Snow and Ice 2017

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Celebrating 70 years of Army Winter Sports

2017

www.awsa.org.uk

Army Winter Sports Association

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ARMY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION

In this issue 2017

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

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Events

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AWSA President

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AWSA News

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AWSA 70 Years

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Alpine

Hon Life President Gen Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE ADC Gen

16 AFPST

President Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE

20 Bobsleigh

Deputy Presidents Alpine - Maj Gen MJ Gaunt CB Ice Sports - Maj Gen RMB Nitsch CBE Nordic - Maj Gen CL Tickell CBE Snowboard - Maj Gen NJ Cavanagh Telemark - Maj Gen Sir Edward SmythOsborne KCVO CBE Chairman Lt Gen PNYM Sanders CBE DSO Vice Chairman Brig MP Moore CBE vice-chairman@awsa.org.uk Director Ice Sports Col SB Crossfield director-icesports@awsa.org.uk Secretary Lt Col (Retd) MK Allen secretary@awsa.org.uk Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col JA Scott MBE SCOTS 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.

26 Cresta 29 Luge 32 Nordic 36 Skeleton 40 Snowboard 46 Telemark 48

Sponsorship

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Ex SPARTAN HIKE

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Ex PIPEDOWN

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Ex SNOWLION

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

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

Managing Director: Ron Pearson

Designer: Kerry Wells


Season Events 2017 - 2018 Army Winter Sports Association AWSA Management Meeting AWSA AGM and Cocktail Party

Cavalry & Guards Club - London Cavalry & Guards Club - London

01/11/17 01/11/17

Alpine

Divisional Championships 1 Monetiers - France 14/01/18 – 24/01/18 EX SPARTAN HIKE Divisional Championships 2 Les Contamines - France 13/01/18 – 23/01/18 EX PIPEDOWN 51 Brigade Championships Aviemore - UK 02/03/18 – 11/03/18 EX SNOW LION Army Championships Serre Chevalier - France 24/01/18 – 02/02/18 EX LIONS CHALLENGE Inter Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 03/02/18 – 10/02/18 Royal Navy Championships Tignes - France 13/01/18 – 27/01/18 Royal Air Force Championships Saalbach Hinterglemm - Austria 13/01/18 – 27/01/18

Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - week 1 & 2 Igls – Austria EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterberg - Germany (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Igls – Austria EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igls – Austria

27/11/17 – 09/12/17

Army Junction Novice Championships St Moritz - Switzerland 17th / 21st Lancers Cup Army Top Championships St Moritz - Switzerland Scots Guards Cup Inter Services Cresta Championships St Moritz - Switzerland Prince Phillip Trophy

27/01/18

Army Ice Camp - week 1 & 2 Igls – Austria EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterberg - Germany (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Igls – Austria EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igls – Austria

27/11/17 – 09/12/17

Divisional Championships 1 Monetiers - France EX SPARTAN HIKE Divisional Championships 2 Les Contamines - France EX PIPEDOWN Army/National/IS Championships Ruhpolding - Germany EX RUCKSACK

14/01/18 – 24/01/18

25/01/18 – 03/02/18 19/02/18 – 23/02/18 25/02/18 – 03/03/18

Cresta

Luge

Nordic

29/01/18 31/01/18

25/01/18 – 03/02/18 19/02/18 – 23/02/18 25/02/18 – 03/03/18

13/01/18 – 23/01/18 24/01/18 – 09/02/18

Skeleton Bobsleigh

Army Ice Camp - week 1 & 2 Igls – Austria 27/11/17 – 09/12/17 EX RACING ICE I Army Championships Winterberg - Germany 25/01/18 – 03/02/18 (Novice, Junior, Intermediate & Senior) EX RACING ICE II Army Pre-IS Week Igls – Austria 19/02/18 – 23/02/18 EX RACING ICE III Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igls – Austria 25/02/18 – 03/03/18

Snowboard

Army Freestyle Championships Kaunertal – Austria 14/10/17 – 28/10/17 EX SNOW METHOD 51 Brigade Championships Aviemore - UK 02/03/18 – 11/03/18 EX SNOW LION Inter Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France 03/02/18 – 10/02/18 Army Championships Stubai - Austria 10/03/18 – 24/03/18 EX SNOW JACK British Championships Laax - Switzerland 25/03/18 – 09/04/18

Telemark

Army & British Championships Pralognan La Vanoise - France EX TELEMARK TITAN Inter Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel - France

13/01/18 – 25/01/18 03/02/18 – 10/02/18


AWSA PRESIDENT Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE Seventy years of the Army Winter Sports Association; what an achievement! I suspect that Field Marshal Montgomery and his team will be looking down on us with tremendous pride in all that has been achieved since 1947. From its early days with only two sports (Alpine and Nordic), the AWSA has grown to today’s eight Disciplines and a comprehensive calendar of events. Once again, my thanks go out to everyone over the years, who have helped develop the AWSA into what it is today. 2017 has been another very positive and successful year for the AWSA. The Management Team has continued to work tremendously hard to enable this success and I would like to acknowledge some key personnel: first, the Chairman of the Association, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, who has continued to provide exceptionally strong support as Commander Field Army; the Vice Chairman, Brigadier Martin Moore, now in his third season, who – despite a very busy day job in Army HQ – has worked tirelessly to support the AWSA; and finally, the background team of Lt Col James Scott (Sponsorship), Lt Col (Retd) Martyn Allen (Secretary), Maj Katy Badham-Thornhill and Sally Ehlen (PF Managers), who have remained the bedrock of the Association. On behalf of all the athletes, coaches and officials who have

benefited from your dedication and hard work, thank you. I was delighted to see that the attendance levels at all events continued to be very high this season, with demand still outstripping supply. The task of providing winter sport for all soldiers continues to remain a harsh financial challenge. However, the figures indicate that due to the hard work of all the organising committees, the drive and determination of

team captains and the application and courage of the competitors, we are succeeding. In the 2017 Inter-Services Championships, we had another good season, taking 7 out of the 12 male/female team events; not quite emulating last season’s 8 events, but close enough. The teams took the Inter-Services honours in the following events: Male Alpine; Female Snowboard; Cresta; Male Bobsleigh; Female Skeleton, Luge and Nordic. Special praise must go to the following individual winners: Gdsm Raymond Thompson – Male Luge; Sgt Danielle Scott RAMC – Female Luge; and Capt Hayley Larcombe – Female Skeleton. Our elite athletes continue to thrive, with Cpl Amanda Lightfoot on the Biathlon World Cup circuit, LSgt Lamin Deen and Pte Nick Gleeson on the Bobsleigh World Cup Circuit and Gdsm Raymond Thompson and Sgt Danielle Scott, who represent GB in Luge. We wish them the very best in their quests to qualify for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea from 9 to 25 February 2018. 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 new season ahead.

AWSA PRESIDENT’S CERTIFICATE FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE Presented to individuals who have provided outstanding service to Army Winter Sports, in either one or more disciplines – only six can be awarded each year. In his position as President of the AWSA Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE presented certificates to the deserving winners on 1st November 2016 at the Cavalry and Guards Club, London: MAJ (RETD) BELINDA BEARD SKELETON

MAJ ADRIAN PERY LD TELEMARK

WO2 JOHN CRAIG RAPTC SNOWBOARD

Maj Beard started her sliding career in 2003 and quickly secured a place in the Army Team. After a few seasons she took on the role of Secretary of Skeleton Bobsleigh and made an immediate impact, sorting out the equipment state and overall management of the team. She retired from sliding to ensure dedication of her time to management and soon assumed the role of Chairman. She has been a dedicated stalwart to both skeleton and ice sports over the years. Her hard work during her time as Secretary and Chairman can still be seen within the team today and has given a firm base to continue the development of skeleton.

Maj Pery has been actively involved in Army Telemark Skiing since the sport was first adopted in the Army in 2005. Throughout this time he has been both a participant and committee member as well as, more latterly, driving forward the development of a Technical Delegate route in the UK within British Telemark. Highly dedicated, committed and passionate about this sport, he has taken Telemark from a ‘pipe dream’ to reality and continued to press for its growth in both the Army, the Services and externally within British Ski and Snowboard (BSS).

WO2 Craig has been involved with Snowboarding since the sport was approved in 1998 as one of the disciplines of the AWSA. His enduring commitment over the past 18 years has been extraordinary, engaged as a competitor and official as the sport has developed from its embryonic speed slalom event to its current competitive classes of giant slalom, boarder cross and slopestyle requiring physical fitness, gymnastic ability and exacting technical skills.

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Visit the AWSA website at www.awsa.org.uk for further information on Army winter sports

DID YOU KNOW - Army Sports Lottery Grants Army Sports Lottery (ASL) members are eligible to apply for a grant towards the cost of any authorised winter sports activity (WSA) held in Europe, including Scotland, be it competitive or training, subject to the following limitations: • Maximum number of athletes regardless of gender as laid down in the ASL DIN. • One grant per member per FY.

Annual General Meeting Date for your Diary - the AGM of the Army Winter Sports Association will be held at the Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PX, on the 1st November 2017 at 1730 hrs.

Grant applications are made retrospectively and must be accompanied by: • PXR. • If not an Army authorised competition, a copy of the authority issued in accordance with 2015DIN07-122 Army European Winter Activity Instruction. Organisers are to ensure all participants are members of ASL prior to the start of the event. Grants will be awarded on a pro rata basis according to the number of tickets held: £25 per ticket, up to a maximum of 5 tickets. All members who increase their lottery tickets within 6 months of claiming a WSA grant must retain their increased lottery tickets for a period of 12 months from the WSA activity date.

How to join All those participating in AWSA sponsored events, including divisional championships, or in receipt of ASCB managed grants are required to hold current AWSA membership. Full membership of the AWSA is open to all ranks of the British Army, whether serving on a regular, FTRS or Reserves engagement or as a member of a UOTC or the Army Cadet Force. Associate membership is available to: • All members on retirement from the Army. • All serving members of the RN, RAF and overseas forces whilst on the strength of an Army unit or establishment. • MOD civil servants. The annual subscription for membership, which will be subject to periodic amendment by the Management Committee, is £15 (one off fee of £125 for Life Membership) payable on joining and thereafter annually on 1st August. Please visit www.awsa.org.uk/membership to complete the application process.

British Biathlon Union News

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.

Lt Col (Retd) Mark Goodson, the British Biathlon Union (BBU) Secretary General for the past 15 years, retired on Friday 13th October with Roddy Christie taking over the post. Roddy (40) served until recently as a Major in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and although was Secretary Army Alpine is fast learning about biathlon! Mark will continue to support the BBU in a consultancy role for a few months. After 20 years as a Director he, and Maj (Retd) Eddy Lowe stood down as Directors BBU at the July AGM as did Cols Jon Campbell and Adrian Thurgood. Maj Gen (Retd) Rob Weighill CBE was appointed Chairman of the BBU in Feb 17. With Roddy and Brig John Mead also joining the Board. The BBU Email remains unchanged: info@britishbiathlon.com, but the Head Office address and phone is now: 7 Clifford Street, SHREWSBURY, SY2 5EU (07714 766860), www.britishbiathlon.com

Obituary Lt Col John (“JAG”) Moore, late RA died at the age of 84 on 26th August 2017. As a 14 year old school, boy he had competed at the first ever Army Ski Championships in 1948 and later went on to race Cross Country at the Olympic Winter Games in 1956 and then in both Biathlon & Cross Country in 1960 & 64. He also raced Alpine for the Army and competed in five Biathlon World Championships. Affectionately known as the “Father of British Biathlon” he was a Course Setter/Technical Delegate in biathlon for four Olympic Winter Games and in no fewer than six World Championships. He served on the Council (Management Committee) of the ASA for many years and was Chairman of the UIPMB (now IBU) Technical Committee from 1976 -1980. He became Commandant The Army School of Physical Training and was awarded the OBE for services to skiing in 1984. Memorial Service to be held on Saturday 18th November at 11:00 in the Chapel at RMA Sandhurst, followed by a Buffet Lunch in the Indian Army Room. RSVP: markkjmoore@msn.com

A full Obituary will be published in the 2018 Snow & Ice.

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70 years old and still going strong! By Lt Col (Retd) Mark Goodson

The Foundation

In 1927 a cable car was built on the Kanzelhohe, near Villach in Austria; Health & Safety was clearly not an issue! But, what has this got to do with AWSA 70?

and winter warfare courses. In 1946 troops from BAOR and the Central Mediterranean Forces held a Championships in Italy at Cortina, whilst the BTA did likewise on the Kanzelhohe; this was the first time many competitors had ever seen a cable car, never mind travelled in one. On 22nd May 1947, at the behest of the CIGS Field Marshal Montgomery, the Army “Skiing” Association (ASA) was formed with Maj Gen JET Younger (late RA) as Chairman; “Skiing” changed to “Ski” in 1949. Monty was a keen alpine skier and became the Vice Patron. The first “Army Championships” on the Kanzelhohe in 1948 included Alpine & Nordic, with 1 West Yorks being the winners of both. The Clerk of the Course was Maj George Moore APTC who fenced for GBR in the 1948 London Games. His son, John ”JAG” later a Lt Col RA competed in the 1956, 60 & 64 Winter Olympics; his grandson Mark (Capt RA) competed in Sarajevo 84. John Moore sadly died in August 2017. The Chief Timekeeper was SSI (later Col) Jimmie Spencer, who fought, as a Bombardier, with the 8th Army at Monte Cassino. He competed in the 1956 Winter Olympics. Jimmie now lives in Canada and is the Army’s oldest living Olympian. But 1948 was not the true start of competitive winter sports in the Army!

In the Beginning

On 8th May 1945, one day after the end of the War in Europe, the British 8th Army commanded by Lt Gen Sir Richard McCreery (late 12th Lancers) moved from Italy into Austria. As “British Troops Austria” (BTA) some 55,000 soldiers lived in the British Zone as part of the Allied occupation. As the devil finds work for idle hands, McCreery tasked one of his staff officers, Lt Col Robert Readhead 12L, to get as many as possible to learn to ski. Readhead had competed at the last FIS World Championships in Zakopane POL in 1939 and taught British soldiers to ski in France, Norway, Lebanon and Scotland during the War. With Friedl Wolfgang, a guru in alpine skiing, who later was the Sec Gen of the 1964 Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games, he recruited 600 Austrian ski instructors. A Mountain School was established on the Gross Glockner for climbing

The first recorded race was in 1767, between Norwegian and Swedish border patrol units. In 1908 the first International Military Patrol race took place, and then appeared in every Olympic Winter Games from 1924-48, before emerging as Biathlon from 1960 onwards. Individual British officers had taken up the new sport of skiing with enthusiasm, some in cross-country touring and racing, and others in downhill running and racing. In 1888 Col Napier brought skis to Davos, and the next year Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, began to ski there. In 1903 the Ski Club of Great Britain was founded. In 1908 a number of Army officers took part in founding the Alpine Ski Club. In 1914 Sir Henry Lunn presented what became the Army, Navy and Air Force Cup for the British Services Champion. As the Inter Service Alpine Championships this is oldest stillrunning event in world skiing.

in 1928, which were the pre-cursor to the introduction of alpine racing in the 1931 FIS World Champs. 1950 saw a move to the US Zone and Bad Gastein, it hosted Biathlon World Cups in 1993 & 1994 but as part of the vast Ski Amadé network is better known for alpine & snowboard as well as the amazing “Flying Waters” zip line.

Alpine & Nordic Split

On 12th May 1955 Austria once again became a sovereign and independent country and within 5 months all the Allied forces had moved out; so had Nordic (Ex Rucksack). Although Army Alpine was to remain at Bad Gastein for another 4 years, Nordic moved to the German health spa of Winterberg. With many of the 77,000 strong British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) living within a couple of hours, it was little surprise that the former Kurhaus became the sixth of the seven “Naafi Leave Centres” set up in Germany. Winterberg is perhaps better known now for its iconic skijump and “VELTINS Eis-Arena”, having hosted the World Bobsleigh Champs on 4 occasions, as well as the Army Championships. One person who may not have taken it totally to heart is former National Serviceman Bdr Bryant G Bayliffe 115 Loc Bty - second from left, with skis that were made for the Norwegian Campaign in 1940. At 85 years old he clearly recalls digging in 3 feet of snow at the rear of the Centre to erect the tents. “I have no idea where the officers stayed - but it is not too difficult to work out!” he said.

St. Anton am Arlberg and Bad Gastein

In 1949 the Championships moved to St. Anton am Arlberg in the French Zone. It was home to the legendary Arlberg-Kandahar races first organised by Schneider and Sir Arnold Lunn

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Previously

Since 1947 the ASA / AWSA has occupied more than half a dozen different offices which it has almost always shared with the Army Sport Control Board and has had 13 Secretaries. In the early days it, rather than the disciplines themselves, organised all the Championships including grappling with the oddities of transporting all the UK based competitors by train from Liverpool Street to Austria (£12.50 for officers; £10.50 for other ranks). In 1954 at Bad Gastein it cost officers £37 for the 8 days including travel & ski lifts but only £21 for ORs as 34 of their ration allowance was retained by the Army! Female competitors have always been included, except for Cresta, with Cdr Macfie winning the first ever Ladies Alpine Championship and later becoming the first female Honorary Member. It was responsible for running ski holidays before the advent of package holidays and in its heyday in the mid60s, had a membership of 14,000; today it is a tenth of that. It published a Year Book (now Snow & Ice), which as recently as 1989 had full page adverts for cigarettes!

Military Bands and a lot of ceremonial, as well as every senior officer in Germany seemingly present.

