70 athletes from 15 countries of which 14 women started in the Ski Mountaineering event at the impressive Patscherkofel. The whole week athletes were skiing down the slopes in all kind of ski events. Everything turned around yesterday and the athletes ran up the mountain on their skies. The start was at 6pm, so that no more alpine skiers were coming down. The darkness added to the atmosphere of the event.
After the countdown and gunshot, the whole group started to run up the hill at amazing speed and disappeared quickly out of the sight.
On the top of the mountain, crowds of enthusiastic supporters and volunteers were waiting in chilly and windy conditions, but they were rewarded with an absolute stunning view of the landscape and Innsbruck, which looked like a fairytale.
The runners had hardly time to enjoy these views in their efforts to conquer the Patscherkofel. Already 40 minutes after the start, the lamps of the first runners got into sight from the top, in which time they had mastered a climb of 954 vertical height meters.
The winner Yoann Caillot from France got to the top in an amazing 40 minutes and 23 seconds, followed only after 52 seconds by Thomas Wallner and Marcell Voithofer, two colleagues from the Austrian Police who shared the second place. The first lady Bernadette Klotz from Austria came to the finish line after 48 minutes and 18 seconds.
Yoann Caillot (France)
Ski mountaineering ladies on the podium
All athletes were welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd, cheering with cow bells to “hop-hop-hop” their favorites up the mountain. All athletes received a warm welcome. A special welcome was for Tim Pace from Idaho, USA, who celebrated his birthday that day. His goal was to finish within 1 hour and 30 minutes, and with a finish time of 1 hour 21 minutes, he gave himself a nice birthday present.
Birthday boy Tim Pace (USA)
The last finisher was accompanied in his last meters by the Patscherkofel volunteer ski crew, for whom this was also the last masters event at the Patscherkofel. We want to thank the volunteer team again for their warmth, great support and enthusiasm. Without the volunteers, the games would not have been possible!
For the mountaineering athletes, this was only the start. Coming Saturday, in Praxmar, the Individual Race will be held with both uphill and downhill sections. The athletes have to ascend and ski down several times on their skies. The weather forecast shows that the conditions will be much more challenging on Saturday than today. So that will be a different kind of fairytale.
Photos © Volunteer Team Tirol & shootandstyle.com