfortunately unable to make up the point difference; we would have to wait until next year to win the title back. What was different about this year within the female competition was the leap in standards. It has always been fairly high at this level but this year saw a new breed of fearless, female riders in the freestyle category from all four teams. You can see that people are utilizing the facilities of the indoor snow zones around the country throughout the year. Getting that title back next year will be no mean feat...but I think we are up for the challenge!
British Championships Skipping forward a few months I am recovered and at the British Snowboarding Championships in Laax, Switzerland, feeling very un-cool amongst the array of incredibly talented youngsters. I was there as part of the Combined Services Snowboarding Team proudly flying the Forces flag at the National competition. With all of the top names in UK snowboarding, we found ourselves in competition with the very same people we idolize in the magazines we read. My race of choice was the Women’s Open Boarder X Competition. I started the day merely hoping that I would make it through to the semi finals, but finished by taking a third place podium position in the open category. I was thrilled with the title and will hold the experience forever as one of the best moments in my snowboarding career. This achievement was made even better knowing that the two girls that had beaten me were on the GB team and sponsored all the way from their Milano wool socks to their larger than life bobble hats!
A SIGNAL SELECTION! Mohsan Hussain - Birmingham University Officers Training Corps (UOTC) SNOWSUMMER - September 11 At Birmingham UOTC we had been actively encouraged to seek out the many opportunities to partake in sports with the Army. I was keen to see if there were any opportunities for snowboarding and after a bit of googling I came across the AWSA website and saw that there was an indoor event to be held at the Chill Factore Snowdome in Manchester. I signed up and as this was my first real insight into Army Sports I was intrigued to see how it was all put together. The coaching was fantastic and having access to riders like Dan Wakeham (No less than an Olympian) and Nelson Pratt (Army Team Coach) presented an opportunity not to be missed. 40 Riders attended with differing ability levels. We were all assessed over a few practice runs and split into different groups. The groups all worked on flatland jib tricks, general riding and rails skills in rotation. From a personal point of view, if having Dan Wakeham and Nelson Pratt coaching us was not enough, meeting fellow snowboarders and seeing how much enthusiasm and promotion for snowboarding exists within the Army was an inspiring experience.
SNOWJACK - December 11 I attended SNOWJACK for the last week of the four week exercise. The training week, SBX and GS had already taken place with just Slope Style to go. I arrived in time to get involved with the training leading up to the competition and we were lucky enough to have Nelson Pratt coaching us again. The coaching for this event consisted more of how to deliver an overall competitive run than one trick in particular. The Calibration day is for the judges to see what the best tricks are and then to work the scoring systems back from those tricks. So for example, a 720 would score 100 points and a 360 would score 50 and so on. Also, it gives the riders a chance to fine tune their runs in order to make them as solid as possible for the qualification the next day. Incredibly consistent runs were being put down by both the Women and the Men, demonstrating the high level of Army Snowboarding. The scene was set for competition day. The competition day saw the riders laying down lovely tricks in the early morning sunshine but by the time the Menâ€™s competition got down to the business end of the riders, the weather came in and it was very difficult to see the obstacles. We did our best nonetheless and the results were very, very close indeed. The competition prize giving evening was a jovial affair with lots of shaking of hands and goodbyes until next year. The future of Army Snowboarding was mapped out by the Chairman and it seems as the though the future is very bright with more events, better coaching
SSgt Jon Craig and OCdt Mohsan Hussain
and greater participation. The Army Team was also selected that evening with many people wishing the talented few the best of luck at the Inter Service Championships to be held in Meribel, France during February. SNOWJACK was a fantastic experience for me as I was given an insight into how enjoyable, competitive and well organised Army level sport can be.
observed and thoroughly enjoyed! My personal aims for this trip were to have a great time, improve as a competitive snowboarder, gain an insight into life in the Royal Signals and give my best shot at gaining a place on the Royal Signals Snowboarding Team. As seven of the nine riders on the current Signals Snowboarding team are on the Army Team, gaining a place would not be a stroll in MERCURY SNOW RIDER - March 12 the snowboard park. A development squad of 22 would be selected of which only ten will go on The Signals Snowboarding camp was a two to compete at the 2013 Army Championship. week camp with a training week for the first The first competition was the Grand Slalom. week and a competition week in the second. The A downhill course with flags a rider must competitions included SlopeStlye, Grand Slalom and Snowboard Cross and during the preceding go around in the fastest time possible. The competition between the riders in the top two week, riders were put through training specific groups was fairly serious but not without a to, and building for, each respective event. The healthy slice of banter. The top spot was taken Dutch snowboard school, Ripstar were our by WO2 Stevie Pritchard, who actually led the instructors. field all the way from the qualification stage. I The first day involved an evaluation of all was happy with my 8th place finish, considering the riders in order for them to be put into the it was my first GS and I still placed in and correct group for their abilities. The group I around both the Signal Team and the Army was in comprised most of the existing Royal Team riders. Good start. Signals Snowboard Team, at least those that The next competition, the Slope Style, was were in attendance. Standout moments were where I knew I could make a mark. Cpl Sam the snowball fights at every opportunity and our instructors getting us to over exaggerate the Bibby took top spot by half a point but I was wrong way of riding which had us all laughing at a very close 2nd. All in all another good result some of the positions people were getting into! and I could feel I was gaining more and more attention from the selectors. The first week consisted of technical training The showpiece event for the camp is in preparation for the following week. The training was hard and as the top group we were undoubtedly the Boarder Cross. A cornucopia of high banked turns, hip crushing rollers and pushed on group learning objectives as well as G inducing kickers all with three other riders individual aspects. I have never been involved on the course at the same time. Itâ€™s carnage. A in this kind of intense training for snowoarding fantastic day in Rauris, high on the mountain before. But as is only right in the mountains, and with a Pisten-Bully doing laps for us so we coffee breaks and lunch on the pistes were need not take the long gondola ride back up an enjoyable part of the training week too. Another snowboarding tradition, the post riding set the scene for a competitive but enjoyable power-nap, was always well deserved, diligently morning. There was everything to ride for and
SNOWBOARD with the overall championship still undecided, game-faces were everywhere - accompanied by horrendous goggle-tans of course! Top spot was taken by LCpl Mikey Sheard. Again, I was content with my 8th place finish. At the presentation evening, the Royal Signals Snowboard Team was announced by Capt Cat Jones and Sgt Phil Mulligan. The usual suspects were selected, as well as a newcomer from Birmingham University Officer Training Corps!