‘Near-location’ & the ‘AWSA’

Alpine Adventures

In 1960 Alpine moved to St. Moritz where it was to stay for a dozen years. The 9/12 Lancers dominated the early races before 94 Loc Regt RA took centre stage. Livigno in Italy hosted the 1973 event; otherwise it was to be an all-Austrian affair until 1988. Alpbach twice, Ischgl 10 times and finally Fulpmes, high up on the Brenner Pass from 1985 to 1988, were the venues before 3 years in Les Menuires France. In 1992 Serre Chevalier became the host, and other than in 1997, the Army Alpine Championships have been there ever since. This was the era of 35 Engr Regt and then (in various disguises) 1 Regt RLC

The Oberjoch era

In 1963 Nordic moved to Oberjoch, in Bavaria. It stayed until 1979 – the 2nd most visited of the ten Rucksack venues. Higher and with a better snow record than Winterberg, the main reason for the move was the arrival of biathlon. There was simply not enough realestate in Winterberg to allow the RE troop to build the 2 ranges (full-bore at 300m & 150m) required in the early days of the sport. Before modern targets the Sappers were constantly experimenting with paper, clays and, helium balloons. It would take hours to check all the targets and produce the scores, but by 1978 the .22 small bore rifle and reliable mechanical and electronic targets were in use. Oberjoch in 1963 was very much an alpine resort; for some years the BAOR Alpine Champs were held there and later also the 2 Inf Div Alpine & Nordic. Thus, each winter, the Allgau, which was also home to Ex Snow Queen when up to 10,000 soldiers went on a 10-day ski course, was almost an extension of BAOR. Indeed the Rucksack Prize Giving was a lengthy high profile military and diplomatic event with

But much time was also spent competing on one of the 4 locations used for races: Innenreid, where most Cross Country took place a mere snowball’s throw from the team accommodation in the Holiday Village; Regen at the German Army Barracks for some biathlon; The Arber where the Hohenzollern biathlon range was built during our time and where an IBU Cup is now regularly held, and the Grosser Arber which was a NATO listening post during the Cold War for many Patrol Races The snow was often “unpredictable” but not when BOA President HRH Princess Anne visited in 1985, (pictured with 1st Bürgermeister Georg Haberland). This was not the case in 1990 when the Patrol Race range had to re-locate to a quarry just 51m deep with just enough snow for athletes to cross-fire, over and above each other. It was also memorable as the year when the Czech Border opened with some 30,000 crossing from one country to another (and back) in one day – just for the historic hell of it!

Zweisel … did it ever snow?

Zwiesel in the Bayerischer Wald National Park, some 200 miles north east of Oberjoch was the venue for Rucksack from 1980 – 1992. The topography and location, right on the edge of the communist Czech border (complete with barbed wire & mine fields) was different to anything used before – or since. As a town it was particularly famous for Bärwurz, a uniquely flavoured liqueur, which makes “vodka Red Bull” taste like a soft drink! Suffice to say that during the 13 years in Zwiesel much time was spent drinking Bärwurz in the Colosseum Disco or the alternative Race Office - the Hotel Kapfhammer!

The 1992 OWG, master-minded by the legendary Jean-Claude Killy were held in Albertville, but the discipline venues were spread around the French Savoie. 30 km away Les Saisies hosted Cross Country & Biathlon and Sgt Mike Dixon RE finished a GBR best ever 12th in the 20 km (0-0-0-0), albeit SSgt Keith Oliver RCT was 11th in the full-bore race in 1972. The GBR manager was a young Capt Eddy Lowe RE, the Rucksack TD to this day! In 1988 the ASA had become the AWSA after Cresta joined in 1955; Bobsleigh 1966; Ski Bike 1971; Luge 1987 and Skeleton 1989. Ski Bike left the fray in 2002 but Snowboard joined in 1997 and Telemark in 2009. The budgeteers and some senior officers thus assumed that co-location of events, especially Alpine & Nordic, would lead to a reduction of costs and officials. They were wrong on both counts! Moving Nordic from Germany saw a loss of NATO tax-free status and, it takes almost as many officials to run a race with 15 or with 150 athletes. “Near-location” was the solution, with Nordic at Les Saisies and Alpine some 3 hours south in Serre Chevalier. However this did mean both disciplines were honoured with a visit from the AWSA Patron HRH The Duke of Kent. The ice sports and newer disciplines have since competed in locations as widely spread as Lillehammer, Rauris, Cesana and Pralognan La Vanoise. Autrans, the 1968 OWG nordic venue, was allocated Rucksack 1993, but with 2 weeks to go had no snow so the entire exercise was moved to Les Saisies where the RAC Champs had just been held.

AWSA 50 – St. Moritz …

AWSA 50 was held in the magnificent surroundings of St. Moritz. At 1800m and with over 300 days of sunshine it is arguably the world #1 winter sports resort. Over 450 competitors from all disciplines (there was no


space on the ice for Luge which was held at Igls), made AWSA 50 one of the largest multidisciplined events outside the Winter Olympics. There were 35 different events plus the Inter Service Alpine & Bob, and a social event almost nightly. St. Moritz hosted the OWG in 1928 & 48 when “Winter Pentathlon” (Alpine, Cross Country, Equestrian, Fencing & Shooting) was a demonstration sport, just as Snowboard & Telemark were at AWSA 50. The photo shows Capt John Walker.

HRH The Duke of Kent & Princess Alexandra visited AWSA 50 and also attended the English Church to mark their 125 years and our 50. It was standing room only; soldiers had to be turned away at the door – amazing but true! Also amazing were the VIPs, from Roger Moore to a total of 47 “stars” of retired & serving senior officers, to former Army Olympians including Lord Glentoran who as Capt Robin Dixon Gren Gds won Gold in the 1964 Innsbruck OWG bobsleigh. Much more went on during AWSA 50 including the World Bob Champs and on the frozen lake Polo, Horse Racing and Cricket (with the Army Team competing). The floodlit Closing Ceremony was also on the lake with medallists arriving by horse drawn sleigh, the RTR Band, Pipes & Drums and Swiss Army Band performed at -18C and memorable fireworks budgeted at SFr 10,000 cost £10,000. As their Director of Tourism Martin Berthod said, “Goody, you should not have had all those gins when you ordered the display”. Fortunately we had sponsorship at today’s equivalent of £220k, and £1.00 bought SFr 2.32 as opposed to 1.27 now!

in a remote corner of the Ost-Tirol could not have been better as the welcome we received was anything but remote. And, nowhere more so, than in the Biathlonzentrum where the Race Office was directly connected to Luigi’s Bar! The snow and tracks were second to none. Perhaps this was not surprising given that the layout was planned by the “King of Biathlon”, Ole Einar Bjørndalen.

All of Rucksack 2009 was held in “OberT” and another British presence was in January 2015 when Daniel Craig was filming there as James Bond in SPECTRE. It is rumoured that more wine & champagne was consumed at the village premiere than in the World Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall! In 2010 Nordic returned to Ruhpolding and with 3 more World Champs, 3 Junior Worlds and 34 World Cups, it indicates just how fortuitous the AWSA has been to compete in this “Jewel of the Chiemgau” and at the “Wimbledon of Biathlon”.

The Marina

To mark the 10th Anniversary of the ASA, the Patron presented a trophy for the Champion Unit on 29th July 1957. This trophy, “The Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent Cup” (The “Champion Skiing Team” of the British Army) has become one of the most hard fought for sporting trophies in the Army. Affectionately known as “The Marina”, it has been claimed by only 21 different units representing six different Corps. The Royal Artillery has had six different Champions, followed by the Infantry (5) and RLC (4). In various guises 1 Regt RLC have won

the Marina 15 times, then 94 Locating Regiment (13) and 35 Engr Regt (12). The current holders 6 Regt RLC are first time Champions!

The Olympic Winter Games

The AWSA has a proud record of representing Great Britain in International sporting events and especially in the Olympic Winter Games. A total of almost 100 Army athletes have participated in all the post war Olympic Winter Games (except in 1952), many of them more than once. At the first ever Winter Games at Chamonix in 1924, the GB 4 man Bob team consisted of one Colonel, two Majors and a Captain; they won the silver medal! In 1964 Capt Robin Dixon (now Lord Glentoran) Gren Gds won the Gold Medal with Tony Nash ex Royal Dragoons in the 2 man Bob. It was a long wait until Nagano 1998 when Cpls Sean Olsson and Dean Ward PARA won a bronze in the 4 man Bob. Sgt Michael Dixon MBE BEM, 35 Engr Regt made a record 6th Winter Olympic appearance in the Biathlon at Salt Lake City 2002. Indeed more than half the Army’s post War Olympians have competed in Cross Country, albeit not since 1994.

The Present and the Future

The current eight Disciplines are well attended; some 5,000 officers and soldiers took to the Snow and Ice in the 2016/17 period, bearing testament to the popularity of winter sports. There are currently 5 athletes on the national TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) (two Alpine, two Luge and one Snowboard) for the 17/18 season and two athletes (Cpl Lightfoot (Biathlon) and L/Sgt Deen (Bobsleigh)), who are hopefuls for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. Whilst the Army has reduced to circa 80K with some 30K Reserves, the AWSA continues to thrive and is hugely supported by the Chain of Command, none more so than CGS; he states that “Winter Sports contribute directly to military output and fighting spirit, are an essential part of decompression from operations and remain an important element of the moral component”. The AWSA became a Charity in 2012 and is hugely supported by the Army Sports Control Board and sponsors.

Back to Bavaria …

After the extraordinary AWSA 50 it was back to Ruhpolding, Germany which hosted the 51st Ex Rucksack (1998). For 19 out of the past 20 years it has continued to do so, and will for at least the next two. The Army first came here in 1979 (2 Div Alpine & Nordic); this was also the year of their first Biathlon World Championships – the range was a little different then! However, in 2008 the Biathlon Junior World Champs were held there and Rucksack had to find a new venue for its biathlon. Although the logistics of having over 200 athletes in a small village for 17 days was daunting, the choice of the small Austrian resort of Obertilliach situated

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ALPINE

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Contact Alpine Chairman Maj Gen KL Ford CBE Vice Chairman Lt Col TP Spenlove-Brown Scots DG Secretary Lt Col BH Smith R Signals e: alpine@awsa.org.uk 12

That left Ex LIONS CHALLENGE in a somewhat unique position – an open competition for both individuals and Regimental teams. With 15 of the top seeds out, there was no foregone conclusion. The atmosphere at registration was one of excitement and of opportunity. The new TD, in the form of Maj John (JP) Poole was at the helm and our referee WO2 Thommo Thomson was making his last appearance before retiring from the Army. Onto the committee, we welcomed Capt Jess Baxter, who has taken on assistant timings and calcs and WO2 Andy Dawson as finish judge. We took 106 racers through from the two Divisional championships and started with the GS competition. Immediately the name of LCpl James Oldham from 1 LANCS became known as one to look out for as he finished over three seconds ahead of his closest rival. Unfortunately bib number 13 proved its unlucky fate with Capt Fergus Anderson RE taking a tumble in the first run, which saw the end to his racing for the remainder of the championships. In the Team GS, LCpl Oldham proved it wasn’t a fluke and put a clear nine seconds between himself and the next racer, leading 1 LANCS to a comfortable Team GS win. Once again, we were joined by many of our sponsors, as well as AWSA committee members and visiting regimental personalities. The atmosphere was no less thrilling with the Army Team already departed and there was genuine excitement amongst all predicting who might win each race. Another fall out of the clash of dates was that the races had to be re-ordered, with the biggest challenge being running the Down Hill Training days straight after GS and over the weekend, when the slopes are busier with holiday makers and weekenders wanting to ski the Luc Alphand run down into the resort. Closing it for six hours a day was not going to prove popular. The resort staff and pisteurs worked long and hard and made as much snow as possible to ensure that we could get the four days needed for the speed events. As expected, despite security netting the entire length of the piste, there were more than a few incursions onto the piste, meaning that racing had to be stopped whilst the course was cleared and skiers and boarders were

LT COL BEE SMITH (ALPINE SECRETARY)

ost of 2016’s planning was taken up with trying to minimise the impact, across Army Alpine, of the calendar clash that had Ex LIONS CHALLENGE, the Army Championships, programmed at the same time as the Inter-Services Snow Sports Competition (ISSSC). After exhausting the options of moving one or the other, the combination of French holidays, other international competitions, contracts and the Nordic competition, the Army Alpine Committee had to accept this was what was going to be. It meant that either the Army did not enter a ski team in the ISSSC (not ideal and unpopular) or that there was a certain amount of risk in selecting the Army Team skiers directly from the Divisional Championships at Ex SPARTAN HIKE and Ex PIPEDOWN and leapfrogging them onto Meribel and the ISSSC without the benefit of a further ten days of challenging competition. We knew this might cause concern both with the Regiments that expect to win trophies at Army level and with the skiers who were being compared with others not racing the same courses. And so, an Army Team Manager was appointed – Maj Rob Ronz RA, an ex-Army Ski Team member who was accompanied by ISSSC veteran and assistant coach, WO2 John Mac to both Ex PIPEDOWN and SPARTAN HIKE to pick the male and female team captains and start the process of selection. The last few places on both teams proved tricky, but without the further ten days of consolidation, a decision was made and the Army Team disappeared straight to Meribel for the ISSSC.

escorted out of the way of the 90mph missiles on downhill skis that were being released from the start every 40 seconds. This added time and frustration into the mix, but with no injuries, we managed to get the piste clear in time for the holiday makers to enjoy the last four hours of each day on the iconic piste. Luckily, the DH competition took place on the Monday and the resort had emptied. The competition was held in excellent weather and on good snow and we were again blessed with an incident free race to determine both the team and individual results. LCpl Oldham won, but this time Capt Lee Stoddart RA was right on his heels with only seven hundredths of a second between them. For the ladies, Pte Amy Brookman RLC won comfortably with a four second lead. In the team competition, 4 Bn REME triumphed. Super G took place the following day and Capt Rebecca Ritchie RLC won for the ladies


ALPINE

with LCpl Oldham staying true to form and 4 Bn REME taking the team trophy. The competition finished with Slalom on the Stade Piste over in the next valley in Villeneuve. A beautiful piste in great sunshine, but the long and technical course saw a quarter of all competitors either not finish or get disqualified. Spr Kieran Southall RE won for the men, whilst LCpl Sheona Macmillan won the ladies competition but despite everyone’s best efforts, 4 Bn REME could not be dislodged and they won their third team trophy. The championship was rounded off with the ‘President’s Challenge’; a dual slalom with teams made up of senior officers, sponsors, Team Army personnel and the odd racer thrown in too. Hilarity ruled as dirty tricks and nobbling came

‘‘

The calendar clash that had the Army Championships programmed at the same time as the Inter-Services ... left Ex LIONS CHALLENGE in a somewhat unique position – an open competition for both individuals and Regimental teams.

Images www.laurajanedale.com

’’

into effect! It was a treat to see the President himself, Lt Gen Sanders take to a pair of Alpine skis after a career of Nordic competition. A new scheme was initiated this year to connect the racers with the sponsors who enable this event to take place. On four evenings, two teams each hosted a couple of sponsors in their chalet for dinner. The brief was clear – “the sponsors will eat whatever you are having and will be out by 9pm”. However, not to be outdone by each other, the teams entered another unofficial competition along the ‘Come Dine with Me’ theme, and reports started to filter back of amazing three course menus cooked on a small cooker in a tiny kitchen. The AGC raclette with all the trimmings on day one was out gunned by the QRH duck and so it went on – more elaborate each time. And needless to say, some competitive card games meant that the sponsors were held hostage in the team chalets well beyond 9pm! The upshot was that the sponsors immensely enjoyed their evenings meeting the teams, seeing how they lived and prepared for races and hearing their stories, unfiltered by senior officers! The racers also got much from these interactions and the trial scheme was hailed a big success to be continued in future. It was fantastic to see at Prizegiving that the sponsors, rather than sit together on one big table, sat with their ‘adopted’ teams that they had been hosted by during the chalet suppers. This connection and mutual understanding of our soldiers with those Defence Contractors who enable the activity they enjoy and are good at must surely be an incredibly positive outcome for Army sport. Throughout Ex LIONS CHALLENGE daily updates on the progress of the Army Ski Team at the ISSSC in Meribel were coming through and we could update the racers at nightly Team Captains’ meetings. The Army Team Manager, Maj Rob Ronz describes their competition in the next article.

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Maj Rob Ronz (Army Ski Team Manager)

INTER SERVICES

ALPINE

L

ooking across the Army it is clear that the overall standard of skiing is increasing. Established powerhouses of Alpine racing such as the RLC and REME continue to produce excellent skiers, however, they are being increasingly challenged by other Corps and Regiments who have evolved their own training schemes in order to compete. Most notable of these is the Royal Engineers, however, the Infantry, Royal Artillery, Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Signals are all now regularly producing skiers who compete strongly for Army jumpers. The 2017 Army team reflected this diversity with seven different cap badges represented.

Captained by Maj Joe Williamson (QRH) and Capt Lizzie Cranfield (AAC) nine Men and six Ladies were selected to represent the Army team to compete at the Inter Services Snow Sports Championship. Alongside their more experienced colleagues, six new Army colours were awarded this year to Lt Sophie Nicholls (RA), Sgt Dan Macdonald (REME), Cpl John

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Riddell (QRH), LCpl Nathan Cobb (RLC), Spr Euan Kick (RE) and Spr Duncan Kuwall (RE). The Men’s team dominated from start to finish taking an early lead through an exceptionally strong downhill performance

and building on it throughout the week. It was not all plain sailing, the team demonstrated their discipline in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom where they skied the second run under team orders having had skiers fall or get


ALPINE

The Men’s team dominated from start to finish taking an early lead through an exceptionally strong downhill performance and building on it throughout the week.

