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COUNTDOWN TO THE “RACE OF THE RACES”: THE PATROUILLE DES GLACIERS IS ON STAGE

It is one of the oldest and hardest race of the Skimo season. The “Patrouille des glaciers” is not only a title, but it is a world itself. It is the kind of competition that every ski mountaineering athlete or simple fan wish to accomplish once in a lifetime. And it is going to start in a few days in Switzerland, with its long tradition of strength and passion.

Meeting with history and legend, the PDG is today a biennial must that is getting together the military world and the civil environment of Skimo lovers. Up in the mountains, where the past often meant fighting and defence, today the only fight is against the natural elements of the Alps and personal determination. Further, higher and upper. Till the end. The PDG programme, taking place this year, from 19th to 23rd April, is organized by the Swiss Army and supported by a number of partners, including the Swiss Alpine Club, the ISMF national member federation governing the Skimo races in Switzerland. «The International Federation of ski Mountaineering is proud to be part of this adventure», says Lluis Lopez, ISMF Vice President Sport, «The PDG is included in the ISMF Long Distance Team World Cup Circuit which means that in the protocol of the final ceremony we will assign the World Cup of the Long Distance discipline and the Overall Cup for all our disciplines, Individual, Vertical, Sprint and, say, Long Distance», explains Lopez.

The origin of the race dates back to World War II and to the necessity of borders patrolling. Interrupted for quite a while, due to a big accident, the tradition of the PDG started again in 1984 and it has never stop renovating its emotions, every other year since then. The rules are as simple as clear: one single stage, a team of three people, two itineraries, from Zermatt to Arolla (26km) or further to Verbier, which is the full route, some 53 km long. The vertical drop? It is not for “freshers”, because it includes almost 4000 metres climb with some serious alpine terrain.

«Some top athletes», says Armando Mariotta, ISMF President, «are in the starting list: Laetitia Roux, Michele Boscacci, Jennifer Fiechter, Damiano Lenzi, Martin Anthamatten, Katia Tomatis, Matteo Eydallin, Victoria Kreuzer, Séverine Pont Combe, Rémi Bonnet will be among the 4.710 competitors».

You must be a mountain expert but you needn’t be famous or professional. That is the PDG spirit and “etiquette”, made of fair play and respect. That is way this competition, though hard and demanding, is very much loved also outside the agonistic world. Apart from athletes and soldiers, both male and female, the PDG is a kind of challenge that many Skimo fans wish to attend. Of course with an adequate preparation. This year, for example, former alpine skiing champion Marc Girardelli, five time overall world Cup winner will be leading a team form Luxembourg. Also a member of the British Royal family such as Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, will be part of the bunch with her two colleagues. More than a race, different from a competition: PDG is rather a state of mind.

 

ISMF Federal Press Office

Lucia Galli

federal_press@ismf-ski.org

 


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