Snow and Ice 2019

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www.awsa.org.uk

2019

Army Winter Sports Association

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ARMY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION

In this issue 2019

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ICE

Army Winter Sports Association a: c/o MOD ASCB, MacKenzie Building Fox Lines, Queens Avenue, Aldershot GU11 2LB t: 94222 7078 (military) t: (01252) 787078 e: membership@awsa.org.uk w: www.awsa.org.uk

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Events

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AWSA President

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AWSA News

Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG CCVO KSGC ADC (P)

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Alpine

Patron Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE

13 AFPST

Hon Life President Gen Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE ADC Gen

18 Bobsleigh

President Gen PNYM Sanders CBE DSO

22 Cresta

Deputy Presidents Alpine - Maj Gen S Nesmith Ice Sports - Maj Gen JJ Cole OBE Nordic - Maj Gen S Hamilton Snowboard - Maj Gen NJ Cavanagh Telemark - Lt Gen Sir Edward SmythOsborne KCVO CBE

24 Luge 26 Nordic

Chairman Maj Gen CT McClean CBE

29 Skeleton

Vice Chairman Brig MP Moore CBE vice-chairman@awsa.org.uk

36 Snowboard

Director Ice Sports Col SB Crossfield director-icesports@awsa.org.uk

40 Telemark

Secretary Lt Col (Retd) SAJ Davis secretary@awsa.org.uk

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Ex SPARTAN HIKE

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Ex PIPEDOWN

Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col CJ Coleby sponsorship@awsa.org.uk Editor Snow and Ice Catharine Moss editor@awsa.org.uk Discipline officials are listed on individual sports pages. Images are AWSA Copyright unless otherwise stated. Ex Con EX PIPEDOWN Lt Col RT Eve RA Richard.Eve185@mod.gov.uk EX Con EX SPARTAN HIKE Maj RA Anderson Scots DG spartanhike@gmail.com Cover: Image from EX RUCKSACK Š KAESBERG

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 membership@awsa.org.uk

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Š This magazine contains official information and should be treated with discretion by the recipient. The opinions expressed in the articles in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy and views, official or otherwise, of the RAF. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the editor. No responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised in this magazine can be accepted by the publishers or printers and all advertisements are included in good faith. Published by Commercial & Military Publishing Ltd, 5 Carisbrooke Court, Buckingham MK18 1TU.

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SEASON EVENTS 2019 - 2020 Army Winter Sports Association AWSA Management Meeting Kneller Hall 28/11/19 AWSA AGM and President’s Reception Kneller Hall 28/11/19

Alpine

Divisional Championships 1 Monetiers - France 11/01/20 – 22/01/20 EX SPARTAN HIKE Divisional Championships 2 Les Contamines - France 11/01/20 – 22/01/20 EX PIPEDOWN Army Championships Serre Chevalier - France 21/01/20 – 31/01/20 EX LIONS CHALLENGE Inter Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 01/02/20 – 08/02/20 Royal Navy Championships Tignes - France 11/01/20 – 25/01/20 Royal Air Force Championships Saalbach Hinterglemm - Austria 11/01/20 – 25/01/20

Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - Week 1 & 2 Igls - Austria 29/11/19 – 14/12/19 EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterburg - Germany 10/01/20 – 18/01/20 (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Koenigssee - Austria 02/03/20 – 06/03/20 EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Koenigssee - Austria 09/03/20 – 13/03/20 Army Junction Novice Championships 17th / 21st Lancers Cup Army Top Championships Scots Guards Cup Inter Services Cresta Championships Prince Phillip Trophy

Cresta

St Moritz - Switzerland

24/01/20

St Moritz - Switzerland

27/01/20

St Moritz - Switzerland

29/01/20

Luge

Army Ice Camp - Week 1 & 2 Igls - Austria 29/11/19 – 15/12/19 EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterburg - Germany 10/01/20 – 18/01/20 (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Koenigssee - Austria 02/03/20 – 06/03/20 EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Koenigssee - Austria 09/03/20 – 13/03/20 Divisional Championships 1 EX SPARTAN HIKE Divisional Championships 2 EX PIPEDOWN Army/National/IS Championships EX RUCKSACK

Nordic

Monetiers - France

11/01/20 – 22/01/20

Les Contamines - France

11/01/20 – 22/01/20

Ruhpolding - Germany

22/01/20 – 07/02/20

Skeleton Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - Week 1 & 2 Igls - Austria 29/11/19 – 15/12/19 EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterburg - Germany 10/01/20 – 18/01/20 (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Koenigssee - Austria 02/03/20 – 06/03/20 EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Koenigssee - Austria 09/03/20 – 13/03/20

Snowboard

Inter Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 01/02/20 – 08/02/20 Army Championships EX SNOW JACK Stubai - Austria 18/01/20 – 01/02/20

Telemark Army & British Championships EX TELEMARK TITAN Inter Services Championships (ISSSC)

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Pralognan La Vanoise - France

11/01/20 – 23/01/20

Meribel - France

01/02/20 – 08/02/20


AWSA PRESIDENT Gen PNYM SANDERS CBE DSO ADC Gen

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elcome to the 2019 Snow and Ice Magazine. I am honoured and thrilled to continue as the President of the Association. 2019 has been another excellent year for the AWSA. The Management Team has continued to work tirelessly to enable this success and I would like to acknowledge some key personnel. Firstly, the Chair, Maj Gen Colin McClean in his first season and Vice Chair, Brigadier Martin Moore, now in his fifth season, who, despite a very busy day job, has worked diligently to support the AWSA; and secondly, the background team of Lt Col (Retd) Steve Davis who completes his first year as Secretary, Lt Col James Rhodes (PF Manager) and Lt Col Sarge Sargent (Sponsorship) also in his first season, who have remained the bedrock of the Association. Sarge Sergeant was sponsorship Secretary for just one season owing to an Operational Tour, although during his short time with us he left his mark with his sure-fire wit and his enthusiasm for the role which he conducted with real passion and verve; he has been replaced by Lt Col James Coleby COLDM GDS for the 19/20 season. Attendance levels at most of events have been high this season, but I have detected a slight drop in some of the bigger events (particularly the Snowboarding Championships). This, in part, can be explained by growing military commitments and funding restrictions; the task of providing winter sport for all soldiers continues to remain a tough financial challenge. Following the review of Winter Sport

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conducted in 2018, there was a limit placed on the days on snow for all Disciplines to establish a level competitive playing field, along with a further 2-travel days to prevent the annual ‘Calais Rally’ to and from resorts. This is well covered in the 19/20 Army Winter Activity DIN issued in mid-July. In the 2019 Inter-Services Championships, we had an excellent season, taking 7 out of the 12 male/female team events; an outstanding achievement following the poor showing in 2018. The pressure is on to maintain our ascendancy in 2120! Praise must go to both the male and female Alpine teams who conducted a clean sweep of the team events, with individual winners: Pte Rob Poth RLC – Male Alpine as well as the Best Newcomer,

Cpl Wallace – 15 km Cross Country and Bdr Jackson – 10 km Biathlon; once again Lt Robbie Houston – Male Telemark; Capt Tom Wythe – Cresta; 2Lt Colquhoun – Women’s Cresta; Sgt Danielle Scott – RAMC Female Luge. Our elite athletes continue to thrive with Cpl Gregory (Snowboard), Cpl Amanda Lightfoot (Biathlon), LSgt Lamin Deen and Pte Nick Gleeson all starting on the long road to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Japan. Finally, huge congratulations must go to Maj Jen Kehoe RE, who continues to guide Menna Fitzpatrick to glory in the impaired sight category of Alpine skiing and from what we have seen this year, any other sporting challenge presented to them; we are delighted that both have continued their to build on their recent successes and are now focused on the 2022 Olympic Games. Army Winter Sports is hugely important to the retention of our officers and soldiers, and I am delighted that it continues to flourish, despite the increasing strain on financial budgets. I look forward to seeing athletes, coaches, officials and support staff next season, either on snow or ice, or perhaps even both. Good luck for the 19/20 season ahead!

Annual General Meeting

Date for your Diary The AGM of the Army Winter Sports Association will be held at Kneller Hall, Twickenham on 28th November 2019 at 1730hrs.

OBITUARY - SPUD (JOHN) LEANING

t is with deep regret that we report the death of Spud (John) Leaning on Saturday 3rd August 2019. He died peacefully in South Molton Hospital, after some three years of treatment for his liver cancer. He fought a strong and gallant battle, and many a less fit person (he was a regular walker on Exmoor) would have succumbed earlier. He was a life-long supporter of Arsenal FC and contributed to many local organisations including the 15th Century Parish Church, which is just 50 metres (the depth of a biathlon range) from his home; the Rotary and the Royal British Legion. He frequently attended Royal Artillery and Royal Marines events. His wife, Gay, pre-deceased him in 2002, and we extend our deepest sympathies to sons Dave & grandson “little Spud” and Tom, brother Chris, and to his extended family and many friends world-wide.

Spud was 82 and amazingly had skied (racing or recreational) every year, including 2019, for the past 60 years! Equally amazing was that he was a Member of the Army’s AWSA Management Committee (in its various guises) from 1965-2012. He was a 3-time member of the winning Princess Marina team; Biathlon Team Manager at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games; was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1985 and retired as a Major from the Royal Artillery in 1987. That year he became Biathlon & Nordic Director British Ski Federation (BSF) – now GB Snowsport – and in 1989 was a founder member of the UK’s far-sighted and ground-breaking Coaches Advisory Group. He managed teams at the 1984, 1988 (including Eddy the Eagle!), 1992 & 1994 Olympic Winter Games. In 1993 he was the UK’s lead organiser of the UIPMB (International Modern Pentathlon & Biathlon) Extraordinary Congress at Heathrow, when the International Biathlon

Union (IBU) was formed to become, in its own right, the International Governing Body for biathlon. In 1995 the BSF gave one year’s notice that it would no longer support biathlon in the UK, and from then, in two spells, he was Secretary Army Boxing & Swimming for ten years. For many years Spud held various voluntary positions in the UIPMB/IBU; the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the British Paralympic Association. But it will be for his help in forming the IBU and in particular as a founding Board Member of the British Biathlon Union (BBU) in 1996, that he is best remembered by the current generation of Army and GBR biathletes. He remained on the Board for 6 years and, without his expertise and in particular his ability to call on a vast number of contacts in the sporting world as a whole, it is doubtful that the BBU would have survived for 3, never mind the 23 years of its current existence.

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ALPINE

ARMY CHAMPI

Lt Col Bee Smith R SIGNALS - Secretary Army Alpine

Having been spoilt last year by monumental amounts of snow, expectations were high as we arrived in Serre Chevalier to set up for the Army Alpine championships. However, conditions were nothing like the previous year, and a quick visit to both Ex PIPEDOWN and Ex SPARTAN HIKE on the way down showed that the resorts were battling with the opposite problem of trying to find enough snow to drill gates into.

The snow cannons were working overtime, and the immediate worry of whether there would be enough snow to anchor the safety netting either side of the Luc Alphand for the Army Downhill consumed the Officials’ minds. This year we were delighted to welcome the senior service in the shape of Lt Cdr Jez Spring RN, a newly qualified Services TD onto the team of officials. Also back from operations this year and promoted to Chairman was Col Hugh Campbell-Smith, although sadly for the last time, as Loan Service pay in Middle East trumps skiing for the next few years! A keen replacement has been found however, and Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew - or Barty as he is known - could not move any quicker to strap himself into a pair of skis and start learning the role in location. The championships started on Tuesday 22 Jan as those who had qualified from the two Divisional exercises registered. We had 115 racers who had qualified for the Army championships, including a good number of first timers. It was noticeable how few teams were coming through, with the field being made up in the majority by individuals or pairs from unit teams. Most noticeably only one Infantry Team qualified and for the first time in recent memory, no RAC teams at all. This is something that the Alpine Committee are keen to address and work will continue with the Corps alpine committees to identify, progress, retain and

support talent within combat arms units. On a positive note, it was fantastic to see greater representation from the AAC and RMP. We were also joined by four members of the AFPST who competed for the first time this year rather than acted as fore runners. Another change this year saw the sponsors and VIPs along with the hierarchy of the AWSA move down the road from Villeneuve into the Grand Hotel in Chantemerle. This closer proximity between those who enable our sport and those who benefit from it can only be seen as a good thing, and the interaction between racers, sponsors, VIPs and senior officers increased understanding and appreciation across the piece. Sponsor suppers continued to be a popular event, and racers entertained groups of sponsors in their chalets in the evening, showing off culinary talent (or not) but all benefitting greatly from the experience. The sponsors also hosted the Team Captains for drinks in the Grand Hotel which was a popular event. Once again, the village and the resort staff pulled out all the stops to prepare the pistes to an exceptionally high standard. Racing conditions were fantastic, and the GS Individual and Team events kicked the Championships off. Capt Hollie Suff from the ARRC Sp Bn dominated for the girls whilst Pte Rob Poth,

Once again, the village and the resort staff pulled out all the stops to prepare the pistes to an exceptionally high standard.

