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Friday, 28 December 2007
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LANCE Corporal Craig Hannah from Workington has just finished hurtling down a mountainside in the Army Snowboarding Championship on the Stubai Glacier in the Austrian Alps.

Hannah, 22, is serving with 2 Close Support Company, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers currently based in Germany.

Talking about the event, he said: “I started boarding when I was on a school trip in 2001. All my friends and I thought it was cooler than skiing.

“To start with it looks intimidating, but you soon come to terms with speeding down a steep slope and get a fantastic buzz from it.

“The Army supports us with a grant from the Sports Lottery and time off work to take part and we get support and coaching from the organisers when we are here so we are well looked after.

“Earlier this year I was posted to Canada and my unit took part in the British Army’s Ski and Snowboard Championships there and won.

“Now my aim is to get into my Corps team and finish in the top ten next year, after that who knows.”

Since the start in 1998 the event has grown in strength with support particularly from young soldiers, they enjoy the physical and mental challenge of extreme sport, it is also the fastest growing in the army.

Run on the same lines as the Olympics the competition has giant slalom, boarder-cross and freestyle events for the different levels, novice, juniors, seniors and veterans.

Some of the army boarders have been skiers but find the sport more fun and rarely return to skis.

Hannah attended Keswick School and worked as a store man for Comet and a lifeguard for Leisure Connection before joining the army in 2004. His grandmother Glenda and family live in Workington.

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