9 Regt AAC Alpine Skiing Exercise White Knight
9 Regt AAC Alpine Ski Team, led by Capt Mike Rivington, embarked on the 28th Annual RAC and AAC ski meet, Ex WHITE KNIGHT in Verbier, Switzerland.
The aim of the exercise was to facilitate a training camp for six soldiers over six weeks in order to prepare units to go on and compete in the Downhill Alpine skiing disciplines and the Divisional and Army Championships.
Not withstanding the ongoing operational commitments, 9 Regt AAC remains committed to contributing to Ex WHITE KNIGHT not only because of the recognised AT benefits, but also the need to retain a presence within Army winter sports. This year’s commitment of two Officers and four other ranks was a truly novice team The plan was to split the Ex into the training camp in Verbier and then move to Les Contamines, France for the combined 1 and 2 Div Champs. Verbier is an excellent location to conduct Ex WHITE KNIGHT. The resort is one of Europe’s finest and has the infrastructure to match; Les Contamines has specialist race pistes allowing for the change in emphasis from free skiing to racing, although the resort itself is smaller, it is an ideal location for this phase. The training received in Verbier by the Swiss Ski School was excellent; the local knowledge and experience they offered provided a service that organic assets could never deliver. On arrival, all competitors were grouped according to ability and extensive general ski training was conducted for the first two weeks. This took place from first lift 0830 until 1600, six days a week. Pole training was conducted on the specific training slopes in both Verbier and the Savolyres area to prepare the competitors for racing in Verbier and after in Les Contamines involving Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G and Downhill events. The Swiss Ski School’s ethos to teach all competitors to ski in all conditions, not just in racing, is vital. It taught general safety and awareness on the slopes, as well as an ability to adapt to changing conditions. This depth of instruction imbued a sense of awareness and safety in the novice skiers, which proved excellent advice.
Overall, 9 Regt AAC had a very successful season finishing 10th out of 17 in the 2 Div Championships, qualifying for the Army Championship. There was also individual success at the Army Championship, where ATpr Anstey finished 20th overall – not bad for his first time on skis. The Regt looks forward to continuing this year’s successes in 2012 and, looking at the bigger picture, it opened up a huge opportunity for serving soldiers to break away from what is an increasingly busy Regimental duty and really benefit from the experiences gained from competing in a technically arduous winter sport.