EVENTS 2018

RESULTS 2017 Army Championship Male Champion Female Champion Team Champion Corps Champion

LCpl James Oldham 1 LANCS Capt Rebecca Ritchie 25 Regt RLC 4 REME INF

Inter-Services Championship Male Champion Midshipman French RN Female Champion Cpl Hughes RAF Best Male Newcomer Midshipman French RN Best Female Newcomer Cpl Hughes RAF Male Team Champions ARMY Female Team Champions RAF

Divisional Championships 1 EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers, France 14-24 Jan 2018 Divisional Championships 2 EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 13-23 Jan 2018 51 Brigade Championships EX SNOW LION Aviemore, UK 2-11 Mar 2018 Army Championship EX LIONS CHALLENGE Serre Chevalier, France 24 Jan - 2 Feb 2018

disqualified in the first run. Equally the Army’s two strongest racers (Spr Kick and Spr Kuwall) both got themselves into difficulties on races (Slalom and Giant Slalom respectively) blowing their chances in the individual competition.

Maj Joe Williamson lead from the front and his winning mix of experience and ice cool temperament under pressure helped the men’s team to win every prize less two (Individual Combination Champion and Best Newcomer). This outstanding achievement is worthy of note and the foundations for success in future years are firmly in place. The Ladies suffered a huge blow when their Captain Lizzie Cranfield fell on the downhill, she was medically evacuated off the hill and back to the UK. With their strongest skier out of the competition the Ladies not only effectively skied under team orders for most of the week but were in a real fight against a full strength and very competitive RAF ladies team. To their huge credit they performed magnificently, Lt Scarlett Geering stepped up to lead the team and they doggedly kept themselves in the fight, winning the Super G and Giant Slalom team events. Their efforts, however, fell just short with a tiny 70 seed points total separating the RAF ladies and the Army ladies who finished second. The Ladies can hold their heads up high, they raced hard and fast and were just pipped to the line by a stronger team. So a successful season with two Army skiers also being selected to go on and represent

Inter-Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 3-10 Feb 2018 the Inter Services team at the British National Championships. The foundations are in place and there is an exciting crop of skiing talent out there, bigger and better things are on the horizon in the future. Consolidated male prize list: Team Combined Champions Team Downhill Winners Spr Kick Individual Downhill Champion Team Super G Winners Spr Kick Individual Super G Champion Team Slalom Winners Spr Kuwall Individual Slalom Champion Team Giant Slalom Winners Spr Kick Individual Giant Slalom Champion Spr Kick Individual Super Combined Champion Consolidated female prize list: Team Super G Winners Team Giant Slalom Winners Lt Geering Individual Giant Slalom Champion

Images by: Sgt M O’Neill RLC & SAC Chris Thompson-Watts © MOD / Crown Copyright 2017

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AFPST

ARMED FORCES PARA

SNOWSPORT TEAM Capt Fran Byrne

T

he Armed Forces Para Snowsport Team (AFPST) has gone from strength to strength this year, with growth in the foundation teams and truly impressive performances on the world stage. The charity is run by volunteers, and exists to aid the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and veterans. It does this through the medium of adaptive Alpine skiing, snowboarding and Nordic/ biathlon skiing, providing a winter sports focus for adaptive athletes to regain their spirit of challenge, competition and achievement. Importantly, the charity also offers veterans the chance to form strong friendships with others who have shared similar experiences, fostering a familiar sense of military camaraderie. AFPST runs a year-round program of snow events for all levels, and has strong links with Service charities, including Help for Heroes (H4H), BLESMA, AB, Blind Veterans UK and Skiing with Heroes (now renamed Supporting Wounded Veterans) Paralympic qualification for Pyeongchang 2018 has become a reality for several of our athletes. As we approach the end of the winter season, it marks the beginning of an exciting year ahead! There is flexibility in the structure of each team and athletes who show ability and determination often find themselves competing after little time on snow. Receiving no public funding, the team relies on donations from Team Army, sponsors and fundraising from the military and general public.

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training began in July at the Folgefonn Glacier, ALPINE Alpine a short drive away from the idyllic Hardanger Fjord in Norway. Andy Barlow and Nerys Pearce both knuckled down and trained hard, with some fantastic results. Andy put in considerable time and effort on his strength and conditioning at Tedworth House, and used the H4H Skiplex to perfect his technique. This was visible as he gained new levels of balance and movement. GB visually impaired athlete


AFPST

Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Capt Jen Kehoe were also training hard, and looked inseparable as they flew down the slopes. Off snow, the athletes had a packed schedule of physiotherapy and mobility sessions, ski preparation and coach debriefs to prepare them for the season ahead. The camp was a resounding success and set all athletes up well for competition. The Foundation team began their training in the UK, with a threeday indoor training package split between the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead and the Skiplex at Tedworth House. This set the newcomers up for their first venture across Europe to the fantastic facility of Snow World, in Landgraaf, Holland, where they made the most of training on their prepared piste. Winter training on snow began in October, when all Alpine teams headed to Austria to make the most of the world-class facilities. Although the teams had trained hard in summer, nothing can replicate the mountain environment, with its ever-changing weather and snow conditions. The camp focused on consolidating the fundamentals learnt in indoor training, as well as challenging the athletes with race training. Competitive racing began in December for the GB and performance teams, who went from Pitztal, Italy to the Army Alpine and Inter Service Ski Championships in Serre Chevalier and Meribel. Menna and Jen have proudly represented GB on several podiums, their latest wins include a Bronze in the Super G and Silver at the Para Alpine World Cup Finals in Jeongseon, South Korea. Our athletes are going from strength to strength with the Paralympics firmly in their sights! During the summer season the performance team NORDIC trained for the first GB representation in the IPC Para Nordic World Cup for 20 years! Training was packed full of rollerskiing and strength and conditioning training and the team completed three camps in Oberhof, Germany. Here

Receiving no public funding, the team relies on donations from Team Army, sponsors and fundraising from the military and general public

the athletes made the most of the top facilities; over 2km of indoor tracks with varied terrain that allowed them to perfect their technique. This training really benefitted the athletes when it came to the first camp on snow, at Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, Colorado, a fantastic event that is one of the largest winter sports festivals for adaptive athletes. The winter training paid off; we had three athletes compete at the first World Cup competition in Finland, where they pushed the boundaries for this new adaptive sport for GB. The second World Cup event in Ukraine was fraught with difficulties, including delays, lost kit and equipment, and temperatures of minus 29! The team braved the conditions and worked hard, setting them up for their next event in Finsterau, Germany, where both Scott Meenagh and Terry Ahrens achieved the IPC minimum qualification standard in both cross-country and biathlon. Terry competed in the 1998 Paralympics and we can’t wait to see what he can do 20 years later in South Korea! The recent World Cup event in Japan has seen a top ten finish for Scott with a strong performance from Terry too. Their qualification is a huge milestone for GB Nordic adaptive skiing and an amazing achievement for both athletes! The Foundation Team has grown in size this year and has a really positive, welcoming ethos for new members. The Royal Signals kindly raised money for two of our athletes to train with them at their camp in Norway, which they hugely enjoyed and benefitted from. The charity is consistently in awe of the kindness of fellow service members, and could not operate without the ongoing support of the military. This was

Cont overleaf…

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AFPST

SNOWBOARD

also evident at our largest ever foundation camp in Ruhpolding, Germany, where four veterans tried Nordic for the first time. Here they had the opportunity to watch some of the National races and were inspired by the performance teams dedicated training schedule. The Army were out in force to support the charity, with KRH kindly allowing the team to use their weapons on the range, and the REME and RE teams attending a show and tell session the charity ran, where they got to use the visually impaired weapon and the sit ski, some with more success than others! AWSA President, and Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE awarded three of our Parachute Regiment athletes with his Commandant’s coin. This prestigious award is given to those who represent the Pegasus ethos and our athletes could not be more deserving. This rounded off a truly inspiring training camp for both athletes and volunteers, where all could see the importance of winter sports to recovering veterans. There have been changes to the coaching staff this season, with Sgt Simon Allanson joining the team as a full time coach. Simon was a GB biathlete for five years and then went on to be the team manager and coach for the GB biathlon team, taking them through a full Olympic cycle. His experience and knowledge is invaluable, and the team is thrilled to have his guidance during this exciting journey.

Summer training began on the Stubai Glacier in Austria, before further training for Owen Pick in Kunatal with the Army snowboarding team, where he gave them a few tips! November was a busy training month, with training in Austria followed by a trip to Holland for the first IPC World Cup Banked Slalom of the year. All the hard work pre-season set the team up for the first event, where Owen Pick and Darren Swift headed to South Lake Tahoe for the North American Cup and two World Cup Events. The first week was training and the conditions were incredible with fresh snow every night. This allowed the team to make adjustments to their kit, and get acclimatised with the runs before the second week, which was all competition. After some solid performances, Owen qualified for the next event and Swifty just missed out. After three years competing on the World Para Snowboard circuit, Owen started to cement his place on the podium, with his first major medal, a silver, in February at the World Championships in Big White, Canada and a further two podium finishes at the World Cup event in La Molina, Spain. Both team members enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie from the Para snowboard community across all nations and both saw improvements with every race. Owen was also recognised by the Soldiering on Awards where he won the Sporting Excellence title in recognition for overcoming his injury and excelling in snowboarding. After some impressive performances from Owen that demonstrate his talent, grit and determination, we can’t wait to see what he does at the Paralympics! The AFPST relies on donations so please visit afpst.co.uk to find out more about supporting our fantastic athletes. All the training, competition and mental effort reminds us that whether it is making that leap and starting a new winter sport or beginning a journey to a Paralympic medal, the path is not an easy one, so please continue to support AFPST #1YeartoGo!

Images courtesy of: Sgt M O’Neill RLC, Laura Jane Dale - www.laurajanedale.com, Marcel Laponder - www.mlphotography.eu

19


Ex RACING ICE 1 ARMY ICE CAMP

B

obsleigh is one of those sports that very few personnel in the world will get the opportunity to experience. It takes a special kind of character to decide to get in to a bobsleigh that will fly down an ice track at speeds of up to 70mph with an accomplished pilot in the front. But what Ex RACING ICE 1 asks our soldiers and officers to do is put their faith in a novice to pilot them down and then take a turn piloting themselves with the responsibility for the safety of their teammate in the back.

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‘

Capt D A McTaggart RAMC

’

The moment you stop being nervous about this sport is the moment you should walk away.

After the long journey from Ilford (where the Army Bobsleighs are kept) to Igls in Austria, the Army coaching team met at the team hotel for an initial meeting. There was a real sense of excitement in the air as everyone was keen to see old friends and welcome novices to the sport. The Coaches were all still

stinging from a less than favourable result in the Inter Services Championships and after some considerable investment in the equipment everyone was looking forward to potentially finding some new talent that would improve the team for the future. The team was made up of the

Army Bobsleigh Secretary (Capt Daniel McTaggart), the Head coach (Mr Sean Olsson) and coach (Mr Steve McFall). The team was supported by LCpls Londel and Hawker (both 3 Para) who are both Army level bobsleigh pilots and who are on the Army Bobsleigh coaching succession scheme.


Building on from last year’s extremely successful Ex RACING ICE 1 the 2016 Exercise did not disappoint. A total of 32 novices had a go at Bobsleigh; some with more success than others. The one thing they all had in common was that they had experienced one of the most exhilarating sports in the world. The aim of the Ex is to turn an individual who has never piloted a bobsleigh before in to a competent and safe pilot. The training is delivered in a gradual manner with the individuals starting from the Damen (lowest) start and progressing to the Bob start once the coaches deem that they are safe to do so. The training began as soon as the participants arrived with Capt McTaggart processing the exercising troops and ensuring that they all had the necessary equipment and insurance. After that it was straight to the track where the coaches were waiting.

Sean and Steve then ensured that the participants were briefed on the intricacies of the bobsleighs and how they work as well as the safest and most efficient way to move them around. Once the coaches were content that everyone had understood the instruction it was time for what is known as the track walk. This allows the individuals to get into the track, walk through it and visualise it. At this point they are encouraged to take notes at each corner as the coaches inform them of the best lines to take and how to steer the bobsleigh. It is no coincidence that those who are the most diligent on the track walk tend to be the pilots who get down quickly, and more importantly at this stage, safely. The next day it was time for them to have their first attempt at driving a Bobsleigh. There were lots of nervous faces as they made their way up to the top but they

were put at ease by Olympic Bronze medallist Sean Olsson who told them that that nerves were essential. His line to them was ‘The moment you stop being nervous about this sport is the moment you should walk away’. As expected, there were a few bumpy rides down the track initially with some crashes and a few scrapes. However, everyone improved by listening to the coaches’ points and by the middle of the week they all moved up to the Bob start. At this point the driving quality amongst most people improved considerably and those who didn’t take to the sport had already identified themselves. There were yet more nervous faces as the pilots had to navigate more corners than previously, and at a quicker pace. However, due to some top quality coaching and the fact that the students had listened and understood the changes required, most of the pilots completed the

Contact

BOBSLEIGH

Chairman Bobsleigh Lt Col HS Smyth RAMC e: bobsleigh@awsa.org.uk

track safely and got better with each lauf. It is testament to the quality of the coaching and also the application of those on the exercise that by the end of the Ex, 25 of the 32 attendees were deemed to have the potential to be in the Army team and were invited back to attend the Army championships; not bad after only five days of coaching. Regardless of whether or not these people do come back or not, they have all now experienced a spectacular and thrilling sport first hand. They will not forget it in a hurry that’s for sure!

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Ex RACING ICE II

BOBSLEIGH

ARMY NOVICE, JUNIOR AND SENIOR BOBSLEIGH CHAMPIONSHIPS The Army Novice, Junior and Senior Bobsleigh Championships were held in Igls, Austria between 11-18 Feb 17. A secondary purpose of the Championships was to select the Army Squad to take on the RN/RM and the RAF at the Inter Service Bobsleigh Championships to be held in Mar 17. A total of ten teams entered the Championships and they were coached during the week by the Army Bobsleigh Coach, Mr Sean Olsson. The Army Bobsleigh Association also welcomed back a previous Army Bobsleigh Coach, Maj Rob Hinton to assist with the coaching and it was a privilege to have two such experienced ice coaches at the Army Championships. Thanks must also go to Maj Tim Haskell (Chair Skeleton) who stepped in to oversee the Bobsleigh Championships as a result of both Chair and Secretary Bobsleigh being unable to attend the Championships due to work commitments. Although Igls is not one of the most technical tracks to have been used for competitions in recent years, it can still catch drivers out at various places on the track so concentration must be maintained all the way down to the braking straight. There were a number of trophies to compete for; Novice Champion, Junior Champion and Army Champion together with fastest brakeman and brake woman trophies as well as a place on the Army Squad for the Inter Services. Lt Gen Lorimer (President AWSA) was welcomed to the track during the week where he had the opportunity to engage with all the

Lt Col HS Smyth RAMC

It was extremely encouraging to have ten teams compete in the Championships and we would like this number to increase next season.

bobsleighers as well as taking a trip down the track behind Olympic Bronze Medallist (and ex Parachute Regiment CSgt) Sean Olsson. The bobsleigh staff and athletes also welcomed Maj Gen Nitsch (Deputy President Ice) as well as Col Crossfield (Director Ice Sports). Bobsleigh training took place from 13-16 February with the race draw taking place after training on Thu 16 Feb. The race, held on 17 February was to be determined over two race runs. The first run would be on the draw places, with the final run being on the slowest to fastest runs, making it a nail biting end to the week of sliding. There was no guarantee that the favourites would win as anything can happen on race day and unfortunately this was the case in the female race. WO2

Sarah Smith from the RA has been racing for a number of years and on paper was the favourite to take the women’s trophy; however a crash during the race resulted in the title going to Lt Jo Elliott of the RE, with her brakewoman being Capt Lucy Wyatt (RE). WO2 Sarah Smith and her brake woman, SSgt Alicia Jarman still completed their run and crossed the finish line with athletes and equipment in their bob. They were runners up and all were selected for the Army Bobsleigh Squad (although Capt Wyatt was focussed on luge so would not compete in bobsleigh). The male race was a competitive one with eight male teams competing and two previous Army Champions vying for the title. In the end the Army Champion title was awarded again to Pte “Strangely” Brown from 3 PARA, with his brakeman being LCpl Steve Round (also of 3 PARA). The runnerup was a previous Army Champion, LCpl Ivan Londal (3 PARA) and his brakeman was LCpl Darren Little (also of 3 PARA). The Army Junior Champion was Pte Brian Summers, who had returned to the sport after a season’s break; his brakeman was a novice brakeman, Pte Dan Cleaver (both 3 PARA). The Army Novice Champion was Pte Nick Gleeson (3 PARA) who had only taken up driving at the

start of the week as he has been a brakeman for the past year (also competing for GB as a brakeman). Pte Gleeson performed exceptionally well during the week and went onto be crowned Army Novice Champion (his brakeman was seasoned Army Brakeman – Pte Jason Joseph). The fastest brakeman trophy was awarded to Pte Jason Joseph from 3 PARA and the fastest novice brakeman trophy was awarded to Cpl Chris Marenghi from 1 PARA. The fastest female brake woman trophy was awarded to Capt Lucy Wyatt of the RE. It was extremely encouraging to have ten teams compete in the Championships and we would like this number to increase next season. I would encourage units to put together teams for the event but we also welcome individuals as teams can be put together at the start of the week. Over the years, many different units have been involved in bobsleigh and I would ask that units consider sending some of their interested personnel onto Ex RACING ICE 1 (Army Ice Camp) to learn to drive; they can then bring along personnel to Ex RACING ICE 2 as brakemen and women who have never seen an ice track before. The Army Bobsleigh Association will ensure that personnel are given the necessary training to be a brakeman or woman for their driver.

