Navy rules the slopes

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Max Bree (author), Sam Birch (photographer)

Location(s): Perisher

Topic(s): Alpine Sports

Royal Australian Navy Alpine Slalom Team skier Ben Loftus competes at the National and International Interservices Alpine Snow-sports Championships at Perisher ski resort, NSW.  (photo: Sam Birch)
Royal Australian Navy Alpine Slalom Team skier Ben Loftus competes at the National and International Interservices Alpine Snow-sports Championships at Perisher ski resort, NSW.
It’s not just the vast waters of the high seas Navy is fighting and winning on.
 
The frozen water on the slopes of Mount Perisher was carved up by Navy athletes who dominated this year’s Australian Defence Force Alpine Snowsports events.
 
Commander Daniel Crocker cleaned up in the men’s alpine skiing contest, winning all his events and taking first place overall.
 
“Last year was really tight,” he said.
 
“An Army reservist beat me by .5 for his weekly score.
 
“I would’ve really liked to have had him there this year but he was off doing other things.
 
“Although there was some great depth of talent from Air Force and Army, and it was great to go up against them.”
 
Commander Crocker’s clean sweep consisted of wins in the slalom, giant slalom and skier X events.
 
“It requires a really concerted level of consistency to achieve the overall win,” he said.
 
“In three races you have to do two runs and if you mess any one of those up, your score for the whole week gets messed up.”
 
Though Commander Crocker loved the giant slalom, he wasn’t so confident in the skier X.
 
“I tend to find it quite intimidating,” he said.
 
“You have four people on the course at the same time; it’s a knockout competition, it’s technical and you have a lot more to think about than other events that are just solo runs.”
 
Despite finishing as Navy’s best skier for several years running, this was the first time Commander Crocker was crowned the overall Defence skiing champion.
 
Petty Officer Cryptologic Linguist Danni Humphries carved it up in the women’s snowboarding to become this year’s champion, and Lieutenant Harriet Cameron came third.
 
“You know how you’re going,” Petty Officer Humphries said.
 
“You can judge from your timed runs when you qualify and from where you come in the knockout races.”
 
After last winning the comp in 2015, Petty Officer Humphries said it helped not being in the limelight this year.
 
“Last year I had the pressure because I won the year before, but this year I just had a little bit of fun with it,” she said.
 
“I was a lot less nervous when I was in the gates, and with the slope style event I just enjoyed it and did the tricks I wanted to do.”
 
Petty Officer Humphries arrived in Perisher early to get her own set of training in. But she said winning the comp wasn’t the best thing to happen on the slopes.
 
“I was actually more excited to see the girls I’ve been watching over the years come up through the ranks. It was great to watch them do so well,” she said.
 
Sub Lieutenant Kate Millward performed well in the women’s skiing, to finish second overall.
 
Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Daniel McLean came in second overall in the men’s snowboarding.