Members of 159 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, an Army Reserve unit with its HQ in the West Midlands, took part in an Adventurous Training (AT) expedition to France in January.
After arriving in the mountain resort of Flaine, the skiers started day two of their trip with the beginners learning the basics of skiing whilst the more experienced skiers in the group refreshed their skills.
On the third day the beginners continued with the basics at a larger beginners area. The more advanced skiers worked on steeper declines to practice speed control, traversing and turning. They also received a lesson on transceivers and safety checks.
The beginners skied from the summit to the Flaine basin on day four. The students found the experience challenging but exhilarating when completing confidence enhancing exercises. The more experienced skiers spent the morning practicing their carving and pole plant turn. The group spent the afternoon with a mixture of on piste and off piste skiing to exploit the weather conditions and relatively quiet ski area. An revision on avalanche procedures completed the day.
Day five and the beginners had a reconciliation of day three’s training, before instruction progressed throughout the day with a focus on parallel turns. Post lunch, off piste skiing dominated the afternoon to enhance students’ exposures to varied ski terrains. The more experienced group continued to master the pole plant turns and ski off piste.
The beginners were assessed on day six to ensure they had met the objectives, before having the opportunity to explore a larger ski area and the connecting villages. Individuals were nominated to lead and navigate around the ski area. The more experienced group explored the larger ski area and the connecting villages with the focus of covering pistes that they hadn’t covered before.
The seventh day provided an opportunity for all students to be divided into groups to ski inside the boundaries of the patrolled recognised ski area, whilst remaining in contact with an instructor. This allowed the Reservists to develop leadership skills by alternating the role of ski leader using the ‘piste map’ to navigate.
As a result of the expedition, six participants successfully passed their Ski Foundation (SF) Level 1 qualification with a recommendation to progress on to SF Level 2. Four students completed SF Level 2 Continuation Training with a recommendation to attempt SF Level 3.
The importance of such expeditions, the challenges they bring, and the positive impact on morale, leadership and the Operational Capability of the unit should not be underestimated. In the eight days, 15 Reservists, the majority whom had not worked together before, under the auspice of AT, were set challenges to test individual levels of courage and physical fitness. Training in small groups, often outside of personal ‘comfort zones’ and through continuous teamwork, the expedition members merged in to one cohesive group to assist each other to improve personal ski ability.
There are many opportunities for Adventurous Training across the tri-service Reserves, with the opportunity to take part in activities such as: skiing, mountain biking, caving, canoeing and mountaineering to name a few.
West Midland RFCA see the benefit of Adventurous Training and as a not for profit organisation put money back in to the Reserve and Cadet Forces, which includes contributing to Adventurous Training activity, such as 159 Regiment’s skiing trip.
Find out more about West Midland RFCA.