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EVENTS 2017 - 2018

E

Army Ice Camp - EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 27 Nov - 9 Dec 17 Army Championship- EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterberg, Germany 25 Jan - 3 Feb 18

x RACING ICE 3 was held in Lillehammer, Norway from 26 February to 11 March; this incorporated a single Army Squad training - Ex RACING ICE III service training week followed by the Inter Igls, Austria 19 - 23 Feb 18 Service Bobsleigh Championships. The aim of the Inter Service Championships was Inter Services Ice Sports Championships to determine the Inter Service Men’s and Igls, Austria 25 Feb - 3 Mar 18 Women’s team and individual bobsleigh champions through competition. The military has not competed at the Lillehammer track since March 2010 so it was a welcome return he had to be out in South Korea training at the after a considerable absence. Olympic track in preparation for the Olympic Winter Games in 2018. However this gave a The Army squad consisted of three female number of younger, less experienced drivers teams and five male teams (including a number the opportunity to step up and be selected for of spare brakemen). Two weeks of sliding on the squad. The Army had everything to play the track takes its toll on the body so it was for and nothing to lose as both the male and important to have spare personnel to give female teams suffered at the Inter Service brakemen a rest; unfortunately there were Championships in Winterberg in 2016. All the no spare brakewomen available which we all pressure was on the RAF to retain both the hope to rectify next season. The Army Team (in team titles and for once the pressure was off the particular the male team as the female team Army team. would all be racing) would be determined after The Lillehammer bobsleigh track was first the last day of training on 8 March. opened in March 1992 ahead of the Winter None of the Army squad had competed in Olympic Games in 1994; it is over 1700 Lillehammer before so it was really important metres long and has 16 corners for a bobsleigh to be able to spend a week learning the track in pilot to negotiate. It most recently hosted preparation for the Inter Service week; the Army the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics and is a were joined by the RN/RM and the RAF for technical track designed to test all levels of the training week. The Army team was without driving ability. Unlike last season when the their number one driver (LSgt Lamin Deen) as first week of training concluded with the Army Championships (these Championships had been held in Austria earlier in the month) all Army personnel could fully focus on learning the track without ramping up at the end of the first week for a race. By the middle of the first week of training, all Army bobsleighs were starting from the top of the track and as was the case in La Plagne in 2015, the speed of the starts were built up gradually to enable the drivers to focus on fine tuning their driving skills. The Army had a really successful week of sliding with only a few crashes. Comment must be made on the female

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team. For the first three days of training they had three drivers but only two brakewomen and LCpl T Tuilovani, who had learnt to bobsleigh on the Ice Camp but who had been released for the Inter Services, willingly put herself through additional bobsleigh runs each day in order that all the drivers were able to get their runs in. This is no mean feat when the brakewomen experience in excess of 3.5g each run (as well as the risk of crashing). Even if LCpl Tuilovani crashed in the bobsleigh, she was straight back to the top of the track with a huge smile on her face, raring to get back in the bobsleigh and brake for whoever needed her. Braking was a baptism of fire for Lt Helena Richardson who had volunteered to come out to the Inter Services to support one of the drivers, Lt Nia Watson-Campbell. Having never been in a bobsleigh before, Lt Richardson performed exceptionally well and her athletic prowess shone through. The female team worked well together and consisted of Lt Jo Ellett & LCpl T Tuilovani, Lt Nia Watson-Campbell & Lt Helena Richardson, WO2 Sarah Smith & SSgt Alicia Jarman. The male team performed incredibly well during the first week and certainly had the RN/RM and the RAF rattled. Their driving was consistent and they gradually built up their speed until they were racing full speed off the top of the track. All the drivers had the opportunity to have three runs a day on most days and by the end of the week all athletes were mentally and physically drained so a day away from the track was welcomed on the Saturday. The Inter-Service week commenced on 5 March but the only time the track had available for bobsleighs was in the evening. This was not ideal as the athletes were not used to sliding at night and this gives a different perspective to the track. Although the track is lit up, there are areas of the track that are in shadow and this affected the driving of athletes from all three services. Not to be deterred, everyone was back and ready for sliding on 6 March at the usual afternoon sliding time slot. There was a noticeable increase in tension at the track during the final week with the RAF realising that they had to beat the Army (who had been consistent during the previous week with very few crashes compared to the other Services). However the usual good natured banter continued and all three Services helped each other out throughout the week. There were a couple of crashes towards the latter part of the training which resulted in some damage to the cowlings of two Army bobsleighs but LCpl Ivan Londal (Equipment Manager and Driver) worked tirelessly with members of the squad to ensure that the bobsleighs were fixed in time for race day. Thanks must go to the track staff who allowed the Army to use the workshops and


BOBSLEIGH

Lt Col HS Smyth RAMC

INTER SERVICE ICE SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIPS some of their equipment. Following the final day of sliding the Army Male Team was selected and they were as follows: 1 – Pte Strangely Brown & Pte Jason Joseph 2 – LCpl Ivan Londal & Cpl Darren Little 3 – Pte Nick Gleeson & LCpl Rick Ray 4 – Cpl Dan Hawker & LCpl Steve Round Those athletes not selected to race were integral to the team as they would provide the support at the top and bottom of the track to the athletes as well as being on standby to brake should anybody get injured during the race. The Inter Service race follows the format of the World Championships; where there are four bobsleigh runs over two days with the winning team and individual having the lowest combined times. The order of sliding would be on the draw for the first run followed by reverse on time (slowest to fastest) for the second run. The third run (on day two) would be the reverse of the race draw for the first run with the final run being on time (slowest to fastest). This ensures that the race on the final day is a nail biting finish. The drivers have to put in four consistent runs over two days with fast push starts from their brakemen to ensure success but when you are racing on the edge, anything can happen and this year’s Inter Service Bobsleigh Championships was no exception. In both the male and female race there were crashes throughout the four days, with thankfully few injuries and if the bobsleigh crossed the finish line with all athletes and equipment still in the bob then the time counted. In the female race, the team event was determined on three bobs racing with the fastest two to count; in the male race, it was four bobs to race with the fastest three to count. This still does not allow much room for error so the mental pressure the drivers were under to get four clean runs down the track was huge. At the end of the first day of racing the Army male team was in the lead, but in the overall individual standings, Sgt John Jackson (RM and ex GB driver) was in the lead. Pte Nick Gleeson (who has been competing for GB as a brakeman) was in second place and he only took up driving at the Army Championships in February 17. LCpl Ivan Londal was in third place with Cpl Dan Hawker in sixth place and Pte Strangely Brown in seventh place. In the female race, Lt Nia Watson-Campbell was lying in third place (her first season as a driver) with WO2 Sarah Smith in sixth place and Lt Jo Ellett in seventh place. This put the ladies team in second place behind the RAF. Following the second run of the Inter Services, the teams had to work on their bobsleighs and runners ready for day two of racing. There were

no injuries with the Army team overnight and they were all raring to go for the final two runs and trying not to let the pressure get to them. Their coach, Sean Olsson (well used to pressure having taken Bronze at the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998) kept everyone calm and collected and both teams remained focussed. It was the RAF who were feeling the pressure as they would have to work extremely hard to beat the Army in the male Team event; the Army just had to put in two clean runs each. At the end of the third run, Sgt John Jackson was in first place with Cpl Ross Brown of the RAF in second. Pte Nick Gleeson was just behind in third place. In the team standings the Army were sitting in third, fourth, fifth and seventh place which put them first in the team event. In the female race, Lt Nia Watson-Campbell was still sitting in third place with the other two sleds in sixth and seventh place, maintaining second place to the RAF in the team event. The final race run was tense and exciting. The women slid first and all was going really well for the Army until Lt Watson-Campbell crashed towards the bottom of the track. However the bob crossed the finish line and they recorded a time but Nia and Helena were gutted as they had been on track to finish in third place. More importantly though the pair were not badly injured; Nia took a trip to hospital as a precaution. The final standings for the team event were RAF in first place, Army in second place and the RN in third place. In the individual standings, WO2 Sarah Smith was in fourth place, Lt Nia Watson-Campbell in sixth place and Lt Jo Ellett in seventh place. All three

teams performed incredibly well and the brakewomen were superb. In the male race Pte Nick Gleeson maintained his third position, LCpl Ivan Londal was in fourth and Cpl Dan Hawker would have retained his fifth place had Sgt Ash Morris from the RM not had such a strong final run. Cpl Hawker finished in sixth place with Pte Strangely Brown in seventh place. It was an absolutely outstanding race for every one of the Army sliders and they thoroughly deserved to retake the Team Trophy from the RAF. The teamwork was utterly outstanding and the Army focussed on sliding as a team rather than load up the best driver with the best brakeman. The intent had always been to retake the Team Trophy and this was done in style. As well as taking the Male Team Trophy, Pte Nick Gleeson took third place and was the best novice driver. The women took second place in the team event and LCpl T Tuilovani was awarded the Fastest Brakewoman trophy. The coaching team of Sean Olsson (Army Ice Coach) and Sgt Steve Smith (Push Coach) had worked incredibly hard with the Army Squad and this paid off with the successful outcome at the Inter Services. The goal for next Season is to retain the male team trophy and win the female team event.

RESULTS 2016 - 2017

Army Championships Male Champions: Pte “Strangely” Brown/LCpl Steve Round 3 PARA Male Runners up: LCpl Ivan Londal /Cpl Darren Little 3 PARA Female Champions: Lt Jo Ellet 26 Engr Regt/Capt Lucy Wyatt 42 Engr Regt Female Runners up: WO2 Sarah Smith RA/SSgt Alicia Jarman 11 Sig Regt Army Junior Champions: Pte Brian Summers/Pte Dan Cleaver 3 PARA Army Novice Champions: Pte Nick Gleeson/Pte Jason Joseph 3 PARA Fastest Brakeman: Pte Joseph 3 PARA Fastest Brakewoman: Capt Lucy Wyatt 42 Engr Regt (Geo) Fastest Novice Brakeman: Cpl Marenghi 1 PARA Inter Service Championships Male Team Champions: Army Female Team Champions: Royal Air Force Male Individual Champions: Sgt Jackson & Cpl Dalrymple RM/RN Female Individual Champions: LAET Robertson & Lt Kelly RN

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Maj PJR Chishick LG

CRESTA

CRESTA

A

fter regaining the Inter-Services from the Royal Navy last year, the Army team had it all to lose in the 2017 season. This season we had 26 riders representing 10 regiments for the Junction Inter-Regimental Championships of whom, one third were soldiers. The Army Championships takes place midJanuary and is the early tool for selecting potential talent for the Army squad and then ultimately the Army Team. It takes the form of a Regimental Pairs race for the 17th/21st Lancers Cup, over two or three courses, as well as an individual novice championship and individual handicapped race. The variety of races held allows all levels of experience the chance to take home some silverware. The Cresta Run is built by hand each year, and this year it was a particularly quick run. Race day approached as quickly as ever - after only four days of practice for many of the novices!

The conditions were perfect on the morning and everyone had shown improvement over the previous days. There were only a small number of falls this season, of note was one from an over-ambitious trooper in the lower banks! Overall the standard of riding was very good and almost everyone, whether novice, beginner or experienced rider rode their personal best times. The novice open race was won by Capt Mark Vowles RL, representing the Army Foundation College Harrogate, posting two very respectable rides of 49s. The Junction handicap race was won by Capt S Seccombe RY, who was riding off scratch and posted two blistering times of 42.86s and 42.37s. The 17th/21st Lancers Cup was won by Maj Morgan and Tpr Hunt of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, this was a fantastic effort especially considering this was the first time Tpr Hunt had ever been to Europe. During the Inter-Services week the Army held its own Top race, the Scots Guards Cup. With a field of seven riders it was all to play for, racing for a spot on the Army team. Lt Felix Cairns Scots DG, had only started riding from Top a

Contact Chairman Brig IJ Gibb Secretary Maj PJR Chishick LG e: cresta@awsa.org.uk

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The Army Team with Lt Gen Lorimer

The Secretary (CSgt Armon-Jones) warms up


Capt Barnes exits shuttlecock at speed

RESULTS

CRESTA

Army Championships Scots Guards Cup Open Individual Race Capt SO Seccombe RY

Junction Championships

17th/21st Lancers Cup Open Regimental Pairs Race Royal Wessex Yeomanry Open Novice Champion Capt M Vowles AFC(H) Handicapped Race Capt SO Seccombe

Events 2018

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

Army Junction Championship 17th 21st Lancers Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 27 Jan 18

Lord Trenchard Trophy Fastest Combined time from Top Surg Lt Cdr DL Potter The East Anglia Air Ambulance

Army Top Championship Scots Guards Cup St Moritz, Switzerland 29 Jan 18

Auty Speed Cup Fastest time of the race from Top Capt SO Seccombe RY

Inter Service Championship Prince Phillip Trophy St Moritz, Switzerland 31 Jan 18 few days earlier and Capt Scott Pryor KRH, was returning after a crushed thumb. The day was once again perfect and times had been coming down across the board. Capt Jack Barnes RHG/D, came third, Capt Tom Wythe RL, was second and Capt Sam Seccombe RY, was first. The day was made even more special as Capt Wythe and Capt Seccombe both rode sub-53 seconds, this made them the fastest serving Army riders on record. When race day arrived the team performed to the highest standards, keenly watched by the President of the AWSA, Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer (Late PARA); the President placed 7th riding in the Silver Spoon race after having passed beginners’ school the previous day. Capt Pryor was the Army’s sixth man and in doing so was awarded his Army half-colours. Lt Cairns raced for the Harland Trophy, the nonteam Services Top race. After a very successful year Lt Cairns has shown great promise and potential for the future. All six Army riders made it safely to the finish and the Army team was the clear victor by over

Harland Trophy Serving, Reserve and Retired handicapped race from Top Capt BC Ayling Army Air Corps (Retd)

ten seconds, with the Royal Navy second and the RAF in third place. The team produced such good results that the combined time was the fastest time ever recorded in the Prince Phillip Trophy. This has been another fantastic season for Army Cresta, demonstrating that the efforts in developing the squad over the past few years have paid off. This ethos has continued this season, with good representation from other ranks and the Reserves. With the depth within the team and future talent being developed, Army Cresta prospects are promising. Setting the fastest time ever as a team and having some of the fastest Service riders, only serves to strengthen Army Cresta as a whole. With continued support, the strength of the Army team will only continue to grow. I am extremely grateful to Capt Wythe standing in as Captain for this season and CSgt Armon-Jones as the Secretary. We look set to have another good season next year.

Silver Spoon Serving, Reserve and Retired handicapped race from Junction Wg Cdr MJ Metcalf RAF (Retd)

Capt Wythe running start

The Inter-Regimental Teams

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LUGE

Week one and two started in the normal manner of getting everyone adjusted to the speed factor.

LUGE

WO2 Graham Holmes RE, Secretary Army Luge

curve five of the fourteen bends that the Igls Olympic track offers. Our aim for both weeks is to try and get all novices up to Damen start. This year’s Novice camp returned to the normal This will give them a total dates of November/December as it will be for time from top to bottom of this year, so mark up your diaries. On the Luge the track of around the 43-45 side of matters we had twelve novices for each seconds of pure adrenalin rush week; this included four from The Royal Navy as - if all goes well. well. This was one of the best attended novice Notable achievements from weeks for Luge in quite some time and its the two weeks were LCpl James popularity is growing as the fastest sport on ice. Davis (Light Dragoons) and LCpl Ben Woodcock 42 (GEO) A warm welcome to our new Chairman for Army Royal Engineers who both took Luge, Capt Lucy Wyatt, Royal Engineers, who will to the sport, despite numerous no doubt help to bring the sport of Luge in the knocks and a few crashes, Army forward. She has already captained the very well. We are hoping to Army Luge team to victory at the Inter Services see them again competing as Championships this season; more to follow on individuals, and as part of the that result. Army Luge team for the Inter Week one and two started in the normal Services Championship. manner of getting everyone adjusted to the Another notable slider from speed factor. We start lower down the track as the two weeks was our token Luge is the more difficult of the three disciplines civilian, Miss Elsa Desmond, to master. Most of the top athletes in our sport, who at the age of 19 did ie the Germans, start at the age of between five extremely well throughout and eight years old. Therefore not wanting to the week. She showed great cause too much carnage, our novices start just determination and was before curve eight. constantly the fastest during On day three, we then move them up to the the week; we need to correct junior start, which is just below Damen start; the balance.

EX RACING ICE I Novice Camp Igls - Austria

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CONTACT

LUGE Chairman Capt LN Wyatt RE Secretary WO2 Graham Holmes RE m: 07957 564677 e: luge@awsa.org.uk or grahamholmesluge@yahoo.co.uk

EX RACING ICE II Army Championships Igls - Austria This year’s Army Ice Sports Championships took place at the same venue as the novice week, Igls in Austria. Our two international sliders, Sgt Danielle Scott and GDSM Ray Thompson could not attend, due to sliding in South Korea at next year’s Olympic venue in PyeongChang; however this did not curtail the competitiveness of the event and opened up numerous opportunities for novice, junior and seasoned sliders alike. Back for his second Army championships Tpr Cameron Whatmore was down as one of the favourites for the week to take at least one of the three titles on offer; these being novice, junior and senior. Also present from the RTR were LCpls Dan Cree, and seasoned veteran Steve Webb. We also welcomed back Capt Tom

Bird and Capt Lucy Wyatt. Also present were our guest sliders Mr Kevin Brown and Miss Elsa Desmond, who again excelled herself to prove she has taken to the sport very well and we hope to see her back for future events. By day three of five they had all progressed up to the ladies start, so all had the confidence for the Friday race. During the week, all times for the main protagonists had been very close; as we went into race day it was one of the hardest competitions to call for a long time. Unfortunately Tpr Cameron Whatmore was unable to slide race day due to an on-going injury from the day before, but was still able to be selected on merit for the Inter Services Team. After the first of the two runs LCpl Steve Webb had a .074 of a second gap on the returning LCpl Dan Cree, in only his second

Army Championship. However, on his second run Dan posted a 42.792, with Steve returning a 43.182, giving Dan the title of Army and Junior champion by just 0.335 of a second; a welldeserved victory. A mention must go to Capt Lucy Wyatt who posted the fastest time of the day with a 42.709 and was the top female slider of the day; however with no military competitor in the female ranking she was unable to take the women’s title. We are hoping to recruit more military females for next season so if you are interested please contact us and get your name down for this year’s Ex Racing Ice One.

Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Lillehammer - Norway For the first time in five years the Army’s Inter Services Ice Sports Group found itself in Lillehammer, Norway. Minus 13 degrees centigrade temperatures first thing in the morning, and a bit of snow thrown into the equation proved a challenge to all competitors. The Army Luge team was up to full strength this year with the return of Sgt Danielle Scott (having missed last year from injury). Along with Gdsm Ray Thompson they formed the basis of the team effort, other members of the team were Capt Lucy Wyatt and LCpl James Davis, who is still in his first year of sliding. During the build-up week it very much looked as though the RAF would take the team and men’s individual title, but come race day the

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LUGE

’’

For the first time in five years the Army’s Inter Services Ice Sports Group found itself in Lillehammer, Norway.

RESULTS Male Champion Runner up

LCPL Dan Cree RTR Tpr Steve Webb RTR

Junior Champion

LCpl Dan Cree RTR

Novice Champion Runner up

LCpl Ben Woodcock RE LCpl James Davis LD

Inter Services Championships Team Champions

ARMY

Male Champion

Gdsm Thompson, Army

Female Champion

Sgt Danielle Scott, Army

British Championships Male Champion Runner up

Mr AJ Rosen Flt Lt Gavin Arnold

Female Champion Runner up

Sgt Danielle Scott Ms Sarah Shekhdar

Army excelled themselves not only in the team event, but also the men’s and women’s events. Ray and Dani took both titles and helped the group to take the team trophy by two seconds from the RAF, with the Royal Navy placed a creditable third. It has been a fantastic year for Army Luge. A special mention must go to the efforts of Sgt Danielle Scott and Gdsm Ray Thompson for their hard work during the season; not only on the international circuit, but also for the determination they showed to win the team event at the Inter Services. Finally, but not least, none of this would have been possible without our long suffering coach; a big thank you to Mike Howard who helped in all aspects to make this a great year.

EVENTS 2017 - 2018

Army Championships Army Ice Camp EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 27 Nov - 9 Dec 17

’’

Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterberg, Germany 25 Jan - 3 Feb 18 Army Squad training week Ex RACING ICE III Igls, Austria 19-23 Feb 18 Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igls, Austria 25 Feb - 3 Mar 18

Luge terms to make it two in a row. Sgt Danielle Scott won the GB Women’s title on her return after missing last year; this is now her fourth title and she continues to be Great Britain’s top female slider. If you are fit and robust and like adrenalin, come and have a go at the sport of Luge; it is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry! Contact luge@awsa.org.uk

British Championships 9th March 2017 This year’s GB Luge championships took place prior to the Inter Services race, ran as an individual event and open to all sliders, past and present. Mr AJ Rosen showed indomitable style by winning the men’s championships by a massive 2.319 seconds; this is about a mile in

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Maj Elizabeth Sedgwick RLC

NORDIC

NORDIC

32

In January 2017 we hosted Exercise RUCKSACK in its platinum anniversary year and celebrated 70 years of National Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing. Ruhpolding, Bavaria once more served as the familiar and much-loved backdrop and every effort was made, as always, to set the quality and challenge bar even higher than ever before. As predicted this year saw record numbers of athletes qualifying for and competing at the exercise. As is now normal, we saw military racers from all three Services competing alongside civilian athletes, including teams from both Germany and Australia. The female competition grows steadily stronger, both in terms of number of competitors and results, and the standard all-round was impressive. Taking place from 28 Jan to 9 Feb 17 the 70th RUCKSACK was a great success. The Championships saw a total of 210 skiers from 33 teams take part in Biathlon and cross country races in the world class Chiemgau Biathlon Stadium. This included 26 male teams, and five female teams as well as a number of individual competitors. Eleven Army cap badges were represented, alongside teams from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force. For the Championships to be worthy of its place at the top of National involvement in the sport it must attract and welcome participation from the broadest of bases, and so it is particularly pleasing to see that throughout the years a growth in the popularity of and access to Nordic and Biathlon skiing is reflected in the start list for every race in the competition.

Enjoying some unseasonably warm weather we were fortunate that snow conditions this year just about held out for the whole exercise allowing the race team to deliver a full programme of technically and physically challenging cross country and biathlon races. The weather also contributed to some very good range performances. Competitive spirit ran high throughout and characterised this year’s event. Overall results saw 1 Regt RLC claim the SAS and Kentish Cups, 6 Regt RLC win the Princess Marina Cup and the Royal Artillery Ladies win the female competition. The battle for top spot in the men’s competition was hard fought between the two favourites, 16 Regt RA and 1 Regt RLC. The men’s 4x5 relay was closer than even those with very long memories could ever remember and although 1 Regt enjoyed a strong lead for much of the distance, 16 Regt’s Olympic talents clawed much of it back. In a nail biting finale, 1 Regt RLC successfully claimed first place with only seconds to spare. Many athletes and spectators agreed that this was the best race they’d ever witnessed, and we were glad that many of our visiting guests and sponsors were able to experience some of the excitement. The Patrol Race was, as ever, a gruelling affair, with much intrigue and surprise thrown in for good measure. The RNRM team rightly deserve a mention for a superb performance and an impressive 2nd place finish, just behind 1 Regt RLC (who, after a breakage in the first 100m, managed to ski the entire race with half a pole,


NORDIC NORDIC LUGE

but still pulled out the fastest ski time of all the teams). Against the odds the RLC Ladies enjoyed a hugely successful Patrol race, coming first by some margin and winning Best Shots. It must, however, be said that their task was somewhat eased by their opponents’ disinclination to read their maps! The In overall results there were a number Patrol Race of things to remark upon. There was was, as ever, a noticeable trend in the number of Veteran skiers appearing in the top a gruelling affair, results this year, with four Veterans with much intrigue and finishing within the top 10 in the surprise thrown prestigious 20 km race. Either the old boys and girls are getting fitter, in for good measure. or the younger blood needs to work on their shooting! Conversely we saw an exceptional level of competition in the Youth and Junior Novice men’s and women’s competition with some really exciting talent coming through. It may be that our stalwart World Cup and Olympic qualified athletes will have their work cut out for them in coming years – and the competition will be all the more exciting for that. Colours were awarded this year as follows: UKAF Cross Country Colours: LCpl Laponder (RA), LCpl Kelly (RLC) and LCpl Patterson (RLC). UKAF Biathlon Colours: Gnr Shaw (RA). Army Cross Country Colours: Cpl Wallace (REME), LCpl Metcalfe (RA)

Divisional Championships 1 EX SPARTAN HIKE Monetiers, France 14-24 Jan 2018

Events 2018

Divisional Championships 2 EX PIPEDOWN Les Contamines, France 13-23 Jan 2018 Army, Inter Service & British Championships EX RUCKSACK Ruhpolding, Germany 24 Jan – 9 Feb 2018

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NORDIC

Results 2017

Army Biathlon Colours: LBdr Fountain (RA), LCpl Kelly (RLC), Capt Twine (RLC), LCPl Drew (RLC), LCpl Metcalfe (RA) and Capt Wood (RA) As in previous years the Armed Forces Biathlon Development Squad (ABDS), which seeks to progress young athletes to national level, selected nominations for full time training from the results of this year’s competition at RUCKSACK. These athletes will take part in three 3-week training camps where they will be continually assessed on their fitness, mental attitude and biathlon skills. At the close of each camp a formal selection will inform those who are invited to continue to the next stage of training. This process takes dedication, commitment (both financial and personal) and determination, and all the young athletes undertaking ABDS this year should be commended for their success in selection. It goes without saying that we are extremely lucky to enjoy continued support from units across the services and the Chain of Command. Without this support Ex RUCKSACK simply couldn’t function at the level, and achieve the success that it does. 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. We look forward to welcoming you all at the 71st Ex RUCKSACK in January 18.

Contact Chairman Nordic Col AM Thurgood Vice Chairman Nordic Col M Pullan MBE Secretary Nordic Capt T Furlong RLC e: nordic@awsa.org.uk

First placed teams: SAS Cup (Champion Inter Service Unit Nordic Ski Team) 1 Regt RLC Princess Marina Cup (Champion Skiing Unit of the British Army) 6 Regt RLC Kentish Cup (Champion Army Unit Nordic Ski Team) 1 Regt RLC Champion Army Ladies Team RA Ladies Women’s Military Patrol Race RLC Ladies Men’s Military Patrol Race 1 Regt RLC Individual results: Junior Men Gnr Dom Foale 16 Regt RA Junior Novice Men LCpl Lawrence Horsfall 5 FS Bn REME Senior Novice Men Mne Adam Peacock RNRM Junior Women Gnr Kayhlan Norgrove RA Ladies Novice Women SAC Sophie Townend RAF Ladies Senior Men LCpl Carl Kelly 1 Regt RLC Senior Women LBdr Bronwyn Metcalfe RA Ladies

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SSgt Nicky Moxon R Signals

SKELETON

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

Ex RACING ICE I Igls, Austria

The novice Ice sports camp was fully attended this season. Participants headed across by coach and on arrival they were briefed on what was happening for the week. It sounds easy, get yourself from the top of the track to the bottom quicker than the other sliders but there is much more to it than that. All were issued with their sled, helmet, and spikes and were introduced to the Olympic track. This was a very daunting sight for most and the nerves were becoming apparent. Lying head first on a sled that offers little protection, negotiating a series of bends whilst reaching speeds of up to 125 Kmph, “isn’t this dangerous?” they all thought. Over the two week novice camp every athlete had to remain focused otherwise they could find themselves on the cold ice, luckily no one was injured. It was an exciting period as at least five sliders within skeleton demonstrated promising potential. Exciting times are ahead!

Ex RACING ICE II Igls, Austria The main event for the 2016/17 season was Ex RACING ICE II, the novice, junior and senior Army Ice Sports Championships held in February in Igls Austria. More than 20 athletes from novice through to senior arrived prepared and ready for the event. Some sliders had also attended a training camp that had been

36

organised by Capt Peter Botterill AMS utilising the facilities at Bath, sessions on the push track to fine tune their sprint starts, and this certainly made a positive impact during training and more importantly on race day. All athletes had slid this track before; they remained committed and fought hard throughout the training. Over the first two days of training some experienced knocks and bruises as well as refreshing and learning every corner of the track. Alongside lightning fast reflexes and speed to steer the sled into the best position this is certainly a challenge for any slider at any level. The track at Igls is not the most technical, so any slight mistake will have a massive impact on the overall finish time and maximum speeds that can be reached. Finish times can vary throughout training leaving the race open to anyone; anything can happen on race day. To name some factors, weather, air and ice temperature, concentration, nerves and excitement can heavily effect and influence an athlete’s race. This was yet again a tense but thrilling championship as many of the novice athletes were most definitely keeping the more experienced senior sliders on their toes. On race day, after the first lauf, LCpl Nathan Jackson was at least 0.5 seconds ahead of Cpl Dave Manning who is one of the Army team’s most senior athletes and alongside last season’s Champion LBdr Sam Banda who was prepared to fight until the end to retain his title. Throughout the season LCpl Nathan Jackson has been on the circuit and he was more determined than ever to win; his passion and perseverance ensured that he became the Army Champion, closely followed by runner up LBdr Sam Banda and Cpl Dave Manning in third place. During the race it became very apparent that the mens

‘fastest start title’ was once again going to be won by Capt Giles Moon who produced an amazing 5.25 push at the top. The womens race was equally gripping with six athletes producing excellent results not only within the training sessions but on race day. I remained determined and my experience paid off and I came away with the Army Womens Champion. Lt Rhianon Graham and Novice slider Spr Katie Topp battled it out over both runs, but Lt Rhianon Graham (who won the Ladies Fastest start) took the runner up title with Spr Katie Topp only 0.2 behind in third place. For the Junior Champion title, which is contested with both men and women racing together, Maj Johan Jeevaratram excelled and won with a clear three second lead in front of Lt Rhianon Graham. With a brilliant selection of novice athletes, Spr Tom Ludivico finished within the top five and won the novice title by two seconds followed by Capt Aaron whiting. These athletes are ones to watch for the future. This season has seen one of the best standards of athletes for many years. Selection for the Army Squad to go forward for the Inter Service Championships was not an easy task. The below athletes trained within the squad with the top five men and four women representing the Army over the race period:


SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

My Skeleton journey ...

Every season the Army Squad has continued to develop competitively and with depth; winning not only titles as a team but individual podium positions too! Men 1. Capt Peter Botterill , AMS 2. Sgt Tony Wressell, RSIGS 3. Cpl Dave Manning, RSIGS 4. LCpl Nathan Jackson, RLC 5. Lbdr Sam Banda, RA 6. Spr Tom Ludivico, RE 7. Capt Aaron Whiting, RA 8. Lt Dave Gibbs, RE

Women 1. Capt Hayley Larcombe, AMS 2. Lt Rhianon Graham, AGC 3. SSgt Nicky Moxon, RSIGS 4. SSgt Julia Bloomer, RAPTC 5. Spr Katie Topp, RE

Inter-Service Championships This season the Army Squad deployed to Lillehammer, Norway. The first period of training gave the team an opportunity to further develop alongside both the RAF and Navy. All athletes were given the chance to hone their skills and learn the nuances of the track; mainly bend 13 which, for most, left no athlete unscathed. This part of the track was a force to be reckoned with. The Army had a total of four novices who had been selected which was brilliant news for the future of skeleton.

Once the team had been selected only a few sliders had experience of this track so competition was fierce over the two race days. All three services battled and after the first day of racing, the womens team were ahead and the mens team were very close to the top spot where the RAF sat. Individually the team had three sliders within the top three so day two was just as gripping and everyone slid exceptionally well. Both races came down to the last Lauf. In the women’s race, the team finished as the Inter Service Champions for the second year running with all athletes giving it their all. Commendable performances and finishing times from Capt Hayley Larcombe enabled her to take the individual title closely followed by another experienced ex-GB and Army athlete SSgt (SSI) Julia Bloomer who finished runner up. The mens race did not disappoint. The team has continued to grow and the standard is currently the highest it has been for the past five years. This ensured that the RAF and Navy remained under pressure throughout the race. The excitement and enthusiasm to compete was overwhelming. LCpl Nathan Jackson RLC performed under pressure and narrowly missed out on the top spot that was won by the RAF but he took the Inter Service runner up title; an amazing achievement amongst this seasons field of athletes. The mens team continued to deliver and became runners up for the second year running whilst finishing close to the RAF; that said the team were margins away from the Navy. The competitive camaraderie of Army Skeleton throughout the season makes for the most amazing atmosphere and the sense of achievement for all athletes is second to none regardless of prior experience. Interested athletes. Do you have fast reaction times, physical and mental strength and a sense of humour if it all goes wrong? Please contact SSgt Nicky Moxon at skeleton@ awsa.org.uk

My first Army novice week was held in 2009 at the Olympic Track Lillehammer, Norway. I had decided from the three disciplines available that Skeleton was going to be the sport I wanted to pursue. This week was most definitely challenging and on my first lauf down the track whilst attempting to contain my nerves and excitement alongside the vast amount of adrenaline. I found out that this was not just a physical but a mental sport too. Travelling head first at no less than 100kph is not for the faint hearted but I wanted to go faster, I was addicted! Due to maternity leave the next time I slid was at the Army Championships held in 2010 at Konigssee, Germany. This track was very different to Norway and the 360 degree Kreisel was difficult to master and caught many of the sliders out on numerous occasions. I persevered and became Army runner up and was then selected to compete at my first Inter Service Championship. The following season both championships were held in Igls. Austria. This was the first time that I had been to this particular track which isn’t as technical as the other two but just as exciting. I quickly learnt that as a skeleton athlete, quick thinking and reactions are a must on every track. I was fortunate to win the Army Championship title there (and for the next three seasons) and again last season. I have progressed through the sport, competing at Army and Inter Service level and became the Army secretary, team manager and coach in 2013. Since returning from maternity leave in 2015 I have competed in the GB Championships; earning a top five and veteran gold. I have had the pleasure of teaching, alongside our civilian coach ex-Regular RLC and GB athlete Stuart Hayden, complete beginners and taking them on their journey from novice and junior to senior skeleton athlete. It is a demanding and dangerous sport and helps to develop participant into robust, confident and capable leaders.

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LCpl Nathan Jackson describes his International skeleton season

If I had a simple way to describe my season, then the closest I could get is 16,000 miles. As I sit and think about that number and how best to express what it means to me. I’d firstly like to start by thanking those who made it possible. Maj Tim Haskell and SSgt Nicky Moxon along with the rest of the Army Skeleton community. Yet again you’ve supported my endeavours and are tirelessly working behind the scenes. My unit (29 Regt RLC) who along with The Royal Logistics Corps have endured but wholeheartedly supported my single mindedness towards this sport. My Australian and International teammates/coaches who are always there for advice and have truly opened my eyes up to what a great sport this is and the fantastic people who participate in it.

Sigulda, Latvia The first stop for my rookie international season. After another successful summer camp in North America I felt confident but nervous heading into the first sliding of the season. After my first track walk with the coach of the Dukurs brothers, it quickly dawned on me just how technical this track was going to be. The track itself has 16 corners over 1200m and with a purpose-built start house rising six storeys traversing downhill to the finish line 150m below. The focus of the track is from corner 4 to 14. An unforgiving sequence that at any second can punish you, but if you get it right will leave you smiling for days; I was left smiling once ... in three weeks! Having become acquainted in depth with the unforgiving side of Sigulda life, I still managed to score valuable ranking points on race day and set a couple of Australian records in the process. Then it was time to pack up and head south.

