word from the president of UIAA
Briancon to Monetier lies Serre Chevalier, one of the
most extensive and interesting ski regions in the
Southern Alps. Surrounded by high mountains culminating
in Les Ecrins it is an ideal location for the first
major UIAA event in the UN Year of the Mountains 2002,
the Ski Mountaineering World Championships.
major difference between Ski Mountaineering competitions and
downhill ski races is that they are not run against a clock,
timed to the nearest millisecond where the result is not know
until the last competitor has covered the course. It is a race
where all the competitors start at the same time and after
over 2000 meters of ascent and descent, often over difficult
technical terrain, the first ones to cross the finishing line
are the winners. The courses change each competition; the
weather is variable and the condition of the snow is
unpredictable. It is these elements that packs ski
mountaineering with excitement and uncertainty. It demands
high elements of skill of climbing, skiing and knowledge of
the mountains under many different conditions.
weather at the last competition I attended in Jaca, Spain was
unforgiving with heavy rain, mist, cold, and high winds. It
was as bad as weather can get in the mountains yet the
competitions went ahead in these most dramatic circumstances.
I am looking forward to coming to the competitions in Serre
Chevalier where not only will the atmospheric conditions be
good but the splendid atmosphere of friendship and
conviviality that is present at these competitions will be
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