The Silitch Family

Adventures in the Alps and Beyond

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays- Happy New Year




May the gift of loved ones near be with you this holiday season.








We are heading to the States for the holiday season to share Christmas with Nina's family and welcome her brother back from Iraq. We look foward to driving the 2 horse open sleigh w/ Grammy and skiing the slopes of Sugarloaf. Nina and Michael are returning to Boulder for a quick visit. after almost 7 years to see friends and clean out a storage unit full of unnecessary objects.








What is the latest news in our family?


Birken has been testing out his skiis in the yard and looking forward to hitting the slopes. Anders is not far behind.

We had a great day at Val Ferret, Italy cross country skiing.

We have snow already here in Chamonix. We skied in Courmeyer mid week - not a sole and perfect groomers and great off piste, then celebrated nina's Birthday at a great little Italian place on the mountain.

The ski touring is great now. We have been up Le Tour and Tete de la Balme many times already preparing for the upcoming ski mountaineering season.







video

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Team High-Alpine Mt Blanc Ascent-Descent/ Mezzalama Ski Mountaineering Race









Dear friends and Family,

This has been a truly amazing season and we are so excited that you could share the finale with us. We have had so many incredible experiences that shaped our last event. Nina and Lyndsay competed in 11 races before the Mezzalama, and 3 weeks before they competed in another famous race in Italy’s Valley d'Aosta called The Tour du Rutor. We finished in tenth place and were first American women's team to compete. A week later all of us participated in a new race in Chamonix and it was exciting to race on our home turf. A few days later with Michael’s expert guidance we successfully summited Mount Blanc on Tuesday, April 23rd at 9am. We had a great ski down the North Face. We ended the day confident of our ability and full of team spirit for the Mezzalama.

Race day began at 3 am with the alarm blaring. We had slept about 4 hrs the night before after completing pre-race check in, briefing, and gear sorting. We stumbled down for some morning fuel to keep us energized us for the climb ahead. We hiked up to the start for a warm up at 4:30 am. As one of the first teams through the avalanche beacon check we were able to lay our skis in the perfect sport for the start. A few minutes later we were joined by 800 other athletes, mostly teams of men, a handful of mixed teams, and just 12 teams of women. Greetings of, “Ciao. Ciao,” could be heard as though it was the start of an ordinary day.

The majority of teams roped up at the start as we would be traveling most of the race on a glacier. Thanks to Michael and his expertise, he dialed in our rope and made it as easy as possible to travel together. We skied up with the rope about 6 feet between each person. Soon we got into a gradual rhythm with Michael leading the way.

The start gun was to go off at sunrise, approximately 5:30 am. Starting altitude was 6627 feet and the first check point was 12,553 feet, the Col de Breithorn. As a mixed team we fell into the men’s category and we had to make the men’s time check of 2 hrs and 30 minutes. The all women’s teams were given 15 extra minutes. We knew it was going to be a push for us to make the time cut as we had to climb at 2,460 feet an hour or about 12 meters a minute. The course was not extremely steep, just very long.

We arrived at the Col, 12, 553 feet at 2:36, just 6 minutes after the men’s time cut and 9 minutes within the women's. We had known it was going to be tough to make the men’s time. It was cold at the col and the sun had not yet risen. We were told to take off our numbers by the Italian Army. “This is the Mezzalama.” they said, “We are sorry. Next time we have a time for mixed teams.” We had a moment of indecision. We could turn back and ski to the start, or we could continue on the course and complete our challenge, number or no number. We chose to continue. The sun was just starting to come up the horizon; the wind was at our backs and the Matterhorn to our right. You were all with us during that moment of indecision.

After some steep climbing with our skis on our backs and crampons on our feet, we carefully walked along the knife-edge ridge of Castor Peak and reached its summit, our highest point of the day, 13, 864 feet. We had climbed 7,237 feet in less than 5 hrs. We continued on course, descending and ascending, still connected together with a rope as we were traveling through glacier terrain. Skiing downhill roped up is not as easy, but we managed well. At around 12 pm the weather began to change. As a team, we made the decision to exit a different way. In the mountains, the most important decisions we make are around safety and we were confident in our decision to change the route.