SNOWMETHOD March 12 EX SNOWMETHOD presented riders of all abilities with an opportunity to access freestyle
coaching from Professional Snowboarders Nelson Pratt, Seb Kern, Ben Kenear and Mike Austin. All established pro’s in their own right but a special mention must go to Nelson Pratt, a long time Army Snowboarding Team coach, who the week before SNOWMETHOD came second in the British Snowboarding Championships Slope Style event, losing to Jamie Nicholls who is one of Great Britain’s medal hopes at the next Winter Olympics. Good Job Nelly! The week consisted of riding the park and runs with different coaches in the morning and in the afternoons going through all manner of freestyle goodies. From rail tricks to kickers,
flatland tricks to front-flips (off anything of enough size to allow them), the coaching was enjoyable, varied and inspiring. A great week which delivered exactly what it was designed to do, to get people developing in and enjoying the freestyle aspect of the sport. From a personal point of view, having access to so many good riders as coaches is a privilege and an opportunity rarely available. I burned the coaches ears dry with my constant questions on technique, mindset, competition tips and equipment but being who they are, they gladly indulged me. I certainly have a few more tricks in the bag thanks to SNOWMETHOD.
NEWSFLASH - Army Snowboarding deeply regrets having to report that Nelson Pratt (GB and Army snowboarding coach) has died aged 33. His passing is a great loss to snowboard and life itself. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
EX SNOW METHOD Army Freestyle Snowboarding Championship, Stubai Glacier, Austria Lt Dan Carey 103 Regt RA(V) Snowboarding has introduced itself to the Army in a big way. It’s a relatively new winter sport discipline and stands apart from skiing in that snowboarding is not just piste-oriented, but also really sells itself in the snow park too. Whether doing tricks on jumps and rails or gliding through powder off-pisté, it seems to have a much bigger appeal to younger soldiers - especially those who may have grown up with skateboard in hand. EX SNOW METHOD focuses on the freestyle element of snowboarding; we’re talking jumps, grabs, riding rails and boxes in the snow park and doing piste tricks. It teaches you that all the things that you see on TV are a lot harder to do than the riders at the ‘Winter X-games’ make them look, but still very achievable in stages!
For this reason, the Army hires pro riders; the very best of British snowboarders, as instructors to help teach boarders of varying abilities how to perform tricks step-by-step. You don’t believe me? A simple Google search for Mike Austin, Seb Kern or Nelson Pratt will reveal their impressive credentials and that one of them is even the current UK freestyle snowboarding number one. We were in safe hands! As a Territorial Army unit based in North West England, the journey to Austria was long but very achievable with four drivers taking shifts over a 24 hour period and ultimately very worthwhile. The exercise began with a week of coaching in ability based groups before a competition was run in the snow park. Your best run of four kickers (jumps) and of four boxes/ rails was the aim and points were awarded for
take-off, landing, overall smoothness and any trick you could demonstrate in the meantime. Watching some of the Army Snowboarding Team was immense as they pulled off 360° jumps and all sorts of tricks with inventive names. Needless to say, I now know my ollies from my nollies and my Beef Curtains from my Rusty Trombones! Don’t know your mutes from your indy grabs? Don’t know your boardslides from your poptarts but want to know more? Fear not - EX SNOW METHOD is open to all Regular Army and TA personnel of all abilities. Geared towards those who like to push their boundaries, test their courage and enjoy a real physical challenge see the events list (on page 4) for details, and get in touch with your chain of command if interested!
Telemark Brig Dickie Haldenby
Rauris, Austria was again the venue for the fifth Army Telemark skiing championships in January 2012, an event characterized by the high volume of snow on the slopes throughout the competition; in fact the village was cut off for several days by a large avalanche. For the first few days of training it barely stopped snowing at all and it was doing so steadily during the opening event, the championship Giant Slalom. Maj Andrew Clarke RA set the pace by winning this event and, as it turned out, all Army and InterServices downhill races this season. Other Army championship GS medals went to Maj ‘Chippy’ White RE (silver) and Maj Phil Grove RE (bronze). The weather was better for the championship Sprint and Classic races that followed. Maj Clarke again dominated but the Sprint saw a change behind him with Capt Alex Kealy RIFLES taking silver and Maj ‘Tigs’ Chohan RLC bronze. Behind Maj Clarke at the Classic race was Maj White and Capt Kealy once more. The combination results for the three FIS events were, in order, Maj Clarke, Capt Kealy and Maj White. In the female category the results were the same for all three championship events and the combination: OCdt Anna Morrisey of Edinburgh UOTC in first place and Lt Col Suzanne Anderson AGC(ETS) second. The Mountain race, this year longer and with more climb, requires fitness and determination as much as downhill skill, and the winners were newcomers to the podium. Capt Ross Carter REME produced an immensely strong performance to take gold, followed by Maj Ben Sawyer RLC.
The Army took a strong team to the Inter-Service Championships at Meribel, comprising Maj Andrew Clarke RA (Captain), backed up by Maj ‘Tigs’ Chohan RLC, Maj Ben Sawye RLC, Maj ‘Chippy’ White RE, Maj Phil Grove RE, Capt Alex Kealy RIFLES and OCdt Anna Morrisey of Edinburgh UOTC. With several of the stronger members of the Royal Navy team that made the competition so close in 2011 unavailable, and the RAF in their first racing season, the Army entered ISSSC as strong favorites and did not disappoint. Maj Clarke dominated the races, winning the GS, Sprint, Classic and Parallel Slalom. OCdt Morrisey achieved bronze place in the Sprint and GS, with Capt Kealy a silver in the Sprint and a bronze in the Classic. Maj White won a highly deserved silver medal in the Parallel Slalom with some consistently strong racing. Overall the Army were the combined team champions this year by some margin. There was one further success: Capt Alex Kealy was awarded the medal for best newcomer Telemarker at the Inter-Service Championships prize-giving on the final night. Overall there was some great racing in 2012 with the average quality of Army Telemarkers being notably higher than in previous seasons. The Chairman’s Prize for 2012 was awarded to Capt Ross Carter REME for his work to develop skiing in the REME over the last year, his inclusive approach in doing so, his strong performance in the downhill events and for winning the Mountain Race. Finally, I have been Chairman of Army Telemark for over five years since its inception
and have now been invited to step up as the Vice-Chairman of the Army Winter Sports Association. Although I will not be as closely involved in Telemark from now on I will nevertheless continue to support the discipline from my new position. My sincere thanks to the rest of the committee who have put in all the really hard work these last five years and who have done so much to bring the discipline to maturity as an Army sport. I also look forward to skiing with Army Telemarkers, and following their progress, for many years to come.
