Winter Survival General Information
The mountains of Hrubý Jeseník become the venue of the Czech Military Open Winter Outdoor Polyathlon Championships Winter Survival regularly on the turn of January and February. The military Winter Survival (WS) is an endurance polyathlon simulating military patrol operation in unknown winter mountain area. Three-member teams compete in the challenging events and have to show more than just physical condition and stamina.
WS basically verifies the skills military personnel need in winter conditions. The disciplines encourage the athletes to make their own decisions and creativity. Everybody has to find an original way out, believe in own abilities and use just the equipment they wear. This is the progress and lesson parts in this Survival. Another specific issue is extreme mental stress. The organizers make the obstacles to edge fair play; double numbering of checkpoints, faked indicia leading nowhere. All of that make the military WS a unique competition so dissimilar of any analogy in the world. The Austrian Alpenjäger members, regular and very prominent contestants who make for mountain rescue service back at home, openly confessed they had not met anything of that kind yet. The foreign teams who come to the Jesenik Mountains from Belgium, Netherlands, USA, Germany, Austria, France, Norway, Poland, Hungary or Slovakia give the event high marks.
The event is based on selection, nobody without detailed and profound knowledge of the survival art, nobody inexperienced in climbing or in map work can involve. It is acme training for the military units, a quality test of the best who bring their experience back to the units. The training quality and the championships difficulty are quite levelled. The levels had grown higher until kind a top in 2002 that culminated with the team experience. However, WS 2003 was influenced by generation exchange of the Czech forces participants. It showed the young military professionals – new team members, lack experience though their level was not really bad.
The events keep increasing their ingenuity from year to year letting the championship become reputable during the years of existence. The merits should be mostly given to the Physical Training and Sports Department, or today the Physical Training and Sports Centre of the University of Defence who go on to think up new and new events and implement the lessons learnt in military training and special physical training into the programme.
Military Winter Survival is specific with, besides the challenging mountainous conditions and events, very strict rules. These often disqualify teams with high ambitions for reasons, such as unjustified usage of the sealed cell phone, exceeding daily time limit or accepting assistance.
Author: Pavel Pazdera