It is a “race” in the race where the winner is the sport itself. But first and foremost it is a mission. This is the spirit of the antidoping effort, displayed every year by the Ismf, International ski mountaineering Federation, to fight doping and any kind of cheating. “Skimo is among the cleanest sports and has a long antidoping tradition”, says Ismf president Armando Mariotta.

Such a committment, indeed started in 2010 when Ismf restructured its antidoping system, becoming compliant of Wada, world antidoping Agency, thus fostering transparency and independency. One year later, an agreement with Dfsu, the doping free sport Unit of Sport Accord, set the base of an important cooperation which continue nowadays as Dfsu is currently dealing with most of these aspects on behalf of Ismf.

In the headquarter of antidoping bureau are working together Anne Bochatay, Ismf management commette member antidoping administrator and Matteo Vallini, representing Sport Accord. The key areas of the Wada “Adams”, the antidoping administration system, includes in and out-of-competition testing, intelligence and investigation, education, therapeutic use exemptions. Big improvements have been achieved in the last 10 years: “Cheating is part of human nature and doping will always exist, especially if money makes it more attractive”, admits Vallini.

“The first significant goal of our shared strategy was the setup of the Haematological module of the biological Passport which became a reality in 2014 with the Steroidal module of the athlete”, say Anne Bochatay and Matteo Vallini. This document is still considered a privilege of the wealthiest international sport Federations and “It is a good example of assessment also in a smaller scale with limited resources”, adds president Mariotta

As a matter of fact, doping is undoubtedly more difficult today, despite some recent scandals. The reasons? Laboratories are developing more accurate detection methods. Plus, independent investigations and long term storage strategies have huge deterrence effects.

“One of the biggest issue we are facing today  - adds Vallini – is still inadvertent doping of athletes, testing positive because of contaminated supplements or because they took a medication for which no therapeutic use exemption was requested”.

As we are approaching also the end of the Ldt races, with Patrouille des Glaciers, scheduled from 22nd April, it is time to make a balance. “Ski-Mountaineering is an endurance sport: the risk of doping is higher out-of-competition rather than in-competition” say Vallini and Bochatay. That is why, in the last years, Ismf agreed with its world Cup event organisers that resources that in the past were spent on in-competition testing only, would then be redistributed to finance out-of-competition testing, too. “This is not an easy task - points out Mariotta - “In the last season, 26% of our annual budget was used in antidoping policy”.

Of course no budget is perfect. “It is not the risk of doping to determine the budget needed to carry out a good antidoping program, but it’s rather the budget availability to determine how extensive and good an antidoping program can be” explain Bochatay and Vallini. One great evidence is that there is a great imbalance between money spent in sport and in antidoping. Ismf is trying to implicate sponsors and get them finance part of the antidoping fight.

“Education also plays an important role in the antidoping strategy. Information sessions for athletes, seminars for coaches and athlete support personnel are carried out every year by the Dfsu at Ismf Championships” ends Vallini “and in the future we are thinking of an e-learning tool to improve such process among all the licensed athletes”.




Lucia Galli

ISMF International Ski mountaineering Federation

Federal press office





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