DAREDEVIL South Yorkshire Army officer Ashley Greenwood has been honing her military skills in the freezing environment of the snow-capped French Alps.
The 25-year-old was one of 320 soldiers to compete in a skiing contest as part of Army contest Exercise Pipedown held in the French Alpine town of Les Contamines de Montjoie near Mont Blanc.
The former Barnsley Holgate Comprehensive School pupil, a lieutenant with 35 Engineer Regiment, took part in the Nordic cross country event, finishing fifth among the women.
Ashley, who is set to be deployed to Afghanistan in September, said: “I did three months of skiing in preparation. I was asked by my commanding officer whether I would like to take part and if I could organise a team. I was attracted by the fitness, improving my shooting skills, the chance to visit new countries and the new experience. It was also good to be in an all-girls team – it was a bit of a struggle to find enough people but we did it.”
Nordic skiing, often coupled with shooting as a biathlon event, is one of the most popular disciplines for military people, and is widely regarded as one of the most physically demanding sports.
Ashley said: “This is a huge military and physical challenge. Nordic skiing is much more militarily relevant than Alpine skiing and the patrol race which is designed to test soldiers in all the essential military skills expected of them on operations including marksmanship, map reading and physical endurance is the ultimate test of a soldier’s skills.”