AN airman who combines the military life with winter sports has beaten off tough competition to take a top national skiing title.
Leading Aircraftsman Chris Stewart, an RAF Regiment reservist at RAF Leeming, has been crowned the British Telemarking Champion.
The 24-year-old managed to take the honour in his specialised skiing field on top of civilian job and training to become an RAF Regiment gunner.
He emerged a clear winner as the overall British Telemark Ski Champion 2013 following a closely fought battle over three days of racing in Austria.
Mr Stewart has been skiing since he was just two-years-old. Starting as an alpine skier, he only moved on to his current telemarking specialism at the age of 18.
At the British Championships in 2007, Mr Stweart met Wing Commander Andy Calame, an RAF Regiment officer also based at RAF Leeming but currently on a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The connection eventually led him to join the RAF Reserves, allowing him to combine service life with his career as a PE coach for Sports UK and a personal trainer.
Serving with the RAF Reserves actually enabled him to compete this year as his squadron accessed sponsorship from the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
Due to graduate as a gunner in June, Mr Stewart said of his time with 609 (WR) Aux Sqn: “The experience has been fantastic. I’ve worked with some great guys and can’t wait for the next stage of training.”
He added: “There are a lot of parallels between sport and a service career – the shared experiences, camaraderie and always striving to be better.”