The Army Winter Sports Association (AWSA) was formed (as the Army Ski Association) in 1947, at the behest of Field Marshal Montgomery. “Monty” wished to provide a break from routine training and operations in the immediate post-war years, whilst developing military and technical skills on snow and ice. These reasons are still as valid today as then.The cost-effective benefit to the taxpayer is that soldiers are tested on leadership and management skills. Physical fitness is a must, team spirit is formed whilst real courage, endurance, and ‘guts’ are needed in all winter sports.
In Army winter sports determination is required to carry out daily and rigorous training and to complete often dangerous or exhausting events. Decision-making under extreme pressure is practiced all the time and often has to be carried out in milliseconds. These are all requirements for the modern-day soldier. Part of routine Army Winter Warfare Training includes teaching some soldiers to ski. From this basic level the more talented progress to various Army Ski Championships or branch out into the other winter sports disciplines. Most funding comes from the soldiers themselves, private regimental funds and sponsorship.
The AWSA creates the opportunity for many hundreds of soldiers from novice to expert to take part in a broad spread of exciting and competitive winter challenges. Sponsorship is crucial and the key that enables it all to become affordable and help us ensure the various competitions and events can be run at the highest standards of professionalism and safety.
The AWSA supports eight winter sports disciplines:
Alpine, Bobsleigh, Cresta, Luge, Nordic, Snowboard, Skeleton and Telemark.