Our ski mountaineering season has come to an end and we are proud as a team of our accomplishments. For all of us, this was our first real season of taking part in this new sport. We are proud to be the only Americans competing in ski alpinism in Europe and are pleased to encourage its growth. Ski alpinism has a huge historical base and we have met so many amazing athletes and are excited to compete again next year.

More importantly, aside from the sport of ski mountaineering, we have been humbled in the face of disappointment and inspired in the face of challenge. The obstacles we faced as a team in no way compare to what our friends and loved ones have endured with cancer. We want to express immense gratitude for these amazing individuals. It is these individuals who we all will think about. We shared our experience with them as we climbed to the highest point; we will continue to keep them close in our hearts.

We are still receiving donations for the American Cancer Society and will let you know how much has been raised in the final count. We are so pleased by all of your encouragement, love and support in our endeavors. We want to thank you again for your contribution.

Warm regards,

Nina, Michael and Lyndsay


We would like to share with you a short slide show/ video we put together of our climb of Mt Blanc and our Mezzalama race.


Please find the link below and click to play!






Thursday, April 5, 2007

1st All American team will participate in Famous Mezzalama Ski Mountaineering Race and raise money for American Cancer Society






















Dear Friends and Family,

On April 29th 2007 Nina and Michael Silitch, and Lyndsay Meyer, are joining together to face the challenge of the highest and most prestigious ski alpinism race in the world, the Trofeo Mezzalama. The race takes place in the Valley d’Aosta in Northern Italy and was first run in 1933; it was held for five concurrent years until World War II. The modern day Trofeo Mezzalama was reincarnated in 1977 and is held every other year. The course leads teams of three over glaciers and peaks on the Italian aspect of the Monte Rosa range; it covers a horizontal distance of 27 miles with 9,389 feet of elevation gain, and 10,318 feet in loss. In the race we will climb to the extreme altitude of 13,864 passing just under the famous Matterhorn, eventually to summit of Castor Peak and finally the long descent into Gressoney. In choosing this challenge we will be the first all American team to compete, as well as the first American women to cross the finish line.

For many of you the sport of ski mountaineering racing may be a foreign concept. For us, it has become a new passion and combines our experience in alpine and cross-country skiing, mountaineering and other endurance sports. A ski mountaineering race is a timed event that follows a set course through challenging winter mountainous terrain; racers compete on lightweight ski gear and carry emergency equipment for travelling on glaciers. We ascend the slopes on w/ skins on our skis and descend in “alpine mode”. The course can include technical sections including lowering down steep couloirs with a rope or climbing icy ridges w/ crampons. Weather is also a factor. Conditions can range from blue bird sunny days to howling Arctic winds, but still the race goes on.


Ski alpinism has a rich history in Europe and is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. We are currently the only Americans competing in Europe and are proud to be advocates for the sport in USA. Nina and Lyndsay have a goal to qualify for the United States Ski Mountaineering Team next year and race at the World Championships in February in Portes du Soleil, Switzerland. This winter season we have competed together in many races throughout the Alps. To culminate the season, we have chosen the Mezzalama and teamed up with Michael, Nina’s husband a UIAGM mountain guide and expert in ski mountaineering. This race will be an ultimate test of fitness for us all.


More importantly than our physical commitment to the race, we have chosen to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and donate proceeds to research for the cure of all types of cancer. People who we care for and love have lost their battle with cancer, or are currently fighting for their lives. Since these individuals have been affected by breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia we feel that a contribution to American Cancer Society would be most appropriate.


In 2007 alone there will be estimated 1,444,920 new cases of cancer. Great progress has been made in the treatment of certain cancers however continued funding for this research is essential. We have set a team goal to raise $3000 toward this effort, $1000 each; this includes coverage of the cost for the team for the race.

