TWO soldiers swapped war zones for the tranquillity of the French Alps to take part in the Army’s UK Divisional Nordic ski championships.
Chester-based Sapper Jamie Asanger, 24, and Malpas-based Lieutenant Chris Ibbotson, 27, were among more than 120 soldiers taking part in the Alpine section of Exercise Spartan Hike in the ski resort of Serre Chevalier.
Jamie, of 38 Regiment Royal Engineers, was part of the team that won gold medals as the Army’s 2nd Division Alpine winners.
A former pupil of Bishops’ High School in Boughton Heath, he took part in all the races and, despite crashing out in the downhill, he was delighted with his performance overall.
“I had only skied a couple of times before and this was the first time I had done anything like this,” he said. “I started off right down at the bottom and by the end I was in the middle of the results. It is a really good buzz and when it works it feels fantastic.”
Action man Jamie played football for Chester schoolboys and taught the sport in America before joining the Army three years ago and now plays for his regiment.
He is planning to take part in the Iron Man triathlon in Austria next year.
He is based in Ripon, North Yorkshire. His mother, Noele Spencer, still lives in Chester with firefighter husband Andy.
Malpas-based Lieutenant Chris Ibbotson, 27, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 Lancs), has had a year of contrasts.
This time last year he was in Iraq patrolling the streets of Basra in an armoured vehicle and being attacked by insurgents nearly every day. But over the two-week skiing competition he was on a snow-covered mountain competing in the slalom, grand slalom, super G and downhill races.