Group photograph of all personnel with a snowy mountain range in the background.Ex Northern Frosted Sword 5 (Ex NFS5) took place in the French Alps in January. 8 Rifles delivered the Exercise which saw a total of 36 Riflemen and Officers travel to the Val Thorens ski resort and conduct alpine ski activities in the hugely popular 3 valleys area.  Les Trois Vallee’s boasts to provide the worlds largest ski area with a vast network of 600km of ski runs which suits all abilities from novice to advanced skiers alike and proved to be an excellent location from which to deliver all planned activities.

The aim of Ex NFS5 was to introduce selected Officers and Soldiers to Alpine Skiing, whilst continuing to identify and develop future Ski Leaders as they progress through the Alpine Ski scheme.  This was achieved by concurrently delivering two Ski Foundation 1 (SF1) and two Ski Foundation 2 (SF2) courses/continuation training.  As 8 Rifles is geographically located in several locations a secondary aim was to continue to build upon unit cohesion amongst attendees.

Personnel having a skiing lesson.Despite some particularly adverse weather conditions, the aim of the Exercise was comfortably met and a total of 10 personnel gained SF1 qualifications and 4 personnel gained SF2 qualifications were awarded which is testament to the excellent tuition and guidance provided by various internal and external instructors.  In addition to this, lots of experience was gained in the form of Continuation Training for previously qualified personnel who were all provided with an action plan and relevant advice in order to progress towards future leader awards.  Furthermore, in terms of the ‘real life’ experience, all personnel had the opportunity to work/socialise with a wide mix of ranks, from Lt Col to Rifleman,  across the Battalion, and test themselves to the limit in arduous conditions with regards to enhancing Operational Effectiveness. This proved to have a positive effect of strengthening inter-Company relations and provided a valuable opportunity for the more junior members of the Battalion to get to know some key personalities from Battalion Headquarters and other companies.

Some excellent feedback from attendees include the following comments:

“Definitely got pushed out of our comfort zones, but ended up learning a lot!”

“Quite a different day to wake up to. The conditions and visibility were very difficult and challenging which made everything much harder”

“It was fantastic and the best adventure training I have done so far with the military.

Ex NFS5 was funded from a mix of Public and Non-Public Funds, including a personal financial contribution from all attendees.  Without the generous donations from organisations such as West Midland RFCA and HQ Catterick Garrison Welfare Funds it would be extremely difficult to deliver this type of event and a huge thank you is offered to these organisations from an extremely grateful Officer in Command of the Exercise.

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Published 11/04/2024