My name is Paul Doodson and I am currently a LAC Logs (MTD), Reserve with 501 Squadron RAuxAF. I recently attended Ex SNOW EAGLE adventurous training exercise in Bavaria, Germany.
This year was my first experience of the Eagle scheme and it was an absolutely brilliant time that was had by all. I and 6 other members of my Squadron joined 60+ Regular members of the RAF, all of us at different skill levels, so all getting something different from the experience.
On Ex SNOW EAGLE there are 3 different basic levels of training – Ski Foundation (SF) 1, 2 and 3:
- This level is for people who have never skied before. By the end of the week each person will be at a level where they can confidently stop, turn, control speed and ultimately tackle basic blue runs, more challenging red runs, and occasionally a black run.
- Once you have completed SF1 or have skied before and have a good competent level of ability, this group hone their skills on the slopes, advance to black runs ‘as a standard’ and prepare to advance to the next group.
- For the advanced skier, this group spends a lot of time skiing off piste, ski touring, undertaking avalanche training and rescue. This group gets prepared to go onto the next course which is a whole new package of training which is Ski Leadership 1, 2 and 3.
Every person I spoke to in each of these groups thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the week and all got a massive sense of achievement from their week’s work. This week was very enjoyable but don’t be fooled into thinking it is a free ski trip. Personally I was in the SF3 group and this was very physically demanding, from skiing off piste, digging in deep snow for avalanche search and rescue and most demanding was ski touring. This involves putting skins onto the bottom of the skis, detaching the heel part of your ski binding and then basically walking up the mountain. The payoff for this though is amazing views not available from the top of a ski lift and then, of course, the off piste trip back down creating fresh tracks of your own!
SNOW EAGLE is one of many different schemes that are run as adventure training; there is also mountain biking, canoeing and mountaineering. It is well worth looking on the MOSS website to find out more.