Navy snowsports competitors cap off a great year on the slopes

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Location(s): Perisher Valley, NSW

Topic(s): Alpine Snowsports

Navy Alpine Snowsports Champions. Pictured are (L to R) Champion Female Snowboarder LS Carly Maxwell, Champion Female Skier Reservist CPO Kerry Dickie, Champion Male Skier CMDR Phil Ridgway and Champion Male Snowboarder PO Stewart 'Ghandi' Smith. (photo: Unknown)
Navy Alpine Snowsports Champions. Pictured are (L to R) Champion Female Snowboarder LS Carly Maxwell, Champion Female Skier Reservist CPO Kerry Dickie, Champion Male Skier CMDR Phil Ridgway and Champion Male Snowboarder PO Stewart 'Ghandi' Smith.

Experience was the key to success for the four champions who took out top honours at the 2013 Navy Alpine Sports Championships at Perisher Valley this month.

Commander Phil Ridgway from HMAS Harman edged out AB Julien Jais from HMAS Waterhen for the position of top Male Skier of 2013, having last won the trophy in 1987. Sub Lieutenant Andrew Taylor, also from Harman, came in third.

“It was a surprise to win this year. It gets harder every year to compete as age sets in. It’s the young guys that keep you motivated,” CMDR Ridgway said.

“This is the first year I’ve competed with one of the sons of a former racer, who was in the team the last time I won the trophy. The standards of the young sportspeople competing this year are at least on par, if not higher than in the past. I’m thankful that the Navy still enables participation at such a level.”

Harman Reservist, Chief Petty Officer Kerrie Dickie won the 2013 Female Skier competition, over Lieutenants Natasha Connew and Paula Cavanagh, both of HMAS Kuttabul.

Leading Seaman Carly Maxwell from Harman was overcome with joy after being named best Female Snowboarder of 2013, having first attended the Navy Alpine Snowsports Championships in 2009.

“For me it’s just incredible - how far I’ve progressed in boarding,” LS Maxwell said.

“I began boarding in 2008, attended my first Championships for NAS in 2009 and won overall female boarder in 2013.”

“I tried to be competitive all week and I guess it paid off. It’s a great honour,” she said.

The 2013 Championships also saw a ‘changing of the guard’, with five year President, Captain Tony O’Malley, handing the reigns to the Director Training Authority Maritime Warfare (TAMW) and Commanding Officer HMAS Watson, Captain Will Martin.

“I set goals for myself when I first came into the role of President. My primary goal was to increase the participation rate across the board and in particular of the junior sailors. This year is a record year for participants – close to 120!” CAPT O’Malley said.

“The NAS week is a great week to break down barriers – we can all just be boarders and skiers and carry those relationships through our careers in the Navy. I have enjoyed my time as the President and I look forward to continuing my involvement in NAS, despite stepping down from the top job.”

At the Navy Alpine Snowsports Association Annual General Meeting, Petty Officer Matt Wildin took on the role of Boarder Representative, while Able Seaman Rory Taylor took on the role of Skier Representative.

During the Championships, former Navy skier and long time course manager Rob Holbrooke and Captain O’Malley received Life memberships of the association.