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from the RLC reserve won the men’s event. Hot on the heels of Capt Suff came a group of RA and RMP ladies and following up for the Men Spr Euan Kick (RE) and LCpl Hayden Grand (R SIGNALS). Last year’s champion, Spr Duncan Kuwall unfortunately came out of the GS on the first day, taking himself out of the combination competitions and the Junior competition – such is the way with ski racing. The team GS was won by a Hors Concours team of infantry, showing that the infantry has the skill – just not all in one regiment, leaving the trophy to be lifted by the first unit team – 6 RLC. Slalom took place over the weekend, and Capt Suff, Pte Poth and 6 RLC took first prize in their respective competitions. The veterans’ competition was hotly contested with newcomer Maj Andrew Crockett (AMS) giving old-timers Sgt Chris Bennett (REME) and Cpl Steve Jackson (RLC) a run for their money. By the weekend, the committee, TD, ESF


ALPINE

IONSHIPS EX LIONS CHALLENGE Contact Alpine Chairman Brig J Bartholomew OBE Vice Chairman Lt Col TP Spenlove-Brown Scots DG Secretary Lt Col BH Smith R SIGNALS e: alpine@awsa.org.uk

Results 2019 Army Championship

Male Champion Pte Rob Poth RLC Female Champion Capt Hollie Suff RLC Veteran Champion Maj Andrew Crockett RAMC Team Champions 6 RLC Corps Champions RE Female Corps Champions RA

Inter-Services Championship Male Champion Pte Rob Poth RLC Female Champion Australian Defence Force Best Male Newcomer Pte Rob Poth RLC Male Team Champions Army Female Team Champions Army

and Pisteurs were content that the iconic Piste Luc Alphand could be securely netted for the speed events, and with the end of racing each day came an effort of gargantuan proportions as several kilometres of netting was manhandled and drilled in the length of the piste by the racers under the guidance of the Pisteurs and committee. The first day of speed training claimed a few victims, including the current ladies Army Team captain, Capt Scarlett Geering RA, who fell on the infamous Pylon Jump and took herself out of the competition. Thankfully she

was not seriously hurt but had to take the devastating decision to hand over the reins of captaincy for the Inter Services Snow Sports Competition (ISSSC). As the two Downhill training days progressed, it became clear that there was going to be a mix up at the top of the seedings, as those with a penchant for speed started to challenge for the top spots. In an incredible close competition Lt Sophie Nicholls RA won for the Ladies. A special mention must go to LCpl Maddie Critchley (AGC(SPS)) who in her first ever year of racing came third and only 0.38 seconds behind the winner. Back on top of the podium for the boys was Spr Euan Kick from 3 RSME bringing back the type of skill and courage that had seen him victorious at last year’s ISSSC. In the team event, we again had a bizarre situation where the top three teams and four of the top six were Hors Concours teams from the Infantry and RAC. The final event of Super G saw another mix around for the girls, with Pte May Percival (RLC), buoyed by her DH success blasting her way to victory, and securing a place on the Army Team. For the Men, Pte Poth beat Spr Kick into first place by just 0.09 seconds.

That evening at Prizegiving, the sponsors and VIPs sat amongst the racers for the first time, with each team or Corps hosting a group of VIPs. Team Captains of the Mens’ and Ladies’ Team for the ISSSC were announced and Capt Hollie Suff stepped up to Captain the Ladies after many years of competing as a team member. For the Men, the obvious choice was Lt Alex Wilson GREN GDS, who had nobly stood up and filled the position last year after the captain was casevaced from the ISSSC.

Images by Matt Noone – www.blacklancephotography.co.uk

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ALPINE

INTER SERVICES Lt Alex Wilson GREN GDS - Army Team Captain

The Army squad spent a week on a pre-season camp at Landgraaf in the Netherlands, focussing on their Slalom. This provided excellent preparation and certainly set the team up for success – it is hoped that it can continue in the future. The appointment of WO2 John McLelland (John Mac) as the Army Team manager provided a wealth of experience to assist the teams with the best preparation for the forthcoming season.

‘In an outstanding display of individual and team skiing, the Army won every team event.’

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xercise LIONS CHALLENGE (LC) provided problems and opportunities for the Army team management, with Capt Scarlett Geering RA, the female team captain injuring herself on a Downhill training run, removing herself from the competition and ending her season early and Lt Alex Wilson GREN GDS trying his best to do the same, but thankfully not being successful. Capt Hollie Suff RLC took over as captain for the ladies following strong performances across all disciplines at LC. The team was more experienced than the previous year, with only two new caps: LCpl Maddy Critchley AGC(SPS) and Pte May Percival RLC, who were selected following fast times in the Downhill and Super G respectively. The was

Pte Percival’s first season of ski racing – an outstanding achievement and a talent for the future. Lt Sophie Nicholls RA skied very well on her return from injury and Bdr Hannah Williams RA built on her results from last year. Cpl Sarah Yeomans AGC(RMP) remained effective and unassuming, while Cpl Sheona Macmillan RE continued her technical expertise. The captain for the men had a selection struggle on his hands, especially considering numbers are not his strongest suit as an infanteer. Pte Rob Poth RLC, Sprs Euan Kick and Duncan Kuwall RE, and LCpls Hayden Grand RSIGS and John Riddell RLC were all shoe-ins on their performances at LC. LCpl Tom Killoran RWELSH was the next man © Image Crown Copyright SAC Emma Wade

selected, having come 6th in the Downhill. After some furious number-crunching and crayon-eating on the final day, Lt Jamie CalderSmith SG and Spr Frazer Southall RE were selected as the last members of a team that looked set to provide stiff competition, in spite of the four new caps. After settling into new accommodation in Meribel, along with house ‘dads’, John Mac and Geordie (Ex WO2 Geordie Dryden QRH – fastest man on the mountain) and Col Hugh Campbell-Smith, who as outgoing Army Alpine Chairman joined the team for three days as his swan song; the team were frustrated to only manage an inspection of the Downhill course on the first day – heavy snow precluded any sort of racing, and there was concern over

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ALPINE Events 2020 Divisional Championships 1 EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers, France 11-22 Jan 2020 Divisional Championships 2 EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 11-22 Jan 2020 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier, France 21-31 Jan 2020 Inter-Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 1-8 Feb 2020

the viability of the race. The jury and ESF put in a marvellous shift, and the race went ahead, albeit starting from the Super G start, due to a surfeit of snow higher up. The Army team stamped their dominance on the championships from the off, with three Army ladies on the podium (Lt Nicholls, Bdr Williams and Cpl Yeomans) and five of the first nine in red. LCpl Critchley was unfortunate to fall and injure her knee on the second training run, leaving Capt Suff with a reduced squad for the remainder of the championships. The Army ladies were coached by Ali Moran, a new addition to the team, who capitalised on her experience to quell nerves and bring out the best in every racer. The men were a touch less convincing, giving up second place to a seaman – the only medal

the men didn’t win – but four of the top six were in red (Spr Kick 1st, Pte Poth 3rd, Spr Kuwall 4th, LCpl Grand 6th). Spr Kick proved his mettle by winning after crashing heavily on the second training run, which would later stop him from racing.With the Downhill complete, the team tried to scrub the previous days from their minds and tucked into the Super G with gusto. Cpl Yeomans showed her strength again, coming third and the ladies repeated their Downhill trick of having five of the top nine in red, and storming the team result. The men went one better, taking the team and 1st-4th: Pte Poth, Spr Kick, Spr Kuwall, LCpl Grand. That evening, the second event that made up the Super Combined took place on the impressively flood lit Stadte Piste coming down into the centre of Meribel. Spectators

from the Snowboard and Telemark disciplines were out in force – possible tempted by the Vin Chaud and Crepes provided by the sponsors and being served by the ESF by the finish area. The Super Combined was even more successful than the Super G, with six of the first eight men in red (Pte Poth, Spr Kuwall, LCpl Grand, Lt Wilson, Lt Calder-Smith, LCpl Killoran), and Capt Suff and Bdr Williams second and third respectively for the females. The Sponsors’ drinks and subsequent lie-in allowed the team a short rest, but all too soon they were back at it, exchanging the unwieldy and unresponsive speed skis for the overly energetic slaloms. Capt Suff was in imperious form, and was joined by Lt Nicholls in second place, with the whole team in the top nine. The men, having lost Spr Kick who was resting his knee from his fall in training, extended their lead, with Pte Poth, Spr Kuwall and LCpl Grand 1st-3rd. Army dominance was not to be broken on the final day. In spite of Capt Suff crashing out on her second run, Lt Nicholls led the ladies home, coming second with the whole team in the top eight. Pte Poth showcased his ability, winning by nine seconds ahead of Spr Kuwall and LCpl Grand in second and third. In an outstanding display of individual and team skiing, the Army won every team event – the ladies by a phenomenal margin of almost 3000 race points – and five of the six individual medals. Pte Poth was best newcomer and combined champion to boot. The Army team of 2019 should be proud of their achievements and are grateful for the support given to them by sponsors, management and everyone who has contributed. Let us continue this form for seasons to come.

© Images Crown Copyright SAC Emma Wade and Cpl Nicholas Egan - RAF

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ARMED FORCES PARA

AFPST

SNOWSPORT TEAM Supporting the recovery of our wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans through the restorative power of competitive Snowsports.

We help serving military personnel and veterans recover both mentally and physically through challenge and competition on snow. From beginners joining our Foundation Team to Winter Paralympic hopefuls, we offer opportunities for all abilities. The 2018 Paralympics proved to be a fantastic springboard for this last season. Our Newcomers event received unprecedented numbers. In fact, demand was so great we had to put on two separate events! Every individual is given the opportunity to receive instruction in one of three disciplines; Snowboarding, Alpine or Nordic skiing. All activities are led by a small group of dedicated volunteers, without whom we could not operate.

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AFPST

The Snowboarders

From very small beginnings and under the leadership of John Connelly we have trebled our instructor base, meaning we can take even more athletes out onto the slopes to experience this exhilarating sport. We continue to push the boundaries of classification with some extraordinary athletes – two double, above knee amputees, Lee Lloyd and Darren Swift as well as the only UK blind snow boarder, Ben Shaw. Darren Swift reflects on the healing power of snow. “I believe in getting everyone into the mountain environment to experience it, even if it’s just the one time. AFPST enable this to happen’. Our partnership with military snowboarding has been a great model for delivering maximum opportunity with the team competing at all levels, from Foundation to the British Championships. This inspirational group of athletes continue to showcase what is possible in adaptive snowboarding.

The Alpine Crew

Two of our talented athletes, Dan Sheen and Alex Slegg have taken part in the Paralympic Inspiration Programme this season resulting in a positive ripple effect throughout the Alpine discipline. Under the brilliant guidance of Major Nikki Jordan and her team of coaches, four athletes have medalled at the International level and are demonstrating real potential for 2022. In November, we hosted the biggest ever Foundation camp in Stubai, attended by over thirty athletes. A large number of these newcomers progressed to the military competitions in January and February where they got to experience the thrill of competition.

The Nordic Team

As a charity, we are currently delivering the British Nordic Team alongside our key partners AECC and GB Snow Sports. Scott Meenagh’s superb performance in South Korea has inspired a whole new intake of military and civilian Nordic athletes to enter into the GB programme.

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AFPST At the Foundation level, the team has doubled in size, with beneficiaries training in the UK and overseas. The season ended with a gruelling 55-mile ski marathon in Finland. The event wasn’t just a physical challenge, but a hugely successful fundraising effort made by the team.

AFPST and the year ahead

At the Foundation level, we intend to grow all three disciplines, offering the transformational impact of adaptive snow sports to even more wounded, injured or sick serving military personnel and veterans. We will continue to push boundaries and challenge perception by encouraging our athletes to try something new. There will be plenty of Foundation camps and military competitions to attend throughout the year. We also intend to showcase the first ever adaptive Nordic expedition next winter, so watch this space! As for our elite performance squad, we will be working in partnership with GB Snowsports to pioneer an elite pathway across all areas. Our focus will be the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing, where we hope to have multiple representation across all three disciplines.

How to get involved

Our achievements are only possible due to the selfless commitment of our trusted volunteer coaches and support staff, for which we are forever grateful. If you would like to offer your time and expertise to AFPST, we would love to hear from you. Major Elizabeth Winfield is currently the Chief Operating Officer for AFPST, a keen Nordic skier and a volunteer.

I have learnt so much from our athletes, they have been my life changing moment. Now I want to make a difference to my life and others. I want to inspire my three children that they can make a difference too.

Volunteering your time and skill set to the charity is just one way of giving back. We are an all-volunteer led organisation entirely dependent upon the generosity of our private and corporate donors to fund our efforts. Why not embark on your own lifetime challenge and raise money for this worthwhile cause? Visit afpst.co.uk for further information.

Kevin Drake Para Alpine Athlete Royal Engineer veteran, Kevin Drake, left the army in 2008 having served twelve years. Nine months later, he re-joined, having missed the camaraderie and sense of purpose the Forces gave. By December 2012, Kevin was part way through his second tour of Afghanistan when he was caught up in an explosion. Miraculously, he walked away from it unharmed. A month later when his vehicle came into contact with an IED he was less fortunate. The shock waves were so severe, they shattered his leg bones below both knees. Recovery was slow and painful. Kevin lived his life split between Headley Court and home for three long years in an attempt to save his legs. By 2016, although his right leg had sufficiently recovered, the constant pain in his left had become unbearable. Kevin made the difficult decision to undergo an elective amputation. Within five weeks of the operation, he had fully recovered and was able to play with his children again, pain free.

Bridging the gap...

This was a time to take stock and find a new goal. Competitive sport seemed like the perfect solution. In 2017, Kevin attended the Invictus Games Trials, successfully competing in wheelchair tennis and basketball before going on to represent his country.

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AFPST

Tim Stimpson Former International rugby legend and Ambassador for AFPST, Tim Stimpson reflects on how he has learnt about true resilience and motivation through his involvement with our athletes.

The reality check…

After the Games ended, Kevin needed to find a new focus, so he looked to the slopes. He first tried skiing with his prosthetic leg in February 2018 and soon set his sights on becoming part of the AFPST Performance Team.

What’s different about skiing with a prosthetic?

“Skiing with a prosthetic leg isn’t straight forward, but thanks to some great coaching my alpine technique has been transformed. We had to strip everything back and start from scratch. Ordinarily, when skiing, you would initiate movement from your toes before working up your legs. With a prosthetic, I have to start with my knee instead. As a result, there’s less feedback and I can’t apply as much pressure to my prosthetic as I can to my other leg. Interestingly, after a long, hard day on the slopes, it’s my damaged right leg that can leave me in agony”.

What has the charity done for you?

