What a season it’s been. So much snow, and really very few long periods of sun, which has meant that the slopes have had excellent coverage right to the end of the season. In fact, as I write (4th May) the pistes still have snow down to 1250m, and there’s tons of the white stuff left up high, which bodes well for high altitude touring into June.
Racing’s been good this year, though with quite a few cancellations and course amendments due to snow and avalanche danger. I started with the Trophée de Verbier on 12th December, 950m vertical pretty much straight up, and came 2nd in my group, which amazed me. Actually if I hadn’t got boxed in at the start it would have been a battle for the win I think. Still, this was just in the Populaire group, which isn’t really very competitive.
Other night races included Aminona, Anzère (3rd place behind Billy and Noé), Les Diablarets – where I astounded myself by winning my vets category – Vercorin and La Tzoumaz. Despite placing 4th in my category Vercorin was probably my best performance of the season, recording a climb rate of 1160m/hour. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone uphill on skis, and it felt fantastic. By La Tzoumaz I was starting to go down with a virus, and though it was still a good race I could feel I wasn’t totally ‘right’.
We wrapped the season up with the Matterhorn Ultraks on 20th April. This was supposed to be a long race going up to high altitude (over 4000m), but it dumped with snow the night before the race and with the resulting avalanche danger and zero visibility, the organisers had to change it into a much shorter race at low altitude. I’d teamed up with the fab Hermès Morandi (the race has to be done in teams of 2 or 3 due to travelling across glaciers) and despite finding ourselves at the very back of the group of 160 people on the start line, we made good progress together and ended up finishing 10th. Not bad going for a first time out together. Next time we’ll be considerably quicker and wiser 😉