Meribel 2019

Meribel 2019: Athletes Welcomed At Opening Ceremony

The traditional curtain-raiser for the tournament has taken place.

The Inter Services Snow Sports Championships in Meribel has kicked off in style with the annual opening ceremony.

Meribel has now held the competition for 13 years and more 120 athletes have climbed the French Alps to be part of the action.

It includes sportsmen and women from the RAF, Army, Navy, the Australian Defence League and the Armed Forces Para Snow Sport Team

Navy Alpine Skier Sub Lieutenant Charlotte Simmons was one of the athletes in attendance for the ceremony. She relayed some worries regarding the weather:

She said: "We’ve got some different snow conditions this year from what we have seen for the last four weeks.

"It’s not quite what we have prepared for so we will see what happens."

At the ceremony, there was a jovial atmosphere between all the men and women involved but as Lieutenant Emma Ryde explained, that will all end when the races start:

"We all have a bit of a laugh and a joke with each other, but it is quite serious," she said.

"We put a lot of effort and training into preparing to come here. We always have to give it our best and enjoy it."

Meribel 2019 Opening Ceremony Speech Credit Crown Copyright
After a short speech from the organisers, the athletes were allowed to mingle and get to know the people they are competing against (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Alexandria Moran is the current coach of the Army Alpine Ladies Ski Team and she says she is pleased to back in the Meribel landscape.

"As someone who used to be an athlete and a racer here before, it’s really nice to back in Meribel," she said.

"I love it. It’s a great resort and a really good vibe.

"We have got a strong team. I’m not going to lie, so I might be slightly biased, but I definitely think we are in with a shout."

For the RAF, Flight Lieutenant Charlie Hatch is part of the Snowboarding Team and he says he cannot predict how the competition will go.

"There’s only about three or four of us who have been here before in terms of the boy’s team," Flt Lt Hatch says.

"In the girl’s team, three have been here before so it is quite a new squad.

"Every year you meet brand new riders. You don’t know what they have done. You don’t know where they have come from.

"Until the middle of the week, it is really hard to call."

Keep up to date with the latest from Meribel here.