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City of London in ski resort takeover - Jane Peel, Verbier
Monday February 8, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

It was a friendly rather than a hostile bid, as the City Ski Championships came to Verbier. Cue some hard ski racing & hard partying. PlanetSKI tried to keep up.

More than 250 people, including some famous names, took part in the weekend activities, which were held in our home resort for the first time in the event's 17-year history.

The sun shone and the snow was perfect.

PerfectConditionsPerfect Conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may be biased but we are not surprised that the organisers,  Momentum Ski,  say this was "the best edition yet".

The bespoke ski tour operator first staged the championships in Courmayeur in Italy as a competition between firms in the City of London.

City RacersCity Racers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While most of the competitors still work in or have links to the city, the contest is now open to both companies and individuals and it's becoming more and more popular. 

The 2016 edition saw attendance up by 30 per cent, with 265 guests in total, of whom 130 raced in events over two days. 

Race PaddockRace Paddock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who didn't fancy racing, there was plenty to enjoy if you had the stamina -  networking opportunities, comedy, music, partying with much food and drink.

Champagne on iceChampagne on ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steak on the slopesSteak on the slopes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the racers were lawyers, bankers, fund managers, Verbier ski instructors and celebrities. 

Some of the latter are not afraid of a bit of speed.

The former Formula One World Champion, Damon Hill, is a regular, and was back again this year. 

Damon HillDamon Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was joined by another seriously fast man - the ex-World Champion and world record-holder in the 110m hurdles, Colin Jackson - and the comedian Marcus Brigstocke, a demon on a snowboard.

City RacersMarcus and Colin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson, who's come to the championships several times since 2007, decided to abandon his skis and race on a snowboard for the first time this year.

He told PlanetSKI he was persuaded to take up snowboarding three years ago by his young nephew and now loves it.

Racer - Photo www.red-photographic.comRacer - Photo www.red-photographic.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Championships saw a range of abilities take to the slopes,  from the seriously good to complete novices.

One of the attractions is that the event is open to all, even PlanetSKI.

PlanetSKI's reporter Jane Peel in lycraPlanetSKI's reporter Jane Peel in lycra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it's run like a professional race, complete with live commentary by Matt Chilton of Ski Sunday and Olympics fame.

 Pro commentaryPro commentary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The races were on the north-facing red run, Piste Saxon in the Savoleyres area. 

There was a radar trap to find the fastest person on skis (the winner clocking up 82.19km per hour),  and a parallel slalom. 

The main event was a 41-gate Giant Slalom.

Giant Slalom - Photo www.red-photographic.comGiant Slalom - Photo www.red-photographic.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was rather more variety in the times than you would expect to see in a World Cup GS.

The fastest skiers got down in not much more than 50 seconds.

The slowest, Niall Crowley, took just over six minutes. 

Talk about gutsy.  He had put on a pair of skis for the very first time the day before the race.

Although it's true that he didn't actually go round the gates, he got down the tricky run, and was rewarded with the prize for the best rookie.

Chilling in the race paddockWatching the racing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The championships, which have been held in Crans Montana for the past four years, will come back to Verbier for at least the next two.

The resort's marketing director, Pierre-André Gremaud, couldn't be happier with the way it went.

Pierre-André GremaudPierre-André Gremaud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It was perfect", he told PlanetSKI. 

"It was not too cold.  The sun came out and we had good snow conditions.

"But my verdict doesn't count really.  It's important that the organisers are happy".

And they are.

Amin Momen, one of the founders of Momentum Ski, declared it an amazing weekend.

The view of all involved seems to be "roll on 2017". 

FACT BOX:

The City Ski Championships will return to Verbier for its 18th edition from 2nd to 5th February 2017.

For more information visit www.momentumski.com and www.verbier.ch/en

Full weekend packages are priced from £730 and include three nights in 3* B&B accommodation, flights, transfers, all racing and race-side lunches, entry into FT Alpine Forum and a weekend programme of après ski and comedy.

Flights: Return flights from London Heathrow to Geneva are available with SWISS from £65 www.swiss.com

Train: Return train transfers from the airport or border railway station directly to destination are available with the Swiss Transfer Ticket at 141 CHF (£98)  www.myswitzerland.com

For more information on Switzerland visit MySwitzerland.com or call the Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information info.uk@myswitzerland.com; for packages, trains and air tickets sales@stc.co.uk.

PlanetSKI stayed at Hotel a Lârze in Le Châble, accessible to Verbier by gondola and post bus.  Prices from 120 to 180CHF per night B&B

Equipment hire in Le Châble:  Skis, snowboards and boots can be hired from Montagne Show www.montagneshow.ch

Lift Pass:  An adult day pass is priced from £52/75CHF  - An adult 6-day pass is priced from £258/373CHF

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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