Igls, Austria After the epic overnight drive from Sigulda. I arrived for what would be the first of three visits to Igls, Austria in 2016/17. This would be the first time my parents would see the sport live after flying in from Australia. With the highs come the inevitable lows and this week epitomised just that. I managed new PB’s for my push and down times in training, but illness prevented me from training on day three. With no gas in the tank and inclement weather on both race days I had to take the couple of positives from training and wait to rectify the negatives later in the season.

Königssee - Germany With parents now in tow it was just a quick four-hour drive to the last race location for 2016 in Königssee, Bavaria. Overlooked by Hitler’s

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famous Eagles nest, this would be my first true test of how a race week is traditionally set out. New track, six training runs with back to back race days. After a tough week, both mentally and physically and with solid training runs under my belt it was time to close out the first half of the racing season. After just finishing outside the points in the first of the back to back races, I had hopes of rectifying it for the second race day but a bad exit from the spur left me skidding into corner one and all but ending any chance of a good result. Some hard lessons learned from my first handful of international races. It was time to take a step back and get some more training under the belt. I had a short few days and some quality family time in the hills of Italy and Switzerland before saying goodbye to the parents and heading back to the ice. Visit number two to Igls and a week forerunning for the British and RAF Champs enabled me to correct a few issues from my first visit.

Altenberg, Germany My last ice of the year was next, Altenberg, Saxony. So many myths and legends about this track and while I had a lot of respect for it, I fell in love with it. We had a great international training group with athletes from seven countries all learning how to tame the East German beast. Five hard but fun days and twenty runs completed I left for a well-earned Christmas break and a chance for my body to heal.

St. Moritz, Switzerland Bringing in the New Year with the long journey to my next location of St. Moritz, Switzerland for race six. The first few days saw the thermometer reach a balmy -21’C, with many an athlete and onlooker seeking refuge in the Dracula club. With a shortened training week leading into race week, this is the one track everyone loves to slide. Natural ice offers a different challenge, with the added pressure of my first event broadcasted live plus some of the best sliders in the world here (including the recently returning dual USA Olympian John Daly). Everything was going well until my very last step on race day. As I was loading onto my sled I felt a popping sensation in the back of my right leg, unable to hold my foot up off the ice, I immediately went into salvaged mode and tried to adjust my run as best I could. Trying to keep my mind clear for the next 70 seconds and focus on finishing. I thought that would be the end of my season. Devastated, a quick assessment from one of the team Physiotherapists on circuit and the race Doctor. The realisation set in that I had injuries in both my hamstring and adductor muscles groups. I had a month until the Army champs.


SKELETON BOBSLEIGH

Events 2017 - 2018

FIVE YEARS OF FUN...

Army Ice Camp EX RACING ICE I Igls, Austria 27 Nov - 9 Dec 17 Army Championship EX RACING ICE II (Novice, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) Winterberg, Germany 25 Jan - 3 Feb 18

Capt Hayley Larcombe, 4 Armoured Medical Regiment, Inter Services Skeleton Champion

Army Squad training week Ex RACING ICE III Igls, Austria 19-23 Feb 18

Inter Services Ice Sports Championships Igles, Austria 25 Feb - 3 Mar 18

Some hard lessons learned from my first handful of international races Igls Austria

Rest, recover and rehab twice a day. Progress was frustratingly slow and I started my last week at the Army Championships in Igls, Austria, having had only a couple of run/walk sessions and a lot of bike work under my belt. With my push .3 of a second slower than my visit in November, I would have to out drive everyone yet again to retain my title. If the season had taught me anything, it was I needed to change how I approached things mentally. So, I came up with a plan for the Champs week and for the first time stuck to it religiously. It worked and building on my game plan throughout the week, I defended my title in front of a continually improving and fast finishing field, led by the ever present LBdr Sam Banda.

Königssee - Germany Within a month of thinking my winter was over I could finally leave the setbacks of the season behind. I took a week off from sliding for more rehab and in the process headed over to Königssee to assist the IBSF emerging nations coach. Almost a third of this season entrants for the World Championships were from small nations. It proved an invaluable learning curve for me at a track where I have only had limited runs. After a long and intensive week, I was again packed up and in the van within 30mins of the race ending and settling in for the long 1000mile drive to Lillehammer, Norway, the location of this season’s Inter-service competition.

Lillehammer, Norway The last day of a long couple of weeks, there were plenty of bruises, personal bests, crashes, highs and lows along the way. In the end, I found myself all but alone in the change room, minutes away from my last slide of the season. Having finished race day one in third place I managed to claw some time back on run one of day two. Sitting second heading into the final run of the competition, every other athlete now finished except myself and Sgt Neil Palmer from the RAF. It was a humbling experience walking out to the support of my Army team mates. In a sport based around the individual performance, it wasn’t until then, in that moment that I fully appreciated and understood just how unique this team event is. Despite finishing second in the individual event, these two weeks are all about the team and after another tough contest we retained our second place. Season over and finally I arrive home, I think about the last six months, everyone I met and everything I experienced along the way. As I switch off the ignition, the trip computer reads 16,349 miles!

‘The Women’s Army Skeleton Team, Lillehammer 2017’ I have been on the Army Skeleton Bobsleigh team for five years now and it truly is the most exhilarating and rewarding sport. I have been fortunate enough to slide on some fantastic tracks during this time, including Igls in Austria, La Plagne in the French Alps and Winterberg in Germany. This year the Inter-Services Skeleton Championships were held in Lillehammer, Norway. We were coached this season by ex-Serviceman Stuart Hayden, who kindly came back to coach the Army team last year. At his peak Stuart competed for three years on the World Cup Skeleton Circuit with his best position being 19th. He also competed for two years at the Europa Cup. His experience, knowledge and patience make him an invaluable asset to our team. The Lillehammer track was used in the 1994 Winter Olympics and most recently in the 2016 Youth Winter Olympic Games. Fortunately the track was in very good condition whilst we were in Lillehammer as the Norwegian National Championships had just been held there; 1365m in length, with a vertical drop of 114 metres, this track is not for the faint hearted! Prior to the Inter-Services Championships we had a training week where we all worked hard to master each of the 16 corners of the track, especially corner 13 which proved particularly difficult! Prior to coming out to the ice each year, athletes work hard in the gym to prepare themselves: explosive power training is at the core of how our athletes prepare for competition. The Inter-Service Skeleton Championships were held over 9-10 March 2017. The race is always fought over two days (four runs) so sliding consistently is absolutely crucial. The Inter-Services Women’s Skeleton Championships was a very close race this year. The Army women’s team beat the Navy team, with the Royal Air Force finishing in third place. This year was the second year running where the women’s Army team persevered and won gold at the Inter-Service Championships and I could not have been prouder of my team; SSgt Nicky Moxon, SSgt Julia Bloomer and Lt Rhianon Graham all slid superbly. I was delighted to come away with the gold, holding onto the Inter-Services Women’s Champion title for the third consecutive year and thrilled that my teammate Julia Bloomer took silver (finishing only 0.5 seconds behind me). The men’s team also did us proud winning team silver for the second consecutive year and LCpl Nathan Jackson taking silver as an individual.

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SNOWBOARD

SNOW BOARD Cpl Chris Gregory RE

Over 800 personnel across the Army have participated in organised snowboarding events from Corps to national level this season and the Championships attracted 63 experienced riders from all Corps less Infantry and RAC who were unfortunately unable to generate any competitors this year. The events all require a high level of technical skill, fitness and agility with snowboard-cross demanding exacting control over a high speed, contoured course as riders jostle for position with three other riders, and slopestyle demanding courage and skill as riders perform tricks over huge kickers, boxes and rails. Experience ranged from over ten years of riding to as little as three weeks!

Contact Chairman Snowboard Brig RNH Bennett MVO Vice Chairman Snowboard Col JC Connelly Secretary Snowboard Lt Col E Whishaw RE snowboard@awsa.org.uk

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Inter-service Championships Meribel: Cpl Gregory wins the Dual Slalom with Spr Hannah coming third

non at Learning to backflip off a can r Kaunertal Glacie


SNOWBOARD The 2016/17 Army snowboarding season was a hugely exciting and rewarding one. With a top kick starter event Ex SNOW SUMMER is a one day freestyle competition held in Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Zone. With over 40 riders out in force this event proved enormously popular, with everyone’s eyes on the first medal of the season which was awarded by Jenny Jones, the Bronze freestyle medallist from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Events EX SNOW METHOD Army Freestyle Championship Kaunertal, AUSTRIA 14 – 28 Oct 2017 EX SNOW JACK Army Championship Stubai, Austria 10 – 24 Mar 2018 Inter Services (ISSSC) Meribel, France 3 – 10 Feb 2018

Next in the calendar saw nearly 100 boarders from across various cap badges descend on Dover’s ferry port as they made their way to Kaunertal Glacier, Austria, for Ex SNOW METHOD. One of the most anticipated events of the season; it comprised a two week Freestyle training camp with the Army Freestyle Championships held on the final day. Coaching was delivered from some of the biggest names in the UK snowboarding scene, made up of Pro riders, an Olympic medallist, REAL Snowboarding school and RIPSTAR coaching team. Alongside the exercise multiple BASI level 1 & 2 and UKCP coaching courses were run to qualify all those interested in becoming snowboarding instructors ready for their Corps camps. With newly qualified instructors and a thriving snowboarding community, space in the calendar then allowed for various cap badges to run their camps. RE, RA, RLC, REME, AMS, AAC, and Royal Signals are amongst those that all ran their own camps between the completion of Ex SNOW METHOD and the Army Championships; Ex SNOW JACK. The main purpose of these camps is to push the knowledge of the sport throughout the Army, identify new talent and select corps teams to compete at Ex SNOW JACK. In early February, the UK Armed Forces Snow Sports Championships UKAFSSC was held in Meribel, France. The Army sent a team of the top ten male and six female riders to compete against the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force teams.

the egory battling it out to win Race for the finish : Cpl Gr

Dual Slalom

After a hard week of competition, they came away with 2nd overall to the RAF with one female and two male riders being selected for the Armed Forces Snowboarding Team; Maj Jess Drew RE, Cpl Chris Gregory RE and Spr Mathew Hannah RE. Ex SNOW JACK, the big grand finale saw Corps teams battling it out over the events (Boardercross, Dual Slalom & Slopestyle) to be crowned the overall Army victors. This exercise is run in Racing by floodlight under icy conditions can lead to plenty of March each year on wipe outs and some substantial winning leads the Stubai Glacier, Austria. Open to individuals as well mens boardercross, competing as teams, this proves a spectacular end to the season where everyones against three of the GB team and Olympic athletes, he managed skill and progression throughout to come away with 4th overall the winter is showcased in a whilst gaining a spot on the GB spectacular two week event. boardercross team for the 2017/18 Whilst Ex SNOW JACK season. Spr Matthew Hannah took was in full swing, the British seventh place during the mens Snowboarding Championships small finals, which secured the best were also taking place in Laax, two results for the Army out of the Switzerland. With three Army Armed Forces male team. riders representing the tri-service Snowboarding is one of the colours, competing against the biggest names in UK snowboarding. largest growing sports and is open to all serving personnel regular and Maj Jess Drew did wonders, taking reservist, anyone from complete home medals in both the female beginner to seasoned veterans, masters’ category for freestyle and visit the AWSA website for further boardercross. Cpl Chris Gregory information. made it to the finals of the open

Per fecting the technique for

a Tamedog in Stubai 41


SNOWBOARD

Captain Liz Court RA For the second year running the charming location of Kaunertal, Austria hosted Ex SNOW METHOD 16, the Army Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle Championships from 8 - 22 October 2016. The resort kicked off the season with the KTO opening weekend that invited ski and snowboarding amateurs and pros from far and wide to perform their tricks and skills in the park and kickers - very impressive to say the least! This set an incredible vibe for the start of the Army championships; with a total of 90 riders ready to hit the park and it was excellent to see participation from across so many Corps, we also had the pleasure of two ex-Royal Navy snowboarders join the clan.

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Needless to say the open riders displayed some awesome and ever inspiring tricks which roused the judges.

Ex SNOW METHOD 16 also included a series of instructional courses: British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) level 1, a one week course, and level 2, a two week course, coached by instructors from Snowboard Coach UK - absolute ninjas. These are not for the faint hearted and required serious dedication and commitment to get every detail correct in order to pass - they certainly aren’t just “attendance” courses, that’s for sure! The aim was focused on the provision of training to riders of all abilities to develop and improve individuals’ slopestyle capabilities. The training that preceded the Championships was to progressively develop the skills required for slopestyle riding in a positive atmosphere in order that all competitors could take part in the Slopestyle Championship ... well, for those that weren’t injured! The first week kicked off with the seven instructors from RIPSTAR Snowboard School

analysing the riders and splitting them in to groups based on abilities. The RIPSTAR guys and girls had this nailed in one run and then the training started. For those in the advanced groups, they were straight into the park to blow out the cobwebs. For those in the intermediate groups it was testing their skills on the piste and mastering balance, core ability and how not to fall over mid-trick; even the basic nollies, ollies, tail press, nose press and 180’s had those muscles working hard. Bearing in mind that it was the beginning of October on top of a glacier, the weather held out well with bouts of sunshine and a few flurries of snow to keep the landings relatively soft. The progression that was made by the riders in the first week was incredible and the RIPSTAR coaches were thoroughly “stoked” at how far each rider had come along on their park work. The advanced groups had worked especially hard to eradicate any ‘zeaching’ still present in


SNOWBOARD their tricks. Towards the end of the first week, the snow conditions deteriorated and became rather thin and icy, which made for some good bruises, however it also made each rider more aware of their approach and landing on each feature which in turn developed a more focused progression through the park that each rider took on board with lustre. This is when we said goodbye to the RIPSTAR coaches and welcomed the new arrivals for the second phase ... Introducing Winter Olympic slopestyle medallist Jenny Jones and all-round pro-snowboarder legends Mike Austin and Andy Nudds. What a great combination of snowboarding Spartans to have as instructors in the second week and to judge the final competition! With refreshed enthusiasm after a slight snow dump, the riders were keen to show off what they had learned in the first week and they tuned in to the advice that the pros had to offer. This week was all about “dialling-in� to the run through the park that the riders would take: split down to the novice, ladies and open riders for the competition. The competition was delayed by a day as the mountain mist decided to settle in, but this also brought with it some freshly laid and very welcome snow and sunshine for the actual competition. The ladies opened the day with some great skills shown on the allocated features: down tube, wedge, rainbow, up flat box, with two ladies (Jess Drew and Liz Court) braving it out over the cannon. The novices were next down the course with some mightily impressive determination and courage, bearing in mind that some of these riders had never been in the park before the start of the exercise, fantastic to see! The open competition was set out further down the course with two options to take: the rails, the tubes, or a combination of both which finished with the spine as the last feature for either run. Needless to say the open riders displayed some awesome and ever inspiring tricks which roused the judges. At 1pm all was done and dusted and the two weeks of hard work were over ... the scores were in.

SNOWMETHOD takes dedication, commitment (both financial and personal) and determination, and all the riders that undertook the exercise should be commended for their success - whether that be for finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or completing that personal goal on one of the park features. A big thank you must go out to the Snowboard Coach UK, RIPSTAR coaches and of course Jenny Jones, Mike Austin and Andy Nudds for their invaluable input.

Snow Method Results: Open: 1st - Matty Hannah RE, 2nd - Mark Nicholls, 3rd - Arran Dodshon Ladies: 1st - Jess Drew RE, 2nd - Liz Court RA, 3rd - Lindsey Corrieri REME Novice: 1st - Matt Major RAMC, 2nd - Will Spiers, 3rd - Mike Walsh

Results Army Championships Individual Champions Ladies Mens Ladies Intermediate Mens Intermediate Newcomer 35 & Over U21

Lt Jo Szczyglowska RE Cpl Maki Rees-Stavros REME Lt Jo Szczyglowska RE LCpl Matthew Hooper RE Cfn Daniel Robinson REME SSgt Phil Mulligan R Signals LCpl Joe Donaldson RLC

Overall Champions Unit Team 6 Regt RLC Corps Team Corps Ladies Team R Signals RA

Ex Snow Method participants with pro coaches Mike Austin and Seb Kerns, plus Olympic Medallist Jenny Jones, on the top of Kaunertal Glacier.


