A WADEBRIDGE soldier tested his nerve against the demands and speeds of alpine ski racing after taking part in a championship for British soldiers based in Germany.
Cameron Young, 19, took part in Exercise Pipedown, held in the sub-zero surroundings of the snow-capped French ski resort of Les Contamines near Mont Blanc - a far cry from his normal work as a sapper serving with 35 Engineer Regiment based in Paderborn, North-West Germany.
With little more than six weeks training behind him, Cameron showed high levels of physical fitness, guts, determination teamwork and leadership at the January 11-21 event, improving with each race and finishing a credible 56th in the individual downhill.
Cameron, who attended Wadebridge Secondary School and whose parents still live in the area, said:
“I volunteered to come here and compete as it looked like something fun to do and to experience. It has certainly been that; enjoyable but extremely hard work as well - particularly learning the different techniques and balance needed for the downhill and slalom events.
“It was really enjoyable and after the first run I could not wait to get back to the top to go again. The adrenalin rush as you go through the gate at the start is fantastic.”
Major General James Chiswell CBE MC, General Officer Commanding 1 (UK) Armoured Division, said training opportunities such as Exercise Pipedown are incredibly important and a fundamental part of the development of the soldiers.
“Adventurous training is designed to test our people to the limits by putting them in unfamiliar but controlled, challenging situations to develop all the skills needed – moral and physical courage, leadership and teamwork – to be the best,” Mr Chiswell said.
“It enhances their performance both in times of operational deployments and peace time. Pipedown will give many of these soldiers a chance to develop new skills and try sports that may potentially lead to them progressing to representing their Units and the Army at a higher level.
“And importantly, exercises such as these give our personnel the chance to relax in a fun and competitive setting particularly when focus remains heavily on operational commitments.”
Cameron, who last year came second in the Army Enduro Motocross championships, enjoyed the experience so much he hopes to continue skiing competitively in the future.
“My first competition has been a great experience, it’s been great for morale and I have learnt so much,” he said.
“If the opportunity allows I would to continue skiing with the Army and see how far I can progress.”