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A word from the president of UIAA

From 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.

The 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.

The 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 maintained.

Ian McNAUGHT-DAVIS
UIAA President

 

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