A WEST Lothian solider is discovering the highs and lows with the British Army.
For snowboarding squaddie Frazer Allen has just done battle with deep snow in Austria to compete in a sporting championship.
The 20-year-old soldier from Blackburn is serving with 40 Regiment, Royal Artillery, who returned from active service duty in Iraq late last year.
And having served in soaring temperatures of 55 degrees Celsius in the Middle East, Frazer and his mates are now experiencing a low of minus 15 degrees.
And although Gunner Allen is a novice to snowboarding, he says he is thoroughly enjoying taking part in events just one of the many activities he has been able to enjoy since joining the Army life.
He said: “I only started snowboarding last week after being told about it by our team captain when my unit was in Iraq last year.
“When you are sitting there in the desert heat, doing something in the snow seems very appealing.
“I was told that it would be fun and that I’d learn the sport quickly.
“Because I like extreme sports it sounded good, so I gave it a try and I have to say that I found it fantastic.”
Snowboarding is the fastest growing sport in the Army and the championships at Stubai Glacier in Austria, take advantage of the ideal conditions at 10,000 feet.
Unfortunately, Frazer wasn’t one of the prize winners in this year’s competition - but that has not deterred the West Lothian man who says he’s determined to come back and do better next year.
He said: “The army encourage sport and adventure which is good because we get support from our unit, giving us time off for training and events like this.
“We also get help with funding, plus we get a grant from the Army Sports Lottery, so it doesn’t cost us much at all. Now I want to do more and come back next year to improve and get in the top 10 to reach the Tri-Service Championships.”