LCpl Shonagh Kinnear AMS

INTER SERVICES

SNOWBOARD

Snowboarding has been a passion of mine for the last ten years. Before joining the Army as a Health Care Assistant in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps in 2014, I spent my winters instructing skiing and snowboarding around Europe, and summers instructing at a water sport centre or being the Bosun on a barge. Joining the Army was a huge change to my lifestyle and career and I thought that was the end of my snowboarding days. 44

W

hile at phase one I met SSgt Sarah Craig who enlightened me on the opportunities to snowboard with the Army and I was selected for the Army Team to compete at the 2016 Inter-services. Off we went to Meribel in France to commence training in January 2016. I had never competed in snowboarding before, let alone done boarder cross or slalom so I was nervous. After a week of practice from top class freestyle and race coaches we headed into the competition week not knowing what to expect. The first day was boarder cross qualifiers. I unfortunately fell and did not qualify very well, leaving me in the bottom third meaning I would be seeded against the faster riders. The next day was the boarder cross finals, unsure if I would compete due to injuring my ankle in the fall in qualifiers. I decided to give it one run because that would mean points for the team. To my surprise I kept making it through rounds, adrenaline distracting me from the pain in my ankle. Suddenly I was through to the big final and crossing the finish line in first place! I was ecstatic that I’d won after never doing boarder cross until the day before. The second event of the inters was slalom and one of the biggest events of the championships, the morning was spent qualifying and seeding the top eight girls and top 12 boys, I seeded with the fastest time meaning I was through to the final Duel Slalom event on the Stade in the centre of Meribel on a world cup slope. What an experience being stood at the top of a flood-lit slope with crowds below cheering you on, racing against another person for the podium and points towards our service. Unfortunately I was knocked out and didn’t make it through to the final but placed third on the podium; it has inspired the desire to race and be faster for next year. The final event of the interservices is the slopestyle - everyone’s favourite event. A mix between jumps, rails, variation and style saw me podiuming again and coming third. The championships are rounded off with a prize giving ceremony where the Army Ladies held their title in each event and overall. I received second place overall and was awarded the best newcomer, feeling completely honoured to be a member of the Army Snowboarding team. After my success at the inter-services I was invited to join the Combined Services Snowboarding Team for the British Snowboard and Free Ski Championships, an event I had always aspired to compete in since starting snowboarding. A team combined of Navy, RAF and Army travelled to Laxx in Switzerland to compete against the best in the country, some of which were Olympic medallists. A week of freestyle training in one of the best parks in Europe prepared us for a second week of competitions. As an Open athlete the field was very competitive, riding against some big names in snowboarding I received fourth place in slopestyle and fourth place in boarder cross; happy to have just survived the courses more than anything. Over the summer I spent time letting a few injuries heal entered the Army Indoor Freestyle Championship and was nominated for The Rising Star Award at the 2016 Army Sports Awards. Luckily winter came around fast enough and the first event of the season was the Army Medical Services Snowboarding Championships in November 2016 in Austria. It was a great event where the pressure was off training for competitions and I could enjoy riding and meeting fellow AMS snowboarders. My final event representing DMG-South East was a success, where I won all three individual events (even beating all the boys in


slopestyle), Frimley Park Hospital team came second overall! I was selected again for the 2017 Army Team to compete at the Inter-services in Meribel. This year we had two weeks training in Flachau, Austria and with more freestyle and slalom training the team went into the competition week feeling stronger and more prepared. The same format as last year; boarder cross, slalom and finishing on slopestyle. The snow was not working in our favour this year, changing the course for boarder cross. The level had definitely improved, with all three services pushing each other. I had some good runs which took me through to the final injury free this year. One RAF, one Navy and one Army competing to see where we would be placed on the podium. I came out of the gate well and kept in the front until the final corner which favoured a right forward rider. Unfortunately I am left foot forward rider so was just pipped at the post finishing in second place; still a great achievement. Onto the second event, Slalom, I qualified first again, I was starting to think maybe I was a racer not a freestyle snowboarder at this point! The nerves for the night slalom were still as prominent as they were the first year. Winning every race I made it through to the finals against another Army snowboarder. It is hard racing a team member but it meant that

we would get two of our girls on the podium resulting in more points for the Army Ladies team. The atmosphere was amazing with the crowd cheering us on I came first in the first run, my favoured side of the course. Not as confident on the second course the adrenaline and also telling myself as I raced, ‘do not fall over, do not fall over’ all the way down resulted in me crossing the finish line and coming first in the Dual Slalom. This result meant the most as I felt like I’d put a lot more effort into racing this year. The finial event was the slopestyle, the Army ladies are not known for their freestyle and with the Navy and RAF girls’ level improving due to the amount of training geared towards freestyle, the atmosphere was tense. With a trickier course than the girls have had before everyone was throwing down their bigger tricks in the warmup only making the rivalry grow. After not having a great qualifying run I just scraped it through to the finals, but from the past I knew I would perform better in the finals. I was very happy with my final run; board sliding the flat down rail, board slide to 180 out on the flat rail, a nose grab of the 1st kicker and landing a backside 360 on the final kicker. Having truly opened my eyes to the level improving I know exactly what I need to learn for next year to have a stronger run. However I

SNOWBOARD

The best and biggest shock and honour was when my name was called out for winning Nellie’s freestyle best trick award.

was very happy with third place on the podium and bringing the Army Ladies Team points up. At prize giving the Army Ladies Snowboard Team again defended their overall champion title. There was a tie for the individual with myself and an RAF snowboarder getting the same results. The committee had to pick an overall winner and unfortunately the results from the boarder cross were the deciding factor which meant I came overall second again. However, the best and biggest shock and honour was when my name was called out for winning Nellie’s freestyle best trick award for the whole championships (including the boys) with my rail hit, absolutely over the moon! With the summer ending, the snowboarding bug is starting to creep back in. A summer well spent on a wakeboard will hopefully mean I can take some new tricks to the freestyle at the 2018 Inter Service Championships.

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TELEMARK Major JC Painting

Events 2018 Army Championship EX TELEMARK TITAN Pralognan La Vanoise (PLV), FRA 13-25 Jan 2018 Inter-Services Championships (ISSSC) Meribel, France 3-10 Feb 2018

Ex TELEMARK TITAN (Ex TT) is the single Service and British Telemark championship event. In 2017 the event was undertaken in Pralognon-laVanoise, in the Vanoise valley, France. This was a change from the 2016 venue, but still achieved a good turnout of 120 skiers from the Army, Navy and the civilian counterparts. Five days of training was completed prior to the six day race programme. Pralognon-la-Vanoise is recognised as a legendary destination in the French Alps. It is a cradle of mountaineering and a pioneer winter sports resort. Pralognanla-Vanoise has proved itself, over the last 150 years, as one of the French Alps’ most emblematic

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destinations. In 1875, the first hotel opened in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. In those days, the wealthy regularly visited the resort to spend their holidays in the village. On August 8th 1890, William Mathews, Michel Croz, and Etienne Favre reached the summit of the Grande Casse, the 3855m high point of the Vanoise Range and the Savoie. The resort also earned national fame in 1897 when French

president, FĂŠlix Faure, traversed the Vanoise Range on a mule to observe military training exercises. In 1953, the aerial tram was erected which connected the village to the top of Mont Bochor (2023m). At the time it was considered to be the fastest lift in the world. In 1982, a Pralognan native, Michel Vion, current president of the French Ski Federation, became world

combined champion in alpine skiing. In 1992, Pralognan was part of the Albertville Winter Olympics and hosted the curling event at its brand new ice rink. In 2007, the first edition of the Vertical Transvanoise, a spectacular ski-mountaineering race in teams of three, occurred. This is the only race in France that takes place on glaciers and the only authorized race in winter in Vanoise National Park. Ex TT took advantage of this esteemed history and very well served location to run a successful 2017 Telemark Championships. The Championship is open to the full continuum of novice to


K AGC

Contact Chairman Telemark Brig S Anderson Secretary Telemark Major JC Painting AGC (ETS) e: telemark@awsa.org.uk

experienced Telemark skiers. It has established itself as a key event in the Telemark calendar and achieves grass roots development, as well as challenge to the higher level participants. During the first five days, training and coaching is provided. This year we were lucky to be served by both UK and French Telemark instructors who achieved some excellent results in terms of personal skiing performance improvement. After the first five days training is complete, the race programme begins. However, training continues for participants who would benefit from more development, rather than racing. The novice skiers compete in their own Novice race competition. The aim is to achieve some success and encourage them to return in successive years in order to grow the sport. The Championship field for 2017 was made up of 76 skiers. Snow fall was not plentiful, and some last minute race location changes were made to different pistes in order to make the championships happen. Our thanks must go to the organising committee and the PLV team for their hard work which ensured the races went ahead. In addition, the spirit and enthusiasm of the participants also contributed to the tolerance, forbearance and positive atmosphere that also contributed to the success. The full race programme of Championship Giant Slalom, Classic and Sprint was successfully achieved, along with both Novice races. The individual combination

male champion was OCdt Ben Atkinson. The individual combination female champion was OCdt Phoebe Mathews, both from Exeter UOTC. The Team results were close run, and finished as 1st place Exeter UOTC, 2nd place 24 Cdo Engr Regt, 3rd place 3RHA. OCdt James French and Miss Jasmin Taylor won the overall British titles respectively. In traditional format, the final day of the Championship was the Mountain Race. A great course was provided by Pralongan-la-Vanoise which set a very challenging uphill, and some technical challenges to the downhill. The race really sets the Telemark Championships aside from other disciplines by illustrating the additional skills stamina, fitness and determination that Telemark skiing can develop and expose. A relatively new team represented the Army at the InterServices championships 29 Jan – 3 Feb 2017 in Meribel. The team was captained by Capt Joe Wooldridge RA. Other members were Maj Mark Brett RA, Capt Julian Everard LD, Lt Jake Falconer R Mons RE, LCpl Henry Munns. Despite some inexperience the Army team, they put in a very strong showing at the ISSSC 2017. Notable results were achieved with second place for Capt Julian Everard in the Classic race, second place for LCpl Henry Munns in the Parallel Sprint, and third place for Julian Everard in the Parallel Sprint. This year was the 10th Anniversary of Telemark Racing at

TELEMARK the ISSSC. The anniversary was a suitable opportunity to say farewell to one of the founding fathers of Telemark racing in the services. Maj Adrian Pery retired from the Services in April 2017. Army Telemark unreservedly thanks Maj Pery for his drive, dedication and doggedness that has taken Army Telemark from a fledging idea, into a mainstream discipline within the Winter Sports calendar. In addition to his contribution to Services Telemark, Adrian also established the GB Telemark discipline within the National Governing Body. Adrian departs with the aim of setting up home in the Canadian Rockies, and freeing the heel in the winter season wherever that may take him. We hope he’ll continue to join us as a TD in future seasons. As the 2017 season drew to a close, the work continued for the Army Telemark Committee. A new championship contract had to be set for the 2018 season. After much hard work on both sides, we’re pleased to announce that the 2018 championships will return to Pralongnon-la-Vanoise. If you would like more information about the 2018 championships, please email telemark@awsa.org.uk. Also, there is a very healthy indoor Telemark race series that is run by the civilian club community. Details of these dates can be found at http:// gbtelemark.co.uk/.

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THANKS

TO OUR

SPONSORS Army Winter Sports Sponsorship Lt Col James Scott MBE SCOTS

The Serre Che protocol event is run alongside the Army Alpine Championships in support of all of Army Winter Sports Association’s eight disciplines by raising invaluable sponsorship revenue. Without this most generous non-public resources, AWSA activity would be significantly curtailed with far fewer soldiers and young officers able to experience winter sports, developing leadership and reinforcing the Army’s all important values in a demanding, small team setting. Attendees consist of our sponsors, drawn from Team Army as well as direct AWSA-level sponsors, looked after by a small number of Army Officers hosts. The event is split in to two, with attendees typically attending for 2-4 days each. The aim is to for sponsors to see first-hand the good their generous support brings and they hugely enjoy interacting with the racers, be it watching from the side of the race piste, talking to them before and after competition or even having an informal supper with them at their

Spills and thrills


SPONSORSHIP ‘digs’. A secondary aim is to build strong relationships, not only business to business, but also between hosts and sponsors, making a contribution to building the understanding that lies at the heart of a successful Whole Force approach. It is amazing what can be achieved in the fresh mountain air! The protocol event is run by a small permanent team of (mostly) volunteers, supported by some quality young officers. Administrative competence is definitely seen as a key quality but we were fortunate to have some sound skiers as a bonus too! The gathering definitely has the hallmarks of an annual family re-union, much to the initial bemusement of our young officers! They soon found their stride and proved to be absolutely ‘on song’ and a credit to their generation with their hard work and ever present sense of humour. So what of the 2017 season? As of late, the snow forecast looked a bit ‘iffy’ in the build up to the event but we were blessed with some late falls that did the trick, providing superb racing and skiing conditions. The second ingredient that never ceases to amaze is that of the skill of many of those from across the

resort who put heart and soul into helping the hill team lay on the race. Amazingly the iconic Luc Alphand piste was able to be raced on, ensuring that the older participants were unable to jibe that it was ‘not a proper championships’. And what racing there was! With the usual podium ‘suspects’ away racing at the simultaneous Armed Forces competition at Meribel, the podium was an open opportunity for a new generation and we witnessed the rise of some real prospects for the future, providing some very useful depth to the pool of future Army team contenders. The final words go to our loyal sponsors who support us so strongly both through their financial generosity but also in all the work they do for UK Defence. Thank you.

Contact Sponsorship Secretary Lt Col James Scott MBE SCOTS sponsorship@awsa.org.uk


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Exercise Controller, Maj (MAA) Rick Young RAPTC

Ex SPARTAN HIKE

EX SPARTAN HIKE

SH17 was again perceived by all involved, officials and competitors alike, a great success. As you will read later on in the Chief of Race reports, the weather conditions for Alpine and Nordic were miles apart, the Nordic this year getting the poor conditions while Alpine received pistes like bowling greens which stayed the distance of a day’s racing. Personally, I have never witnessed such cold conditions; Serre Chevalier was very cold this year and this combined with a wind chill made the early Nordic races testing to say the least. My hat goes off to all the competitors for enduring such conditions who still managed to achieve some outstanding results. Once again our relationship with the resort of Serre Chevalier has grown and developed, they really do look after us; from the resort Director at the top to the lift operators at the bottom. The ESF Directors in the form of Fabrice (Villnerve) and Bruno (Monetier) along with their teams really do adapt and ensure that all races are achieved in one form or another. The weather is continually working against them yet the resort seem to work miracles and provide us with everything we need to achieve the aims and objectives of SH. This is all achieved with good communication from early in December right through to the last race event and culminated this year with the resort Director, Mary Aude presenting a Serre Chevalier plaque to Brig Simon Hutchings at the final prize ceremony. As a final plea, I am always looking for willing volunteers in the form of race Officials; so if you have had experience as a racer or you know someone who has and still wants to be involved please contact me, my details can be found on the AWSA website.

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Vileneuve

Chief of Race, Capt Brian (Spats) Baxter This year SH Alpine was not up to full capacity; we are contracted for 260 competitors. Hill 1 had 96 racers wishing to compete, implementing the requirement for the second hill for a second year running; which some of the old and bold will remember from many seasons ago! The two hill plan allows for maximum participation of 130 racers per hill – which of course increases the number of safety officials attending – a real challenge to get volunteers! The mandated team captains briefing was held in September 2016 at Tidworth and this sets the scene for young officers and SNCO’s to prepare for the Championship. There is much to plan for our young teams and especially for novice teams. We commend the standard of competitor who has been through a Regimental/ Corps ski training camp and then tested at the challenging Divisional standard homologated race courses. This was particularly so for the Infantry. Ex FROSTED BLADE 32, the Infantry Alpine Skiing/ Racing/ Civilian Qualification; deployment proves that the investment and organisation to produce Infantry “zero to hero racers” is paying dividends. This year Infantry racers qualified in their own/ team right through to Ex LIONS CHALLENGE, and in vast numbers, including winning trophies and medals for season 2017. It is proposed and is in the planning stages that 51st Highland Brigade and Army Headquarters, Scotland become the “Alpine Race Foundation” stepping stone for future Army Alpine Racing development. Details of this initiative and how it will be implemented to follow. Watch out for ABN/ DINs late 2017. The day of reckoning came on 14 January 2017 when on arriving in resort there was little snow in the village but plenty on the hills. Additionally the ESF informed the hill teams that there was sufficient snow to race on Monetier (which was to be the second hill) concluding that all speed event races would need to be conducted in Villeneuve, and in particular on the Clot Gauthier piste. The newly appointed Chiefs of Race “Chuckle Brothers” Capts Spats Baxter and Tim Squire along with the ESF conducted a recce of the proposed slopes. After vertical drops, distances, run out areas, homologations and lifts were checked it was agreed that we could provide all racers with challenging and safe courses, in both Monetier and Villeneuve. On Sunday 15 January Alpine competitors walked through the race office doors in Serre

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Chevalier to book in. It had been decided that all Army Reservists would be accommodated on Hill 1 and that the rest of the field would be split by Corps or Regiments. This would enable Corps Team Captains to view the racers who might not be in their unit, but could potentially be selected as part of the Corps team for Ex LIONS CHALLENGE, the Army competition to which many aspire. With the one army concept being embraced, there were a number of units who comprised of Reservists and Regular soldiers, which was great news. Sadly, Army Reservists and UOTCs competitors were lacking this year; perhaps due to commitments and/or University examination clashes. It was good to see some high quality racing standards on Hill 1 and experience showing through on Hill 2. Overall, both hills saw, by far the highest quality of Alpine racing that the officials had seen in recent years. Not one racer was “snow ploughing” down the course, including the Downhill! The competition started in earnest with the Team/ Individual GS, for both hill teams. The following days, both Seeding GS/ GS/ Slalom races were held on the Clot Gauthier/ Monetier pistes. The snow conditions were excellent, although the high winds were a constant threat to the lifts, and a number of delays were experienced. On one such occasion on a lift at Monetier Spats Baxter’s poma tow decided to explode on him and snapped just in front of his face (unscathed). At the same time Maj Simon Horn let go of his poma in order to mitigate a collision, nearly hitting Baxter’s napper! Lt Keir Robinson, 2 SCOTS also had a lucky escape when his ski snapped at a speed of circa 67 MPH during the Downhill Race and managed to crash out (unscathed) at crossing point one. Downhill training and actual race for both hills running the same course (one in the morning the other in the afternoon) was run over three days with fantastic sunshine throughout which provided great visibility in order for all racers to see where they were

skiing – #fast! There was some very determined and excellent racing from all the competitors. Throughout the championship the resort worked hard to provide the exercise with as many Alpine facilities within their remit. Lifts were opened early (Officials ascending with head torches), some were even opened for competitors only and not the public, and on arrival at the piste the majority of courses had been set and were ready for the Jury inspection. My personal thanks must go to Col (Retd) Steve James and Maj Simon Horn (Technical Delegates) who guided, mentored and enthused me in this my first year as Chief of Race. Also, a big thank you to the Hill 1 Officials, without their commitment, goodwill, banter and dedication the championship would not have been such a success. Our thanks must also go to all of the competitors without whom none of this would have been possible. Their patience and flexibility must be commended in what could only be described as truly excellent (very cold at times) weather conditions; all should be congratulated regardless of experience and ability. And finally our thanks also go out to all commands of the vast array of units both Regular and Reserve who encouraged, and allowed their soldiers to take part in Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2017. Many were young soldiers who showed true courage when faced with steep slopes in very cold conditions; demonstrating many of the Army’s Core Values and Standards as well as upholding the honour of their Corps and Regiments.


