International Ski Mountaineering: the 2017 competition calendar
The 2017 ISMF World Cup season contains 11 races in 5 different countries including, for the first time, Turkey. The traditional Grande Course competitions will no longer be part of the World Cup circuit.
The Plenary Assembly of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation took place in Albufeira, Portugal last weekend. After approving the 2015 season, the second topic on the agenda was about the road to the Olympics. President Armando Mariotta reminded everyone that a final decision about full recognition of ISMF as an Olympic Federation will be taken at the beginning of August, during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games opening works session. Works then concentration on the coming season. The new calendar and the new points regulation system were introduced, discussed and approved.
The calendar is finally ready. It is time to open the agenda and record all the dates, in order not to miss them. The 2017 ISMF World Cup season will be hosted in five different locations for 11 races, plus the World Champships. "For the first time in a long while, the 2017 ISMF World Cup season will take place in five different countries accross Europe and further", said Rebecca Vernon, sport department Director.
Yes, the biggest news is Turkey entering the family of the ISMF federations. The ski resort of Erzincan (690 km from Ankara) will host an Individual and a Sprint race (seniors only) on 11th – 12th February 2017. "We are very happy – adds Vernon – to welcome a new member in our team". The Turkish Federation has worked hard to make the journey and the racing experience as comfortable as possible: "Accomodation and transfer from and to the local airport, as well as to the race area, will be offered by the organizing Commette to all the teams", says Vehbi Aytekin Sanalan, the Turkish delegate. Also the entry fee will be for free this year. The ski resort is one of the most famous in the Anatolia plateau of Central Eastern Turkey with some 10 km of slopes, daily facilities, a modern cable car and other lifts and 3.300 metres peaks that will be the perfect frame for a new Skimo emotion.
Back to the calendar: the season opening will be in Font Blanca (Andorra) with and Individual and a Vertical race scheduled on 21st and 22nd January 2017. The following week (28-29 January) the Skimo circus moves to France, to Alp d’Huez, for another couple of challenges, an Individual and a Sprint. After the new stop in Turkey, February will be all about the World Championship: from 23rd February to 2nd March 2017 the "skimo world" will gather at Transcavallo (Italy) which will host, together with Alpago all the races and emotions of the World Champs. From 24th March, Mondolé (Italy) will host three races, whereas in April the closing competitions of the year will be held in Val d’Aran (Spain).
ISMF AND LGC SEAL A NEW DEAL
A new format is being designed by the ISMF World Cup and LGC circuit. "We thought about a more mature relationship, having gained experience in these last two years", said Lluis Lopez, vice-president Sports & Event, "We believe in keeping the link strong, but we don’t want to impose any format", adds Lopez. The aim is to share the same path in the sake of Sski mountaineering and the desire to continue collaborating has been the priority from both sides.
Pierre Dupont, representing the French Federation, has been in charge of conducting the new deal. "The Grande Course will no longer be a part of the World Cup, but will remain under the spirit of ISMF". Pierra Menta (8-10 March), Adamello ski race (1-2 April) and Mezzalama (22-23 April) will form part of the LGC in 2017. The LGC will display three or four races every other year, according to the World Champs editions.
"Safety, anti doping programme and equity will be the common guidelines we will be following", says Lopez. There will be a World Cup winner which will be, year by year, the best performer in the ISMF World Cup races, according to the three disciplines, Individual, Vertical and Sprint. Furthermore there will be a World ranking, rolling up on yearly basis, which will take into account the athletes’ points earned from the ISMF World Cup, the Championships (World and Continental), the LGC and the ISMF series.
"By doing so, we want to stress the importance of all the races, including the ISMF series which will become more appealing also for top level athletes" says Marco Mosso, vice president marketing & communications.