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On Thursday afternoon in Verbier-Val de Bagnes (SUI) the 8th World Championships are about to start.

One week of top-tier competition involving 251 athletes representing 23 nations. 

Everything is ready for the opening ceremony scheduled at 3.30 pm of Thursday afternoon in Verbier-Val de Bagnes. Everything, from logistics to organisation, has been defined and confirmed; thanks to the latest snowfalls the circuit awarding the World Championships titles will be at their absolute best.
This edition of the World Championships couldn’t have had a better turnout with 23 delegations attending, for a total of 251 athletes. Looking at the history of the ISMF World Championships, Claut (ITA) 2011 had 217 athletes and, more recently, the Pelvoux (FRA) event saw 211 athletes at the start line.
The competing nations will be Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.

Jornet as the odds-on favourite 

Following the first two weekends of the World Cup competitions, Catalan Kilian Jornet, current Vertical Race World Champion, is one of the hot favourites, both for the Individual race and the Vertical Race. The winner of both these disciplines at Font-Blanca/AND is not shy about voicing his ambitions: «I’m coming to Verbier to get on the podium and to win one or more titles».
Frenchman, William Bon Mardion, current Individual race World Champion and winner of the World Cup at Bruson last year, is having a mixed start to the season and hasn’t yet got into his stride. Is he saving himself for the World Championships? We’ll have the answer in the next few days. After Kilian Jornet, come the French, the Italians, the Germans with Anton Palzer, and the Swiss, who are all going to do their best to make it onto the podiums. 

Who can beat Laetitia Roux?

On the ladies’ front, Laetitia Roux has enjoyed incredible success at competitions for more than a year, flying from one success to the next and winning every race in 2014. In 2015, she had a perfect start to the year by winning every event. Swiss Maude Mathys, Victoria Kreuzer and Séverine Pont Combe will be hot on her heels, while young skiers Axelle Mollaret/FRA and Jennifer Fiechter/CH may well stage a surprise. 

Rémi in top form

In the Juniors’, Rémi Bonnet from Gruyère looks well set to take a few trinkets home. At his early World Cup competitions this season, this talented member of the SAC Swiss Team won the individual race as well as the Vertical Race, treating himself to the luxury of winning the third scratch ranking spot during the steep climb at Font-Blanca after the unbeatable Kilian Jornet and the prodigious German Anton Palzer. 

An address from ISMF President Armando Mariotta

«In two days the VIII edition of the Ski Mountaineering World Championships will start in the splendid location of Verbier/Val de Bagnes, Switzerland. In the period from 6 to 12 February 2015, 251 athletes from 23 countries in America, Asia and Europe will compete in the following disciplines: Individual, Team, Vertical, Sprint and Relay in the beautiful Swiss ski capital, where the Swiss Alpine Club and the local organizing committee have been working since last year to ensure a great event that will be the highlight of the ski mountaineering calendar.  
The week in Verbier will combine a fantastic mix of ingredients: the different sites of Bruson, Champsec and Verbier easily reachable by car, train and modern lifts; the varied race tracks; the parallel events; the famous hospitality of the location; a sustainability procedure for monitoring the low impact of the event; the passion and technical capability of the organisers, will all concentrate the attention of the ski mountaineering world in an exciting week, where our spectacular sport will be the protagonist.
It's almost impossible to personally thank all the people involved an organisational machine such as this, the Local Organizing Committee with its professionalism and passion, volunteers and professionals, public supporters and private sponsors, the Swiss Alpine Club, all working for ski mountaineering in Switzerland.
As ISMF President, I'm hoping to see crowds of people in Verbier and to personally meet many spectators. See you soon at the World Championships in Verbier!»

The programme

The Verbier programme will start with the opening ceremony on Thursday 5 February at 3.30 pm. On Friday the athletes will run the Sprint Race, while Saturday will be the turn of the Seniors and Espoirs, staging the spectacular Vertical Race also on the main streets of Verbier. The Junior and Cadet categories will compete for the Sprint race on Sunday morning. On Monday morning, the Seniors and Espoirs will battle for the individual race podium in Bruson. On the following day (Tuesday), it will be the turn of the Individual Race for Junior and Cadet athletes.
The absolute queen of sky mountaineering – the Team Race – is scheduled for Wednesday, while the breath-taking team relay race will officially close the World Championships event on Thursday morning.

Other events and projects 

The World Championships week will also set the stage for the ISMF members to meet the Manufacturer Pool, a working group that for many years has brought together the best ski mountaineering technical gear manufacturers. Together with the Federation, the Pool has always been very focused on seizing opportunities to improve its products, strictly in compliance with speed and safety regulations.
During the week a working group committed on a project on the sustainability of ski mountaineering events will continue its research with the support and co-ordination of Lausanne’s prestigious A.I.S.T.S. – Mastering Sports.
To confirm its commitment against doping, the Federation has set up an educational programme specifically meant for athletes on this important issue, in collaboration with Sport Accord. 

 


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