Ten Soldiers and Officers of the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) stationed in Tidworth Wiltshire took part in the annual British Army Nordic Skiing (Cross-country & Biathlon) Exercises over a period from November 2017 to February 2018. The purpose was to train novice troopers and young officers to learn the Nordic ski disciplines, which in turn develops core-military skills of determination, endeavour, endurance, fitness and the core skill of marksmanship in a competitive winter environment.
The RTR team began their training in Norway and then a selective team of six travelled to Austria, France & Germany to participate in the various sponsored training and competitive races against other Regiments, Corps and Services. Under the direction and leadership of their Team Captain: Lieutenant Thomas Chapman, they achieved their goal of qualifying for the Army and Inter-Service championships. The team placed first at the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) Championships and seventh at the Divisional Championships. This result qualified them for the Army and Inter-Service Nordic Ski Championships in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, in which they placed among the top 10 teams, across all 3 services.
The Skiers Trust grant was invaluable in making personal contributions affordable for the soldiers. Certain costs cannot be covered by public (Army) funding. Non-public funding must, therefore, be sought elsewhere. Some of this is paid for by personal contributions, but grant money is heavily relied upon. Without this grant money, the team would be unable to train and race as personal contributions would be unreasonably high.
With this significant grant for the STGB, the RTR achieved and exceeded their team’s ambitions. Corporal Fuller retained the coveted ‘James Terry’ Cup (best RAC skier) with Trooper Martin winning best junior novice at the Divisional Championship and Lt Chapman being placed 4th in the Army senior novice category. Overall, the 2018 Nordic season has been a marked success for a regiment which is so much in the public eye with the events in Salisbury.