28/01/2019 • Lined-up soldiers and the lit fire acted in the opening ceremony on Sunday late afternoon in front of Ovcarna pod Pradedem military recreation facility for the international championships of the Czech Army in winter Ootdoor multi-event sport of Winter Survival 2019. Partly sunny weather welcomed the participants arrived in the highest Silesian mountains from five countries.
Fifteen Czech and four International teams have registered to the endurance competition. Within the Army of the Czech Republic, seven teams will represent the Land Forces, while military schools have sent three teams to struggle, and the Logistics Agency two teams. The Air Force, Military Police and Military Geographical and Hydrometeorological Office have one team each to represent their unit. The international teams have arrived from Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
"This competition belongs to the most challenging military-oriented sport events in the Czech Republic. The picturesque but harsh mountains of Hruby Jesenik in winter shall perfectly check your physical fitness and moral stamina. You will have to prove high level of abilities and skills in special physical training as well as fast individual will and sense of teamwork. Only those who have trained best can win but our appreciation and credits go to all of you who will finish the competition" said Major General Jaromír Zůna, the first deputy chief of general staff of the Czech Army, during the opening ceremony that took place next to the Ovčárna pod Pradědem military recreational facility.
The opening ceremony allowed remembering the first editions of the unique competition presented by the retired colonel Zdeněk Brtník, the former head of Physical Training and Sports Department of the University of Defence who founded the military Winter Survival tradition and popularised the event.
Snow conditions are ideal in the Silesian mountains with temperature below zero during the day. The meteorologists forecast more frost which will challenge competitors' physical and mental strengths. The teams are going to spend two nights in the woods.
Today, the three-member military and police teams move from the Ovcarna hotel across the Temna and Koprivna hills, Mala Moravka village, around Karlova Studanka spa to Vrbno pod Pradedem ski areal, carrying heavy backpacks on their shoulders. That movement includes two time trials of terrain downhill sections. The afternoon schedule offers shooting the Phantom pistol and Bren assault rifle with protective mask on at the shooting range in Vrbno and the "Making Bonfire" activity. After the demanding twenty-five kilometres of moving the teams will spend the first freezing night in the forest at Vrbno vicinity.
Until Wednesday the teams will move on the hills of Hruby Jesenik Mountains on skis carrying all survivor equipment in the backpacks and completing the physically and mentally challenging survival activities, such as climbing rocks, crossing gulches and streams, rescue injured persons, run across the artificial obstacle track or go for downhill skiing in free terrain. The entire event arranged by the University of Defence ends on Thursday with parallel slalom race in Karlov village.
Author: Pavel Pazdera, WS 2019 press officer, photo: Jiří Pařízek