“AFPST has enabled me to ski full-time at a competitive level. The coaches are second to none – I mean, absolutely brilliant. I feel immensely privileged to put the kit on and feel part of a team again. The army was more than just a job. Being part of such a tight knit group of people who you’d trust your life with – that’s something special. Overnight, it was all taken away. I had to find something to fill the huge void it left behind. That’s what this charity has done for me and I’m more grateful than I can say”. Written by Heidi Cox

“As a former international rugby player, I thought I knew what pushing myself to my physical and mental limit felt like. Ice cold baths, no alcohol, gruelling training sessions and limited spare time was all part of the deal. I didn’t have to contend with blisters from a prosthetic limb or daily epileptic fits. I didn’t suffer from severe anxiety attacks or flashbacks that would leave me paralysed or shaking in a corner. I didn’t have to dress my bedsores before reaching for my fitness kit. When I went to the gym, I didn’t have to lift my entire body onto the weight bench with just my arms.

“Spending the weekend with the Armed Forces ParaSnowsport team has taught me more about resilience than I ever thought possible. It’s a truly humbling experience to witness the sheer grit and determination within every single one of those athletes”. How supporting AFPST can make a difference

“The purpose of AFPST is to provide much needed support to our wounded and sick soldiers. Through the generosity of the general public and a variety of supportive organisations, these athletes are given a new purpose and a goal they can aspire to. They can become part of a dynamic organisation again, despite suffering horrific injury or debilitating illness.”

More to give?

“I ask you - is your larder full? Have you done everything you want to do in life? Are you satisfied with where you are and what you have achieved or are you still hungry to do more? If you’ve got value to add, let me assure you, whatever you give, you will receive one hundred times back. “Time spent with the team has reminded me how important it is to strive to be the person you once aspired to be. As the charity states, ‘together we can make a difference’. Isn’t that what life’s all about?”

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BOBSLEIGH

BOBSLEIGH Capt SJ Smith AGC

If you have ever watched Cool Runnings and thought … ‘how on this green earth do I join a Bobsleigh Team?’ Look no further! The Army has its very own Bobsleigh Team, which for some has proven to be the gateway into international level sports. The season runs from Dec-Mar each year and consists of three Camps: • Racing Ice I - 2 individual novice training weeks in December. • Racing Ice II - The Army Championships (1 week). • Racing Ice III -1 week of squad training, and 1 week of Inter Services Racing. Bobsleigh epitomises Army Values; in its extreme nature, requires huge amounts of courage, discipline, selfless commitment, team loyalty and physical robustness. Sliders can expect to reach speeds of up to 130kph, whilst they navigate the icy track. A once in a lifetime opportunity to access this unusual, adrenaline sport, with a view to representing individual Units, Cap badges and the Army, furthermore being a part of the ice sports family.

EX RACING ICE I

The Army host a novice training camp each year offering young aspiring athletes the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Bobsleigh, and attempt both braking and driving a 2 man/woman team. The camp is split over two separate weeks, allowing athletes the flexibility to choose which they wish to attend. The camp benefits from top class coaching from two of our ex GB and Olympic athletes, who go right back to basics teaching the technical aspect of the sled and sliding dynamics, to how the team should operate. By day two the novices will experience their first slide from the ladies (Damen) start. Despite

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this being a ‘gentle’ build up to driving the track from the top … it may still resemble being re-born through the screaming jaws of the sound barrier itself, as the sled generates speeds of up to 100kph on the training runs. Once they have mastered handling the sled from the training ramp, they get to go ‘off the top’. It helps to arrive prepared for the extreme sport, with a fair level of physical fitness and a robust and positive attitude to get the sliders from ‘zero to hero’ on the mountain. Safety is of utmost importance and the sliders must confirm their aptitude for piloting the sled before those spikes touch the ice. But the exhilarating feeling of successfully piloting a Bobsleigh down the mountain, is irreplaceable. In it together, these training camps forge long lasting friendships, as the teams survive the week with that ‘holy mother of Bobsleigh!’ feeling! If you would like


BOBSLEIGH

EX RACING ICE II ‘Bob is sliding, bob is sliding, bob crashed!’

Events 2020 Army Ice Camp EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 29 Nov - 14 Dec 2019

Contact

Chairman Bobsleigh Maj G Cooke RLC Secretary Bobsleigh Capt SJ Smith AGC e: bobsleigh@awsa.org.uk

Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterburg, Germany 10-18 Jan 2020 Army Squad training week Ex RACING ICE III Koenigssee, Austria 2-6 Mar 2020 Inter Services Championships Koenigssee, Austria 9-13 Mar 2020

to get involved this season, learn a new sport, have the opportunity to represent your unit at the Army Championships, make new friends and open up the doors to international sport, apply now through our AWSA website. Alternatively, you may find us on Facebook and Instagram @Britisharmybobsleigh. All links and events are published regularly and the team are on hand to answer any questions you may have before you arrive. We hope to see you on the Ice!

© Racing images by Soldier magazine - Crown Copyright

After successfully completing the novice training camp in Igls, Austria, the new sliders advanced to Koenigssee, Germany for the Army Championships. The new and technical track proved to be challenging terrain for the teams, resulting in a few spills out of the notorious 360 degree turn, un-affectionately named Kreisel. The driving finesse required for these new turns meant that even a sniff of complacency meant Kreisel would swallow you whole, chew you up and release you back to the world the wrong way up! The rest of the track was equally as challenging to navigate as it threatened to shake each sliding team upside down for their CILOR, if they dared reinvent the driving lines offered by the coaches. The Deutsch Post Eis Arena was situated at the foot of Lake Koenigssee, surrounded by snow tipped mountains, overlooked by the infamous Eagles Nest. Pilots would walk the track every morning with the coaches to revise the best lines to take, and the brakeman and women would be preparing the sled for the days training. As the lights turned green and the cheeky track voice would announce the track is clear for the ‘next contender’, each team battled through the week to improve their times and build up to their best standard by race day, enduring the ups and downs. The Army Championships race was held on the final Friday over two Laufs (slides). It was a close race, with only seconds separating the teams, but there can be only one winner!

The results for the Army Championships, Koenigssee 2019 are as follows: Female Army Champions Capt Sarah Smith AGC(ETS) & SSgt Zoe Beckett RADC Female Runners Up Capt Jo Ellett RE & Cpl Dom Burge QARANC Male Army Champions Cpl Ivan Londal PARA & Pte Olly Butterworth PARA Male Runners Up Pte Luke Dawes PARA & Cpl Darren Little PARA Junior Champions Cpl Dougie Callard PARA & Pte Lewis Gardner PARA Novice Champions Pte Luke Dawes PARA & Cpl Darren Little PARA Fastest Brakewoman Cpl Dom Burge QARANC Fastest Brakeman Cpl Darren Little PARA

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BOBSLEIGH

Ex RACING ICE III The Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Airforce advanced on Koenigssee for an ice war. The services came armed with a sliding force ranging from complete novices to Olympians. Even Team Jamaica made the coolest of appearances, with Shan Williams of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team sliding on behalf of the RAF. The adrenaline fuelled atmosphere always makes this a highly addictive sport. The strict routine complements the risky nature of the sport, beginning with an early track walk for the pilots. Every inch of the ice is analysed and each turn is visualised until each pilot can drive the track with their eyes closed. Meanwhile, the brakemen and women are conducting team strength training under the international level push coach, Steve ‘Smudge’ Smith. As the squad increase their bounds daily, the runners begin to shine and the down times sharpen, the sliders compete for a position on the Army Team by the end of week one. Those fortunate enough to be selected continued to wrestle their way down the track over the two week training package, supported by those who fought valiantly but did not quite make the team cut. With hundredths of a second dividing these runs, the squad was looking fierce and those no longer sliding remained armoured and ready to ‘fight tonight’ should they be called upon. The track proved to be unforgiving to some, as all three services slid through blood, sweat and tears to tame the beast that is Koenigssee. With hours of sled preparation, physical training, and the highs and lows (some very low!) of time spent driving the course, it was time for the grand finale! The UKAF Inter Services Bobsleigh Championships was held over two days, four Laufs, over approximately 5km of ice and including 40 athletes. The competition was fierce, and each athlete gave it their all, seeing some PBs at the block for the push start and some experiencing their first race day crash. After two adrenaline fuelled days of fixed bayonets, the results were in: The Royal Navy made history - the first time both their male and female teams stormed the race and won Gold. The RAF swept up silver and the Army Bronze, with only three seconds between the fastest and slowest sleds of each service, making it an intense race! The Army saw some personal achievements in the individual race with Captain Sarah Smith AGC(ETS) and SSgt Zoe Beckett RADC, finishing on the podium with an individual

Bronze medal. LCpl Johnathan ‘strangely’ Brown PARA and Pte Olly Butterworth PARA achieving the same in the men’s individual race. Pte Olly Butterworth also won the Fastest Brakeman award for an outstanding push start, which would not have been out of place at an international competition. As the last breaths were expelled from the dying beast that was Konigssee, the sportsmanship and camaraderie was unquestionable, as athletes from all three services came together to shake the hands of the others and cheer them over the line. Celebrations were had and prizes were awarded, with everyone feeling part of one ice sports family. The extreme and dangerous nature of this adrenaline sport sets it apart from any other, and creates an environment which strongly promotes respect, loyalty, team cohesion, courage, mental and physical robustness on a whole new level! Once you have been gripped in the jaws of the ice sports world, it will be difficult to forget it … not only being part of an incredible extreme sport and brushing shoulders with world class sliders, but being a member of the ice sports community, this is belonging. © Racing images by Soldier magazine - Crown Copyright

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CRESTA CRESTA

Capt T Wythe RL

The Royal Navy regained their hold on the Prince Philip Trophy last year, so it was our main focus to take it back and reassert the Army’s authority on the Cresta Run.

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his season we had 28 riders representing eight different regiments for the Junction InterRegimental Championships, of those riders 11 were other ranks and two were ladies, and for the first time the Intelligence Corps was being represented on the Run. The Inter-Services Ladies race that was trialled last year was being held again following authorisation from the St Moritz Tobogganing Club. The Army Team was well represented this year with a high number of returning team representatives placing us in a strong position from the outset; showing that dedication and commitment from returning riders and initial investment in the past was paying off. With the Run being hand-built each year there are always some nuances to learn in order to get the correct line around key parts. This year was no different with elements of the Run being significantly more technical and requiring pin-point accuracy to ensure a safe ride. Conditions had been near perfect with early dumps of snow to aid in construction followed by consistent sub-zero temperatures

allowing the ice to harden. The Army Championships took place over two days in mid-January with a new format being trialled. This saw a rider’s fastest time from day one being carried forward Inter-Services teams to day two, thus allowing for a fall or two. As there is no certainty on the number of rides that may take place on a day, the first ride of day two would then be added to the first day time, a fall would mean elimination. As it turned out there was no riding from Top on day two so we were able to take two rides on day two, equating to a three course race. It turned out to be a day of attrition with the spoils going to those that managed to stay in for the full three courses. Not only is there a race for the 17th/21st Lancers’ Inter-Regimental pairs trophy but also for the Individual Novice Championship and the Individual Handicapped race, this allows riders of all abilities the opportunity to take home some silverware. The novice open was won by Tpr Oliver Wiggins (KRH), who along with Capt Scott Pryor (KRH), also won the 17th/21st Lancers’ Cup. A pair from the Life Guards came in

second, followed by the Queens Royal Hussars whilst the Junction handicap race was won by the author. During Inter-Services week the Army held its own Top race, the Scots Guards Cup. There was a field of nine riders including, for the first time a lady, Rct Carina Evans (AGC), who had reached a landmark in the Clubs history by being the first lady to officially ride from Top in 90 years! Competition was on for the 5th and 6th spot in the Army Team. Capt Scott Pryor (KRH) proved a worthy 6th man whilst Capt Jonnie Palmer-Tomkinson (GREN GDS) rode exceptionally well and secured his spot as 5th man in the team by placing 3rd, the author took first place followed by Maj Paul Chishick (HCR). The remainder of the team was set with an impressive return to form from Capt Jack Barnes (HCR) and an ever-reliable performance from CSjt Tim Armon-Jones (Rifles). Race day arrived with a dusting of snow after a cold night and temperatures of around -12 degrees throughout the day. The pilot, Nico Juelich, one of the Clubs top riders, set a fast time that indicated the condition of the

Contact Chairman Brig IJ Gibb

Deputy Chairman Maj PJR Chiswick LG Secretary Capt T Wythe RL e: cresta@awsa.org.uk

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Tpr Fairbairn HCR in the upper banks

Tpr Fairbairn taking an interesting line around Shuttlecock


CRESTA

Cpl Williams-Tanton RL taking an early exit at Shuttlecock

EVENTS

RESULTS

17th 21st Lancers Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 24 Jan 2020

Scots Guards Cup Open Individual Race Capt T Wythe RL

Army Top Championship

Junction Championships:

Scots Guards Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 27 Jan 2020

17th/21st Lancers Cup Open Regimental Pairs Race Kings Royal Hussars

Inter Service Championship

Open Novice Champion Tpr O Wiggins KRH

Army Junction Championship

Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz, Switzerland 29 Jan 2020

Capt Wythe riding the rim around Shuttlecock run; cold, hard and fast, despite the snow that might have otherwise slowed proceedings. CSjt Armon-Jones led the charge and set a solid baseline throughout the race. The main competition, as last year, was between Capt Wythe (RL) and Surg Cdr Potter (RN). The course caught a few people out during the course of the race, Surg Lt Cdr Potter and WO1 Birkby representing the Navy and Cpl Savage from the RAF fell on the first course, while Capt Barnes and Gp Capt Below fell during the second course. With those initial fallers the Army stood in the lead from the outset, with consistent riding across the team. Even after the second course, with Capt Barnes sadly falling there was still a comfortable lead, however, there was no place for complacency. Once the dust had settled and all remaining riders had successfully made their way to the finish everyone waited for the final placings to be announced. The Army team had held their nerve and came in first by over twenty seconds, with Capt Wythe taking the grand slam, winning the Auty speed cup for the fastest single time of the race of 53.95s and the Lord Trenchard trophy for the lowest aggregate time of the race. Maj Chishick came second in the Lord Trenchard and Mne Hill (RN) came third.