We want to race in honour of our loved ones, friends and family and all those who are affected by this monstrous disease; in our minds they are fighting the toughest uphill battle of all. An 8 hour ski mountaineering race is nothing compared to the long and painful bouts of chemotherapy and or radiation cancer victims must endure over and over again. As we began our racing season we felt that there was something missing from the effort. Racing for a cause brings a new meaning to climbing uphill and we feel fortunate to be able to make a difference.
You will be with us in our challenge of climbing 9,389 feet, through wind, ice and snow and your sponsorship will inspire us to ascend to the top and make it to the finish line. Upon finishing the race we will be emailing out results and race photos. There are two ways that you can help us achieve our goals. You can either donate to the American Cancer Society in the name of Team High Alpine, or you can donate to Team High Alpine directly. A small portion of this donation will assist our team with the costs surrounding the race.

We are proud to have The North Face as our main clothing sponsor for this race.
If possible, please send your donation before May 1 so we can monitor our fundraising efforts. (See next page on how to donate)

(See below on how to donate)


Thank you so much for your support and generosity!


We look forward to hearing from you,


Lyndsay Meyer, Nina Silitch, & Michael Silitch




TO SPONSOR OUR TEAM AND THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY:


You can donate directly to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org referencing the team High-Alpine.

You can donate by check to: Nina Silitch and mail to: Nina Silitch c/o The Cook’s, 265 Freeman Ridge Road, Kingfield, Maine 04947

Or by Pay Pal- It is fast, free and secure.
If you have a Pay Pal account you can donate to the email address: ninasilitch@gmail.com





SUGGESTED LINKS


For more information about cancer:


American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov/

For more information about the race please visit:

http://www.trofeomezzalama.org/

To find out more about ski mountaineering visit;

http://www.skimountaineering.org/

To find out more about Michael and his work as a mountain guide visit:

http://www.high-alpine.com/

To find out more about Nina and Lyndsay’s racing this year visit:

http://silitchfamily.blogspot.com/


Don’t hesitate to get in touch!










Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Upcoming ski touring trips and climbing trips with High-Alpine Mountain Guides



Be sure to spread the word that ski touring is in its prime starting right about now and the snow is in great condition. If you have ever had a dream to ski the classic " Haute Route" from Chamonix to Zermatt now is your chance! Or maybe you would like to ski some of Chamonix's classic off piste lines such as the "Valley Blanche" or "Pas de Chevre". Don't waste another moment and book your guide through High-Alpine Mountain Guides, American Specialists in the Alps. www.high-alpine.com or contact Michael directly at michael@high-alpine.com
Pass this link on to friends, family and anyone you know who might be interested in climbing, skiing or cycling in the Alps!




Whether you are a local or you are vacationing here for a season or even a few days and you would like to expand your knowledge of avalanche awareness and glacier skiing be sure to ask about our one day "avalanche awareness" and "glacier sking" clinics offered by AIRE certified avalanche instructor and UIAGM guide.

Or if warmer weather suits your fancy... Maybe you have been going to the climbing gym all winter and are eager to get on some real rock. Or perhaps you would like to try climbing in a more Mediterranean climate such as the Italian island of Sardinia or the Mediterranean island of Corsica or Sicily, or even the Greek island of Kalymnos? High-Alpine guides will be offering rock climbing camps and climbing trips in these areas. Please get in touch so we can put together a trip to suit your needs.

Ski Mountaineering Racing Winter 2007







Grindelwald Race march 11
I started getting into ski mountaineering racing 2 years ago when I started to do some night uphill race series in Switzerland. I did one longer race with a friend Tracey Wright, the Trophy de Gastolsen in Switzerland. Conditions were gnarly. Wind, cold, snow and tough skiing w/ fixed lines to lower down couloirs. It was intense and invigorating at the same time. I really was getting hooked on the sport. That same winter, winter 2005, I did the haute route with Michael and a group of Sugarloafers from Maine one of whom was my dad. I definitely had the ski mountaineering bug and had my sights to continue with it in 2007. I did not ski mountaineering in 2006 because my second son, Anders, was born in February.