EX SPARTAN HIKE

Monetier Chief of Race, Capt Tim Squire

The Hill 2 element of Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2017 could easily be summed up simply in three phrases: Great Weather; Great Racers and Racing Officials; possibly a vintage year! The mighty Hill 2 team was made up of a rich mix of ranks and cap badges, each bringing their own experiences and skillsets to the party: Capt Lloyd Diprose RLC, Capt (Rev) James Harding RAChD, WO1 (SMI) Matt Arlow RAPTC, WO2 Andy Dawson RS, SSgt Reg Maskell RLC, SSgt Guy Johnson RLC, Sgt Gary Baggott QRH, LCpl Alfie Tomkins RLC. The exercise provided invaluable training for the officiating team members at all levels. From bringing new officials into the fold, to developing those at the directing/senior official level; of whom, many will go on to serve other championships across the Army and Combined Services. For the officiating team, Ex SPARTAN HIKE 2017 began aptly in freezing conditions at 0200hrs in Upavon Camp. The epic road trip ended for most, 18 hours later in Serre Chevalier, but for some the blizzard at the top of the Col De’Lauterett (the quickest way into the resort) meant the mountain pass was closed and turning back was the only option. All arrived safely in the end. Initial days for the team were spent setting up the race teams, getting members equipped, briefings on AWSA rules and regulations, slope orientations, and getting race teams and individuals registered.

Racing then commenced for nine consecutive days, consisting of Giant Slalom, Super G, and Downhill, finishing with the team and individual Slalom. The competition was stiff, and the standard of racing high, higher than many previous years of Alpine Racing. What was particularly impressive was how racers that four weeks ago had never skied were now tackling world class race courses and getting reasonable times. A testament to the racers and their training teams. Whilst competitiveness and determination to win was high, the race teams were notable for their general camaraderie. They shared a chivalric concern for one another; sharing knowledge, and often helping out less experienced members and teams. It was very much the embodiment of the Army Leadership Code. The race and training days provided the opportunity for the teams to experience the beauty and tranquillity of early mornings on the Mountain and Alpine sunrises. However, whilst picturesque, the teams and officials alike endured temperatures nearing -15 degrees. The plummeting mercury made for frozen cucumber in sandwiches, and toes colder than Trump’s welcome to the Whitehouse by Sandy Toksvig. Of course the big race, the Blue Ribbon event of the championships is always the Downhill; racers demonstrated the living out of moral and physical courage, with Serre Chevalier providing the setting for another mammoth competition, with its own special mammoth jump.

The plummeting mercury made for frozen cucumber in sandwiches, and toes colder than Trump’s welcome to the Whitehouse by Sandy Toksvig.

This year saw the making of Ex SPARTAN HIKE history with Padre James Harding joining the officiating team, the first Padre in living memory to attend the exercise. Amongst his usual tasks of offering pastoral support to teams and the injured, the Padre also seized the opportunity to give a prayer on the starting gates to nervy competitors. Furthermore, a short service was held atop the mountain on the Downhill race day. After a rousing hymn, reading, and sermon there were a noticeable number of partakers for communion. It should also be noted that James Harding also received the Helen Lovelock award which is presented to the official who in the opinion of the committee has given the most to the good and benefit of the competitors; this was awarded at the closing award ceremony by Brig Simon Hutchings, Comd 104 Bde. Capt Diprose (Dippy), Chief of Race, unfortunately took a tumble during the exercise, taking a head/face and knee injury. Therefore both Alpine Hill teams had to pull together to get the job done. Dippy, whilst having a face like a potato in the short term, is due to make a full recovery ready for next year. Hill team 2 worked seamlessly for the good of the racers, bringing together those with a lot of experience to coach those with less. The highest level of safety was provided to all racers due to the professional and positive approach taken by the team. Some of the Hill 2 team were able to get a better tan than others, depending on their gate positions, but all left with a warm and generous spirit towards SPARTAN HIKE and Army skiing in general.

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The range with artificial snow at the end of 2016

Lt Col Charles Bromley Gardner MBE QRH

2017 was another year when the officials and competitors were faced with the challenge of no natural snow in the valley. However, this year the resort recognised the predicament in good time, setting up a snow-making cannon at the biathlon range and eventually producing a 1.4km racetrack. Whilst substantially less challenging, with a definite lack of climb, than the usual courses, it was a case of being grateful for small mercies, and so much better than the alternative of not being able to ski into the range if the snow had not been made in such quantities.

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For the initial cross-country races, we again moved up to the Col du Lautaret, at 2000m. Sadly, this year we were not blessed with good weather for either day, which made it all the more of a challenge for competitors and officials alike. -11°C for the relay and twice the ‘breeze’ contributing to a reported -36°C wind chill factor for the individual race. Having to cope with these conditions tested team, personal and vehicle preparation, with a much higher than normal number of competitors who were late for their start time, as it took longer to tear off all their additional warm clothing! However there was universal praise for the humour and competence of especially the novice

competitors in meeting the challenge head on and coming through successfully. It was a true ‘winter mountain day’ that will have given all great confidence in their ability to operate in an extreme environment. When we moved down to the biathlon races in the valley, -6°C felt positively balmy! Contrary to some false claims in other quarters, SH is the largest of all the AWSA championships, with the Nordic competitor numbers yet again increasing to 301. This is achieved at some cost of the quality of championship organisation, but to the greater advantage of more units and soldiers being able to compete. Regrettably the only Army Reserve


EX SPARTAN HIKE

representation this year was from Exeter and Oxford UOTCs (two of the latter qualified for the Army Championships). A 28% increase in the number of women more than balanced a slight drop in men competing (due to operational training commitments), whilst the number of juniors and novices also increased, demonstrating the increasing breadth of units benefitting from winter sport activity. 16 Regiment RA proved to be the standout unit this year, winning every Nordic Combination Championship: the men won every race; the women, having been beaten by 1 RHA in the cross country races, then proved that shooting and skating (and counting the number of laps skied) were their forte; naturally they were well ahead

in the Male & Female Team Combination; LBdr Fountain and Bdr Jackson headed the male Individual Combination, although LCpl Russell (RM) and LCpl Laponder (39 Engr Regt) won the 15km Classic and Individual Biathlon races respectively; LBdr Metcalfe won both individual races to finish almost three minutes ahead overall. Oxford UOTC similarly swept the board in the Army Reserve Championships, with OCdt Gerard-Pearse finishing 28th in the Individual Male Combination and qualifying for the Army Championships, and OCdt Watson also being the third Female Novice competitor overall. There was a tight battle between 17 P&M Regiment RLC and 2 (CS) Battalion REME for the minor podium positions in the men’s team competition, with

16 Regiment RA proved to be the stand-out unit this year, winning every Nordic Combination Championship.

the former’s 2nd place in the Patrol Race ensuring that they nudged ahead of the latter’s consistency after the XC Relay. Other units had the occasional podium in one race or another, but also seemed to underperform in another, so there was quite a gap back to the chasing group, eventually led by KRH. Whilst Mne Peacock was the overall leading Novice, Cfn Lennox (2 CS Bn REME), a Junior, was the best Army Novice, just (eight secs) behind Gnr Foale (16 Regt RA) the leading Junior, who has two seasons’ more experience. The Army novice women were also bested by those from other Services: SAC Townend, part of 16 Regt RA, finished 5th overall, with AB Roder also finishing in front of a tight battle between Gnr Robinson (16 Regt RA) and Pte Thomas (9 Regt RLC), both juniors. LCpl Harper (REME Ladies) was the best Junior skier. 14 men’s teams qualified for the Army Championships, with PIPEDOWN providing the other 10. 12 individual Army women qualified, although PIPEDOWN seemed to have the stronger female competition with 16 qualified. Probably a first, although a sign of how Tri-Service operational organisation is developing, female Army teams also provided members of the RAF (SAC Townend, 16 Regt RA) and RN teams (OCdt Peoples, OUOTC) at the Inter Service Championships.

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EX PIPEDOWN

EX PIPEDOWN E

xercise PIPEDOWN once again delivered an exciting, robust and hugely challenging series of races that pushed individuals to the limit. As a vehicle for testing the Army’s values and standards and for developing the Army Leadership Code in our young commanders, it is individual military training at its very best. Exercise PIPEDOWN 17 fully delivered on its promise to provide an arduous and challenging racing programme that thoroughly tested teams and individuals both mentally and physically. In the early hours of a cold, damp January morning, a small admin party headed up by HQ 102 Logistic Brigade started the

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Lt Col RRT Eve RA

long haul from Grantham to Les Contamines in France for the annual gathering of Alpine and Nordic skiers. Twelve hours after leaving the UK, the advance party arrived and was met by green slopes, warm temperatures and the sort of rain usually associated with British summertime! Despite forecasts predicting a drop in temperatures, conditions over the next 24 hours deteriorated to such an extent that racing of any description for both Alpine and Nordic was in the balance. Luckily for us the forecasters got it right and a sudden drop in temperature turned rain to snow. We were quickly blessed with a metre of white stuff that transformed conditions overnight.

Over 370 Alpine and Nordic racers turned up for registration and while the exercise delivery party initiated a well-planned and smooth induction process the Alpine and Nordic delivery teams were fully engaged with their French counterparts preparing a series of challenging race courses. The scene was set for an excellent ten days of competition. Snow clouds gave way to brilliant sunshine and despite morning temperatures dropping to an icechilling -18 degrees on occasions, race conditions in the valley and up on the hill were near perfect. In the Nordic arena, racing started with the men’s 15km Classic and ladies’ 10km Classic. It soon became clear that 1 Regt RLC were going to be the team to beat despite a strong challenge from 6 Regt RLC. 1 Regt RLC duly won the men’s team prize with LCpl Mark Patterson being named the individual winner. In the ladies event it was the same story with a strong overall team performance from 6 Regt RLC and LCpl Emma Drew a clear winner far and above the rest of the field. Up on the Alpine Hill, the Giant Slalom Individual race was in full swing and WO2 Dougie Macpherson, 1 Regt RLC and Capt Lizzie Canfield, 5 Regt AAC were once again setting the pace and would emerge as individual winners. The following day the Nordic 4 x 5km male and female team

relay events were delayed due to the abnormally cold conditions in the valley, while up on the Alpine hill, blue skies and sunshine were perfect conditions for the Giant Slalom Team event. 1 Regt RLC picked up the team prize with 6 Regt RLC second and 19 Regt RA third. Later in the morning Nordic racing was also underway in the slightly warmer, sun filled stadium as 1 Regt RLC, 1 CS Bn REME and 6 Regt RLC battled it out in the men’s event with 1 Regt RLC emerging as the eventual winners. 6 Regt RLC ladies’ also won their event despite a strong challenge from 32 Regt RA and 3 RHA. As Nordic skiers took a wellearned rest after two days of intense racing, attention turned towards the Alpine racers to provide the entertainment. The Individual Slalom event proved to be very competitive with WO2 Dougie Macpherson claiming the individual male prize and LCpl Sheona McMillan from 170 Inf Sp Engr Gp taking top spot just ahead of Capt Lizzie Cranfield. The entertainment didn’t stop there as all those competing and supporting Ex PIPEDOWN gathered that evening for the Floodlit Challenge and Interim Prize Giving Ceremony, held at the Nordic arena. This is a knockout, fun event where four Alpine competitors race down a shortened slope and handover to their Nordic teammates. The highlight was undoubtedly


EX PIPEDOWN

‘ witnessing ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ airborne on downhill skis! The evening finished with Brigadier Bizeul, currently on exchange as the Deputy Commander 1(UK) Div from the French Army, presenting prizes to the winners at the half way stage of the competition. Day four was back to the serious stuff with Nordic 10km Biathlon Sprint for males and 7.5km for females. An excellent performance from 1 CS Ban REME, saw Cpl Alex Leave pick up the top prize as individual winner and the team relegating 1 Regt RLC and 6 Regt RLC into second and third place respectively. In the ladies race LCpl Emma Drew dominated the field but excellent team work from the Gunners, resulted in 32 Regt RA lifting the Les Contamines Cup as team winners, with 5 Regt RA second and 3 Med Regt third. The Alpine skiers focused on the Slalom Team event. 1 Regt RLC were once again winners but 19 Regt RA claimed second spot ahead of 6 Regt RLC. Alpine now undertook two days of speed training while Nordic prepared for the 4 x 7.5 km Male Biathlon Relay and 4 x 6km Female Biathlon Relay. With exhausted bodies now beginning to feel the effects of relentless competition, all teams had to dig deep. 1 Regt RLC maintained their stranglehold of top spot in the men’s overall standings with 6 Regt RLC proving the team to beat in the ladies. With no racing the next day, the Village Reception that night provided the opportunity for the Rhino Ski Club to host local dignitaries and some light relief where all teams could relax. Sgt Hearne from the QDG

The final medal table never reflects the outstanding courage, tenacity, determination and sportsmanship demonstrated by all participants.

and his team of chefs provided an outstanding buffet and the Commander 102 Log Bde, Brigadier David Eastman, eloquently opened the evening, addressing all those attending in French. With Ex PIPEDOWN fast approaching its conclusion, the penultimate day was an action packed feast of Alpine Downhill and the long awaited Nordic Military Patrol Race - the ‘Blue Riband’ event of the competition. In the Downhill, Maj Joe Williamson from the QRH took individual honours and led the QRH team to victory over 1 Regt RLC, while Capt Lizzie Cranfield maintained her form throughout the competition to win the ladies Downhill. Meanwhile the Nordic teams pushed themselves to the limit as they negotiated over 20km of undulating terrain, interspersed with a series of mentally and physically demanding command tasks. It was no surprise

that 1 Regt RLC, led by Capt ‘Stringy’ Twine, secured first place but congratulations are due to 1 CS Bn REME and 6 Regt RLC for pushing them all the way. An equally compelling ladies race resulted in 32 Regt RA, led by Lt Jennie Stephenson lifting the Les Contamines 10th Anniversary Trophy, while a terrific performance by 5 Regt RA secured them second place ahead of 3 RHA. The Super Giant Slalom on the final day was a fitting finale to an excellent competition. Having survived a superb ten days of extreme physical and mental challenges, the endeavours and successes were duly recognised at the Main Prize Giving Ceremony. The relationship with the French fostered over the many years that the British military have been coming to Les Contamines is

excellent and many locals showed their support for the competition by coming to the final ceremony. We are very fortunate to have such a friendly, helpful town to run this competition year on year and appreciate all that Les Contamines do for us in resort. But finally, the last word must go the competitors. The final medal table never reflects the outstanding courage, tenacity, determination and sportsmanship demonstrated by all participants and in particular novices from both disciplines, who have come so far in such a short space of time. I’m very much looking forward to welcoming veterans and a new batch of novices on Ex PIPEDOWN 18 – if you hadn’t thought about skiing before, perhaps you will now!

For those that have not tried Alpine or Nordic skiing before and would like to, contact:

1UKXX-G7-PIPEDOWN-SO2@mod.uk

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Ex SNOW LION

Ex SNOW LION The Foundation Snow Sports Championships by Maj Bee Smith (Alpine Secretary) Ex SNOW LION, the Tri-Service Scottish Championships is run for skiers and snowboarders annually at the Cairngorm resort of Aviemore. Facilitated by 51X based in Stirling, Ex SNOW LION caters for military units from across Scotland as well as allowing guest teams from other parts of the UK to enter if numbers allow. However, with basing changes, and less participation from UOTC and cadet teams in recent years, the entries have dwindled and it has been decided to reinvent Ex SNOW LION as a UK wide ‘Foundation Snow Sports Competition’, using the fantastic facilities that are here in the UK. What does this mean? Ex SNOW LION will be open to unit teams made up from skiers, snowboarders or Telemark skiers who have not competed in Divisional championships or above, but have had some skiing experience on snow either racing or recreationally (it is not a AT teaching exercise and will not award SF qualifications). It is a fantastic opportunity for units to start to develop their ‘B’ teams, female teams or development squads in a competitive environment without the expense and organisational burden of travelling abroad for several weeks. It is also an ideal first step for those Units who may not have a snow sports background, to offer the opportunity and gauge interest and talent for potential future entry at Divisional level. In order for experience to be passed on and good management of teams, the Team Captain will be allowed to have raced at Divisional level before. Ex SNOW LION 18 will run from 2-11 March 2018, after the Divisional, Army and Inter-service competitions and the Corps Championships have all finished. The first 1-2 days of Ex SNOW LION will include technique and race training through gates in the discipline of GS (and slalom for skiers) under race coaches. There will then follow 4-5 days of racing

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including a seeding GS and team and individual competitions. If possible, the final day will be for a fun element such as parallel slalom, ‘have-a-go’ trial sessions or a separate Cadet competition. Accommodation and feeding for all teams will be in the well appointed and recently renovated Rothiemurchas Lodge (a steal at £19/person/ night!), which is a 10-minute drive to the ski centre and Funicular railway.

Ex SNOW LION in its new format will provide an excellent opportunity for units to start developing their young soldiers and snow sports racers of the future. Lots of detail has yet to be worked out and finalised in order to make this a success in 2018, but if this is something that you think would interest your unit or Corps, please keep an eye on the AWSA web site and MOSS site or contact any of the snow sports secretaries to find out more.