Four-person ski-touring teams, with backpacks weighing at least 15 kilograms, had over 50 km distance to cover in the mountains. In the vicinity of Szklarska Poręba, the Military University of Land Forces has already conducted the 4th edition of the mountain winter competition: Military Ski Patrol.

17 teams entered the competition, including soldiers from the USA, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Poland.

During the competition, in addition to cross-country/mountain skiing, the competitors were judged on topography, ski mountaineering and survival skills. On the trial, the competitors performed combat shooting using various weapons, gave first aid (TCCC), dragged a vehicle using climbing techniques, threw a grenade in three different positions, operated on  avalanche-threatened areas, searched for a person buried in an avalanche, evacuated the injured person with the use of an improvised cariole and sojourned in an improvised quinzhee snow shelter.

- The weather conditions were not favourable for us on the first day, it was raining and we were soaked – says Cpl. Cdt Sumit Batra, head of the AWL team.

- During the competition, due to an injury, five teams had to resign from further participation. This shows the scale of difficulty of the competition, but it should also be objectively admitted that the weather did not spoil the competitors. Fog, rain, strong wind at high altitudes and low temperature are the factors that will put the most persistent ones to the test – admitted the initiator and organiser of the event, lieutenant colonel Andrzej Demkowicz.

Ultimately, the team from the 6th Airborne Brigade got the best times in disciplines: loaded march in a high mountain area on touring skis, downhill skiing with the team, combat shooting in natural area and climbing techniques on rocky terrain. The team from the Military University of Land Forces took the 1st place in a march with the heaviest load.

The competition was organised by the Reconnaissance and Aeromobile Forces Section of the Command Institute at the AWL, the Shooting Theory and Practice Section of the Command Institute at the AWL and the High Altitude Training Section of the AWL.

The competition conducted in the Giant Mountains and the Jizera Mountains referred in its formula to the pre-war "Military Patrol" competition, which was an official discipline at the Winter Olympic Games in 1924.

text: AWL

photos: Tomasz Goleniowski EOD TECH, AWL

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