The Silitch Family

Adventures in the Alps and Beyond

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bring in the New Year with a Commitment to your Health

The New Year is upon us, the ski season and the flu season is soon upon us too.
What better way to bring in the year with a commitment to your health.
Check out VIBE – a fantastic vitamin and mineral supplement
I found out about Vibe through top level Nordic ski coach Torbjorn Karlson, a who is a coach on many high level athletes including olympian Becky Scott. -Thank you to Tb for introducing Vibe to me.
Vibe is for any age and any person – athlete or not, young or old.

Getting started on VIBE might be the smartest decision you make in 2009.

With Vibe you can:

Improve your health, increase your energy, reduce your number of sick-days, help fight cancer producing cells and heart disease, reduce muscle soreness, reduce recovery time after training and greatly improve your race-results (for athletes)

Why is VIBE different than the supplements you have in your cabinet?
VIBE is designed with a brand new technology (pioneered by Dr. Benjamin Baechler and the Eniva R&D team) that shatters minerals into a size smaller than a blood cell. This predigested liquid, “VIBE”, promotes rapid absorption by allowing minerals to pass directly into the blood cells. This makes VIBE 99% absorbable in less than 3 minutes. Pills, powders and tablets are only absorbed at 3-10%. VIBE is listed in the 2008 PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference) as having the highest certified Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of all products tested.

The amount of necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in VIBE are in a class by itself. There is simply nothing like it. The concentrated power of one ounce of VIBE is equivalent to the nutrients found in: 13 tomatoes, 30 broccoli, 35 cherries, 2.5 cups of green tea, 71 cantaloupes, 10 cups of green beans, 13 wheat slices, certified organic aloe vera gel, 12 orange slices and 25 asparagus!!! And it tastes good.


I have read about, researched, and now take this vitamin and mineral supplement every day because I am a real believer in the power of this product for improving not only athletic performance and recovery but also, most importantly, for my health in general and my family’s health. I’m talking about anti-aging, heart-health, immune-health and cellular-health. Cancer and heart disease are taking the world by storm and why not do everything we can to live a long and healthy life.
As you know I am committed to helping find a cure for cancer.
The cure starts with prevention.

Don’t let the cost of this product scare you! At $1.56 per dose (take VIBE once or twice daily), it’s a very small investment in what should have the highest priority – your energy, immune system, and overall health! That is a lot less that a cup of Startbucks a day and a lot better for you.

This latest research that was picked up by several thousand news-agencies only further strengthens my belief in VIBE: Eniva VIBE® Nutraceutical Tested at Linus Pauling Institute and Found to Possess DNA Protective Properties see:
“The Eniva Research Group has released results from laboratory testing by the world-famous Linus Pauling Institute, CCP Core facility, at Oregon State University which demonstrated the Eniva Health Supplement VIBE® possessed DNA protective anti-mutagenic activity for human cells.This third party testing was performed as part of an ongoing investigative effort to further identify mechanisms by which the Eniva VIBE nutraceutical impacts human health….”

Income Potential
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To place orders, read more about VIBE or the company behind Eniva go to be sure to include my form 423851 or
if you want my personal help in choosing products or to place an order, email me at

Here is to Healthy Happy Holidays and a Healthy Happy New Year.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Holidays in Maine

Maine just recieved a blizzard of new snow. 15 inches- it will be a snowy and white Christmas. We have been training at Saddleback and Sugarloaf- Getting ready for the Sugarloaf Holiday Hill Climb. We are pleased with the interest so far with preregistration and also the great support from sponsors. I am learning about the difference in training in New England temperatures and temperatures in the Alps- Skins don't stick as well in cold temps. The wind has been strong- it is a good strength workout skinning up with a headwind.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vermont Sports- December Issue- and Cover Photo

Be sure to check out the December issue of Vermont Sports magazine (you can view the link below)- Peter Bronski writes about Nina and her taste for randonee skiing and the upcoming race she is organizing at Sugarloaf.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ski Mountaineering Videos

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save the date! - Holiday Hill Climb

Sugarloaf/USA will host first ever Holiday Hill Climb December 27th.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells....Start ringing your cow bells. The sport of randonee racing is growing with lighting speed in the US. My first experience to rando racing was a night race in the Swiss Alps. Cow bells ringing, headlamps lighting the way, great energy and enthusiasm and finishing with hot mulled wine and swiss fondue. Can you think of a better way to spend your friday evening after working a long week in the office. I wanted to bring this alpine experience to Sugarloaf this holiday season and help the sport continue to grow in the States. The best part about these night races are they are open to all levels- beginners to experts. Just a way to get out and have some fun and get fit, work off some of the holiday meals and even win some great gear.