Maj Andrew Clarke RA
OCdt Anna Morrissey
WO1 Andy Reid REME
Mountain Race Maj JEM Carey-Hughes KRH
Capt Alex Kealy 1 RIFLES
Hot on the heels of the Army and British Telemark competitions, the final event of the Championships in Rauris was the Mountain Race. Although only in its second year, the event looks set to become the Blue Ribbon event for military Telemark skiing, testing the full repertoire of the skier’s ability. Strong levels of fitness, determination and stamina are required for the climbs, while speed and technical skill are needed for the downhill sections. The different legs of the course also required consideration of tactics, both for individual and also the team competitors, with some preferring heroic herringbone to skins on the shorter climbs. Thankfully the challenging weather conditions of 2011’s race were not repeated this year, which allowed for the creation of a more substantial course, featuring longer climbs and greater distances - although the initial steepness of the Le Mans start was not appreciated by everybody! The course began with a mixed gentle downhill and uphill section, followed by an endless punishing climb up the Waldalm, which soon sorted the men from the boys - and indeed husband from wife in one instance (see pic of Lt-Col Suzanne Anderson AGC). A further downhill section led to the final long climb up the Heimalm before the closing dash down a Wispi, punctuated with several obstacles en route, and finishing with hot soup and prizes at Nico’s Restaurant. All competitors put in a spirited performance, but Capt Ross Carter
REME excelled to take gold, followed by Maj Ben Sawyer RLC taking silver. Huge thanks must be expressed for the sponsorship and support provided by Team Army and our Championship sponsors Paramo. Despite the challenge laid down to the other snow-sports disciplines in Meribel , the race is unlikely to feature on next year’s schedule at the ISSSC due to the limitations of the other disciplines’ equipment!
Bdr Gavin Emerson RA
Lt-Col Suzanne Anderson AGC
Punishing climb up the Waldalm
Contact Telemark Chairman Telemark Brig E Smyth-Osborne CBE Secretary Telemark Maj J Carey-Hughes KRH e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Results 2012 Army Male Champion Maj Clarke RA Army Male Runner-up Capt Kealy RIFLES Army Team Champions 29 Cdo Regt RA Army Team Runners-up 1 RIFLES Inter Service Male Champion Maj Clarke RA Inter Service Female Champion OCdt Morrissey Inter Service Best Newcomer Capt Kealy RIFLES Inter Service Champions ARMY
REME Winter Sports
Capt Ross Carter REME, winner of the 2012 Telemark Chairman’s Prize and the 2012 Mountain Race The growth of REME Winter Sports over the last few years has been significant, although the real success story is the development of Telemark within the Corps. Telemark encompasses agility, speed, endurance, strength and stamina whilst combing the technique of Alpine and Cross Country Skiing. With three existing winter sports already represented within the REME it was only a matter of time before the Corps recognised Telemark as an official winter sport and sent REME competitors to the Army Telemark Championship, held annually in Rauris, Austria.
Ex SUPREME GLACIER The annual REME Race Development Camp (Ex SUPREME GLACIER) is held on the Stubai Glacier, Austria. The camp is spread out over four weeks and focuses on a range of abilities; fostering the ethos ’Sport for All’. Experienced racers are also given the opportunity to race train and recent years have seen the introduction of a BASI instructor qualification - to help with the long term future of REME winter sports. 2011 was a very successful year for Telemark at the race development camp. With the support of the Nuffield Trust a number of sets of equipment were purchased which assisted in reducing the participation costs for junior soldiers eager to experience a new discipline. With the middle two weeks of the camp focusing on Telemark, over thirty soldiers were either able to experience Telemark for a day or received formal BASI instruction, with the aim of developing them for the Army Championship. The success of this was evident from 26th Regiment Royal Artillery,
who used Ex SUPREME GLACIER for their squad selection. Four novice Telemark skiers were subsequently chosen, developed and assisted to the British Telemark Championships, where they gained a very respectable third place!
Ex SNOW SPANNER This is the REME Championships for the four recognised REME winter sport disciplines and it provides an ideal opportunity for both beginners and intermediates to race. Although Telemark had its first informal outing at the 2011 Championships, 2012 saw the official introduction of Telemark to the competition. Nine competitors raced in the Telemark Classic at the end of the championships (this ran in conjunction with a FIS Telemark world cup event in Les Contamines France, where REME Telemarkers were also able to witness and become involved in high-level Telemark racing). A team from the French Mountain Division also attended the championships and was able to pass on valuable advice to the Telemarkers
which will no doubt stand REME in good stead at future events - particularly the Mountain Race!
Ex RUCKSACK The Army Championship Mountain race is an arduous team event which involves fitting mountain ‘skins’ to skis and the team splitting up to complete a set course - traversing over 12km of the mountain. It takes skill, strength, stamina and endurance to compete, making the mountain race an excellent training opportunity for military personnel. The three ‘legs’ were all very different; a sprint section, a technical uphill section and a downhill section with a number of 360° loops to ‘slow’ the competitors. This year REME entered two teams; there was also the option of entering as an individual and traversing all three sections of the course. It was a hard fought race but in the end it was a REME win which is a fantastic achievement for the Corps. For further information on REME Telemark or attending REME winter sport exercises, email Capt Ross Carter at 26RA-LAD-OC@ mod.uk or email@example.com
Telemark Events 2013 Army Championship EX TELEMARK TITAN Rauris, Austria 5-17 January 2013
The author, Captain Ross Carter at the British Telemark Championships 2012
Inter Service Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 2-9 February 2013
A Blast at SERRE CHE! Lt Col Tim Wakefield RE - AWSA Sponsorship Secretary
There is something amazingly frustrating being in a ski resort, surrounded by mountains, snow and a group of like-minded individuals but being ‘off sports’ due to injury. Well, yours truly was not alone as one of our stalwart sponsors representing Universal Engineering, Martin Lee-Bapty managed a mishap on day two! So with Martin’s plastered leg and an Ibrufen diet supplement we were able to reminisce on better times! This of course did not detract from the assembled galaxy of military stars and intrepid sponsors hitting the slopes with relish as the 2012 Alpine Championships at Serre Chevalier got under way. Whilst all the winter sport disciplines benefit from the generosity of our sponsors, it is EX LIONS CHALLENGE that forms the focus for sponsor participation.
