It was 0830hrs in the morning and members of the 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) Exercise NORDIC KHUKRI (Ex NK) team were trying to fully focus on our first skiing lesson. We had a great physical and mental challenge ahead of us.
It began with a message. “A team of six members from 1 RGR will be deploying for Ex NK; you are all part of the team.” This was sent by Sergeant Deep Nursing Gurung (Platoon Sergeant 5) who is the 1 RGR Nordic skiing team captain. This exercise was split into two parts: training and competitions, over a period of 20 days each. The first phase was all about training, which was held in Sweden, whereas the second phase will take place in France at a later date.
On 22nd November 2019, we headed towards Sweden via mainland Europe for our training. First impressions of Sweden was that it is very cold and on the way to the ski resort at Idre Fjall we caught the first sight of the snow which was very exciting.
The very first day was our admin and briefing day. After this there were lessons on how to wax skis. Waxing skis is important to know because the type of wax you use depends on the type of snow and it affects your speed. We were surprised to learn that there were two types of Nordic skis: one is “skate”, and the other is “classic”. We started with skate ski which was all about technique and practice. As a beginner, it was difficult to learn. We helped each other by sharing our knowledge with each other.
Over the course of the first few days the climate was very challenging. We were still not good enough, so we focused on our weaknesses. We even requested if our instructor could give us extra practice time so we could keep on learning. Because of this we were able to do much better than expected. In the evenings we went to the gym hall for rifle lessons. We were taught about the adjustment and handling of biathlon rifle. We hoped we would be strong in the shooting competitions.
It was not long before we began training on the classic skis. Classic skis are mostly used in cross country events. Skiing on them is all about technique and physical endurance. Within the first week we were taken around the ski stadium which was 10km long.
We deployed to Ex NK to enhance our physical development with a winning mentality to do well in the Infantry and Divisional championships.