Inter-Services prize giving

Army Championships

Handicapped Race Capt T Wythe RL

Inter Services Championships Prince Philip Trophy Open Team Race from Top The Army

Lord Trenchard Trophy Fastest Combined time from Top Capt T Wythe RL

The Service Ladies race took place from Junction and included the Inter-Service Ladies team race. Both the RAF and the Navy were able to bring some of their riders back from last year, whereas the Army had two beginners. This did not deter anyone from riding to their full potential, Lt Colquhoun (RL) rode exceptionally well, posting 51.89 on her first ride followed by two sound 53’s which was enough to win the individual Service ladies race, a fantastic effort which certainly shows potential for the future. Sadly Cpl Leigh (Int Corps) fell on her second course, taking her out of contention, however this does not detract from the dedication and courage she showed during the run up to the race. The Royal Navy ladies won the Ladies team race with the RAF coming second. Brigadier Ian Gibb, Chairman of Army Cresta, returning to support the Army team and indeed race in the Silver Spoon, was placed just outside the photograph in 7th place following two days of gruelling practice including a visit to the straw. Rct Evans (AGC) was eligible to compete for the Harland Trophy, a handicapped Top race, and rode with great consistency throughout the day, eventually placing 3rd. This was a huge achievement for her following an impressive rate of progression over the previous days. It has been a brilliant season for Army Cresta, with further depth being developed

Auty Speed Cup Fastest time of the race from Top Capt T Wythe RL Harland Trophy Serving, Reserve and Retired handicapped race from Top Sub Lt WG Vinnell RN Silver Spoon Serving, Reserve and Retired handicapped race from Junction Sqn Ldr DJ Harkin RAF (Retd) Service Ladies Race Individual 2Lt H Coloquhoun RL Pairs The Royal Navy

and identified to ensure a competitive team for future years. Retaking the Prince Philip Trophy was a wonderful moment and reasserted our strength as a Team. With the second year of Service Ladies riding complete and an overall increase in Ladies riding across the Club there is a positive and supportive feeling for inclusion. I would like to mention that Surg Cdr Potter was able to stay out for the Morgan race, where in consolation for his fall he won his Club colours, this is a huge achievement and is thoroughly well deserved. The Army Team is going from strength to strength and I am extremely grateful to the AWSA for their support, I look forward to defending the Prince Philip Trophy next year.

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LUGE

Capt Lucy Wyatt RE, Chairman Army Luge

Following the Winter Olympics which highlighted the lesser known UK luge team there was more interest in the novice camp than normal providing Army Luge with a strong base for the 2018-19 season.

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Š Images by Soldier magazine - Crown Copyright


LUGE

Events 2020 Army Ice Camp EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 29 Nov - 15 Dec 2019

Contact

Chairman Capt LN Wyatt RE Secretary WO2 G Holmes RE m: 07957 564677

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unning at the Olympic track in Igls alongside the Bobsleigh and Skeleton camps, some very promising novices took to the ice for Exercise Racing Ice One being coached by Mr Mike Howard and WO2 Graham Holmes. This season the team were ably assisted by Army team Athlete LCpl Steve Webb who embarked on his first year as a Level One Coach. The novice athletes are taught basic sled maintenance and steering methods before having their first runs from the junior start before progressing to the ladies start. This is a very daunting progression and requires huge amounts of determination from those beginning training.

Racing Ice 2

The Army Luge championships (Exercise Racing Ice 2) returned this season to Koenigssee, Germany, for the first time in several years. A very technical track that was initially built for luge this was set to be a challenge for all athletes, seasoned and novice alike. The track also has a start training facility available which allowed many of the Army athletes the

e: luge@awsa.org.uk or grahamholmesluge@yahoo.co.uk opportunity to start using spiked gloves and improving their start times for the first time. The Army championship was won by LCpl Steve Webb (RTR) with LCpl Andy Petty (Gren Gds) runner up, LCpl Petty also won the Novice championship, a huge achievement in his first year competing. The Ladies competition was won by Capt Lucy Wyatt (RE) with Lt Rowena Dorling runner up. The Junior champion (an athlete in their second season of competing) was won by LCpl Blake Dawson-Jones (RE).

Racing Ice 3

For the inter-service championship week the Army squad returned to Koenigssee. Race week was preceded by a training week held in location. The inter-service racing is held over two runs with the fastest overall time winning. A time advantage that a luge athlete gains at the top of the track is tripled by the bottom. This means that one small mistake at the start of the run can cost a competitor dearly for their overall time. The use of the start track was hugely beneficial in helping athletes prepare for confident starts improving their overall times,

Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterburg, Germany 10-18 Jan 2020 Army Squad training week Ex RACING ICE III Koenigssee, Austria 2-6 Mar 2020 Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Koenigssee, Austria 9-13 Mar 2020 particularly important on such a technically challenging track where mistakes are often made. The Army were unfortunately narrowly beaten by the RAF in the last few runs. Despite this, there was great success in the individual competition where Sgt Dani Scott retained her title of Ladies Inter-service champion and Gdsm Ray Thompson was placed runner up in the Men’s competition. A UK based summer camp was held to improve athletes confidence on starts and to highlight luge specific fitness training, this was coached by Gdsm Ray Thompson who has successfully been accepted to train on the TASS scheme and will continue to represent Great Britain on the luge team. Following seven years as a full time athlete, Sgt Dani Scott has retired from regular service, during this time she has been a pioneer in raising the profile of luge in the UK, showing absolute dedication to her sport and military career, she is the most successful female Luge Athlete Great Britain has ever had. We wish her all the best in her future career in the fire service where she will, no doubt, shine as she has during her Army service.

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NORDIC

Contact Chairman Col LJN Daley Secretary Capt TM Furlong RLC e: nordic@awsa.org.uk

NORDIC Maj Elizabeth Sedgwick RLC

Results 2020

First placed teams: Champion Skiing Unit of the British Army 6 Regt RLC (Princess Marina Cup) Champion Inter Service Unit Nordic Ski Team (SAS Cup) 1 Regt RLC Champion Army Ladies Team (there’s still no cup…) RA Ladies Champion Army Unit Nordic Ski Team (Kentish Cup) 1 Regt RLC Women’s Military Patrol Race RA Ladies Men’s Military Patrol Race 1 Regt RLC Individual results: Junior Men Junior Novice Men Senior Novice Men Junior Women Novice Women Senior Men Senior Women

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Pte Tom Foster 6 Regt RLC Tpr Mike Bishton HCR Capt George Gibson 3 RSME LBdr Ciara Mitchell RA Ladies Lt Tamsin Owen RA Ladies Bdr Lee Jackson 16 Regt RA Gnr Sam Grist RA Ladies

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his Season saw the outstanding performances that we have become used to in the Nordic and Biathlon fraternity, but the leaderboard was dominated by two teams in particular. With clean sweeps at Ex RUCKSACK 19, the Inter-Services and UK National championships, both the 1 Regt RLC men and the RA Ladies proved their talent management strategy works. It should also be mentioned that 1 Regt RLC achieved the impossible in winning every single team race of the season, all the way through from the opening Relay at the Qualifying Championship in France to the final Patrol race at Ex RUCKSACK in Ruhpolding. In some cases the winning margin was a matter of seconds, which goes to show how strong the competition is in the Men’s races, but the feat also called for sustained effort and focus over ten weeks of racing, not to mention a further four weeks of on-snow training and countless hours of predeployment training.

And it is this sustained effort, and necessary complete immersion in our sport that makes the Winter Sports disciplines slightly different to the other sports our Service colleagues partake in. And perhaps also this requirement for sustained periods away from the home base can make it difficult for our athletes to be released to compete. So, it is even more encouraging to see that, as in recent years, participation is at a healthy level. There were 190 military athletes competing at RUCKSACK 19, of which 32 were women, 80 were novices, 28 were juniors and three were youths. Furthermore, with teams entered from all three Services it


NORDIC NORDIC LUGE

was encouraging that both men and women were able to compete at Inter-Service level. Therefore, as ever, we thank the chains of command of the Nordic athletes for recognising the benefits that participation in our sport brings and allowing their people to represent their units, Corps and Services at all levels of competition. Snow conditions were changeable this year. In contrast to many seasons in the recent past we simply enjoyed too much snow at the beginning of the competition, meaning that several route choices were not available to the course setters. The cross-country phase was most impacted, with the relay almost being postponed due to heavy snowfall preventing the track cutter from doing its job. A shared athlete and jury decision saw the race go ahead as scheduled, but conditions were tough, and racers had their work cut out to keep anything like a decent technique going. Fortunately conditions cleared a little for the biathlon phase, and the good base of snow held out until the final races of the competition. This meant that the Patrol setters were not constrained in route selection, and Patrol teams ‘enjoyed’ a full 30km route skiing on local loipes that many had never had the pleasure to race on because conditions have not been good enough in recent years. With the changing rules and regulations surrounding the conduct of Nordic ski training and racing in the Army many suspected that either numbers or quality might suffer in this season. It is a credit to the team captains who work so hard, and with increasing ingenuity, that neither of these metrics were markedly down this year. With further changes likely to come into force ahead of the next season we hope that it is recognised that no challenge is insurmountable and that the benefit that participation brings to the unit and the individual is worth the hard work needed to deploy, train, manage and race a team. Good luck to those who aspire to race next season.

As preparations are already underway for Ex RUCKSACK 2020 (22 Jan – 7 Feb 20) our thanks, as ever, also go to our generous sponsors whose support allows us to maximise the number of young Service people who are exposed to the sport. Their support is increasingly a fundamental part of ensuring the continuation of the sport in the Services and we are enormously grateful.

Events 2020 Divisional Championships 1 EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers, France 11-22 Jan 2020 Divisional Championships 2 EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 11-22 Jan 2020 Army, Inter Service & British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding, Germany 22 Jan - 7 Feb 20

British Biathlon Union 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. Contact Roddy Christie at info@ britishbiathlon.com, 7 Clifford Street, SHREWSBURY, SY2 5EU (07714 766860), www.britishbiathlon.com

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SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Skeleton is available to both Regular and Reservist soldiers and is becoming more popular every season. The race begins with a running push start from the top of the track; a fast start is crucial for success. Races can be won or lost here; pace, explosive power and skill to move the sled as quickly as possible and leap on. The clock does not start until they reach the 15m point. The fastest start titles from the ‘Army Championships’ were from Capt Rhiannon Graham AGC who for another season won the Women’s title, and in his Novice Season 2Lt James Folkes who won the men’s.

Contact

Chairman Skeleton Bobsleigh Maj TDE Haskell RA Secretary Skeleton Bobsleigh SSgt N Moxon R Signals e: skeleton@awsa.org.uk

Once the athlete is on the sled, focus and fast reflexes to manoeuvre the curves of the track are key as well as having the discipline to maintain the most aerodynamic position. It does not take long to reach great speeds and experience up to 5Gs; all whilst their head and feet hang just over the sled, and on high speed corners their helmet can touch and scrape the ice due to the excessive speed, pressure and Gs. This can of course be tricky for the athlete as they can have obscured vision and will therefore have to feel their way around the corners until the pressure is reduced, not an easy task. Constant track walks and analysing track notes is a must for all athletes, no matter what level of experience they have. Whilst steering the sled it is vital that the athlete only moves when needing to steer, otherwise any slight movement at high speed will change the direction of airflow past them causing the sled to unintentionally move. This can have a dramatic effect to the success of the run and would increase their overall down time and effect the overall finish position. If they wish to steer the sled they can shift body

weight, apply downward pressure using knees and shoulders on one of the corners of the sled. Reaching out and tapping a toe can also alter the direction in which they wish to turn. Every soldier that attends Ex RACING ICE 1 - novice camps will take part in a progressive training week that will allow them to learn the basic detail, steering and the running starts. There is not much personal kit needed for Skeleton. The Helmets are specialist race helmets that need to be strong to withstand impact but also light enough for the high-speed corners when they are experiencing high Gs. Skeleton spikes differ from normal running spikes as they are brush like and contain 300 needle-like spikes so that the athlete can grip the ice at the start and push the sled with maximum power and pace. Both the helmet and spikes are provided for all Army personnel that take part in skeleton. The race suit has been developed to be the most aerodynamic, it is a tailored fit so that no loose material will slow the athlete down. Padding is not a requirement, but a must for everyone on Army Novice Camps.

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SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Ex RACING ICE 1 was again held in Igls, Austria. The novice camp allows both Regular and Reserve soldiers the chance to take part in one of the three ice sport disciplines available; Skeleton, Bobsleigh or Luge for a period of one week. Everyone that attends are volunteers and containing nerves, excitement and adrenaline on an Olympic track whilst experiencing speeds of 100 kph is not for the faint hearted. This did not deter the novices this season with an impressive increase in female soldiers attending and both weeks were fully attended. After a short flight from Gatwick the novice athletes arrive at the Waltzl, a small and friendly hotel located just outside the city of Innsbruck in a town called Lans. The Army has stayed here for many years and the host is very accommodating. Everyone who arrives has a nervous but excited demeanour about them. Most have watched their chosen discipline on TV, Youtube or other social media. After the arrival brief by the Exercise OIC athletes are introduced to their Discipline heads and coaches. This season the Skeleton training team was solely military; coaching and training for the week was led by SSgt Nicky Moxon assisted by SSgt Mel Vernon and Cpl Dave Manning and for the second week SSgt (SSI) Julia Bloomer. All team members have a vast amount of experience and reassured the Novice athletes that they were in safe hands. We also had excellent trackside medical cover from Sgt Natasha Sinclair and Cpl Dave Hummel. Once all briefs had been given the groups were taken to the Olympic track. On first viewing it is no ordinary feeling stood next to the finish curve, when an athlete speeds past headfirst. Conversations fill the air and are mostly ‘that cannot be what I will be doing, tomorrow?’ or ‘how will I slow myself down’. The first answer is a definite yes, and sorry there are no brakes on your sled! Next stop the novices are introduced to the personal protection equipment - helmet and spikes. Excitement and nerves are visible when given the sleds that will be taking them down the track. The amount of padding everyone brings with them is plentiful. Whilst it is a requirement for the Novices, they can take on the appearance of a walking roll matt; too much can be a hindrance. Once all the equipment has been issued, the essential instruction and safety briefs given and a track walk completed, all are ready for the first day on the ice.

