Ice World Cup 2009: the start with the Ice Master in Daone
The 8th Ice Master will take place in Valle di Daone, Italy from 16 - 25 January. With its Difficulty and Speed events, this competition marks the start of the ice Climbing World Cup 2009. The 11th edition of the La Sportiva International Ice Meeting is open to all and will take place during the event.
Are you mad about ice climbing? If so, the the 8th edition of the Daone Ice Master scheduled for this weekend in the Trentino valley might be right up your street. The menu is the tried and tested formula which combines the competition (and the strongest ice climbing athletes in the world) with the international Ice Meeting Pareti di Cristallo. This is aimed at giving all the chance to climb ice and discover the valley in its winter format.
Let's start by analysing at the "numbers" of the 8th Ice Master, the competition which once again heralds the start of the World Cup and which continues in Switzerland's Saas-Fe on 22 January to finish in Romania's Busteni on 5 February. The competition is a two-day affair: Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 January while the inauguration and torchlight procession will take place on Friday night. Daone also hosts two disciplines: the 'classic' difficulty and the 'speed' event which was absent in 2008 and which this year promises to be a spectacular duel. The competition will take place on the ice structure in Pracul, designed by engineer and Mountain Guide Maurizio Gallo and formed by a team of volunteers headed by Fabio Nicolini, the frozen columns reach up to 30m in height. 85 athletes from 15 different nations have registered for the event, including 4 Koreans (all new entries bar Hee Yong Park) and an immense Russian squad comprised of 29 athletes.
Expectations are high that last season's winners, Simon Anthamatten and Petra Müller from Switzerland, will duel it out against Markus Bendler from Austrian and Jenny Lavarda from Italy, winners in 2007 but runners up in 2008. It's clear that the challenge will be one to be remembered, especially since Lavarda will attempt to start her season off in the best of all possible ways as she heads for her third Ice World Cup victory in a row. And Simon Anthamatten, perhaps the most spectacular climber in the competition circuit, will no doubt want to double his takings after last year's victory.
These athletes will certainly have to watch out for the other pretenders to the throne. These include the South Tyrolean Angelika Rainer who finished 2008 in stile by winning in Saas-Fe. She certainly promises to be one to watch out for, just like her teammate Herbert Klammer who has always done well in Daone, and the "master of climbing" Mario Prinoth. Others in with a good chance are Anna Torretta and Barbara Zwerger, capable of stunning performances when climbing well. Andrea Steindl was 3rd last year and shouldn't be underestimated, nor should the Russian brothers Alexey and Maxim Tomilov, and their teammate Maria Tolokonina. But as all know with ice, this is a fickle element. And Daone has always been rich with surprises...
There will be no surprises at the La Sportiva International Ice Meeting 2009, which as usual will be run by the Mountain Guides Friends of Arco. From 16 to 25 January this promises to be a unique occasion for beginners to learn about ice climbing and dry tooling and for experts to refine their winter techniques. It's a simple way of taking part in the Ice Master celebration. For all further information and to participate check out www.daoneicemaster.it.