Cpl Manning attended a Nordic Skiing expedition in Bavaria and this is his diary...

Cpl Manning

Arrived at 5' o'clock Saturday afternoon. Also assigned chalets, I was put in shaley no.25, with 1 from own region, South And East Midlands, and 3 from Scotland And Northern Island Region.

Sunday- Collected skiing equipment at 8:30am, so we were ready for our skiing session. We had our first session of skiing, this would decide what groups we would be in for the rest of the week, either group 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or 8, with one being the highest group and 7 being the lowest, group 8 was for those who wished to do silver and gold, either because they had been the year before, or because they were particularly good at skiing.

Each Region had a different time to go skiing; my Region's session was at 12pm till 2pm, where we were taught basic skills, such as stopping using the plough, where you put your ski's into a V shape, and push down on your heels, whilst bending your knees in, we also played football and rugby, this helped us get used to the ski's. After this we went swimming with the region to help stretch off and relax the muscles. The pool had an ice pool, which was -3 degrees Celsius, a sauna, a hot pool and a normal swimming pool.

Monday- Started skiing at 10am and had our first full day of skiing, after first finding out what groups we were put in, I was put in group 5, along with Jamie, George, Kirsten, Gus, Kieran and Aaron (nicknamed Tweedle Dum as he was always falling over). In the first half we practiced the snow plough, and learned the snow plough turn, in which you first make a plough, and then lean on one leg, the opposite in which you want to turn, i.e. if you wanted to turn right you put your weight on your left leg. We then went onto the tracks, where we learned diagonal skiing, where you push with one leg and the opposite pole i.e. push off with your left ski and your right pole, then your left pole and your right ski and then double poling, where you push yourself along with both your skis. After practicing these we had lunch, at around 12pm-1pm, then in the afternoon, we first went along the short purple/pink tour, to practice these skills, after going around that tour a couple of times, we went onto the yellow tour which was slightly longer than the purple/pink tour. After skiing I went with my region swimming, then had dinner at the over 18's chalet.

Tuesday- Started skiing at 10am, for the first half we practiced turn stopping, where you ski then put a pole on the ground and jump and turn, using the pole to swivel around on, then when you land sideways, this causes you to stop. We also practiced the plough turn again; we also practiced jumping, where you just jump, without falling over and then skiing with one leg lifted in the air. After lunch, we first went on the yellow track to warm up, and then onto the green track, which was longer and had more ups and downs, some of which were really steep, especially on the last part before the green tour joined the yellow, where you could practice free skating, which is skating of the tracks, and also was able to just go really fast, really difficult, as your skis often went into other peoples tracks, meaning you often ended up doing the splits! The tracks were also right on the edge of a 50ft drop, meaning this was very scary.

Wednesday- Started at 10am. Practiced skating, which is like ice skating but on skis. We also went over diagonal skiing and double poling, as we had a different instructor, Mikael, as our usual ski instructor, Rienatta, was teaching a group of German students, so he wanted to see what we had already been taught. We also practiced the downhill plough, which is basically normal plough, but you are on a hill, which makes it harder because you are going faster, and are also on slanted ground. After lunch we went along the green tour twice, and then because we finished early we just practiced double poling and diagonal poling.

Thursday- Started at 10am. Then took the ski tour up to the top of mount Arber, right the way up to the top, this took around 6 hours to get there and back, it was made longer and harder by the fact that it had snowed that night, so the snow was really deep, even though the snow plough, which is used to clear the excess snow and make the tracks smooth, had cleared most of it away. The last bit was the hardest, as the snow plough couldn't get to trail that lead to the top of the mountain, so all the snow was still there, so the skis kept getting stuck in the deep snow, which was about ½ ft. deep at least. When we

got to the top of mount Arber, there was an old watch tower, which was used to observe the Russians during the cold war or WW2. The top of the mountain was really windy, so we were not allowed all the way to the top, and also you couldn't see much of the views as or the landscape, because there was a small blizzard, so could see nothing. After this I went for a meal with my region at a restaurant.

Friday- we did our Langlauf award, in which you achieve a bronze, silver or gold, like on the duke of Edinburgh award , you also had to of achieved the previous award before you could win another award, so you had to have bronze to get silver. To achieve the bronze award, you had to be able to demonstrate that you were able to double pole, diagonal ski, plough within a certain distance, step over a rope, plough turn, half plough using both legs and navigate around a set of cones. After achieving the award, we then went onto the time trials, in which everyone competed, we all had to do a lap of the purple/pink tour, to see who was fastest in their group, and the fastest overall. We then had an inter-region race, in which each region chose their fastest skiers to compete against the other regions, Scotland and northern island region won this. After this we then had dinner and the presentation of the awards we had achieved throughout the course of the week, in which everyone got their Bronze, including myself, some got silver and two got Gold, Andy and Pricey. We were also presented with the awards from the time trail event, in which there was slowest and fastest in each group, I got slowest in my group, also there was, fastest skier overall (Boy and Girl), and also most improved (Boy and Girl).

Conclusion- overall I enjoyed the trip, as I got to meet new people and also I got to have lots of fun learning a new sport in which I had never done. I hope that I am able to go on the trip again next year.

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