Snow! Snow! Snow! There was white snow everywhere and skiers were so excited especially those Worldloppet skiers who’ve had marginal snow conditions for the past month. With so many European Worldloppet nations reporting significantly less than usual snow depths, it was incredible to learn that the start of the Engadin at Maloja had to be changed because there was too much snow to start on the frozen lake as usual. The start configuration was changed to be similar to the Marcialonga’s Ideal Start.
In the days prior to the Engadin Skimarathon groomers were abundant, preparing the trail and providing immaculate trails for skiers to train on. As well as the superbly groomed trails, the weather was also warm and sunny providing perfect conditions for skiing and exploring the race course as well as the surrounding trails to interesting places such as Morteratsch Glacier and Val Roseg.
The day prior to the event, a large contingent of Worldloppet passport holders were warmly welcomed at the Worldloppet reception including World Loppet Secretary General, Mr Angelo Corradini. Excellent food and drink were provided.
Buses were provided at 6.30am to transport skiers from a variety of locations including Pontresina where we stayed.
A clear starry sky overnight lead to a very cold and shivering 2 hour wait for the race start in Maloja with temperatures below -10 degrees, however temperatures quickly rose as soon as the sun appeared over the mountains to above five degrees. It was a difficult clothing decision for the race in the cold shade. Some 13,400 skiers, nearly a Swiss record, participated in Sunday’s event. Skiers thoroughly enjoyed the warm sunny conditions with little wind. The tracks were amazing with classic skiers especially pleased to have such excellent classic tracks for most of the route especially since it was a freestyle race. But those classic tracks stayed sharp and slick in places, excellent for the ‘double pole’.
The new starting method seemed to spread skiers out resulting in few queues except in very narrow or steeper sections. Most of the track was very wide having plenty of space for 3 skaters abreast as well as 2 classic tracks for much of the course. The trail across the lakes and beyond Samedan was especially wide. Provision of a walking route down the steepest section of the course in Staz forest reduced the stress for those skiers less capable on steep downhills.
Food stations were very regular and provided an excellent service especially considering there were so many skiers. There was a variety of warm and cold drinks offered as well as bananas and chocolate. The refreshment stations extended over a long distance making it easy for skiers to obtain a drink without having to queue.
Arriving at the finish there was an ample supply of drinks, chocolates and food bars. There was an array of outlets providing food for lunch though it would be good if it was mentioned in the race information that there is a charge for the pasta party. There was also an unexpected charge at the ski deposit which was tricky if you didn’t have any money on you whilst racing.
The return train transport ran very smoothly with train tickets readily available and the friendly train staff able to offer transport advice in English.
The whole organisation of the race was superb. Well done to all the volunteers and organisers who’ve spent many days ensuring a safe enjoyable course for all skiers.
As we learnt this afternoon that the Russian Demino race has just been cancelled due to a lack of snow this will be our last Worldloppet race for this season. Unfortunately we’ve been in the situation of having 3 race cancellations this European trip therefore we’re are short a couple of Worldloppet stamps to complete our next Worldloppet masters even though we’ve skied 10 races this season. Thanks to everyone for reading our race reports this season.
Marg Hayes & Bruce Wharrie, Australia
Some member results:
Australia : Marg Hayes 3h02 ; Bruce Wharrie 4h00
Usa : Jay Wiener 4h46 ; Jill Meilhan (21 km) 2h09
Canada : Grant MacLoad 3h11 ; Colette Pepin 4h45 ; Robert Palliser 2h29 ; Jacques Wrong 2h40
Russia : Valentin Borissov 4h26 and (21 km ) Ludmilia Kolobonova 1h39
Italia : Corrado Ampezzan (21 km : 2h19), Angelo Corradini 3h29
France : Hannes Larsson 3h33 ; Annette Lamy-Chapuis : 3h29 ; Isabelle Petroff : 3h38 ; Boris Petroff : 2h35 ; Hervé Courtine : 2h20 ; Daniel Montgermont : 3h16 ; Joseph Luce : 4h25 ; Patrick Thomas : 5h15 Gilles Perrin : 2h16…
Tchek Respublic : Iwana and Joseph Kral : 3h35
Finland : Risto Kemiläinen : 3h18