Mezzalama Trophy 2013

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5 minutes before 5AM in Cervinia ! Everything is ready.
Well after a long week of debating and the weather doing what it saw fit on saturday May 4th at 5 AM it was on. The 19th Mezzalama Trophy, the big “marathon of the glaciers”, to which I got invited by it`s main sponsor Ferrino, started in picture perfect conditions at the base station of the Breul-Cervnia cable car. The decision to postpone it for a week was definetly the right one. 
What a view. Sunrise at Cervino/Matterhorn. 

After arriving in Valtournenche the day before, getting to meet everyone form Ferrino and going trough the technical briefing a awesome dinner and no sleep I was eager to see and document the race. 

It was amazing 300 Teams started in 3 lines and were off with a superb tempo in the dark of night. The organisation was great. As soon as the start was on we took the cablecar up, and then a Snowcat to the Monte Rossa plato. The first team arrived just minutes behind us. They were really going for it. While on our way up we could also witness a perfect sunrise at the Cervnio/Matterhorn. The beauty of it was amazing. 
Cats were moving us up fast so we could
arrive before the competitors for photos.
The teams were making good time and three Helicopters were cruising, around helping us to get good shots. So we stacked up quite some Helitime 🙂 It was really a superb experience. 
The race itself works on a time-out clock. So all the teams that manage to pass one of the 4 checkpoints in a certain time can continue. The others are eliminated. Since the timing is really aggressive only a handful of teams make it to the end. It takes the winners a little more then 4 hours to pass from Cervino (2050 m) over around 43 km and up to 4100m to Gressoney-Le-Trinite (1650 m). 
It is a long way from Cervino to Gresseoney.
We had really good luck with the weather, as it was one of two sunny days between quite a strong snowstorm that brought 50-70 cm of fresh powder. More on that in the next post as I unexpectedly managed to squeez another powder day out of the season at the Kleinmatterhorn for the very end 😛

When the teams passed the checkpoints we descended to Gressoney to await the finish. Also two TV teams were broadcasting and you could watch a live-stream online or on italian sport TV RAIsport. 

Steep and fast.
Supportcrews oversaw the

As for the results, first of I have to say that sadly this year there were no Slovenian competitors at the race. I did some research and saw that in the last trophy two years prior a Slovenian competitor named Nejc Kuhar, in combination with two Italian teammates almost made the podium. They were 4th back then. 

Surprisingly the winners this year where the Italian Army Sports Centers team with Manfred Reichegger (IT) ,Damiano Lenzi (IT), Matteo Eydallin (IT) with a time of 04:16:37. IT was close as the franco Italian LaSportiva team with William Bon Mardion (FR), Mathèo Jacquemoud (FR) and Kilian Jornet Burgada (ES) was only one minute behind, finishing with exactly 04:17:37. at third the CAMP/SKITRAB team of Michele Boscacci (IT), Pietro Lanfranchi (IT) and Lorenzo Holzknecht (IT) made it in 04:28:27.

The most seasoned veteran of the race
receives a reward and has some good
wisdom to share 🙂
Gressoneys mayor

Another surprise came in the womans teams as the  favorites Gloriana Pellissier, Mireia Mirò and Laetitia Roux had some dificulties at the Monte Rossa plateau. Laura Besseghini, Raffaella Rossi and Elena Nicolini from LaSportiva took advantage of the situation and build a strong lead until the finish. They managed it in 06:04:14. The differences between the female teams were a little bigger. Second  the Locatelli/Richard/Cazzanelli Team came in with a time of 7:27:25  and third was the Bandavej KRATOS team. Time 07:44:04.

Almost at the finish !

Conditions were complicated

All in all we all hailed the organizers for a perfectly executed race and Adriano Favre’s staff of alpine guides for the great security management in these really difficult conditions. The inconsistent weather and the amount of snowfall made it really hard to secure the competitors form harm. Avalanches and covered crevasses at the glacier were a constant danger that had to be counted on.

Nasty ! Competitors had to pass avalanche fields.
With Rossana from Ferrino
at the finish line 
Having fun with Luca and Sara 🙂

With a almost 50 % foreign participation the Mezzalama is gaining more and more international appeal and is defiantly a thing one should go see as it is a really unique experience. At this point I would really like to thank everyone from Ferrino(Anna, Rossana, Luca, Sara, Marco…) and the Mezzalama organization (Andre, Reccardo) for making me feel welcome and giving me the opportunity to make my first ever heli to heli shots 🙂 and specially the girl from the Cervino Lift company who was so nice to close the windows of my car that I left open by mistake so I could continue to photograph the race 🙂 Also my Italian improved 10-fold when I was there 🙂 Un spectaculo perfeto !!!

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