The breakfast prior to hitting the track on the first day of ice is always quiet. Some novices are tense and anxious about what the first trip down the track will be like, whilst others seem to be a little more confident. However, in Skeleton, feelings can change whether it is the first time on the ice or the slider has years of experience. Nerves and excitement can be difficult to manage. Who knows what they will be thinking before they leave the start? Calm and collected, maybe? Or not! Day one at the track is when Novices learn how to control initial fear and how to react or not at speed. Everyone has masses of courage to travel into the unknown, no other sport compares. Two runs which are called laufs will be completed whilst the slider become best friends with their sled. At the end of the first day, another track walk is completed, coaching will be given with the focus on body position. It is amazing the difficulty a novice slider finds in keeping their head close to the ice with feet in the downward position. Day two is when reality of the sport becomes apparent. They will be starting from further up the track. This is another fear to overcome as speeds will again increase and some will travel around the finish curve not aware of what has just happened or that they are at the end, this is going from an extra three bends closer to the top. Each slider has various © Racing image by Soldier magazine - Crown Copyright

ways to overcome this, whether they prepare on their own or in a group. Some are quiet whilst others are lively and excited. Every day warming up is vital as speed will be increased as well as the Gs. Over the following two days the majority of skeleton sliders become addicted to speed and want to push off the top as fast as they can to achieve at least 110KpH by the last day. On the last day the competitiveness kicks in, everyone gives 100%, sprinting off the top and safely completing the two laufs. The natural sliders become apparent with excellent run times and natural push starts. During Ex RACING ICE 1, Skeleton had some very promising novices both male and female who were invited to attend the following Army championships. Building on the successes at the Championships, four novice sliders were then selected to be part of the Army Squad at the Inter service Championships.

EVENTS Army Ice Camp EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 29 Nov - 15 Dec 2019 Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterburg, Germany 10-18 Jan 2020 Army Squad training week Ex RACING ICE III Koenigssee, Austria 2-6 Mar 2020 Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Koenigssee, Austria 9-13 Mar 2020

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SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Ex RACING ICE 2

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he venue for the 2019 Army Ice Sports Championships was to be Koenigssee, which the Army last competed at in 2011. It was challenging, difficult to master and provided a level playing field for all competitors. The Championship was again at full capacity and ran by Maj Tim Haskell, SSgt Nicky Moxon and SSgt Mel Vernon. The Army Skeleton Championships had 23 high quality athletes with a wide range of abilities. Sport for all is highly encouraged and promoted during this event. A criterion for sliders wishing to attend the Championships is to safely complete the Novice week and to be invited back to attend the Championships. With a fine blend of novice, junior and senior sliders, the title for Army Champion was not going to be easy an easy win. Any error can have a dramatic effect on a down time. Koenigssee is a technical track and speeds of 130KPH can be easily reached.

The Championships includes four training days and final race day. Throughout training, for the first few laufs all sliders started at the S-Curves under the excellent instruction of Nathan Jackson. This allowed a steady progression as the 360 Kreisel further down the track, had a vicious bite had to be taken at a slower speed to get this right before moving to the top of the track. By day four all sliders were at the top. The track also has an outside ice house - push track was available and many starts were practiced and perfected ready for racing. The race can be won on a sliders start, so any opportunity to practice is a must.

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On the evening prior to the final day a Race draw is conducted and everyone awaits their position in which they will start their first lauf. This can have an effect mentally and the condition of the ice can change on the day as it can quickly deteriorate within minutes if the weather suddenly changes. Most want to slide in first position but on the second run the running order is from the slowest first to the fastest last. The race result is a combined time of both runs. The male race this year was the most exciting yet as novices and junior sliders were keeping the senior sliders on their toes. The second run was tense, start times were getting faster, with 2Lt James Folkes leading the way with his impressive push start. The Army Championship title was fought for until the end, but with nail biting second laufs and a slight error on exit Kreisel from Sig Arran Holmes, Pte Sam Banda won the championship followed by Cpl Ben McManus as runner up and Cpl Dave Manning in third. Two novices shone throughout the championships and both Cpl Daryn Smith and Maj Ross Catchpole were subsequently invited to be part of the Army Squad.

The quality within the Female race was again at the highest with new novice and junior sliders keeping the more senior sliders aware that the race wasn’t won yet. On race day, experience paid off for the senior sliders even though the Kreisel was catching some of the sliders out on the exit. However Capt Rhianon Graham led from her first run and won the Women’s title for the 2nd year, followed by senior slider, SSgt Maria Cullimore as runner up. A mention to the two novice sliders - Cpl Georgia Grossi, RA and Pte Rachel Ford, AGC. Both demonstrated a vast amount of potential and were therefore selected to be part of the Army Squad and attend the Inter service Championships. With all sliders giving it their all, selecting the Army Squad to go forward to Ex RACING ICE 3 and the Inter Service Championships was a difficult task for the staff as it is imperative that the right squad is selected. Once squad selection has taken place, the next hurdle can be the availability of the selected sliders. Fortunately, this was not an issue and a big thank you to all the Chains of Command involved in allowing their soldiers to compete at the highest level.


SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Army Championships

© Racing image by Soldier magazine - Crown Copyright

INTER SERVICE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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or the first time since 2011 the Army Squad returned to Koenigssee for Ex RACING ICE 3 and the Inter Service Championships. The Army Squad consisted of 13 sliders, 6 female and 7 Male. The first week consisted of training laufs, many track walks and analysing notes.

From the Army Championships everyone was aware of how technical the track was and began to work on techniques to tackle Kreisel and other problematic areas on the track. For the first week the Squad was kindly coached by Swiss coach Uls, he was great with all sliders and everyone progressed which was fantastic. This helped ensure that the RAF and NAVY teams were kept on their toes, especially as the RAF arrived with a current GB slider alongside a recent ex GB slider! At the inter service championships the race is conducted over two days and consists of four Laufs combined for each team athlete, so an error earlier in the race can be difficult to fix, therefore a race can be lost on the first lauf. However, this can create exciting Championships amongst the talented athletes from all three services and this season did not fail to impress. After a successful seven days of training, the difficult task of selecting the team to race was upon the shoulders of SSgt Nicky Moxon, Cpl Dave Manning and SSgt Mel Vernon. Again, the squad had masses of talent and this season the opportunity was given to two novices amongst a nine strong team. A special mention must be made to Sgt Tony Wressell and SSgt Mel Vernon, Cpl Dave Manning for their assistance and coaching. This was an excellent experience for the Squad but it was clear by the end of the race that the RAF had taken the title with the Army Mens team as runners up. Pte Sam Banda gained an individual 3rd place and it was great to see that four of the Army athletes were in

Men’s Champion - Pte Sam Banda PARA Men’s Runner up - Cpl Benjamin McManus RE Women’s Champion - Capt Rhianon Graham AGC Women’s Runner up - SSgt Maria Cullimore RLC Junior Champion - Cpl Benjamin McManus RE Junior Runner up - Sig Arran Holmes RSIGS Novice Champion - Maj Ross Catchpole REME Novice Runner up - Cpl Daryn Smith PARA Fastest men’s start -2Lt James Folkes RLC Fastest women’s start - Capt Rhianon Graham AGC

Inter Service Championships Men Team: 1st RAF 2nd Army 3rd Navy

the top six. The Navy couldn’t catch the Army team and remained in 3rd. The Female team was selected with a mix of senior and junior sliders. It was a close race and the last day was certain to count as after day one, all Army sliders had produced PBs, and sliders from all three services were within an inch of the title. On the second day the track conditions had changed due to bad weather. This increased errors and places were swapping and changing until the end. However the experience that the Army team contained allowed them to take the Winners title back from the RAF as well as individually 2nd place was won by Army senior SSgt (SSI) Julia Bloomer and 3rd place was achieved by Junior Sgt Amie Kirwin. Excellent results all round. Capt Rhianon Graham also kept her foot to the gas at the top of the track and won the fastest start title! Throughout the past few seasons Army Skeleton has gone from strength to strength with a promising future ahead. The depth and knowledge of all sliders is being continuously developed. The opportunity for experienced sliders to become coaches has increased and plays a vital part to the success and development of future Army Skeleton athletes. Army Skeleton is evolving! Interested? Do you have fast reaction times, physical and mental strength and a sense of humour if it all goes wrong then please contact SSgt Nicky Moxon, email skeleton@awsa.org.uk

Cpl Dave Manning RSIGS LCpl Ben McManus RE Cpl Smith 3 PARA Sig Arran Holmes RSIGS Pte Sam Banda 3 PARA

Men Individual:

1st RAF 2nd RAF 3rd Army - Pte Sam Banda - 3 PARA An outstanding achievement for the Army Men’s team with 4 spots gained within the top 6!

Women Team: 1st Army 2nd RAF 3rd Navy

SSgt Nicky Moxon RSIGS SSgt (SSI) Julia Bloomer RAPTC Capt Rhianon Graham AGC Sgt Amie Kirwin REME

Women Individual:

1st RAF 2nd Army SSgt (SSI) Julia Bloomer RAPTC 3rd Army Sgt Amie Kirwin REME Fastest start: Capt Rhianon Graham AGC Another close race with 3 positions out of the top 5 taken by the Army Women’s Team.

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SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Army Champion 2019

Pte Sam Banda - 3 PARA

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t the Army Championships, the Koenigssee track was quite hard to get my head around especially the bend away straight that is far from being straight! The next troublesome corner was the Kreisel as part of it travels uphill and it is a full 360 degrees. At first, with it being a new track, we started from Damen (lower down the track) which made Kreisel relatively tame, but as soon as we went from the very top it all changed and I was to find out that Kreisel can bite hard. Throughout the training sessions I was struggling, but thanks to our head coach Nathan Jackson and his team, we managed to get things looking good for the forthcoming race. This year was by far my strongest as my push start had improved - I have the Parachute Regiment team to thank for that, as we have been training hard since October. On race day everything came together and after the first lauf I was ahead by 0.06 seconds. On the second run, my lead increased as I managed to achieve another 55 second finish time. I took the title of Army Champion 2019 and then went on to race at the Inter Service Championships where I achieved 3rd as an individual and 2nd as a team. This season was a fantastic experienced and I was very honoured to be a part of it.

Bobsleigh to Skeleton

Cpl Daryn Smith - 3 PARA

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aving three years previous experience in a Bobsled, I was determined to give skeleton a shot and I was fortunate to go from complete beginner on Ex RACING ICE 1, the novice ice camp, to representing the Army at the Inter Service championships - all within my first season! The ice camp is run annually, and I travelled to Igls in Austria hoping that my previous experience with Bobsleigh would help. I knew the track, but I ended up trying to do bobsled steers which turned out to be the complete opposite of what I needed to do on a skeleton sled. However, thanks to the coaches and a variety of crashes accompanied by very funny videos, this was finally sorted out. By the end of my novice week I could travel down the track safely and at speed. At Army Champs in Koennigsee. There was a massive 4G, 360 degree corner called the Turbodrome which at times bit back but if you had a clean exit was a lot of fun … not so much when you messed it up though! I thoroughly enjoyed being on a more difficult and challenging track in comparison to the gently curves of Igls. There was a big field of 25 sliders both male and female at the Championships and by the end of the Race I came 5th overall, gained the Runner up novice title and was lucky enough to be selected for the Inter service squad. We went back out in Feb for the Inter service Championships which was another step up in competitiveness with the RAF bringing 2 GB athletes. The Army had a really strong team of guys which was fantastic but this caused a bit of a headache for the coaches as they had to pick the best team to slide on race day. In the end I got given

the nod after the final day’s training had finished and around 20 mins before the race draw which proved just how difficult and close it was between Army Sliders. The race was close and the Army team gave it their all, but unfortunately the RAF won with the Army taking 2nd and the Navy 3rd. The experience on an Inter services race day from bobsleigh to skeleton is very different. In a Bobsleigh you are a 2 man team so you’ve got someone else to share the experience and nerves with at the top of the track and it does come with the responsibility of getting the brakeman down fast and safe if you are the pilot. In skeleton your team is in the changing room but as you are waiting at the start there’s only you, your sled and the track. It’s an adrenalin fuelled place to be, but you’ve got to have the ability to switch from sprinting flat out on the start to being calm and collected on the sled. I’d thoroughly recommend any ice sport and even as a novice you could make the Army race team in your first season - It can be a fast and crazy ride, but it is achievable. One of my team mates jokingly told me he was so surprised how quickly I had come on and made the team, since I was probably the worst slider at the novice camp, which I fully admit to. But with determination, drive and the will to succeed, I had managed to pull it off and was extremely pleased.

Army Womens Skeleton Champion 2019 Capt Rhianon Graham – AGC

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his was my fourth season competing at Ex Racing Ice 2 & 3 and the InterServices Championships, it never disappoints! The Army Championships always proves to be an exciting, albeit challenging, week. This year we slid the track in Koenigssee which was technically challenging, even for our more experienced sliders. The change in track each year is essential for keeping our seniors on their toes and levelling out the playing field for our juniors and novices. As someone whom is a much better starter than they are driver, the 360° Kreisel presented me with some sketchy moments and a few bruises! Although

up until the Inter-Services Champs we are all competing against each other, the camaraderie of the Skeleton squad and Ice Sports group in general is always fantastic. Novices are always welcomed and encouraged with the best level of coaching we can provide. I was fortunate to win the Army Womens Championship and extremely happy to be selected for the InterServices team again this year. The ladies team won the Inter-Services Championships which was a great achievement for us all and very rewarding after two weeks of sliding. Skeleton is one of the highlights of my year and I look forward to seeing my ice sports family each time….is it 2020 yet?

