This year, LNN Martin and LNN Davis were lucky to spend six weeks with other members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines as part of the RN Alpine Ski Team after being selected at the Royal Navy Ski Championships 2015.
The season began with a trip to Bavaria with a bit of team bonding prior to the real training which was to begin in January 2016. With very little snow on arrival we ended up traveling to Stubai in Austria. We had a total of five days on the slopes with a civilian instructor Hans who really helped us develop our technique but also having a lot of fun along the way so we could all get to know one another. This included a trip to the local Christmas Market to drink some mulled wine and eat some scrummy food. S/Lt Williams also joined us as a new member of the team but unfortunately was unable to attend the full season due to the fact she was a last minute addition to the team however very much excited for next season.
After a confidence building week in Bavaria we travelled out to France on New Year’s Day after loading the van with over 90 pairs of skis and kit and this was when the training really began. Our first stop was Valloire, we met with our coach Arthur and Anton, and the training began straight away. The weather was not great and there was not much snow around so we were unable to train with gates however we made the most of our time here practicing for the slalom, giant slalom and super G ready for the Royal Navy Ski Championships 2016. We also learnt how to wax edge and take care of all our equipment so our skis were prepped ready for race week. After completing our first two weeks in Valloire it was time to travel to Tignes for the RN Ski Champs so we loaded up the vans and off we went.
The week began with an opening address from the Royal Navy Winter Sports Association officially opening the championships. After only two weeks training with no gates we were all pretty nervous about the week ahead, even the experienced racers in the team. LNN Martin and LNN Davis competed in the non-expert category where LNN Martin achieved Gold in the Slalom, Silver in the Giant Slalom and Gold in the Super G. This meant she won the overall non-expert category which was an amazing achievement. LNN Martin also won a bronze in the overall female for the Slalom and Super G which she was not expecting. Unfortunately LNN Davis had a disappointing race week but did have a very good run down the Super G finishing 4th ending the week on a high. It was here where we also bumped into some friendly faces, S/Lt Harding and LNN Belcher who were enjoying their week on the slopes. We went out and celebrated with a few drinksbefore heading back to Valloire after the closing ceremony.
We spent this week learning from any mistakes made in Tignes and trimming up our technique. Half of the group also travelled out to the Army Ski Championships for some downhill training. This was the first time on downhill skis for LNN Martin and it was on her second run where she completed the course clocking 109km/hr through the speed gun at the finish line, her third run was not so good with a crash at the top of the steep at approximately 60km/hr wiping out a gate in the process however a few bruises and sore knee for a day or so this did not stop her from training for the rest of the week ready for the Inter-Services due to take place the following week. The weather was also a lot better with a few blue bird days and snow conditions better for gate training we were able to really practice and prepare for the big competition.
After arriving at Merrible it was a very special year due to it being the 10th anniversary of the Inter-Services held here. The opening ceremony took place and the championships were officially opened. The weeks weather was very challenging but the RN achieved amazing results in the downhill with the RN Men’s team winning the race overall and the ladies team captain Lt Henderson achieving silver in the female category. The week continued with ups and downs in both the women’s and men’s team however Lt Henderson achieved Silver in the super G and for the men’s team a Gold for the team captain Lt Sharrott and a bronze for AB Wild who has now been selected as a guided skier and competed at the World Cup in America February 16. LNN Martin achieved her Royal Navy colours and finished top 15 in every race which was brilliant for a new race skier. She was also awarded most improved during the five weeks by the Royal Navy Team Captains and LNN Davis achieved highest contributor to the team.
Overall it was an amazing opportunity and the training continues in August with a select few travelling out to Chile for speed training. We are all very much excited for next season and pushing ourselves further to achieve better results and faster times.
Check out the link below for more pictures of their time away.