Night has lengthy since fallen on Megève. Yet on the slopes of the surrounding mountains, 800 small lights dot the ski space. An astonishing spectacle that has nothing to do with the conventional torchlight descent. At the maneuver, 800 skiers took the begin of a distinctive race of its sort in France: a widespread ski touring race, the Edelweiss Megève Ski.
A ski touring race and never a ski mountaineering race. This is all the novelty displayed by the resort of Megève. Because ski mountaineering isn’t quick of challenges in France. Delegated federation, the FFME organizes a circuit of nationwide competitions, native variations and even a stage of the World Cup every year (in Flaine from April 6 to 10 in 2022) on which the French group, notably prolific this season, intends to shine. Not to say the initiatives of a number of resorts, typically vertical races or the Pierra Menta, definitely the most well-known ski mountaineering occasion in the world, which takes place yearly from Arêches-Beaufort. Structured occasions and circuits that don’t handle to draw crowds.
No equal in France
On the slopes of Megève this Saturday night, the 800 apprentice ski mountaineers are removed from all capable of compete in the 4 days of racing in the legendary Beaufortin occasion. A superb half of them wouldn’t be capable to overcome an “individual race” of ski mountaineering. But right here, on the Edelweiss Ski Megève, there aren’t any winding tracks, no must grasp the approach of conversions, no steep off-piste descents or choosy factors of regulation in the transitions.
The contributors hardly depart the ski slopes of the space, in any case on the two most accessible codecs (700 m of elevation achieve and eight km; 1,550 m of D + and 20 km), the longest distance (3 000 m D + and 40 km) with some passages off the overwhelmed observe. But that doesn’t stop runners from getting caught up in the sport and discovering the foundation of the ski mountaineering effort with a few steep passages which can be removed from simple.
” To my knowledge, there is no equivalent in France. Our source of inspiration is the Sellaronda, a popular ski mountaineering race that takes place in Italy and brings together more than 600 runners every year. », explains Mathéo Jacquemoud, former athlete of the French ski mountaineering team, quadruple world champion and race director of the Edelweiss. Because in France, a mecca for ski mountaineering like Italy, there was certainly a lack of a major popular ski mountaineering race.
“We did not have a format like this in France”
This sport, which can be considered the counterpart of trail running in winter, does not allow easily and to date, as its summer counterpart has learned to do, a non-mountain public to compete beyond purely vertical formats. Too technical, too exposed, too elitist, ski mountaineering struggles to reach an audience that nevertheless jostles every summer on trail races. ” It was an additional race, similar to the nice Italian races like the Sellaronda, Monterosa. We did not have a format like this in France, it is finished with this race », declared Yohan Sert, member of the French ski mountaineering group and winner of this first version of the Edelweiss.
Seducing a sporting clientele, lovers of endurance sports activities, and diversifying its mannequin at a time of main questions on the future of mountain tourism, that is what appears to have motivated the Haute-Savoie resort behind this expertise. Objectives that might give rise to different vocations in different French resorts dealing with the identical problem. For a sport that may enter the Olympic Games in 2026, this might effectively be one of the vectors of improvement.