50 YEARS ON
16th January 2018
The Engadine Ski Marathon is 50 years old .The cross-country race takes place in March. Read the story of its most loyal competitor: NEW
The “Engadiner’ is the largest cross-country ski race in Switzerland, the second worldwide.
St Moritz is the illustrious ski resort you might better know the Engadin valley for in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
The Skimarathon is a cross-country event that is internationally renowned and the route offers views that are unrivalled.
In 1969 there were 945 registrations – in 1977 the number surpassed 10,000.
This year a mighty 13,000 have signed up, hailing from 60 countries.
The “Marathon Week” opens on the first Sunday in March with the Women’s Race.
The second Sunday in March presents the Engadin Skimarathon, starting out in Maloja.
It’s an emotional event and the atmosphere is intense.
There are all kinds of athletes and competitors: the relaxed, the experienced, the top-tiered, the hobbyist, the ambitious and the medal-focussed.
Hordes of skiers swarm Upper Engadin’s frozen lakes: an impressive sight.
Prior to and during the race there air if full of excitement and adrenalin.
You could hear the heartbeats of the thousands, if it weren’t for the heavy warm up music booming through the valley.
The St Moritz area has 220 km of trails in all.
Most of the race’s route is actually open to cross-country skiers during winter.
Important to know – the race:
- 42 kilometres long
- 1,500 volunteers
- 334,900 portions of food
- 2,000,000 heart beats per minute
50 years of the Engadin Ski Marathon:
As the event reaches its momentous half-century, there’s something – or someone – else remarkable to mention.
It’s an anniversary for Françoise Stahel, too.
80-year-old Françoise has not missed a marathon since its initiation in ’69.
Born in France, she travelled to Klosters in 1959 where the mountains would change her life.
Françoise is a great sport and – as well as in the obvious literal terms – laughs at her ‘terrible technique’ in photos taken during her first marathons.
But endurance is her forte, not just because she’s still entering at 80, but it meant she took second place in 1972.
Back in the day, Françoise said she used to cover 2,000 kilometres per season…
“I get an unbelievable high after each Marathon,” the mother and grandmother has said.
And this year, on 11th March, her daughters and granddaughters will compete alongside again.
Three generations in one event – this is mountain life and love!
The event is huge, the atmosphere incredible.
Be a part of it.
Visit the site here to discover more about the area and the event:
And for PlanetSKI, reporter Yolanda Carslaw took part in the cross-country ski race in 2013:
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.
For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news