See michael's website
www.high-alpine.com for more information on ski touring trips in the Alps

This winter, 2007, I have managed to get back into it. We are now living in Chamonix, a playground from ski touring and in an ideal spot to travel to races in Switzerland, Italy and France.

This winter my Moms in Motion cross country team did not take off but we have a Moms in Motion Ski Mountaineering Team officially called the Chamonix- Colorado Gals. Lyndsay Meyer and Nina Silitch make up the team. So far we have competed in 7 races. As far as we know we are the only Americans, only American women no less, who are taking a shot and competing at these races over here. The Alps is the heart of ski mountaineering and the athletes over here are world class. It is clear that they have been doing this sport for years and it is very inspiring competing with them. The cool thing is that many of the top racers are older- in their late 30's and 40's.

I know that I am the only mom with children age 1 and 3 who is managing to compete at these races over here. I must say that it is not easy to find the time to train. I have to fit it in when I can. Much of my training consists of running w/ my 2 kids in the jogging stroller- chariot carrier which has been a lifesaver. I manage to get out for a ski tour 1 x a week or just and uphill climb.

Team Colorado- Chamonix Gals. Lyndsay Meyer, of Apsen, Colorado has just moved to Chamonix to study french and get into the sport of ski mountaineering. We have had a blast learning about the sport together. For more information check out
http://www.skimountaineering.org/
This sport is new in the US but is great to see it taking off. The US ski mountaineering Association has been formed. We have our sites set on 2 big races coming up.

The trophy de Muveron in Switzerland
http://www.tropheesdumuveran.ch/and the Swiss Ski Marathon www.skimara.ch. We are also looking seriously at the Trophy du Mezalama in Italy, one of the highest altitude ski mountaineering races in the world. http://www.trofeomezzalama.org/

We are looking for sponsorship to cover the costs of the races (entry, travel and lodging) as well as equipment. We would like to donate 1/2 of the money that we have raised to cancer research- breast and ovarian cancer. If you are interested in learning more about our team or you are interested in Sponsoring us please contact me at: ninasilitch@gmail.com






Chamrousse Race








Rando -nordic Racing 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Celebrations in 2007!

This year 2007 we started off to celebrate with Birken's birthday. He turned 3 years old and has been enjoying his time skiing in the yard and some on the slopes, sledding and even biking in, yes, January!
Birken's b day


We have been spending our time playing inside and out when we can. Michael has been serenading us with his new found guitar playing taking after his dad and brother. Despite the "lack of snow" in the Alps, we all have managed to get out and enjoy the winter snowplayground.
February 2007

We had a wonderful visit with Grammy and Pappy. They came for a short week. We filled it with lots of activities: skiing alpine and cross country, sledding, biking and walking.
Cook visit activities
Skiing the Valley Blanche was a big highlight. And a big achievement for mom! Way to go. We had a bluebird day. And of course the best guide around!
Cook Valley Blanche
And of course playing with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.

Anders Birthday
We finished their visit with a birthday celebration for Anders first birthday. It is hard to believe one year has gone by already. Anders is coming into his own, standing on his own 2 feet and taking a stand. He is communicating using his sign language, which he has learned from his good teacher his big brother.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valley Blanche February 2007

Despite the lack of snow in the Alps we still managed to have a bluebird day on the Valley Blanche thanks to our very own local guide Michael Silitch of High Alpine Mountain Guides. We had a great decent on the Grand Envers route and ended our day with a picnic in the sun on the Mer de Glace Glacier. Sun, fresh powder, blue sky, no wind. Who could ask for a better day?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Holidays 2006

We shared this holiday season with Natalie Silitch, the boys Grandmother. We spent our time in the snow and on skis after recovering from the winter flu. We were thankful to be in our new home in Chamonix and were ever thinking of the family and friends who were not here with us this holiday seaon.