Seventeen competitors, all soldiers, regular and reserve, based in the UK, hit the slopes at the beginning of this month for the Tri Service Foundation Championships, designed to give skiers an introduction to alpine racing before going on to represent their units across Europe at the Qualifying and Army, Navy and RAF Championships.
Organised by the Army Winter Sports Association, personnel have been competing at Cairngorm since the 1980s, making the most of the challenging and diverse terrain. This year, conditions were bolstered by a flurry of late-season snow and clear skies.
Assisting race organisers were five pupils from nearby Kingussie High School who acted as forerunners as well as supporting the setup, maintenance and dismantling of the courses.
Susan Smith, interim chief executive of Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited (CMSL) said: “It was fantastic to welcome to the Army personnel once again for their annual ski racing event. Cairngorm Mountain has historically played host to many racing championships, with this year’s exercise timed perfectly for some of the best conditions of the season.
“A special thank you goes to the pupils of Kingussie High School, who impressed race organisers with their skill level and commitment to the task in hand. With plans to make next year’s event open to other forces, we hope to welcome even more competitors back to Cairngorm Mountain in 2021.”
Warrant Officer Class 2 (Squadron Sergeant Major) David Thomson, Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and Exercise Controller, said: “The professionalism, adaptability and support provided by the team at the Cairngorm Mountain has enabled a smooth and hugely successful foundation championships. The relationships that have built up over the past few years we hope will continue to grow, as we expand our championships to include the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
“The resources on offer from the Cairngorm Mountain have been outstanding. The hill was perfect for the racing ability, offering a variety of challenges that came as a surprise to many of our skiers. We look forward to coming back in March 2021!”
For more information on Cairngorm Mountain visit www.cairngormmountain.co.uk.