Now in its third year in such a format it brought together 13 companies, to not only applaud and support some excellent racing but also to enjoy a tremendous joie de vivre that has come to symbolise the nature of the event. This is a unique experience and opportunity for our sponsors to engage with both competitors, organisers and other visitors and, blessed again with fantastic conditions, 2012 did not disappoint. With a mixture of skiing abilities and a number of spouses to add a little finesse to proceedings there was an air of infectious enthusiasm and a certain ‘bon ami’ with something for all to enjoy around the sport, social atmosphere and competition of such an event. Some of the memorable highlights have to be the evening dinners thanks to the tremendous efforts of Didier Demurger and staff of the Passé Sample restaurant in serving a regular nightly sitting of 50 boisterous guests. The ambiance was only further enhanced by the regular repartee of
Brigadier Richard Dennis, the house red and of course the now infamous ceremony; the awarding of the ‘Muppet of the Day’! A unique experience was the opportunity between some of the racing to have a firsthand experience of meeting with members of the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team (CSDST) and the chance to try some skiing in simulated conditions using blindfolds, sit skis and only one ski. Whilst of course a source of amusement at the inevitable tumbles it also served as a humbling experience to try and let us appreciate some of the challenges which our injured servicemen face when learning to ski. It is one thing starting at 15 years old with planks on your feet, no brakes and steep slippery slopes to contend with but something else when older and spending a disproportionate time in a tangle! Not for the faint hearted and a challenge faced by a few beginners in this year’s numbers. A huge congratulations for showing their enthusiasm and perseverance and coming out smiling and up for more the next day! The Championship was also a bit of an emotional rollercoaster as a number of the ‘home team’ move on along with some visitors
as the changing Army structures sees the demise of some arms and service director posts after the 2011/12 season. We of course wished Martin a full and speedy recovery after his early fall but we look forward to the many companies and faces returning again and making the 2012/13 event another memorable occasion. So the season has drawn to a close and the Army teams and individual stars managed to go on and take many of the top honours but importantly, it has been another season in which several thousand have been given the opportunity to ‘give it a go’ in one of the eight different snow and ice disciplines with all the individual and team benefits such activities bring. Nearly all sponsors now operate through Team Army and it is with great thanks from all those many competitors from novice, expert and disabled for the continued sponsor support that enables it all to happen. Roll on January 2013! Sponsors at Serre Chevalier 2012: Hewlett Packard, Selex Galileo, Van Kappel Gp, Universal Engineering, Force Protection, Resilient Networks, Lockheed Martin, Thales, Supacat, PRS Mediterranean, TQ, and Qioptiq
Contact Sponsorship Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col James Scott SCOTS firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Spirit o The British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012 Expedition leader Lt Col Paul Edwards RLC
Captain Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition (1910-13) Captain (RN) Robert Falcon Scott CVO led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901-04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912 - three weeks after Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold. During his last days he wrote many letters and a ‘Message to the Public’ which included the following inspirational words; ‘We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last ... Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.’ Scott is presumed to have died, aged 43, on 29 March 1912. The positions of the bodies in the tent when it was discovered eight months later suggested that Scott was the last of the three to die.
The team at the end of the expedition
In January and February of this year 24 Service men and women deployed to Antarctica on the British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012 (BSAE 2012). Carrying the strap line ‘In the Spirit of Scott’ the expedition formed a key part of the Military and national celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Captain (RN) Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. The key concept of the expedition was not to retrace the footsteps of Scott‘s second Antarctic expedition of 1910-1913 but instead to deliver an expedition that Scott might have been willing to lead had he been alive today. What became clear to me as I began to develop my ideas of how the expedition would be structured was that Scott would not have wanted to become involved in a race. It is clear from his diaries that he steadfastly refused to entertain the notion that he was involved in any form race with Amundsen. In an October letter to his wife he said ‘I decided at a very early date to act exactly as I should have had he [Amundsen] not existed. Any attempt to race must have wrecked my plan, besides which it doesn’t appear the sort of thing one is out for’. Scott also held the exploration and the scientific element of his expedition to be of paramount importance. I therefore resolved that if BSAE 2012 was truly worthy of the title ‘Spirit of Scott’ that we
should avoid all links with the now burgeoning ‘Race to the Pole’ concept and instead seek to mount an expedition that delivered cutting edge exploration and had a science programme of national importance. In November 2009 BSAE 2012 came into being as the ‘Spirit of Scott Expedition’ with a plan to explore the remote Loubet coast of the Antarctic Peninsula whilst conducting a series of scientific experiments in the area of Climate change for British Universities. This required the expedition to deploy over 14,000Km and sustain itself for two months in one of the most hostile environments on earth. In order to achieve this I knew that I would need a strong team and that they would need to be well trained. I finally selected 13 Army, 6 Royal Navy, 4 Royal Air Force and one Royal Marine to be in the final team. Of the Army contingent none of us came from the same Regiment or Corps and therefore we were a truly representative group of the modern Armed Forces. The team needed to be trained in everything from crevasse rescue and ski touring skills, through to pulk pulling, radio and satellite communication techniques, small boat handling and medical skills. This took two years, where the team trained one weekend a month plus two periods of two weeks in the Alps in summer and culminated in a week long mission rehearsal
of Scott in La Grave, France in the November before we deployed. Capt Scott had also trained in La Grave in 1910 so there was an historic link. The expedition deployed in two chalks of 12 in late December 2011 and in early January 2012. The two chalks travelled through Chile and then down to the British Antarctic Survey base at Rothera, the first Chalk met up with our expedition support vessel Australis at Puerto Williams, (a small Chilean port on the Beagle Channel) and sailed across the Drake Passage, whilst the second chalk flew directly to Rothera. Initially, bad weather and unseasonal pack ice conditions brought the expedition close to disaster with the two chalks being unable to meet up - fast sea ice blocking all of our intended landing spots on the Loubet coast. Following an impromptu aerial reconnaissance, provided by the chief pilot of the British Antarctic Survey at Rothera, we were quickly able to identify some suitable landing areas a little further South on the Fallieres coast. After a short deliberation with my planning team we decided to land in an area known as Square Bay. Once ashore the expedition split into three teams, Red, Blue and Green. Each was ski borne and equipped with pulks and sufficient rations and equipment to be self-sufficient. Over the next two months the teams conducted exploration of the Fallieres Coast completing
first ascents of at least 16 previously unclimbed mountains and making an epic crossing of the treacherous Avery plateau. The expedition culminated when on the penultimate climbing day a team of five made an ascent of the 2,000M Mont Rendu. Following a ski descent over 1,500 vertical metres and over 5Km long, Lt Col Pete Davis, a qualified New Zealand ski guide and a veteran of thousands of ski descents, described it as ‘the ski descent of a lifetime’. Despite its difficult first few days the expedition achieved all of its exploration and scientific objectives and all returned safely to the UK. One thing I am certain of, all of us have a new found new respect for Captain Scott and his men. The line from Tennyson’s poem Ulysses, carved on his memorial cross in Mc Murdo Sound, stands out in my mind; ‘to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.’ For further information on the expedition visit www.bsae2012.co.uk
‘The team needed to be trained in everything from crevasse rescue and ski touring skills, through to pulk pulling, radio and satellite communication techniques, small boat handling and medical skills’ 47
WHO ARE YOU REALLY COMPETING AGAINST? By Maj A P Pery LD - OC Alpine Training Centre As you stand at the top of the slope ready to make your descent, what is running through your mind? Is it how the snow and weather conditions will affect your run? Do you feel nervous and how do you manage that fear? What have you done to mitigate the risks of the next minutes - could you have done more? Are you correctly trained for what you are about to attempt? All the above are normal reactions, from those at the top of the seed list to those at the bottom. They are also normal reactions in the Joint Service Adventurous Training (JSAT) Ski Scheme, the purpose of which is to provide personal development within a challenging risk environment. The ski scheme certainly does that! When you participate in Adventurous Training you will be challenged; something to which most Service personnel respond competitively, whether it is by being the best in the group, the person who improves the most, the best story teller, or just by completing the day’s activity in an orderly manner. All of these can provide satisfaction at a deeply personal level. The challenges differ from those of the race piste or ice track as the risk is managed in a different manner - your route is less prescribed and there is no Technical Delegate to remove all the external risk. In essence though, Adventurous Training and Winter Sport provide similar challenges.
