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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


NEWS

EXERCISE SLIPPERY FINN 2017

24 March 2017

Reservists from Northern Ireland joined their regular counterparts from the Province in the resort of Le Corbier, in the French Alps, to take part in EXERCISE SLIPPERY FINN 17 – a week of intensive ski training to bring all participants up to Ski Foundation Level 1.

Les Alpages de Corbier provided 2 / 4 / 6 bed apartments adjacent to the piste and just 50 m from one of the main chair lifts. Equipment was hired from Ski Republic which had a shop in the same accommodation and this meant that it was easy to organise the skiing which started in earnest on the Sunday. After a bright start, a weather front moved in and brought 3 days of high winds, poor visibility and then heavy snow. Although challenging, this did not interfere with the skiing and all the groups appreciated the final 3 days where they enjoyed near perfect conditions - that happy combination of new snow and sunny skies. The Sybelles area offers 310 km of pisted runs spread over 6 valleys and remains to be “discovered” by the British ski fraternity; prices in the shops and restaurants are very reasonable.

The exercise was organised by Lt Col Huw Morgan, the Joint Regional Liaison Officer based in Thiepval Barracks Lisburn. This was his 6th such exercise and he was ably supported by 4 other members of the Army Reserve who were group instructors. The challenges of putting Adventurous Training exercises together (authorisation, medical plan, diplomatic clearance, funding, travel arrangements, equipment hire, accommodation, training package and feeding) are daunting and can overmatch busy personnel in regular units. This exercise took Regular personnel from 1 SCOTS, 2 RIFLES and the Garrison Support Unit alongside Reservists and the combination worked well.

Adventurous Training is meant to be a challenge and the harsh weather conditions on the first 3 days ensured that it was. A couple of individuals struggled with vertigo on the chair lifts and it tended to be the older Reservists that helped the younger Regulars to overcome their fears.

 

In the end 26 students achieved Ski Foundation Level 1 and 10 were recommended to progress to Ski Foundation Level 3 and Ski Leader 1 so that they would be available to teach on future exercises. We have now built up a cadre of ski instructors based in Northern Ireland (mainly in the Reserves) that are available to assist in future exercises and this should encourage units based in the province to plan and execute their own ski exercises.

With a range of public and non-public funds available to Adventurous Training (including a generous grant from RFCA), participation in the exercise cost each individual £100 – all agreed that this was extremely good value for money and that the training both improved individuals’ self-confidence and boosted unit cohesion.