In terms of winter sports events, it doesn’t get much more exciting or competitive than the Inter Services Snow Sports Championships, which in 2016 celebrates its 10th anniversary year hosted by the popular ski resort, Méribel, in the French Three Valleys region. While you don’t need to be part of the armed services to be a spectator, it is organised and facilitated entirely by serving personnel from the British armed forces.
The Inter Services Competition
This annual week-long event (Jan 30th – Feb 6th) brings together the service men and women of the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Army, and the Royal Marines in a fierce competition to claim victory in a wide range of exciting winter sports disciplines. After winning in Méribel, the best of the best will go on to compete in national championship events.
10 Years in Méribel
This year marks the 10th edition of the event to be held in Méribel, while the CSWSA (Combined Services Winter Sports Association) marks its 65th year of operation. In accordance with the importance of this milestone, the championships are to be attended by The Countess of Wessex, who has been a patron of the long-standing association since 2013. The event will be declared open by General Sir Nicholas Houghton (GCB CBE ADC Gen.), the Chief of Defence Staff, and all of the estimated 300 competitors will march in the opening ceremony.
Schedule of Events
With over 300 service personnel involved in the various disciplines the schedule is fast and furious, with events being held during the day and also under floodlights at night. Events include:
- Telemark Skiing
- Nordic Skiing
- Alpine Skiing
There are also a number of events for the Combined Services Disabled Ski team, including Snowboarding, Alpine Skiing and Telemarking.
Defending the Crown
In the 2015 Inter Services Snow Sports Championship, the men and women of the RAF emerged as overall winners, so this year the elite winter sportspeople of the Army and the Navy will have even more motivation to win the overall title and prevent the RAF from making it two in a row.
The Work of the CSWA
The CSWA is run entirely by volunteers currently serving within the combined armed forces, and receives funding through sponsorship donations only. While competing personnel contribute substantially to their own training and transport costs, the association reduces the burden and enables the competition to continue every year.
The CSWA also runs a number of other events throughout the winter around Europe for inter services personnel, including The Nordic Competition, in Ruhpolding, Germany; the Ice Sports Competition with Bobsleigh, Skeleton Bobsleigh and Luge, in Winterberg, Germany; and the Cresta Run in St Moritz.
So bring it on, and let’s see which of our armed forces are the best winter sportspeople for 2016. Good luck to them all!
How to Get to Méribel
As a popular winter ski destination, getting to Méribel is easy. It’s just an hour and a half from the UK by air to Geneva Airport, with a number of budget airlines offering regular flights. Once you land, the most convenient way to get the rest of the way to Méribel is to pre-book one of Shuttle Direct’s shared or private Geneva airport transfers. Our friendly driver will meet you at the airport, and then you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic journey through the Alps. It will take around two and half hours to get to Méribel.
If you want travel from the UK by train, Eurostar to Paris can then connect you with a French rail service to Moutiers (these services run in the ski season only), from where you can take a local bus service to Méribel.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Elovia Le Genepi – Comfy, cosy and super friendly, the Hotel Elovia Le Genepi is the perfect budget ski holiday accommodation in the heart of Méribel. With a wonderful traditional feel and a homely ambience, you can make the most of a hearty breakfast buffet, enjoy a day on the slopes just 150 metres away, then come back to a home cooked meal in the onsite restaurant.
Hôtel Alpen Ruitor – The Hôtel Alpen Ruitor has the winter ‘wow factor’, with its stunning timber clad interiors, cosy open fire, and views over the snow-clad mountains. With a fabulous wellness centre, ornate detailing in the rooms, and superb onsite dining, you’ll feel wrapped in tradition but indulged in luxury.
Le Kaïla – Ski in and ski out in style at Le Kaïla, just a couple of minutes from the slopes of Méribel. The lavish timber décor of the hotel creates a sophisticated chalet-style ambience, with high quality decorations and views over the mountains. Savour the award-winning food of the Michelin-starred restaurant, relax in the bar around the open fire, or indulge in a massage or spa in the wellness centre. Being the ultimate ski hotel, Le Kaïla even has its own ski shop.