Exercise Snowjack/Storm 2010 from Skier to Snowboarder

 

In the start gate, board strapped on as tight as it will go… under starter’s orders… racers ready!!! After three weeks of training from a total novice Boarder to the top of the SBX (Snow-boarder cross) next to the Army No2, my chances are slim to none. The other riders are more my level, Tension!!! Arms locked out on the start gate, poised for the magic word… GO!

On the 19th of November we rolled out from Wattisham en route for Hintertux, Austria. Our small but experienced team (minus the author) included some of the Army’s snowboarding elite such as SSgt John Craig 3 Regt RAPTC, ranked number three in the Army and qualified as a BASI instructor. It is thanks to him that this trip happened at all. Permission and funding were all confirmed in the last few days with many frantic phone calls and emails required. We had the normal mammoth drive, and a Combi-van that was given a “that’ll do” paint job so fresh the fumes kept you awake and a gearbox that sounded like Beethoven’s 5th.

We settle in for the first two weeks and begin training in earnest, my training mainly comprised of crashing a lot and landing on many different body parts, including my face. With two weeks to go until the Army Championships at Neustift there was plenty to be getting on with.

There are three Events that make up the competition:
• Dual slalom head-to-head racing. Two runs and the winner goes into the next round until the champion is left standing;
• SBX Boarder-cross. Four Riders race round down and over a course battling it out for first and second place to go through to the next round – anything can and will happen;
• Freestyle everything from Roast Beef to Buttered Pretzel (the clue’s in the name). Pulling out grabs and grinds over obstacles, judged on how hard the trick is and how smooth you look. See Shaun White for a complete demonstration.

The first two weeks was a combination of training for these events, with the novice riders concentrating more on their basic riding skills than their 360’s.

We left the training camp and Lanersbach for Neustift and the Stubai Glacier. In between the two camps a spare day emerged and a trip to Kaunertal for its first rate intermediate snow park, packed full of pipes, rails, boxes, picnic, benches and fun size kickers: a welcome change from the ski orientated Hintertux.

The Army Air Corps Team for the Army Snowboarding Championships comprised of SSgt John Craig (Team Captain), Sgt Sarah Marriot, Sgt Bob Young, Sgt Andy Smith and LCpl Chris Goldsmith. Over the next two weeks we would compete for a share of the silverware that was on offer. The conditions were far from ideal, with Neustift’s reputation as one of the coldest places in the Alps holding true; -35˚ below and a strong wind resulted in frost nip for a lot of people. The early season bad weather gave us a couple of days respite and further exploration of Innsbruck’s famous Christmas Markets and Gluvine.

Skier Vs Snowboarder
Skiing and Snowboarding both have their place in the mountains. If you want to explore true wilderness and unbelievable powder, then grab some skis and skins and go ski touring. If you want to push yourself in the Snowpark by going for big air with style or experience surfing waves of powder, grab yourself a Skate Banana and get on Exercise Snow Method 2011. You won’t regret it!

Written By: LCpl Goldsmith

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