‘Learning to ski and getting over my fears has made me more confident in different and varied situations.’ SF1 student on Ex SNOW WARRIOR
However, there is far more to skiing than just being the fastest and it is here that the new Ski Scheme (cunningly titled the Joint Service Adventurous Training Ski Scheme 2012 and abbreviated to JSATSS12) comes to the fore. The scheme has re-balanced the progression towards ski touring so that Foundation Students first gain the knowledge of using skis on the prepared slopes before developing those skills in variable and off-piste terrain. It is only in the third course (Ski Foundation 3) that students venture into the backcountry on day tours. The leader scheme mirrors this in providing progressive levels of coaching up to Ski Leader 3 which allows the holder to lead multi-day tours on non-glaciated terrain.
‘Feeling the improvement in strength and confidence when skiing on the last few days of the Exercise. The satisfaction of reaching the summit of a mountain on the ski touring was amazing.’ SF3 student on Ex SNOW WARRIOR
Adventurous Training (AT) is defined as activity that develops courage, teamwork, physical fitness, communication and discipline in a challenging environment. It does all of these, but in perhaps the most inspiring of classrooms. Who has not felt the rush of skiing fresh powder that others do not ski? Who cannot be thrilled by a stunning vista, earned by their own efforts? These are the obvious rewards of AT. The less obvious are the subliminal lessons of fear management, with the embedded lessons of peer pressure for good and bad, as well as how we manage risk. AT is about understanding the environment in which you are operating, and how to mitigate the risks of that environment by the use of the correct equipment, skills and drills that make your chosen activity safer. At a more personal level, you search inside yourself to see how far you are prepared to push your boundaries, and when you have found them, go on to test how much further you can safely go. The terrain in which the ski touring scheme operates is harsh: be it bad weather,
challenging navigation, steep and hostile terrain, deep snow or the more technical challenge of understanding the avalanche risk. By learning the appropriate skills you will understand how to manage the risks in a wider environment and mitigate against them. It is not always possible to do this within your comfort zone and AT is designed to challenge you, along with your colleagues, irrespective of rank. It is these elements that prepare everyone for operational life and make AT a valuable part of personal and military professional development.
‘It’s tremendous; I feel braver and more confident.’ SF1 student on Ex SNOW WARRIOR
It would be easy to attend a JSAT course just to learn the hard skills, but it is the softer skills that will benefit you as a person, not only in AT, but also on operations and in later life. Why not give it a try and see where your own boundaries lie?
‘The feeling of rising up through the cloud and seeing the mountain peaks above was amazing; a sight that I will remember for a long time, thank you.’ SF3 student on Ex SNOW WARRIOR
Further details on the JSATSS12 and other AT disciplines can be found within JSP 419 or on the Adventurous Training Group (Army) website which can be found at www.atga.mod.uk (this lies inside the Forces Gateway so ensure you get an ArmyNet account).
