An Officer Cadet from Dorking has recently put her physical fitness and skills to the test to take part in the British Army Telemark Skiing Championships on the demanding slopes of the French Alps. The Championships saw servicemen and women, including Ellie Thorn descend on Pralognan-la-Vanoise in France, to compete in Exercise Telemark Titan.
Ellie who is currently studying International relations and French at Exeter University where she is a member of the University’s Officer Training Corps (UOTC), said of the 2 week military exercise: “I have been Alpine skiing for most of my life but this is only my second season of Telemark. I heard about it at University and liking a challenge I thought I would try it and have not looked back. Telemarking is a completely different way of skiing with so many contrasting elements to it, jumps, a skate and a racing element. Racing is a great thrill, you stand at the start looking down the slope and ask yourself – “what I am doing here and why I am putting myself through this ” – but once you go through the gate, the adrenalin really kicks in and then you get to the bottom and just want to do it again!. It’s insane and exhilarating.”
Speaking ahead of the last race of the championship 19-year old former Box Hill School pupil said: “I competed in last year’s championship and will be looking to improve and achieve as high a finish as I can.” Something she did with ease being crowned the 2018 Army Ladies Champion after finishing the top female in the Open development sprint, the Championship sprint and classic races; performances that obviously left her very proud of her achievements.
“Telemark is definitely the best form of skiing and to have experienced skiers compliment me on my skiing this week has given me a massive boost of confidence. It is definitely a sport I wish to continue with once I have joined the Army.” With its origins in Norway Telemark is a discipline that has been used for many years by the military and is the only technique to incorporate downhill, jumping and cross-country skiing. It is an event that requires courage, endurance, determination and a high level of fitness to enable them to tackle the testing events; characteristics that epitomize the modern day soldier.
During her time with Exeter UOTC Ellie has also travelled to Austria and Egypt where she had the opportunity try scuba diving which she described as absolutely incredible.