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SNOWBOARD

SNOW BOA Ex SNOW JACK

Army Snowboard Championships 2019

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n 2019 the Army returned to the Neustift Valley for the annual Championships held on Stubai Glacier. Corps and Unit teams as well as individuals competed for the coveted Army Crown. The weather was typically variable for the glacier, going from some phenomenal blue-sky days with sunburn a serious risk to howling winds and snowstorms resulting in several lost days at the end of the two week package. The event started with the seeding Giant Slalom to sort the field into some sort of race order followed by the Parallel Giant Slalom – an incredibly competitive event racing head-to-head in a knock-out format against an opponent down (you guessed it) parallel courses. Tricky gate changes caught out a few but resulted in some great racing with wins at the top end split by single digit microseconds. Moving on to the Boardercross brought its own challenges as riders raced flat out down a narrow course consisting of rollers, banked turns, gates, drops and jumps. This is difficult at the best of times but even more so when on the same course with three other riders. Pushing is not permitted but as you can imagine there was a certain amount of “defending one’s line”, and “safe but aggressive” riding! I can happily report that no major injuries were sustained apart from a fair few bruises, scrapes and damaged egos. The last and most eagerly anticipated event was the Slopestyle. The mountain team this year put on a seriously challenging set of obstacles on a par with the Inter-Services level of riding which caused a fair amount of real concern amongst the newer

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riders. To their absolute credit, every single one went full-blast over the kickers, the Red Line riders having to clear at 10 meters just to reach the landing slope. At the higher end, backside 180s and grabs were the order of the day with a few 360’s thrown in by the real specialists. At this point the weather started to close in and as the final riders went down the course after an exceptionally long day the snow, cloud and wind all came in with a vengeance. Sadly that was it, the mountain remained closed for the final two days. Fortunately, enough had been achieved thanks to the riders’ grit and determination to complete the final event, and it was almost home time, just tea (or beverage of choice) and medals to conclude a fantastic Championships. A number of new riders made the cut for selection as part of the Army Squad, proving that there is a genuine depth of talent across all the Corps that will present a real challenge to the other Services at the next ISSSC! Overall, 41 riders qualified for the Championships: Individual Open Champion – SSgt Mark Blackbourn REME; Runner-up – Sgt David Grant REME Overall Corps Champions – Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (retained the trophy)


SNOWBOARD Contact Chairman Snowboard Brig N Pond Vice Chairman Snowboard Col JC Connelly Secretary Snowboard Maj M Greeensmith snowboard@awsa.org.uk

OARD F

Events

Army Championships EX SNOW JACK 18 Jan - 1 Feb 2020 Inter Services Championships 1-8 Feb 2020

BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS

ollowing on from great success at the Inter-service Snow Sports Championships, the following army snowboarders were selected to represent the UK Armed Forces Snowboarding Team at the BRITS National Snowboarding Championships, Laax, April 2019: Maj Kelly Richards – Royal Artillery Capt Rochelle Bales – Royal Artillery SSgt Dale Gallagher – REME Sgt Lisa Quinn – Royal Army Medical Corps LCpl Matty Hannah – Royal Engineers The week of training prior to the competition was unintentionally intense. The encouragement and support was so strong amongst the team you could not help but ride at your maximum. Everyone was keen to make the most of this amazing opportunity and great team. By day one on the snow, riders had pushed themselves to try features and tricks that they had never done before. The atmosphere was full of infectious enthusiasm, which did not diminish throughout the whole experience. First event of the competition week was boardercross. The course was challenging to say the least. The top section in particular was very technical, it consisted of a high wutang, double roller which was followed by seven fast rollers that followed on from each other in quick succession. Throughout the day many crashes were witnessed as competitors were defeated by this unforgiving part of the course. Olympian Jenny Jones was present at the event with a group of riders who had been attending her training camp, some had decided to participate in the racing. Unfortunately, one of Jenny’s riders was unlucky on the course during a qualifying run, he had a bad crash gaining several lacerations to his face and injuring his wrist - later

Sgt Lisa Quinn

confirmed as badly broken. As it is second nature for soldiers to aid people in need, most of the army riders quickly headed down to help the injured man. We assisted getting him off the course, getting evacuation to his location and assisted his wife by holding onto their ski equipment whilst they visited the hospital. So impressed by our quick actions and how much extra effort we were willing to go to without any complaint or hesitation, the wife began to ask questions about the UK Armed Forces Snowboarding Team. Gp Capt Dave Tozer informed her on the configuration of the team, what some of the riders do for a day job and how we get to the BRITS. The wife of the injured man turned out to be a columnist for Planet Ski. Impressed by our actions and general conduct she asked to write a piece on the UK Armed Forces Snowboarding Team and to interview the medical professional who has assisted her husband - https://planetski.eu/news/11651 During the boardercross knockouts Matty Hannah performed excellently, competing alongside Olympic Bronze Medallist Billy Morgan in the semi-final. Throughout the race he was in a strong second place and looked guaranteed to make it through to the final. Then an unfortunate incident occurred and he fell during the bottom third of the course, narrowly missing the chance to compete against Billy Morgan in the final. The final competition was slopestyle and the atmosphere was unbelievably energetic. We had perfect weather conditions for a park event, both for competing and observing. All riders came away from this trip feeling truly accomplished and privileged to have experienced it. We have developed strong friendships with riders from other services and exhibited the British Armed Forces at a National Competition.

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SNOWBOARD

Army Snowboard Individual Slopestyle Championship 2018 Col JC Connelly and WO2 FofS(IS) Cooke

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nce again the Glacial Resort of Kaunertal, Austria hosted British Army Snowboarding for Exercise SNOW METHOD 18. Individuals from across the Army embarked upon a two week training camp with training delivered by our Dutch friends from Ripstar and coaching for a select few who make up the Army Team delivered by Barry Parker BASI L4 Jedi, who was also the Head Judge for the Competiton. Unfortunately, for the first time in a number of years, the snow conditions were awful, sunny days without snow were the norm for the fortnight. The glacier staff however worked their magic each evening and dug snow from reserves from the previous winters fall to replenish the runs as best as they could. The freestyle competition provides the pinacle of the the event where skills practiced and developed over the previous two weeks are honed into a competition run and provide an opportunity to show off progress made and challenges overcome. The exercise always attracts a good participation with repeat attendance providing the bulk of those present. Thirty four riders qualified for the Slope Style competition with: • Pte William Wright placing 1st, • WO2 Thomas Etherington placing 2nd • and Cpl Mark Nicholl placing 3rd

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A Unit View - Queens Royal Hussars 2nd Lt Jack Beckett QRH

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018 marks the first time The Queen’s Royal Hussars have travelled to Kaunertal, Austria, in order to take part in exercise SNOW METHOD 18, and we’ve been welcomed with open arms. The QRH team consists of four experienced riders, and two complete novices.

Despite the lack of other Royal Armoured Corps regiments on exercise SNOW METHOD 18, the QRH has pioneered the way and proven that snowboarding can be a serious sport for regiments to invest in, and hopefully our RAC brothers will follow suit in subsequent years’ iterations. The quality of instruction from the excellent RIPSTAR team has allowed everyone to develop significantly from their starting level. By the end of the first week, experienced riders were developing their technical skills within the park and moving on to more complex features, allowing them to begin planning their run for the freestyle competition in the second week. For the beginners, a week of instruction has taken them from their first time on a board to tackling some of the simpler features in the park, such as the rainbow box and small kickers, with a view to being able to compete alongside those more experienced later in the exercise. Alongside technical development, exercise SNOW METHOD 18 has given those taking part the opportunity to come together with others sharing a common ethos. It has proven that Snowboarding has the capability to achieve the same goals as the traditional “core” Army sports. Snowboarding and SNOW METHOD has provided the chance to bond and develop a stronger team ethos, both as the QRH team, and in a wider Army Snowboarding context.


© Crown Copyright - Cpl Nicholas Egan RAF

SNOWBOARD

Maj Edd Alderson

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he Team conducted two weeks training at Flachau, Austria; this area is perfectly suited for competition training as there is a progressive park, a snowboard cross course and plenty of excellent pistes to practice carving and slalom. The Team performed superbly and won the male and female competitions following a hard-fought contest against the RAF, RN and Australian Defence Force (ADF). Inter-Services Champions - Army Team. The Snowboard Cross course was the most challenging it has been for several years and the competition was fierce. Sgt Kris Looker finished in 1st place with LCpl Matty Hannah in 4th. In the Female competition, Sgt Lisa Quinn finished 1st and one of our new riders; Capt Rochelle Bales won the small final and finished 5th overall. The Army dominated the middle ground, earning vital points and demonstrating the importance of strength in depth; we took an early lead in the overall team competition. Conditions for qualifying were challenging, with lots of snowfall and the course being relatively soft underfoot. Despite this, the Army qualified with the most riders from a single service going forward to the

finals. This year, the course was extended, and the committee made a prudent decision to alter one of the gates, which has consistently vexed riders on one of the courses; this led to a much fairer event and some incredible riding from all competitors. Sgt Kris Looker narrowly missed out on the win and finished 2nd to AET Ross Taylor from the Navy. The small finale was Army vs Army with Maj Kelly Richards beating Sgt Lisa Quinn, earning 3rd and 4th place respectively; the Army maintained the lead in both competitions. The final event was delivered over three days, which gave the riders plenty of time to practice their tricks and get used to the park. The Female competition was delivered on the top park in Meribel, with the Male event-taking place on the DC 43 Park. The standard across the field was remarkable and the competition saw its first backside 900 by AET Ross Taylor. For the Army, LCpl Matty Hannah finished 3rd and won the coveted Nelson Pratt ‘best trick’ prize and sealed the overall team victory by just five points. In the ladies competition, Sgt Lisa Quin won the Bronze, whilst the Navy’s two top riders were knocked out in the qualifiers and the Army took the overall team win; it was a great effort by a team with riders that had never competed in the park before.

Farewell to Brig Richard Bennett MVO as Chairman

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rig Bennett has been on the Snowboard scene for almost two decades, more than half of which as Chairman of Army Snowboarding. He has overseen a complete rejuvenation of the sport and been pivotal in bringing it to the forefront of competitive wintersports. He will be sorely missed and we thank him whole-heartedly for his absolute commitment to the sport and the soldiers that take part. ‘I have witnessed extraordinary skill, courage and commitment of riders across intense sporting challenge over a decade of being Chairman of Army Snowboarding. Lifelong friendships have been triggered on the slopes and cemented by a common passion for riding. Despite the rising costs of snowboarding to individuals as allowances have tightened it has been encouraging to see so many continuing to pursue the sport, and for the competitive edge to thrive under the generous public and AWSA funding for the Army Championships and for our Army Team at the Inter-Services Championships. It has been a huge pleasure to ride with so many talented athletes and to assist the successive Committee members in contributing to Army Snowboarding over the past years. I wish you all well for the future and look forward to staying in touch. ’ Brig Richard Bennett MVO

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TELEMARK

EX TELEMARK Contact Chairman Telemark Colonel Matt Birch Secretary Telemark Maj Rich Wright

e: telemark@awsa.org.uk

Army Championship

EX TELEMARK TITAN Pralognan La Vanoise (PLV), FRA 11-23 Jan 2020 Inter-Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 1-8 Feb 2020

2019 saw the British and Army Championships (Ex TELEMARK TITAN) return to Pralognan-la-Vanoise (PLV), France for the third consecutive year. This year’s Championship coincided with PLV hosting a FIS Telemark World Cup event over the final weekend, the atmosphere built throughout the 14 days with a palpable buzz of excitement amongst all the competitors, officials and villagers alike. 40


TITAN 2019 T

he Championships were attended by 110 racers from across the Army, the design of the Championships allow for all ability levels, with experienced racers to first time telemarkers. The event comprises two different race series; the Championship and the Development, this allows for those new to telemarking to be able to race on a less demanding course, although still set on the same race piste that those with more experience use, this helps to keep the “fear factor” of racing to a manageable level for both racers and officials! The quality of the race slope and the fact the authorities in PLV work so very hard to provide an outstanding Championships, is a credit to the relationship that has been established between PLV and the Army Telemark Officials. Again, as in previous years, the specifically trained Telemark instructors provided by the École du Ski Français (ESF), as well as the piste crews, remain of the highest quality and this transposed into a great event for 2019. The standard of Telemark skiing in the Army has hugely benefited from the level of instruction provided by the resort. With a broad span of experience available, the newer Telemarker will be advanced in piste technique, whilst the more experienced skier hones their racing skills under the supervision of FIS Telemark World Cup standard coaches. With Telemark, the main difference from Alpine skiing is that the heel is not fixed into the ski binding, the reason Telemark is also known as free heel skiing, and on every

turn the downhill foot is lunged forwards, making it an incredibly physically demanding discipline of skiing. For those that know little of Telemark, there are 4 different types of race to be competed in; the Giant Slalom, the Parallel Giant Slalom, the Sprint and the Classic. These events, unlike in Alpine, do not just include gates to negotiate. Depending on the event there are also added “fun” challenges which include jumps, a skating section and a 360-degree banked turn or ‘loom’. Week one of the Exercise is all about training as well as some powder skiing during days of heavy snowfall! The training includes everything from on-piste skiing and basic technique improvement for the beginners and intermediates to full race training which included gates, jumps, banked turns and skating for those with more experience in the advanced groups. Week two and it is straight into the races, everything had become a little more serious and there is now a definite competitive edge regardless of the class of competition you are in. The Giant Slalom, followed by the Sprint and then the Classic for both the Championship competitors and those in the Development area who are still frantically seeking to learn and master the discipline as they go! These events are then closely followed by the team Mountain Race. This event has now become a regular feature to draw the Championships to a close and involves teams of three competing in an uphill/downhill battle of endurance, each competitor in the team climbs up the

TELEMARK

mountain along the set course before ripping their ski skins off at the top and skiing down as fast as possible to release the next member of the relay. This event is just about the most exhausting and physically demanding activity you can do on ski’s, it’s no wonder that its popularity seems to go from strength to strength each season. Rest assured it is already in the programme for 2020 as is the Parallel Giant Slalom! The seasons championship was dominated by the team from the Royal Engineers, with challenging performances coming from Exeter University Officer Training Corps, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Lt Robbie Houstoun, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, dominated the individual competition with Maj Dafydd Howells, Royal Engineers, and Cpl Henry Munns, Intelligence Corps, battling for the second and third places, respectively. There were strong performances in the Development races, with clear potential for personnel to advance to Championship races during the 2020 event. The standard of competition during 2019 was the strongest seen since the Championships began and, looking forward, with the support provided by PLV, the discipline is in a great position to capitalise on enthusiastic Telemarkers. If you would like more information about the 2020 Championships please email the discipline secretary at telemark@awsa.org.uk. There are also a number of indoor Telemark festivals that run throughout the summer months, the details can be found at http:// gbtelemark.co.uk.

