Colonel Graham Armour Royal Marines
2017 British Telemark Championships in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France.
The move of resorts for the 2017 championships appeared to be the perfect tonic for the Services Telemark community. The mountain staff at Pralognan-la-Vanoise (PLV) could not have been more helpful in accommodating the Single Service championships. All the Ecole du Ski instructors had received special tuition in Telemark instruction from the French and GB national coaches prior to our arrival, and all participants benefitted from their high quality coaching, which produced some excellent results during the race week. The snow cover was a little thinner than anticipated and the race course had to be moved down the mountain towards the village, which resulted in very early starts for the racing, in order to release the piste to the general public later in the day. The organising committee have been assured that this will not be the case for 2018; PLV, in conjunction with British Ski and Snowboard (BSS) have agreed to host the GB official FIS Telemark World Cup races ahead of the British Champs in January. This is a promising development, as the World Cup race piste will be set prior to the start of the British and single Service championships and this therefore provides a great opportunity to develop our athletes on a World Cup standard course. The 2017 results saw some great results for UK AF personnel, with a serviceman claiming the overall GB Telemark individual title and 10 service personnel were placed within the top 20 competitors.
2017 Inter Services Championships in Meribel
Meribel was again the venue for the ISSSC and Telemark benefitted from the French Telemark World Cup race, which was held only a few days before our championships started. The scene was set for an exciting week of completion with fine weather, a well-prepared hard-packed piste and a beautifully crafted jumping ramp. A new format for the final event, the Parallel Sprint, allowed the crowd to get as close as possible to the action and this proved to be hugely popular with the spectators. Like previous years, the main competition was between the Army and the Royal Navy. The RN took an early lead and managed to retain this throughout the week to claim only their second clean sweep at ISSSC, the previous being in 2011. The outstanding achievement of the championships was Midshipman James French RN, who raced in the Telemark and Alpine events and managed to secure individual first place in both disciplines. James’s talent has been nurtured by the Services over the last 5 years at the British Telemark Championships, and now that he has joined the RN he shows huge potential for further success in future years. The final individual 2017 results were as follows:
1st: Midshipman James French RN
2nd: Capt Julian Everard LD
3rd: LCpl Henry Munns