We have partnered with Petzl to help light the way with headlamps, Smartwool to keep us warm and dry and countless other prizes will also be there such as Marker/Vokl, Isis for women , Kiss My Face, Sport Legs and many more local and national businesses offering their support.

In the morning I will host a randonee clinic with Pete Swenson, coach of the United States Ski Mountaineering Coach to introduce the sport to those unfamiliar and to help refine transitions and techniques for skinning. We will touch on the topics of training and what gear to have as well. There will be demo gear available for those interested. (supplies limited) We will also feature Pierre Gignoux's ultra light carbon rando race boot.

The race starts at 4:30. Bring your friends and family- and the cow bells for cheering. The trail will be lit up to Bullwinkles restaurant and spectators are most welcome. There will be two catagories- Rando catagory (includes tele) and Other (snowshoes, skate, classic) Last year the Nordic world cup Tour de Ski had a large uphill climb for one of the races- so Nordis come give it a try! It will be at least a good intensity workout followed by a good carbo load.
In the evening we will have a pasta dinner included in entry, followed by awards and a slide show given by Michael and me on randonee skiing and racing in the Alps and to top it off a raffle with great prizes for all. I hope you can make it! It should be a lot of fun and just the beginning of Maine's Rando Series.
For more information and to preregister to get a break on the cost and to guarantee your race souvenir go to :

For more press on the Holiday Hill Climb go to the following links:

If you want to see some great footage of night rando races check out the Somfy Series- some great videos of racing here in the Alps- This will get you motivated to sign up!

Happy Holidays and I hope to see you on the 27th at the Loaf! (don't forget your headlamp!) we will have some to demo just in case!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dry land training and First on snow sessions

When a Christmas Cactus blooms lots of blooms it usually means a good snow year...and love is alive. This Christmas catus is 7 years old. We moved to Chamonix 7 years ago and I put on my first pair of rando skis 7 years ago. Little did I know back then, that I would be rando racing 7 years later with 2 young children and loving the sport! 7 Years ago, Michael gave me my first rando skis and this Christmas Cactus for my birthday and 7 years is still going strong.
Dryland training has been spent in the gym developing core strength and balance, in the pool for some cross training, rollar skiing and ski hiking to simulate the sport of rando skiing.
The first session on snow was a distance workout in Cervinia climbing up to 3400 meters -followed by a welcoming smile of our friends at the Guides Hut and a great plate of pasta-al dente! The ski down was even better. The conditions were mid winter and excellent.
Nordic tracks have been set in Arpi, Italy. Michael, Birken and I decided to join the French and Italian national ski teams and do a bit of track skiing and find some good snow. Arpi is an amazing old mining village set at the top of multiple switch backs. A hidden gem for early snow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Support Nina in her 2009 World Cup Season

Nina has been selected for the US ski mountaineering team and will be competing in World Cup races this winter in Europe. She continues to help inspire women to enjoy the outdoors through her own outdoors and adventurous pursuits as a woman and a mother. Also through her sports she is promates health, fitness and philanthropy. With the help of many supporters, she recently raised over $2,000 for the American Cancer Society in an effort to find a cure while she ran the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail. Nina is looking for sponsors to help her cover the costs of race entries, travel fees, and equipment. If you are interested in a formal sponsorship where I can represent your product or company please contact me at If you would like to support me for the 2009 season please contact me at or use the link below.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thank You Sponsors for a Great 2008 Season!

Thank you sponsors for a great season, my first year on the US ski mountaineering team. You all have helped me achieve my goal. Upon last year’s success I have been a named to the USA ski mountaineering team for a second season.

