Nordic Skiing – Ex NORDIC SWORD

The Nordic Skiing season started in mid-November 2019 for the 1 R Welsh team. A team of 8 deployed to Idre-Fjall in Sweden for the pre-competition training package organised by Infantry Nordic. The Battalion had just completed Ex DRAGON STRIKE, a Bn level training exercise on Salisbury Plain a few days before driving out to Sweden so this was a great reward for the Welsh Warriors who deployed on the exercise.

This was the second season that the Infantry held its training camp in Idre-Fjall, Sweden. It’s a leading venue with perfect snow conditions and a state-of-the-art range complex. The camp was three weeks long with some of the best instructors around, several of them were ex winter Olympians.

The winter camp took the team from learning the very basics of Nordic skiing to being able to compete in races by the end of the package. Training was intense with only one day off a week and skiing for up to 5 hours cross country a day; this coupled with shooting practice made for an extremely arduous but rewarding time. We were lucky to have visits from the Army Sgt Maj, WO1 Gavin Patton and also 3 (UK) Div Sgt Maj, one of our own, WO1 Keith Mills – both were put through their paces during the visit, with 3 Div Sgt Maj taking the accolade of best Comd Sgt Maj on a pair of Nordic skiis!

Following Sweden after the Christmas break, we made our way to Bessans, France where the team competed in the Infantry Championships. From a very steep learning curve in Sweden to now competing and racing for the remainder of the season. The championships comprised of 4 races which included a 15km Classic Race, a 4 x 5km Classic Relay, 10Km Individual Biathlon and concluded with a 4 x 7.5km Biathlon relay. The team achieved some great individual and team results and overall saw us place third behind the professional outfits of 4 SCOTS and 1 RIFLES.

The team then travelled to the Army Divisional Championships in Les Contamines, France. After qualifying for the Army Championships last year, we knew what to expect and fully committed to gaining our spot at the Army Championships once again. We had strong competition from 3 RIFLES who finished 4th in the Infantry Championships, but we were now working together to get as many Infantry teams to the Army Championships as possible. The team of Royal Welshmen had a strong performance throughout, most notably our highest finish in the competition was the military patrol race, this included command tasks and shooting, our b