On April 29th 2007 Nina and Michael Silitch, and Lyndsay Meyer, are joining together to face the challenge of the highest and most prestigious ski alpinism race in the world, the Trofeo Mezzalama. The race takes place in the Valley d’Aosta in Northern Italy and was first run in 1933; it was held for five concurrent years until World War II. The modern day Trofeo Mezzalama was reincarnated in 1977 and is held every other year. The course leads teams of three over glaciers and peaks on the Italian aspect of the Monte Rosa range; it covers a horizontal distance of 27 miles with 9,389 feet of elevation gain, and 10,318 feet in loss. In the race we will climb to the extreme altitude of 13,864 passing just under the famous Matterhorn, eventually to summit of Castor Peak and finally the long descent into Gressoney. In choosing this challenge we will be the first all American team to compete, as well as the first American women to cross the finish line.
For many of you the sport of ski mountaineering racing may be a foreign concept. For us, it has become a new passion and combines our experience in alpine and cross-country skiing, mountaineering and other endurance sports. A ski mountaineering race is a timed event that follows a set course through challenging winter mountainous terrain; racers compete on lightweight ski gear and carry emergency equipment for travelling on glaciers. We ascend the slopes on w/ skins on our skis and descend in “alpine mode”. The course can include technical sections including lowering down steep couloirs with a rope or climbing icy ridges w/ crampons. Weather is also a factor. Conditions can range from blue bird sunny days to howling Arctic winds, but still the race goes on.
Ski alpinism has a rich history in Europe and is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. We are currently the only Americans competing in Europe and are proud to be advocates for the sport in USA. Nina and Lyndsay have a goal to qualify for the United States Ski Mountaineering Team next year and race at the World Championships in February in Portes du Soleil, Switzerland. This winter season we have competed together in many races throughout the Alps. To culminate the season, we have chosen the Mezzalama and teamed up with Michael, Nina’s husband a UIAGM mountain guide and expert in ski mountaineering. This race will be an ultimate test of fitness for us all.
More importantly than our physical commitment to the race, we have chosen to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and donate proceeds to research for the cure of all types of cancer. People who we care for and love have lost their battle with cancer, or are currently fighting for their lives. Since these individuals have been affected by breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia we feel that a contribution to American Cancer Society would be most appropriate.
We want to race in honour of our loved ones, friends and family and all those who are affected by this monstrous disease; in our minds they are fighting the toughest uphill battle of all. An 8 hour ski mountaineering race is nothing compared to the long and painful bouts of chemotherapy and or radiation cancer victims must endure over and over again. As we began our racing season we felt that there was something missing from the effort. Racing for a cause brings a new meaning to climbing uphill and we feel fortunate to be able to make a difference.
If possible, please send your donation before May 1 so we can monitor our fundraising efforts. (See next page on how to donate)
Lyndsay Meyer, Nina Silitch, & Michael Silitch
TO SPONSOR OUR TEAM AND THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY:
If you have a Pay Pal account you can donate to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
For more information about the race please visit:http://www.trofeomezzalama.org/
To find out more about ski mountaineering visit;http://www.skimountaineering.org/
To find out more about Michael and his work as a mountain guide visit:http://www.high-alpine.com/
To find out more about Nina and Lyndsay’s racing this year visit:http://silitchfamily.blogspot.com/
Don’t hesitate to get in touch!