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EX SPARTAN HIKE Maj Ross M ANDERSON SCOTS DG

A study in concentration in his first season: Cfn Stephen Howard (6 Armd CS Bn REME)

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xercise SPARTAN HIKE 2019 returned to Monêtier, Serre Chevalier for another year of Alpine and Nordic competitions. There was great expectation that the snow conditions would be repeated from 2018 and there had been news on the Recce in October that the Marmots had gone to ground early. A good sign for the winter ahead we were informed, or they worked for sales in the Tourist Office! The Col du Lautaret was open and clear for the final leg of the journey that was the first indication that the Marmots theory may not stand up to scrutiny. We arrived in Monêtier in late afternoon of Thu 10 Jan with Tina from La Bez poised and ready for a busy two weeks. We started in earnest to get the Discipline Officials kit issued and plan the Registration day for the Teams. Daniela and Pascale were on hand to ensure the handover of the Race Office went smoothly and addressed any early questions we had. The effort to set up the Race Office, which requires 10 large metal lockers to be retrieved from their summer storage, is not to be under estimated. The SQMS Sgt Thompson ensured all the Official’s kit and equipment was issued in good time, ensuring we were ready on Friday evening for Teams arriving the following morning. The competition details I will leave to the Disciplines, but early discussions with the Village Chiefs of Course identified that the lack of snow would have an impact on the Race Programmes for both the Alpine and Nordic Races. The revised programmes delivered a full set of races but did extend the length of the competition day for both the competitors and officials. It was an excellent effort to deliver all the races considering the snow conditions. The Support Staff, including the Armoury Guard, were pulled together rather late in the planning process for the exercise, but the small elite team worked hard to ensure the Disciplines were supported well for the duration of the exercise. The Ex WO WO1 Mooney lead the Team using his experience and his calm influence to allow the junior members to fully contribute to the exercise. LCpl Pun, the Armoury Guard I/C, and his team of two did an excellent job in managing the security of the weapons for the Nordic Teams and providing additional assistance to the Race Office Staff. Capt Francis, the physio, did a fabulous job in keeping a high number of competitors ‘on the road’ and allowing them to either continue onto the Army Championships or informing them of follow-on medical treatment on return to their unit. We hope to see her again next year, as there is no doubt that having a physio is a force multiplier for those competitors with minor injuries that require managing. My final thanks are to Lt Col Spenlove-Brown, Lt Col Bromley Gardner, the two Chiefs of Race, and the Serre Chevalier villages who made my first year as Ex Controller nearly issue free. It was a pleasure to support them in delivering a successful exercise and we now look forward to 2020.

EX SPARTAN HIKE

NORD Lt Col Charles BROMLEY GARDNER MBE QRH

“No two years are the same” is a truism, and 2019 provided a novel challenge for course setters and competitors: sparse yet sufficient snow in benign weather meant that we kept to the planned programme, but were limited to only one set of courses. We were grateful again for Serre Chevalier’s investment in valley snow cannons, which, in combination with much bulldozing of snow, provided the minimum courses required. We were restricted to being based only at the biathlon range, so the tracks became very familiar to all.

Only 33 unit teams attended this year, and one of those (3 Med Regt) had just a Ladies team (that’s a first). The overall numbers (230 individuals) were the lowest since 2013, a further 15% drop on last year’s lowered participation, although female numbers were the same. The initial intention to participate was there – we had a small Reserve List at the end of September on top of the funded capacity of 300 – but it appears that the reality of getting soldiers away from other commitments (for even a limited training period), plus the administrative challenges, thwart unit plans. So hats off to those that still

spartanhike@gmail.com

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Photos by 10photography.co.uk

The first biathlon competitors on the range: from L: Lt James Passfield (QRH), LCpl Joel Smith (39 Engr Regt) and JUO Angus Young (OUOTC)


DIC

managed it, particularly those without a long skiing pedigree. It was great to see Oxford UOTC being allowed to participate again, even if they were the only Army Reserve unit (and thus Reserve Champions). The head of the field was always going to be the competition between the ‘corps’ skiing teams of 1 Regt RLC, 6 Regt RLC and 5 Bn REME. The first race was the 4x5km Cross Country Relay: 5 Bn (Cpl Melia) led by 16 seconds after the first leg; 6 Regt then took the lead (LCpl Williams) by 41 seconds, before 1 Regt (Cpl Kelly) finally got their noses in front, and stayed there in spite of the fastest time of the day from Sgt Woolley pulling 6 Regt back to only 19 seconds down. This was enthralling team racing at its best. 3 RSME were the first team to include a Novice skier, finishing in 4th place. From there on 1 Regt RLC stamped their authority on the championships, conceding only the first leg of the Biathlon relay, but taking all team honours thereafter (as they would continue to do throughout the season). 6 Regt RLC finished in second place in every team event, and 5 Bn REME came third (in every race).The battle just off the podium was between the experience of 4 SCOTS (4th in both biathlon races), 3 RSME

(4th in both cross country races) and 39 Engr Regt, who, with a novice in every race, took 4th place in the Military Patrol Race to leave them just behind 4 SCOTS overall. Although not prize-winners, there was keen rivalry throughout the field – 11th to 14th place were only separated by their Patrol Race results (24 Cdo Regt RE putting their noses in front) and there were similar results based on the Patrol Race at 17th – 21st (1 RHA keeping their noses in front) and 22nd – 27th (an excellent 9th in the Patrol Race for 35 Engr Regt lifting them above their fellows). 9 Regt RLC’s good SA80 shooting gave them 10th in the Patrol, way above their best previous position of 23rd. The Ladies’ races were less competitive: 1 RHA took the honours, barely coming under any pressure to win both relay races by over 6 minutes, even when Sgt Lightfoot (6 Regt RLC) was nearly 5 minutes faster than anyone else in the Biathlon Relay. However 6 Regt RLC turned form on its head in the Patrol Race with a nail-biting lead, a 2:23 lead in ski time (over 2 hrs 41 mins, so 1.5% faster) was enough to offset a slightly worse shooting score and gave them the well-deserved win for a great team performance. The REME Ladies took a majority of 3rd places to finish 3rd overall. Sgt Amanda Lightfoot (AGC attached to 6 Regt RLC) was the standout individual competitor, befitting a two times Olympian. Winning both individual races, she was nearly 9% faster than her nearest competitor (Capt Jess Wood 1 RHA), who was herself 2 minutes ahead of Capt Helen Richardson (29 Cdo Regt RA). Capt Sophia Bonella (3 RHA) was the leading Novice skier, with LBdr Becky Sedcole the fastest Junior and Gnr Daisy White (both 1 RHA) leading the junior novices well done the Gunner training scheme. 16 female competitors qualified for the Army Championships, with a further four who could not spare any more time away from military commitments. The Individual Combination competition was tight, as always: Cpl Carl Kelly (1 Regt RLC) beat last year’s winner Sgt Ben Woolley (now 6 Regt RLC) in both races to take the top honours; LCpl Adam Williams (also 6 Regt RLC) could only manage 3rd place after

EX SPARTAN HIKE

a slow (for him!) cross country race, in spite of winning the biathlon. In 4th place was the leading Junior – Pte Miles Cawood (1 Regt RLC). Capt Stringy Twine was 1 Regt RLC’s lowest placed competitor (of 6), winning the Veteran Combination in 12th place, just 8 seconds ahead of Bdr Kevin Kane (3 RHA). The leading Novice was LCpl Cameron Young (3 RSME) in a very commendable 18th place. A fairly fraught qualification process eventually got eleven SH units to the Army Championships, out of the 24 there. In spite of three better SH units being unavailable due to military commitments (QRH, QDG and 21 Engr Regt), all the qualified SH units finished in the top 17 places at Rucksack. The current qualification criteria have yet again been shown to unduly favour teams at the weaker championships. I hope that a fairer system will be agreed for the future. There was a scrabble in November to get sufficient officials; military realities, including a short-notice promotion course, impact on personal availabilities. But there are always those, unable to train for the whole season, who can be available for a fortnight in January, and I continue to urge volunteers to put themselves forward – a couple of seasons’ experience helps, but the main requirement is a willingness to enable others to ski. We are a very inclusive team – you don’t have to be male, in the Regular Army, in the RLC (surprisingly!), or a SNCO/officer! Thank you to SSgt Scott Cassidy (154 Regt RLC) and Sgt Jason Hull (HAC) for joining us for this year, and overseeing well-prepared courses; to WO1 Gina Simpson (HQ FTC) for running the start and finish with little permanent support, keeping on top of race-bib issue, collection, laundry and re-issue. Maj Richard Barrett (HQ DRLC) provided an excellent Patrol Race in the limited conditions, with some new ideas. And of course, the Range team of WO1 Tim Howard (HQ BFG), SSgt Reg Maskell (2 OSG RLC – an ex-alpine official) and Bdr Rich Wilkinson (5 Regt RA), who work the longest, coldest hours. And finally, to the contractor support from Emit UK, especially ex-WO1 (ASM) Phill Batts, who devised the truly on-line Registration and Race Declaration App that made those processes so much easier for competitors and officials alike.

LCpl Sandy Wishart (4 SCOTS) powers away from the range

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F

Cpl Alfie Tomkins 27 Regt RLC

EX SPARTAN HIKE

ALPINE

EX SPARTAN HIKE

Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2019 has been and gone, and what a year to remember. Over the period of the championships the majority of Europe was faced with heavy snowfall, however Serre Chevalier was unfortunately not so blessed and in fact had clear and sunny skies for the duration of the meet - great for everybody’s suntans but not so good for snow conditions or racing. This year was slightly different to previous years, with only one hill (previously 2 hills) and therefore more competitors (150). We opened the competition as always with seeding GS (Giant Slalom). This race is often the first ever race for some of the novice competitors, and watching the novice racers coming down the course after only two weeks on skis was a great sight, and their courage to push themselves and move up the seeding was extremely credible.

or the majority of the championships, the races were held in Monêtier on the Rochamont piste, locally called ‘The Fridge’ due to its freezing cold temperatures and lack of sun. Individual GS was the first competition event, with a tight finish for a podium position between some of the top

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runners. Spr Euan Kick from 3 RSME won by 1.19 seconds over his teammate Spr Duncan Kuwall, with LCpl John Riddle from 6 RLC in third position and Lt Sophie Nicholls from 3 RHA was the fastest female. Following on from the Individual GS race was Team GS. Team races are ordinarily approached by teams with slightly more caution, as a fall or a DNF (Did Not Finish) has a significant impact on their overall team result. 6 RLC paid little heed to caution and rocketed down the course, securing a win by a significant margin of 4.68 seconds. Second were 3 RSME and third were 1 RHA. On day three we moved from Monêtier to Villeneuve to conduct the speed events on the Clot Gauthier piste. Unusually we started with Super G, due to high winds and lack of snow preparation higher up the course. The Super G is a stepping stone to the Downhill race, with racers

Photos by 10photography.co.uk


becoming used to speed and using longer skis. Spr Euan Kick just pipped his teammate and rival Spr Duncan Kuwall by 0.52 of a second. LCpl John Riddle from 6 RLC came third, and Capt Scarlett Geering from 1 RHA convincingly beat Lt Sophie Nicholls from 3 RHA, with LBdr Hannah Williams from 1 RHA coming third. The Team results were very similar to the Team GS results, with 6 RLC as the winners, 3 RSME as the runners up and 5 FS Bn REME in third. The Downhill is very much the Blue Ribbon event of the championships, harnessing speed, skill and lots of bottle. For many it can be terrifying (although exhilarating), and this year’s course didn’t disappoint. We conducted the Downhill on the same piste as the Super G, starting at the very top of the Clot Gauthier. The start was a 50 metre climb up to the summit of Clot Gauthier (2581 meters), a new course giving a smoother and faster start section. We spent the next two days training and getting everyone used to the skis, the faster speed, the line and the jump. Training allows racers to get a feel for the speed, understand the line and build up confidence. Standing at the top of the jump and looking down into what seemed to be a good 25ft drop, I did not envy the competitors preparing to race down a course on which some of the top racers will clock speeds over 80 mph. It was brilliant to see all the racers fly off the lip of the jump, with Spr Euan Kick from 3 RSME earning the award for biggest jump (about 45 meters), and Pte Martin Coull from 6 RLC for the best wipe-out, fortunately without injury. Speeding through the finish and taking another individual first place was Spr Euan Kick from 3 RSME, beating his rival and teammate Spr Duncan Kuwell by a convincing 1.19 seconds, with LCpl Riddle coming in again a reliable third for 6 RLC. Capt Scarlett Geering from 1 RHA was the fastest lady, just pipping Lt Sophie Nicholls 3 RHA into second by 0.87 of a second. Cpl Sarah Yeomans from 3 RMP was third, podiuming for the first time. For the teams, 6 RLC won again, beating 3 RSME by a mighty 12.75 seconds, with 5 FS Bn REME in third.

