In the Alps: Mountain Marines compete in France

March 23, 2018

CHAMROUSSE, France – After competing the week prior in Germany, the Mountain Leaders Section, Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., traveled to the French Alps to compete in the Mountain Troops Winter Challenge 2018, a competition that tests mountain warfare skills and tactics, hosted by the French Army. This marked the first time that U.S. Marines competed in MTWC-18.

Located at the renowned Chamrousse ski resort high above the city of Grenoble, the event provided some challenging Olympic-tier courses and incredibly difficult scenarios. In addition to the French hosts, teams from Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Georgia and the United Kingdom took part in the event.

The first of two days consisted of a welcoming introduction by the French leadership, the international teams familiarizing themselves with the French FAMAS service rifle, and later into the evening, the main touring ski event up to the top of the summit at Chamrousse. The event posed significant challenges due to the steep incline on certain portions of the track and incredibly high winds. While the first competitors reached the top around 8:30 pm, the Marines summited around 9:15 pm, in front of the Lebanese and Georgian teams and several French teams. 

After every team had summited, they were given torches to carry down the mountain in ceremonial fashion per French tradition. At the bottom of the mountain a small celebration was held to commemorate the completion of the first day, with a light show and hot food. 

The second day of the competition consisted of another touring ski event up the mountain, with a casualty evacuation with a snow litter on the way back down. The shooting portion was cancelled due to hazardous weather conditions at the summit where shooting would have taken place. The competition concluded with a final award ceremony. Overall, the Marines placed fourth internationally among the six nations that participated in the competition. 

“It has been a pleasure to have the U.S. Marines compete here this year,” said the French Major who was the primary organizer and requested to remain anonymous. “We hope that you enjoyed yourself and enjoyed the challenge, and we hope to see you again next year.”