FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The extreme cold weather of the North Country during the winter months makes it difficult for units to conduct sustained physical fitness training.

Fort Drum's new functional fitness initiative is creating indoor training environments to support unit training during periods of extreme cold weather.

A major aspect of the functional fitness initiative is to provide equipment and facilities to bri-gades and battalions to enhance their training efforts.

The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade opened its new Combat Readiness Training Facility on
Jan. 15 on Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.

"The equipment (includes) your typical gym equipment like benches and dumbbells, but what is unique about the CRTF is the addition of equipment that facilitates (cross-fitness training)," said Capt. Eduardo Serrano, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade's assistant logistics officer.

Entering the new facility during a typical morning physical training session, about a dozen Soldiers work out with kettle bells and weighted balls on a large turf surface in the middle of the room.

On the left side of the facility, Soldiers are performing pull-ups and bench press exercises. Along the right side, Soldiers work on their cardio strength on running, rowing and climbing machines.

New equipment on the cardio side of the facility includes The Curve, a motorless treadmill, and the Jacob's Ladder, a climbing machine, both of which move dependent on the user's speed and position.

"This (The Curve) and the Jacob's ladder, I love them," said Sgt. Mitchell L. Pace, a sheet metal repairer with B Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, Task Force Mountain Eagle. "It feels like I get more out of it. You feel the exercise quicker on this than on the treadmills."

Staff Sgt. Jose G. Catellano, an airframe section chief with B Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, said he uses the Jacob's Ladder three times a week.

"It's challenging; (it) doesn't take very long to get you breathing hard," Catellano said. "I think 10 minutes on this is like running for 20 minutes."

According to Serrano, future plans for the airfield include construction of three more fitness facilities and a running track.

"Soldiers at the 10th CAB now have more flexibility to conduct physical training," Serrano said.