Eight personnel from the Spanish replenishment ship ESPS Cantabria joined 110 Royal Australian Navy skiers and snowboarders at Perisher Valley this month, to compete in the 2013 Navy Alpine Snowsports Championships.
A Spanish Navy Supply Officer and seven sailors from Cantabria, some of whom had never seen snow before, attended ski and snowboard lessons and competed in the competitive events, which included skier and boardercross, slope style, slalom and giant slalom races.
Cap. Hector Pineiro Lopez said that he, and his colleagues, had a wonderful week of training in their chosen snowsports disciplines and enjoyed getting to know Australian officers and sailors in a more relaxed environment.
“It has been a great experience to live together with people from another Navy during a sporting competition,” Cap. Pineiro said.
“I have been so impressed with the values, friendship and the way that boarders and skiers on the Navy Alpine Snowsports Championship come together, push and support each other to succeed through the challenging racing.
“The RAN personnel have shown themselves to have great relationships across ranks when taking part in sporting events such as the NAS Championships, and I have learned a lot about working together with people throughout the week.
“Although we have been away from home for seven months now, Navy Snowsports made us feel at home, and we will carry you in our hearts for that,” Cap. Pineiro told the NAS Championship participants.
Seaman Alejandro Pages was one of the Cantabria sailors who attended the NAS Championships and said it was the first time he had snowboarded.
“This was the first time for me to try snowboarding and I competed in two races, the parallel giant slalom and slope style,” Seaman Pages said.
“It has been a great experience. It was just like being a kid, playing in the snow. This was an experience I will never forget.”
Vice President of NAS, Lieutenant Commander Paul Kirk said offering the RAN’s Spanish Naval colleagues the opportunity to attend the championship week provided all of the participants a chance to learn about another Navy’s culture, while also showcasing the good camaraderie that Navy develops through sport.
“It has been a great privilege for Navy Snowsports to welcome a small group of our Spanish counterparts to the 2013 Championships,” Lieutenant Commander Kirk said.
“NAS personnel embraced the opportunity to learn a little about the culture of the Spanish, and to highlight the teamwork and strong esprit de corps that exists within Navy. For the Cantabria personnel, it was an opportunity to experience a different side of the RAN and develop their interest in alpine snowsports.
“For Navy Snowsports members, it was the chance to extend friendships across our Navies,” Lieutenant Commander Kirk said.
After the NAS event concluded, Cap. Pineiro presented the 2013 NAS President, Captain Tony O’Malley, with a ship plaque from Cantabria and NAS presented the Spanish participants with coins and hats.