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Winter Survival 2024: First Teams Heading the Mountains

A team for Active Reserves (AZ) records the first ever appearance at the Winter Survival international championship history in this year. “Such special physical activities are quite unique opportunity that is hard to refuse trying” explains Jaroslav Horáček their decision of participating in the event. He and the other members of his team set off to the Hruby Jesenik Mountains on Thursday morning to refresh their knowledge and skills they will need to complete all of the challenging disciplines they will face.

“Our goal is to show what the Active Reserve allows to do and to motivate the members, both current and to-be, to work on themselves, to continue further once they meet the basic requirements, to do what they like,” describes Colonel Alois Matyzka, the director of Brno regional recruitment command, the primary focuses of their team appearance. In his opinion, such multi-event outdoor competition is along with shooting contests the right activity that relates to military training aim of AZ personnel.

Along with the Active Reserve team, all registered teams will present at the start of the 27th release of the challenging competition arranged by the University of Defence and auspicated by the Chief of General Staff as soon as on Monday, 29th January. Winter Survival consists of two framework parts. During the first one lasting three days, teams move along unknown track in free terrain (within 30km daily) using only paper map and a baseplate compass, spend two nights in impromptu conditions outdoor without tents, try to complete three disciplines a day to earn 0 – 100 points from each. The other one-day part takes place in the vicinity of Ovcarna pod Pradedem facility. It comprises a two-round relay race with some military-related features but of more sport like nature.

Despite the latest news reporting two foreign teams will not start, six teams representing six nations (Belgium, France, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) will prove the prestige of Winter Survival in Europe. The organisers have been working on finding spare teams to rise the number of Czech teams to thirteen, which would include a team for the hosting University of Defence. Even though it has been raining in the venue on the recent days, the competition will partly take place on snow, particularly in the high located areas. Forecast promised colder days that hopefully will help. “After several-year break due to covid, the teams will thus get chance to show their abilities and skills practically,” said colonel Jiri Sekanina, University’s Centre of Physical Training and Sports director, whose staff have arranged the competition.

In this year, the organisers newly offer you may follow the competition live on Instagram profile account: WinterSurvival_unob.

Author: Viktor Sliva, photo: author and University of Defence archive