Capt Angie Fewster RA & Lt Jen Kehoe RE The Combined Services Winter Sports Association sends a team of four service personnel to the Australian Ski and Snowboard Championships every two years. In return, we host Australian skiers and boarders at our Inter Service Championships the following season. This year, the British Combined Services Team was picked after the Inter Service Championships held in Meribel in February 2011. It consisted of one Navy skier and three Army skiers from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Army Air Corps. The team of two male and two female participants was largely made up of newcomers to the sport; Cpl Dougie Bray (AAC) and Lt Jen Kehoe (26 Engr Regt) both won the Best Male and Female Newcomer at the Army Championship in January 2011. Capt Angie Fewster (40 Regt RA) was Combination runner-up to Maj Nikki Jordan (thankfully Nikki had other commitments in the summer!) and Lt Duncan Phillipo (RN) completed the team as an experienced racer from the Royal Navy. On 27 July 2011 the team flew to Melbourne, getting some strange looks at the airport checking in skis to Australia. We were welcomed to Melbourne by Maj Dean Munzie who set the ‘hosting’ bar high - this was maintained by all our other hosts throughout our visit. The team was treated to a live AFL game in Melbourne before meeting the other Melbournians for the drive to Mt Buller. Only on arrival for the training week at Mt Buller did we realise how different the British and Australians run their Army Championship. While ours is a much more ‘formal affair’; we hit the championship hard with focused team racing in mind. The Aussie’s are much more... Australian about it. The skiers and boarders share not just the same chalet but also the same race piste. It felt more like a Corps meeting than the Army Championship, but for all the right reasons. ‘The Brits’ were welcomed with open arms and we immediately felt part of the team. We were looked after extremely well in our chalet by Lt Col Bunny Carrigan and there was always a social event of some kind after dinner at the Aussie Army’s lodge. Thankfully this did not detract from the training the next day - granted this is mostly down to Mt Buller being a gentle and forgiving ski resort! The final two days saw the actual race meet, where the Aussie Army team would be selected for the Inter Service Championships the following week. The skiers competed in Slalom and GS while the boarders raced GS and Parallel GS. The slalom was an especially memorable race as the lifts across the mountain were closed due to high winds. The race was conducted on a ‘blue’ run (if
that) and even walking up the 15 gates to the top was hardly strenuous, though it did make for a tighter competition. The final night of the Army Championship was prize-giving. Jen Kehoe gave a ‘quite funny’ speech, with Angie Fewster doing a great performance whilst handing out gifts for our kind hosts. The Brits also introduced the Trophy for Social Awesomeness (it’s a long story) which we are assured will now become an annual prize. The next British team is to ensure they win it back from Sgt Bianca Kaden or her successor. Unfortunately, this night was to be the start of the skiing and social end for Duncan Phillipo; probably caused by allowing a bronchitis-ridden boarder-chick to lick his teeth (seriously!). Duncan went steadily ‘man-down’ until he was bedded down for four days! The team tried not to allow this to dampen our spirits, or spread, and looked forward to the Combined Services Championships at Mt Hotham; a much bigger resort than Mt Buller with steeper and longer runs. However it was the variable snow and weather conditions that tested the racers resolve. This year saw the addition of Ski-Cross to the Australian Championships. Boarders and skiers took turns inspecting and training on the course. ‘The big jump’, while attracting lots of spectators, was ruthless and caused a number of injuries. Though in true Aussie spirit, it wasn’t until race day when the weather closed in that it was cancelled for the skiers. As it’s the blue-ribbon
event for the boarders they raced while we merely sat and watched the visibility steadily drop to 15m. But the competition was not over and the Slalom and GS went ahead for the skiers. The GS started well for both sides with Dougie and Angie scoring high for the British Team. It was all going to plan until Jen popped a ski on the second run and, despite finishing, was nowhere near getting a competitive time. Angie held on for the ladies side but the gap was massive. Hope was just around the corner though as it started snowing mid-afternoon, just in time for the Slalom the next day and our last race. But luck was not on our side and as the clock struck midnight, the 40cm of fresh snow turned to slush as it started to rain. The race started but the previous day’s misfortunes carried on and, despite great efforts from the whole team, we couldn’t make up the difference and the Aussies took the International Team title. However, Dougie Bray won International Male and Angie Fewster won International Female. The final episode in our adventure was to visit Sydney for a couple of days before heading home (including a trip to the worldfamous Bondi Beach, complete with skis, boots and the Aussie mascot for a photo ‘down under’!). During our visit we won the individual combinations, we learnt how to host from the best, we met some fantastic people and most importantly, we took our roles as British Ambassadors.... VERY seriously!
Be the Best
Lt Col (Retd) G B Jones – Army Winter Sports Elite Athletes Team Manager Mission – to help Army elite athletes maintain their military career Sport is an integral part of Army life and across Army sports fields and arenas, from inter-section competitions to Combined Service matches, players are striving to better their opponents to prove they are ready to compete at the next level. For most of us the level we achieve does not involve career changing decisions but for a select few their sporting ability will take them to the highest level where they will be classed as an Army elite athlete. To enable them to achieve and maintain elite status they will have to make many sacrifices along the way and some life changing decisions. So what is an elite athlete in Army terms? The Army’s Sports AGAI definition of an elite athlete is ‘an individual who has been selected to train or compete with their national team on a full time basis for at least six months’. Full time training does what it says on the tin and often requires the athlete to be away from the unit in a totally civilianised environment where they have little or no contact with the unit, no access to JPA and no one to turn to when they have a problem with their welfare, pay and allowances etc. Whilst all units are very supportive and do help, it does become difficult for the athletes when personalities change within the unit and they find themselves dealing with unknown individuals who do not know them personally or understand their circumstances. There are 131 Army athletes on the Army Sports Control Board international athlete’s official list; not all are on full time training but those who are come from a range of cap badges and have spent between one and ten years training and competing with their national squads. Army elite athletes are often perceived to be on a swan, having an easy time whilst their military peer group are covering for them and doing all the work. This is not lost on the
elite athletes and they often feel guilty about this aspect of their training - an added pressure that civilian athletes do not have to contend with. Recently an Army elite athlete took himself off the national team so he could deploy on operations with his unit; is this the attitude of an individual who is using his talent to escape from unit life? The majority of the Army’s elite athletes are striving to compete at the Olympic Games and to do so they have to achieve qualifying standards during the intervening years at World Cup and European events. As the Olympics come around every four years, talented athletes could be away from their units for up to eight years - although the majority will spend a couple of seasons with the national team attempting to gain the qualification standards before returning to their units. Promotion in the Army is based on time served (experience) leadership qualities, education and trade qualifications, all of which are difficult to measure when an individual is away from the unit for long periods and not seen on a daily basis by their chain of command. This is compounded when athletes are unable to interrupt their intensive training regime for fear of not achieving the qualification standards they have worked hard to attain over a number of years. It is worth noting that most of the athletes will have between eight to ten years service remaining when they return to their units so they still have a military career but will have lost time (experience) and may not be as qualified as their peer group. There are times during the yearly training cycle when they are able to attend career courses but this
requires careful management and liaison with the athletes, national coaches, unit Regimental Career Management Officers and the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow. To achieve their full potential it is essential they keep their military career moving forward in tandem with their sporting aspirations and without impacting on their goal to compete at the Olympics. The Army’s Winter Sports Elite Athletes Team Manager has been established to provide a focal point to help athletes and units resolve these issues; working with APC Desk Officers, Regimental Career Management Officers, national squad coaches and athletes to draft individual military career roadmaps that fit around the athletes training regime. In addition, and further to agreement with units, to become the athletes First Reporting Officer - resulting in a commonality for their MPARS and SJARs. This central focus for their military careers is already having a positive effect on the athletes as it allows them to concentrate their efforts on improving their performance levels in their competitive arenas. Elite athletes are role models for other soldiers who aspire to follow in their footsteps; they are excellent ambassadors for their country, the Army and their Cap Badge. Their hard work, drive and commitment is recognised and accepted but sometimes it was to the detriment of their military careers. This is now being addressed and elite athletes are able to pursue their sporting dream whilst maintaining a military career. For further information contact email@example.com
