A SNOWSPORT ON THE UP
13th December 2017 | Catie Friend, Verbier
Ski mountaineering, or skinning, is a snow sport on the up.
Catie Friend gives us the latest news from the pros and how and where you can take part in this growing sport in the UK.
See here for the beginners’ guide to Skimo, as we reported back in May:
At the professional end of the sport, the World Cup series starts in China this weekend.
With reported temperatures of -20°C in Wanlong resort, four hours from Beijing, there are around 90 athletes from 13 nations competing in vertical and sprint races.
There are four further World Cup events this season.
In January in Villars, Switzerland and in Andorra; in February in Puy St Vincent, France and finally in April in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
The European Championships will be held in late February in Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna.
For further information on the ISMF (International Ski Mountaineering Federation) races, see here.
There are quite often open/amateur races on the same day, giving ordinary people a chance to race over the same course as the pros.
This is a PdG (Patrouille des Glaciers) year.
Perhaps one of the most iconic ski mountaineering races in the world, the long race is from Zermatt to Verbier, over 56km and includes 3900m of vertical.
It requires a great deal of fitness and mountain knowledge as well as being able to skin and ski roped up to your two team mates, at night, in quite often dreadful conditions.
It takes place in the third week of April 2018.
My teammates and I have just secured a place so watch this space for much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the season progresses!
If you fancy competing in this relatively new sport, but the Alps are not quite in your plans this year, how about heading to Scotland for an intro to skimo racing?
Skimo Scotland has a series of six races over the winter, the first of which is on 30th December at the Lecht.
Details of how to enter are on the website and entries for the first race close on Christmas Eve.
There are a mixture of vertical races and individual races – something to suit everyone.
If you don’t fancy racing, but are intrigued by the concept, it is one of the best ways to keep fit and spend time with friends on the mountain.
Most ski shops will rent the kit needed and if you want to trek further afield and experience the mountains in their majesty, hire a guide for the day and go exploring.
Trust me when I say that there is nothing sweeter than having earned your powder turns!
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.
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