At 0500 on the morning of the 15th February we departed to make our way to Rhupolding in Bavaria Germany. After a long drive we got to Munich and spent the night in a hotel, the next morning we continued on to Rhupolding were we met our landlady for the fortnight Frau Schmidt, she greeted us and told us the rules of the house. As we arrived on the Sunday we used the day to settle into our accommodation and prepare the equipment for the competition ahead. Monday and Tuesday were both training days for the first seeding race on Wednesday so we went out both on Monday and Tuesday to get used to the snow and finding our ski legs again.
Wednesday was the first competitive day using the Grand Slalom course as a way to set the seeding for the competition this is when you get given your starting bib number at the beginning of the competition. You then aim to lower that bib number as the competition progresses. The first race was the GS (short for Grand Slalom), a course marked with flags that you must pass through to complete the race, any gates missed resulted in disqualification from the competition, the 159 Regt team did well in this discipline and completed with no serious injuries.
After two days of the Grand Slalom all teams were given the weekend to use as they see fit, most teams rested. 159 Regt Ski team made the most of their time and travelled to Huetel on the Saturday to train and on the Sunday we went to Saalbach ski resort in Austria, a breathtaking but challenging resort with picturesque mountains and towns. On Friday night the alpine teams had a fancy dress in which 159 Regt team dressed as doctors and nurses.
On Monday the competition continued, first race of the week being the Super G, a course designed so you can pick up speed with long turns. The conditions were very slippery and conditions worsened throughout the day. The Super G ran for two days followed then by the Slalom, which was a technical course full of turns and the conditions resulted in a lot of falls from even the most experience skiers. These conditions resulted in two members of the 159 Regt team being hospitalised for dislocations and a broken arm.
The final night in Ruhpolding was spent at the prize giving ceremony which LCpl Thompson received best Novice for the Nordic skiing. The 159 Regt team internally awarded prizes to Major Dave Paget for the fastest time down the hill in a blood wagon and Corporal Green for taking enough tranquilisers to knock out a grand national winner before his helicopter flight to the Krankenhouse.
The next morning we travelled back to England and on the way our sat nav took us on a detour through Brussels city centre in rush hour on a Friday. We eventually made it back after 18 long hours to England late on Friday the 28th. An epic journey, preceded by an amazing few weeks - roll on next year!