Ex SPARTAN H Capt John Poole QRL
Following the erratic snow conditions which Europe had been experiencing, this year’s Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2012 Alpine Championship was potentially going to be a challenging event. On arrival in Serre Chevalier, the lack of snowfall would prevent the racers from using the lower slopes for Slalom however snow conditions on the higher slopes proved to be excellent, and it was to be the incessantly changing winds which would present the biggest hazard, with the threat of lift closure ever present. Saturday 7th saw the ritual recce of the slopes by the hill team to confirm pistes to be used, vertical drop and the positioning of netting, mattresses and other safety equipment. The Ecole de Ski Francais (ESF) race staff did a superb job, and the Clot Gauthier piste (which was to be used for most races) was in an excellent condition. During the recce, the Clot Gauthier lift had been closed due to high winds, however the ESF were quick to organise a skidoo to take two of the team to the start point for the first race to confirm height and lift access, thus confirming their very wilco approach which was to continue through the meet, and for which we were extremely grateful. Temperatures throughout the meet were to remain at a steady -6/7°C, with sunny unclouded skies providing racers with possibly the finest race conditions we have had for many years. Registration found the meet with a running field of 126 Alpine competitors, with five OTCs providing a total of 28 racers. They were to unleash a number of dark horses, with two (OCdt Houston EUOTC and OCdt Waterston OUOTC) finishing in the top 15, a further six finished the championship in the second seed (well done). Notwithstanding individual performances, a great deal of credit must go
‘It was to be 29 Regt RLC who proved to be the dominant team throughout the meet’
HIKE Contact Ex SPARTAN HIKE Secretary Ex SPARTAN HIKE Maj J Smith RAPTC e: firstname.lastname@example.org
to their coaches and PSIs for their training and welcomed attendance at the meet. It was to be 29 Regt RLC who proved to be the dominant team throughout the meet despite there being a call for “new balls please” from Capt Matt Shepherd during the team slalom as he straddled a gate! Although this placed him a clear seven seconds behind the winner on the first run, he produced a blinding second run finishing almost a full second ahead of the second skier, placing him fifth overall for the race. Man of the meet must go to SSgt Dougie Macpherson who skied the bottom third of the team GS on one ski having stepped out of his binding at gate 28 of a 47 gate race. He still managed a creditable time of 1:22.92 placing him in 23rd position on the first run. During the second run he was able to claw back a respectable second position placing him twelfth overall for the race and as third man in the team, clinch a close win from 7AA Bn REME. 7AA Bn REME was fielding a strong team with LCpl Stu Atkinson (younger brother of Mike) upholding the family name, along with Cfn Kear and Sgt Gaskell; all finishing in the top 15. Despite their best efforts the depth of
talent within 29 Regt RLC proved just too much and they were edged into second place overall - proving to be always the bridesmaid but never the bride! Spirit of the meet must go to 7 Scots (V) who following an injury had their first racer seeded at number 51 with a further five team members being evenly spread between 96 and 122. Despite their inexperience as a team they completed every race and training run under the ever watchful eye of Capt Brian Baxter (Professional Toastmaster by trade), proving that slow and steady can produce surprising results with their team position being 20th overall. Qualifying for Ex LIONS CHALLENGE (the Army Alpine Championship), as always was a very emotive subject. As the two hills merged their results together to produce a quality line, there were a number of surprised skiers and teams. A significant number of teams had three skiers above the quality line and were able to drag a fourth member forward. Sadly there were a few incidents where one of the three who had qualified was unable to attend, which prohibited a team going forward. Although 54 racers qualified, only 38 went forward to compete at Ex LIONS CHALLENGE. (Memo to next year’s
team Captains: Plan for Ex LIONS CHALLENGE). Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2012 was without doubt an unqualified success. It just remains for the official hill team to give a huge thanks to all COs, OCs and team captains. The COs and OCs for releasing their soldiers and the funding to enable teams to train and compete, and to Team Captains for showing true grit and leadership. We are all aware there are few challenges left in the Army these days for young soldiers and officers, save going on operations. Being able to ski on International race courses clear of other skiers enables them to push themselves to the limit of their own personal courage and technical ability which (when talking to competitors) cannot be questioned. Thanks also go to the Team Captains for getting their teams to the Championship in good spirits and on time, despite there being significant challenges to the SPARTAN HIKE race office admin team. Chairman Army Alpine made a plea to the old and bold racers considering retirement, and I can only reiterate his comments. Please don’t just fade away, come and join us on the hill to support the next generation. Here’s to Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2013.
Ex SPARTAN HIKE Lt Col Charles Bromley Gardner MBE QRH
200 eager Nordic competitors, in 32 male and 7 female teams, gathered in Serre Chevalier in early January, ready to pit their fitness, skiing and shooting techniques against each other and the course setters. In spite of the earliest ever start (8th January), we were blessed with clear skies and crisp snow throughout. Mind you, the Föhn wind was blowing as the officials arrived a couple of days earlier, threatening to melt all the snow. However it didn’t have any stamina, unlike the competitors. 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR) looked to be the team to beat, especially after the arrival of Cpl Birmingham as the national IBU team worked out who would be able/was needed to represent their regiments. How close would 131 Independent Commando Squadron RE(V), fourth in last year’s Army Championship and demonstrating how equal the TA can be, be able to get? For the women, 29 Regiment RLC had the stars, but it was great to have three UOTC teams (Bristol, Exeter and Oxford) present. Minor variations to the normal courses did not affect most competitors - after all 2/3rds of them are in their first season’s skiing, so it is all new to them. It’s actually the course setters who wish to put in new stretches, trying to identify new twists, turns, climbs and descents. But it is far harder to prepare a course along a slope than it is to plan it, so we are frequently (& correctly) rebuffed by the experienced
French! And this year there was insufficient depth of snow to properly prepare the tracks until lots more snow was stripped off the farmers’ fields to build up the track. Thanks to Patrick Maure and his willing piste-machine drivers, most competitors did not realise how poor the original depth of snow was. It does not endear Patrick to the farmers, as the uncovered grass is badly affected, but I’m sure that this will be forgotten by next season! In the cross country and biathlon team competitions the results went to form, with 1 RTR and 29 Regt RLC (Ladies) sweeping all before them, albeit there were a few worrying moments as other teams headed them at some stages. But it all worked out by the time their last skiers finished. Behind 1 RTR, 16 Regt RA had their noses just in front of 14 Regt RA, with 29 Regt RLC and 27 Regt RLC picking up medals in the 15 km Classic. Sure enough 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V) led the way for the TA, whilst Scot Tpt Regt RLC and Oxford UOTC shared the minor places. The girls from Oxford and Exeter UOTCs had a tight-fought competition behind 29 Regt RLC, with again the 10 km Classic providing some other medal winners in 16 Med Regt and 16 Regt RA. By the time it came to the uncertainties of the Military Patrol Race, barring disqualification for failing on administration or navigation, it seemed that the leaders could not be caught. It is also adiffucult task for the officials to
Contact Ex SPARTAN HIKE Secretary Ex SPARTAN HIKE Maj J Smith RAPTC e: email@example.com ensure a fair but testing event, however Maj Adrian Scott ensured that it went smoothly. Teams learned early on that it was worth keeping their eyes open for the occasional track marking - few took the best route to the first control and lost some time. After all the stand and shooting penalties were taken into account, the results provided a few surprises: yes, 1 RTR squeaked through as winners, but only because 2 RTR, with a storming ski performance, a full eight minutes faster, mis-heard, mis-understood or (as they of course claimed) were mis-briefed on the second shoot. Sad for them, whatever the cause, but these things happen in the fog of competition. And in Ladies Patrol Race, over exactly the same course as the men, the ARRC Sp Bn not only skied quite quickly, but had a superb second shoot, to beat 29 Regt RLC by three minutes.