We then moved back to ‘The Fridge’ in Monêtier to conduct the final slalom races. Slalom is the most technical of the disciplines in alpine skiing, with many combination gates, vertical gates, flushes and through gates, or better known by some as ‘trick gates’ or ‘bananas’. The individual race was won by Spr Euan Kick from 3 RSME, putting down a storming time and a near perfect display of FIS standard slalom. Spr Duncan Kuwall was second by 0.09 of a second, with LCpl John Riddle finishing in what seemed to be his favourite place of third. Lt Sophie Nicholls from 3 RHA won the female race by a massive 3.55 seconds, with Cpl Sheona Macmillan from 170 Engr Gp finding her form and coming in second. LBdr Hannah Williams from 1 RHA was third. The Team Slalom was won by a comfortable 213 seconds by 6 RLC, with a now familiar pattern of 3 RSME in second and 5 FS Bn REME in third. Overall in the individual event, Spr Euan Kick was the winner, with Spr Duncan Kuwall in second, and LCpl John Riddle third. Less predictably in the female event Lt Sophie Nicholls won, with LBdr Hannah Williams in second and Cpl Sarah Yeomans from 3 RMP third. The best veteran was Sgt Chris Bennet from 5 FS Bn REME, and the best novice was Pte Josh Howdle from 2 MERCIAN. Winning this year’s Team Alpine Combination and overall Ex Spartan Hike championships was 6 RLC, with 3 RSME nipping at their heels and I’m sure they will be back next year, eager to take the title of champions. 5 FS Bn REME, last year’s champions were third. My thanks go to all the racers for their help, their enthusiasm and love of the sport, and for making this year’s Ex Spartan Hike the best one yet.

The Downhill is very much the Blue Ribbon event of the championships, harnessing speed, skill and lots of bottle.

EX SPARTAN HIKE

Overall, Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2019 was a huge success with an excellent standard of racing under some challenging conditions. My thanks go out to all that made it happen, most notably to Major Ross Anderson, the Ex Controller, and his admin team, without whom the whole competition could not have been run. A big thank you to the resort itself and all the businesses that helped support the exercise, bending over backwards to assist us, opening lifts especially for us, and allowing us to use their facilities. Thanks also to the Ecole Du Ski Francais (ESF) headed up by Fabrice (The Grand Fromage), Jano and his hill team for their early starts, preparation and setting of our courses and making the racing simply first class. Also to Daniela, who liaises with all the accommodation owners, fixes our accommodation and keeps us out of trouble, and to our sponsor and avid supporter of SPARTAN HIKE, John Stoddart from Iturri, for generously donating clothing and helping in so many ways. And finally not to forget the Cocoon Bar and Fanny. The biggest thanks, goes to all the members of the Hill Team, who are all volunteers. They work long hours on the mountain to make the races run smoothly and are often up early before most competitors are out of bed. My thanks go to the whole of the hill team, Mr Tristan Cole from GB Snowsport as the Technical Delegate (TD) advising us on the rulings and safety aspects of racing, Lt Col Spook Spenlove-Brown, Chief of Race (CoR) and the glue binding us all, always the voice of reason and a guiding father figure on the slopes. Also to WO2 Andy Dawson, the most chipper man on the hill (once he had his morning coffee and cigarette), WO2 Steve Stewart, Capt Tim Squire and Maj James Scattergood, and lastly but by no means least, Sgt Dave McKinnon, who for the first time was in the hot seat for Timings and Calculations. His positive attitude and quick computer skills saw him quickly rise as the star official this year. Thank you to everyone who took part in Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2019 and let’s look forward to another superb championships next year - and pray for snow!

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on its promise to provide an arduous and challenging racing programme that thoroughly tested both Alpine and Nordic Teams and individuals mentally and physically.

The exercise delivery team, which was drawn from 102 Log Bde and a large number of SME’s from across the Regular Army and Reserves, set off on 8th January for the annual trek across Europe to Les Contamines in the French Alps. After two days of preparation, the teams arrived for Registration on Saturday 12 January and by close of play, over 200 Nordic and 145 Alpine competitors were ready for racing to begin. Despite the usual temperature issues at the beginning of the exercise that led to rain at lower altitudes, conditions rapidly improved and excellent snow fall for the remainder of the competition provided near perfect race tracks for both disciplines. This year also marked the 25th year that Ex PIPEDOWN has been hosted by the village of Les Contamines; a remarkable achievement. The British Army’s relationship with Les Contamines continues to flourish and to celebrate this event a formal dinner-night took place on Friday 18th January attended by a mixture of 175 British and French VIPs, officials and Team Captains. The Exercise Director, Brigadier Bizeul, DComd 1(UK) Division paid a fitting tribute to the town in his speech and presented the Mayor, Monsieur Etienne Jacquet with a wonderful signed print of a Rhino by the renowned wildlife artist David Shepherd. A local French band and the Pipes and Drums from 19 Regiment Royal Artillery provided musical entertainment throughout the evening and the night concluded in orderly fashion with Brigadier Bizeul toasting the Drum Major, Bdr Beattie. I will let my Chiefs of Race, Maj Andy Martin and Capt Taff John summarise this year’s Nordic and Alpine events but I am hugely grateful, not only to them but the team from 102 Logistic Brigade, headed up by Capt Wayne Charlie, 47 Regment RA who provided the Nordic range party and the remainder of the SME’s from across the Army who willingly give up their time to deliver such a wonderful series of races on behalf of GOC 1(UK) Division. Congratulations to all those athletes who took part this year. All races were fiercely competitive but undertaken in a thoroughly sportsman and sportswomen like manner. Inevitably there will be units and individuals who win the majority of the awards, trophies and prizes but my admiration goes to those competitors who know they may never win but continue to demonstrate the tenacity, courage, teamwork and discipline to go out day after day and give it their all. Planning has already begun for next year, a new contract is almost in place and I look forward to seeing many of you back on the snow in 2020. Richard.Eve185@mod.gov.uk

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Capt Taff John RLC – Chief of Alpine Delivery Team

Ex PIPEDOWN 2019 fully delivered

ALPINE

Lt Col RRT Eve RA - Ex Controller

EX PIPEDOWN

EX PIPEDOWN

Once again, the snow gods shined on the righteous and for the second year running The Alpine Dream Team arrived in Les Contamines to near perfect snow conditions. Recce’s completed, and new boys briefed Chief of Race WO2 Dougie MacPherson declared FOC and headed to Le Husky for a sharp one.


EX PIPEDOWN

T

he Individual GS set the tone for the rest of the Championships as LCpl ‘Swiss’ Grand of 22 Sig Regt took first place, closely followed by Lt Alex Wilson The Army Team Captain leading by example and Lt Jamie Calder-Smith hot on his heels. First over the line for the ladies was Capt Tori Cameron of 4 AMR. Although a HC Team and unable to win any prizes in the Team GS, the Infantry led the way followed by 4 Bn REME, 154 Regt RLC and 1 Mercian. In the Individual Slalom once again LCpl Grand demonstrated his technical prowess as did Capt Hollie Suff who brought it home for the ladies. The Team Slalom was once again won by Infantry A, however 39 Engr Regt collected the silverware as the winning unit. The transition from Technical to Speed saw athletes move from the sun-drenched Stade race piste to the Darkside of the Hill and the infamous Rosalette Downhill, which according to the course setter Luc Vauthier was running faster than normal. Just what Capt Dippy Diprose needed to hear on his

first appointment as a TD! Following two days of incident free training the Alpine Blue-Ribbon event was won by LCpl Grand, however Capt Andrew Cole was close on his heels for silver and Lt Alex Wilson kept up the pressure by taking bronze. In the ladies competition once again, Capt Hollie Suff took the honours, however, ‘Speed Queen’ Pte May Percival RLC gave a glimpse of what was to come. Once again Infantry A won the race, however 4 Bn REME, 39 Engr and 1 Mercian took unit honours. In the final event of the championships Pte Rob Poth of 154 Regt RLC gave us a lesson in Super G and Pte May Percival lived up to expectations taking first place for the ladies, a remarkable achievement for her first season racing.

Overall champions were:

Male Individual Alpine Champion LCpl Haydn Grand 22 Sigs Female Individual Alpine Champion Capt Rebecca Ritchie RLC – HQ ARRC Alpine Champion Team 4 Bn REME

The transition from Technical to Speed saw athletes move from the sun-drenched Stade race piste to the Darkside of the Hill and the infamous Rosalette Downhill.

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EX PIPEDOWN

EX PIPEDOWN

NORDIC Major Andy Martin RLC

This year’s series of Nordic and Biathlon races attracted up to 199 soldiers with a mixture of 25 male and 10 female teams from across the Army. With a superb turnout of juniors and novices, it seems the Corps are embracing one of the most physical and technical sports. All the Nordic athletes were put through their paces with a total of six races culminating in the prestigious Blue Ribband event the Military Patrol Race.

PIPEDOWN has gone from strength

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to strength on the organisational side with a team of 26 officials from across the Army, including 47 Regt RA who provided all the safety on the biathlon range. The impressive French ESF team are to be congratulated for providing some of the best quality Nordic ski race courses that proved to be both

challenging and technical ensuring all athletes were fully tested. With a compact programme the exercise is broken down into three phases. Teams are initially pushed through their paces with a gruelling 15 km Classic race for the males and 10km Classic race for the females. The team captains then select their best four athletes

to race the 4 x 5km Classic Relay race which this year saw a closely fought race between 17 P&M, 3 Rifles and 16 RA Regt. After two days of intense racing, all athletes took a well-deserved rest day and the opportunity to get on the ranges and zero their weapons. The ‘Floodlit Challenge’ that evening provided light relief from the serious

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EX PIPEDOWN

stuff and then it was straight back into the hugely demanding Biathlon events, the 10km Biathlon Sprint for males and 7.5km Sprint for females. Excellent performances from 17 P&M saw them pick up the male team prize, followed by 3 Rifles and 27 Regt RLC. In the female event 27 Regt RLC took top honours beating serious challenges from 3 Gunner Regiments, 26 Regt RA, 16 Regt RA and 5 Regt RA. The Biathlon Relay races are probably the most exciting to watch, with massed starts for the 4 x 7.5km male and 4 x 6km female races. This year was no exception and despite a strong performance from 16 Regt RA who clinched second place ahead of 3 Rifles, 17 P&M men topped the podium again. In the ladies race, 16 Regt RA were crowned champions ahead of 26 Regt RA and 27 Regt RLC. The Military Patrol Race was the final event in the calendar and lived up to its reputation as a thoroughly demanding conclusion to the Championship. Tired bodies once more went out onto the snow and gave it their all. With teams carrying 40kgs of kit they set off along a 25km course that was set to test them both mentally and physically. A series of off-piste command tasks and hill climbs tested even the fittest but it was the 17 P&M male team that once again held off challenges from 16 Regt RA and 3 Rifles. In the ladies race 16 Regt RA proved too strong but excellent performances from 4 Regt RA and AGC ladies saw them on the podium winning second and third places respectively. Overall, this has been a superb Championship with 12 days of great racing and some fantastic individual and team results. Ex PIPEDOWN 19 managed to qualify 13 male teams and 17 individual females. Tpr Jack Richards RL went through as an individual Junior for his outstanding results. All PIPEDOWN teams are to be congratulated on their team ethos and motivation to gain that difficult entry onto Ex RUCKSACK (the Army and Inter-services Championships). The standard this year has been impressive with all competitors fully tested. Finally, congratulations go to Pte Emily Wilshaw of 16 Med Regt who received the BELL award for sacrificing her personal race to assist with an injured athlete showing the true spirit of what this championship is all about.

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15km & 10km Classic

Individual Female: 1st Pte Chelsea Kennedy 2nd Gnr Sam Grist 3rd Lt Harriet James

DMG (N) 26 Regt RA 26 Regt RA

Individual Male: 1st LCpl Jordon Foley 2nd Bdr Lee Jackson 3rd Capt Chris Pfleiderer

17 P&M RLC 16 Regt RA 27 Regt RLC

Team Results Female: 1st 26 Regt RA 2nd 27 Regt RLC 3rd 16 Regt RA

Team Results Male: 1st 17 P&M RLC 2nd 27 Regt RLC 3rd 16 Regt RA

Relay Classic 4x 5km

Female: 1st 26 Regt RA 2nd 16 Regt RA 3rd 27 Regt RLC

Male: 1st 2nd 3rd

3 Rifles 17 P&M RLC 16 Regt RA

Biathlon Sprint

Individual Female: 1st Gnr Sam Grist 2nd Maj Elizabeth Sedgwick 3rd Lt Sarah Hunter-Johnson

26 Regt RA 27 Regt RLC 5 Regt RA

Individual Male: 1st Bdr Lee Jackson 2nd LBdr Vinny Fountain 3rd Cpl Phil Garside

16 Regt RA 16 Regt RA 17 P&M RLC

Biathlon Relay

Female: 1st 16 Regt RA 2nd 26 Regt RA 3rd 27 Regt RLC

Patrol Race

Female: 1st 16 Regt RA 2nd 4 Regt RA 3rd AGC

Overall Results

Individual Female: 1st Gnr Sam Grist 2nd Pte Chelsea Kennedy 3rd Maj Elizabeth Sedgwick

Male: 1st 2nd 3rd

17 P&M RLC 16 Regt RA 3 Rifles

Male: 1st 2nd 3rd

17 P&M RLC 16 Regt RA 3 Rifles

Individual Male: 1st Bdr Lee Jackson 2nd Cpl Jordan Foley 3rd LBdr Vinny Fountain

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