Following the announcement on 7 Oct that all Army Winter Sport Activity would be cancelled as a result of the ongoing concerns surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is with much regret and understandably that the Inter Services Snow Sports Championships (ISSSC) planned to be held in Meribel, February 2021 have now also been cancelled.

The cancelation of all winter Sport activity both ‘home and abroad’ has been a difficult decision to take recognising the disappointment that cancellation would cause. However, the AWSA was faced with two aims, one to deliver high quality winter sports events for servicemen and women and the other to fulfil our obligations to the country in a time of crisis, regrettably it seems that we cannot achieve both safely.

Exercises Organisers and Controllers are therefore minded that authorisation for winter sport activity is in accordance with para 12 of the AEWAI DIN, 2020DIN07-075, in that training is only authorised – provided it takes place as ‘training in preparation for competing in’ a specific Arm/Service and/or Qualifying competition in the same season 1 Oct 20 – 31 Mar 21. All competitions and Championships have been cancelled for the season.

On behalf of the AWSA committees and competitors across all disciplines we remain grateful and indebted to our supporters, sponsors and the resorts that host us. We trust that all will keep faith with us and rest assured that we are already in negotiations to secure the 2022 season. We wish you well in uncertain times and hope to see you on the slopes again in 2022.

KEY MESSAGE

We have done the right thing by the UK and for Operational Capability, which must come first. Our aim is to run high quality, top level sporting events for Servicemen and Women, and we realised it was just not possible to do so in a COVID secure manner. We have taken the only sensible course of action open to us.

LTT / FAQs

Why have you cancelled so early?

We would have had to make substantial financial commitments soon which would very likely be nugatory expenditure if the event was subsequently cancelled. Better to conserve resources. It also allows planning certainty for the Corps and unit events and for individuals.

What are you going to do instead, if anything?

We are exploring options for UK based, smaller scale events, where it might be feasible and safe to do so. There are no guarantees, but we are looking at options. Before any events can be considered the Army must first approve the re-commencement of Army Winter Activity, steps are being taken to understand the feasibility of this being considered.

When will you know?

Before the end of the year.

Isn’t this just giving in to COVID-defeatism?

No. It’s the right thing to do to protect Defence’s operational capability in the midst of a national crisis. Operational capability that might be needed to help respond to that crisis or other events.

Will there be a big impact on resorts, things have surely been hard enough for them already this year?

We have really good relationships with all of our resorts and of course they are great supporters of us and have been over many years. The decisions were made in good time, to let them know as soon as possible. We have been very conscious that we needed to give them plenty of opportunity to make up any lost income.

Why have you delayed this decision when we know that the Navy and others cancelled their event some weeks ago?

All decisions were taken in good time. We were determined to fulfil our purpose if at all possible this season; the COVID and international travel situations remain very fluid and so it was important to explore all the options before finally accepting that we had to cancel.