Individually, Cpl Birmingham (1 RTR) showed his true form in the Biathlon, in spite of being pipped in the 15 km Classic by 0.8 secs (over 42 mins) by LCpl Fuller (2 RTR) . LCpl Cottom (131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V)) took third place. A novice skier, Gnr Fountain (16 Regt RA), took the Junior Championship by only 50 seconds from the slightly more experienced Pte Howes (29 Regt RLC) - Howes had been 1.4 seconds up after the 15 km Classic. Maj Barrett, one of the course setters, showed that he still had the speed and technique as a 40 year old to be the TA Champion, ahead of WO2 Jenns (another veteran) and Spr Dorward (both 131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE(V)). The Women’s Combination was not as close, with LCpl Cope (29 Regt RLC) finishing two minutes clear of SSgt (SSI) Haniver (ASPT); her Team Captain, 2Lt Hollins, was the best Novice skier, whilst JUO Wray (Oxford UOTC)
was the clear TA Champion, ahead of JUOs Larose and Everitt from Exeter UOTC. None of this would have been possible without the essential contribution of the volunteer officials, for whose efforts we are all extremely grateful. There will be some changes over the next few years, as the old guard get too old, so we are always on the look-out to bring through new officials. If you can assist, especially on skis, then a place will be found for you; it’s not only the old and bold who can be officials, indeed the earlier you start the further you will get. In the meantime, I heartily thank Capt Dave Forber who has run the range, a thankless task at the best of times, for more years than I can remember with great devotion and humour (even if skiers didn’t think so when they forgot his instructions!).
Ex PIPEDOWN Ten Days of exhilarating skiing competition in the French Alps ended with 28 Engineer Regiment finishing as the top unit at 1 (UK) Armoured Division’s annual military skiing contest Ex PIPEDOWN. The North Germany based unit was declared the overall Champion Unit while the men’s 1 Logistics Support Regiment team (1LSR) won the Military Patrol race – an event designed to test soldiers in all the essential military skills expected of them on operations including marksmanship, map reading and physical endurance. It was the 18th year that the Division has held its Championships in the French Alpine town of Les Contamines de Montjoie near Mont Blanc with the majority of the 300 competing soldiers and officers being novice skiers. Ex PIPEDOWN provides an important opportunity to hone important skills enhancing an individual’s ability to withstand the rigors of operations and rapid deployments. It also offers the opportunity for novices and experts alike to ski under international competition rules. 1LSR won the Nordic team combination event while 1st Regiment the Army Air Corps (1AAC) took the honours in the Alpine Team Combination. Captain Thomas of 3 (Close
Support) REME finished as the best individual men’s Alpine skier winning the individual Alpine combination competition, while in the womens Alpine events Major Nikki Jordan of 1ADSR (Royal Army Dental Corps) was declared best individual female after completing a clean sweep of victories in the womens Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super Giant Slalom and the Downhill. SSgt Walker of 1LSR won the best individual male Nordic title and Sapper Harris of Royal Engineer Ladies won the overall female Nordic prize. Top women’s Alpine skier Major Nikki Jordan, 34 who is a five times winner of the combined services individual ladies skiing title and also Army ladies team Captain, said: “It’s great to have done so well. I started skiing when I was about sixteen and have never looked back, downhill is one of the biggest challenges. Events like this are a great reward for soldiers who are doing a fantastic job especially during this time of heavy operational commitments. It is a test of courage and overcoming fear.” Major General James Bashall, General Officer Commanding 1 (UK) Armoured Division, who visited the championships and met with many of the competitors said organising training opportunities such as Ex PIPEDOWN is 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 wellbeing. 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 NA Spence MBE RA e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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(Regular, TA, NRPS, Retd etc)
Insert the Membership Type you are applying for:
Full Member: Serving Army personnel on a Regular, FTRS or TA Engagement and members of the UOTC and Army Cadet Force paying by Direct Debit. Annual Full Member: Serving Army personnel on a Regular, FTRS or TA Engagement and members of the UOTC and Army Cadet Force paying by cheque annually. Associate Member: All members on retirement from the Army, members of the RN, RAF and overseas forces whilst on the strength of an Army unit or establishment paying by Direct Debit. Annual Associate Member: All members on retirement from the Army, members of the RN, RAF and overseas forces whilst on the strength of an Army unit or establishment paying by cheque annually. Full Life Member: As Full Member but paying a one-off payment of £125. Associate Life Member: As Associate Member but paying a one-off payment of £125.
Charity number: 1146356 (Please note that AWSA is now able to reclaim tax paid on membership subscriptions made under the gift aid scheme - please complete the Gift Aid form on www.awsa.org.uk)
Please return this application and your payment/direct debit form (available to download from www.awsa.org. uk) by post (please do not fax) to: Membership Secretary Army Winter Sports Association MOD ASCB, MacKenzie Building, Fox Lines, Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 2LB t: Mil (94222) 7078 Civ (01252) 787078 f: Mil (94222) 7079 Civ (01252) 787079 e: email@example.com
2012 Edition of the Army Winter Sports Association (AWSA) Snow and Ice magazine