On valentines day my babysitter called me and said she could not work while I was away at Worlds. My heart sunk… I took a deep breath, did some yoga and hoped it would work out. It did and I am here at the Worlds now. My friend, an angel, is taking care of my boys, who I hope are being angels too. It is never easy juggling the home front, especially when your husband is also away guiding. Often organizing the home front is harder than the race itself but it is worth it for all in the end. New experiences to add to the journey.
The ski mo world championships has arrived on the heals of Valentines day, and is being held in Italy, famous for it’s art, pasta, wine, amore and the Italian Dolomites, the heart of ski mountaineering. The best athletes in the World from over 20 nations will join together between the 18th-26th of February in the small village of Claut. Here is a You tube video sharing the area. Surely the top nations from the Alps will be here but many have come from other continents such as North and South America, Asia
The sprint race, originally scheduled for Saturday the 18th will be pushed back to the 22nd due to heavy snowfall up high (60-90cm) This is my strongest event and I am hoping for a good result. It will no longer be in the village of Claut (not enough snow) but at the ski area where the Vertical Race will be held. This will give athletes suffering from jetlag one more day to recover. The opening ceremony of athletes will be held on the 19th. There will be a total of 5 races: the Teams on the 20th, the Vertical on the 22nd, the Sprint on the 23rd, the Individual on the 24th and the Teams Relay on the 25th followed by a closing ceremony.
Team USA is lodged in the tiny village of Barcis about 20minutes from Claut. We are here with the Swiss National Team, as well as the Canadian National Team. In this day and age so many of us rely on internet and there is no wifi at our hotel. So many, myself included, are not so happy as it limits contact with friends and family at home. Surely they will be close to my heart
In terms of spectators the teams race, the actual race is in a wild area, far from a ski area with no lift access. It is not conducive to spectators due to the nature of the terrain. We did a reco of the Teams race today, very similar to the World Cup race here last year: the start is about 900 meters on a road in the woods and then it opens up to this gorgeous view.
Claut is known for tricky technical terrain. Long courses with not a ton of elevation gain. You want to have good skins that stick, glide well and skis that go fast! The Vertical, Sprint and Relay will be at a ski area about 1:15 minutes by car. We hope more crowds turn out for these races to cheer people on! It is great to see so many nations from other parts of the world participating in this growing sport. This is a real hope for the sport to become an Olympic event as soon as 2018. The more nations that are represented the more chance it has. We really do need a federal national backing for the USA team. Our Athletes are on their own dime to come here and it is up to them to do the fundraising to make it happen. The USA teams thanks Mt Hardware and Camp for the hats and vests! It has taken a lot of energy and commitment to get here and I could not have done this with out the tremendous support of my family, friends and sponsors. So, thank you! Grazie Milli!
My friend and teammate from the Chamonix Ski Alpinisme Club, Nuno, will be the first Portuguese to represent his country at the Ski mountaineering World Championships. Nuno, like me and many other athletes who are here, have dedicated their past months with this World Championships as a goal. This week I am here “to put my heart into it !” –The races, the culture of the sport, my team USA, the other teams, the ambience, the food…probably not the wine this time and but always a little chocolate!
It is a process, like any work of Italian art, and I will be sure to remember to smile along the way!