Ex Dragon Carver
Early this year 9 Para Sqn RE, part of 23 Engr Regt (Air Assault) deployed on Ex DRAGON CARVER. The long coach journey to Les Deux Alpes was broken up by the collaboration of Sprs Nelson and Corrigan-Davies; who believed they were pop stars. The other passengers weren’t that entertained with their singing though!
On arrival at Les Deux Alpes we were allocated our rooms before the our first opportunity to experience the local nightlife. It would be fair to say that some people were a little worse for wear the next morning but it was a good start to what was going to be a fantastic week. The first day of skiing involved people finding their ski legs and getting back into the swing of things whilst others learnt the very basics of skiing with the military instructors. The slopes were reasonably good but slowly deteriorated through the week until Thursday when we had 24 hours of snow. The fresh dump meant that visibility wasn’t great but the fresh snow made the slopes amazing. Throughout the week everyone enjoyed the skiing, which saw the beginners passing their assessment, to qualify them for the Ski Foundation Level 1. The more experienced skiers undertook a lot of off-piste skiing and working on technique. Whilst the slopes were quiet the apres-ski was always busy. There was some very good socialising with some Dutch and Finnish and some not so very good dancing.
During the change over the lucky few that stayed for the two weeks went on a bit of a freeski and recce’d a few more off-piste runs for the next week. Some were challenging and some gradual for the inexperienced. When 51 Para Sqn RE arriving they received their rooms and were very keen to get out to enjoy and experience the night life, despite their 20 hour long journey. A slightly later start than normal and all the skis, boots and lift passes were issued and lessons began. There was a ski off for the Ski Foundation Level 2 group and eight people were able to work towards their qualification. Throughout the week we worked a lot on off-piste finding some nice, fresh, untouched snow. Some people struggled but towards the end of the week a progression was seen in all soldiers. 51 didn’t seem that much better than 9 at the apres ski dancing but everyone gave it a good go. The beginners from the second week also all gained their Ski Foundation Level 1.
Overall the regimental ski trip, Ex Dragon Carver, was successful in its continuation training for the experienced skiers and qualifications gained for the novices. Some good time to let off some steam from the busy life at 23 Engr Regt.
Written By: Sapper Seaby, 9 Para Sqn