A new alpine sporting event takes place in Le Chable in Switzerland in September – a cross triathlon. Pardon?


On the first weekend in September, in the sleepy village of Le Chable, at the bottom of the Verbier lift system, a new mountain sporting event will spring to life.

The 123 Cross triathlon is the brainchild of Karin Pethebridge, a Dutch former PE teacher, now based in Le Chable.

She is also the founder and biggest promoter of the Club Natation Entremont which has, due to her unbounded enthusiasm, taken many of the local children under its wing and taught them to swim.

Her commitment to sport has broadened to founding a triathlon.

The first kids’ edition was held last year at the now defunct Verbier Sports Centre.

This year’s was to follow suit, but as reported last month, the centre violently burnt to the ground in as yet undisclosed circumstances.

So, the kids will join the adults at the “gouille”.

Pronounced “gooey”, it is a man made lake, whose commercial use is as a gravel pit.


Swim at the gouille

















It has fishermen fiercely protecting their prey on a Wednesday and Saturday, a newly installed wakeboarding line and now a cross triathlon based in and around its gravelly depths.

What is a cross triathlon, I hear you cry.

It follows the format of a normal triathlon – swim, bike, run – but rather than road running and cycling, participants take to the trails.

















Co-organiser, Annabelle Waite, took some time to explain the format to us.

On 3rd September at 8.30am the adults will take to the water in the first wave. The categories are as follows:

  • Olympic distance (from 18 years old) – 1500m swim, 24km bike, 12km run
  • Sprint distance (from 12 years old) – 500m, 14km, 6km
  • Olympic distance category for businesses, with the hope that a few local rivalries will spring up and create a cracking atmosphere!

These events can also be entered in a three-person relay team, with each team member tackling a discipline each.

  • Olympic distance duathlon, either bike and run or swim and run (for over 18s only).















Following the completion of the adults’ race, the kids will take the plunge at 2pm.

Their distances are age dependent, but range from 20 – 200m for the swim and 1km or 2 km for both the bike and the run legs.

The organisers are hoping for a really busy and fun day down at the gouille for the whole community and visitors, not just competitors.

Once the hard work has been done, the Fete d’Eté will get under way with activities such as mountain bikes to test and kayaks, stand up paddle boards and water zorbs to try out on the water.

Amongst other things, there will be rock painting for kids and live music as well as bars and stalls selling food and the local craft beer.

09:00 – Shops open and food available
12:00 – Fête opens
18:00 – Fête finishes

It sounds to us like it’s going to be an incredible day and to encourage people to enter there is a discount for early birds until the end of July.

There will not be any chance to register on the day, so if you want to give it a “tri” then go immediately to 123cross.com and enter!

If you’re really lucky you’ll hear my dulcet tones as I commentate my way through the day.

Summer activities in the mountains, prizes for everyone and a free meal for all competitors – what’s not to love about that?

Poster for Cross Triathlon

Give it a Tri




















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