My highlights for ski mountaineering 2008:

● Member of USA ski mountaineering team

● Selected for World Championships and competed in World Cup 2008·

● 2nd Place, TSF-Millet- 2 day stage race in France, 2-9 & 2-10’08
● 3rd place, Le Verte Envers- uphill, France, 2-12-08
● 3rd, Praz-Sur Arley uphill-France, 2-2-08

● First American women to compete in famous Swiss ski mountaineering race, The Patrouille des Glaciers- 7th place, April 2008·

● First all-American team to compete in French 4 day stage ski mountaineering race- Pierra Menta- 14th place, March 2008·

● top 10 most of the year on the French National rankings -ffme

Summer Training trail running :

2nd place women 18k Combloux trail May 2008

● 10th place women Mont Blanc Marathon 42km w/ 2450+gain, June 2009

● 10th place, womenMont Blanc Ultra Trail- CCC 98km, 5540 meters up August 29th, 2008

I would like to thank each of my sponsors individually:

Oakley Sunglasses

Oakley is the top of the line in eye wear. Having a good pair of goggles or sunglasses is essential in a race that relies so much on the elements of nature. I can count on Oakely to protect my eyes through hail, sleet sun and wind. The women's radar is good protection with cool women's colors and the xs o frame is a small light goggle that is great for racing!

Pierre Gignoux handmade carbon ski mountaineering boots

Lightweight carbon ski mountaineering boots that weigh almost as light as my salomon skate race boots and ski as well as a stiff alpine boot. These are a state of the art design. This year Pierre is coming out with a light weight inner boot.

Pomoca Climbing Skins

I learned the hard way. When I first started racing a few years ago I was in 1st place and then my skins failed on the last hill and I did not have a 2nd pair. Now I know. Pomoca skins are the top of the line. Even in longer races I did not have to switch to my 2nd pair because the skin glue is excellent and the glide is fast!

Restaurant Maison Carrier- Hotel Albert-Premier Chamonix

Are you coming to Chamonix and would like to dine in style or stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the Alps with excellent customer care? The Relais & Châteaux hotel's two restaurants can meet your palates' delight-The traditional alpine cuisine of the Restaurant Maison Carrier or the fine dining of the Albert Premier. And Pierre Maillet, the chef at the Michelin 2 star restaurant must be the fittest french chef around as an avid ultra runner of the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail, cyclist and ski mountaineer himself.

Ski Trab

The World Cup Duo Race is an excellent, lightweight but durable ski that carves well through all conditions and can stand up to the tests of ski mountaineering. French Distributor


I have been wearing Smartwool socks for sports and casual wear for many years. For ski mountaineering racing I wear the Ski race light. My feet were well protected this year on the Mont Blanc Ultra trail with the PHD trail socks. In ski mountaineering, staying warm and dry but not too hot is essential. Under a race suit I can't go wrong with the women's microweight NTS boy briefs and microweight NTS crew.

Suunto watches
The TcC is the top of the line watch for ski mountaineering and ultra running as it works directly with heart rate, training and altimeter. It is user friendly and you can link your training directly to the computer. I could not recommend it more

Isis clothing for Women

Isis clothing has helped me stay warm and dry through out my training and racing efforts this past season. It's fun femine flair makes it even more appealing. The Whisper jacket is a great piece to put on after a hard training or race finish. I love that the company is run by women and designs clothing for women who love the outdoors.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Autumn in Chamonix

Michael and I did the Tour of Crochuz in the Aiguilles Rouge just before the first snow fall. The nights here are getting cooler and the days more autumnal.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nina - 10th Place for Women- Mont Blanc Ultra Trail- Courmeyer, Champex, Chamonix- CCC

Update from Nina's race - starting in Courmeyer, Italy through Champex, Switzerland and finishing in Chamonix, France.

General Stats:Distance: 98.3km (61 miles)
Elevation gain: 5,505 meters of up hill. (18 061 feet)

number of racers:
2033 people started the race (1745 men and 288 women)
only 1318 finished.
only 1241 finished before the official cut off time (26hrs) The cut off time was extended to allow all to finish

Result- (first and foremost goal was to finish)

10th place for women overall out of 288 women total
8th place for senior women age category
139th place overall out of 2033 runners

Weather- Hot (30 degrees at start –about 86f)

Time- 18hrs:20 minutes (Start at 11am Fri and finished 5:20 am sat)

Here a few pictures from the race and events leading up, including the boys after The Mini CCC-600 meters of trail running-

Food- majority was gels and Cliff shot blocks, pasta- bouillon soup w/ noodles- coke and water, water, water- lots of it. I tried to eat something every ½ hr. it was important to eat plenty of salt/ sodium to avoid cramping and dehydration

Support team here in the Alps – Thank you! There are special zones along the course where you can change gear- refuel etc. There were about 8 stations throughout the 98kms. You are not allowed to have support (i.e. Take gels or food) from anyone outside these refule zones.

Michael, Birken and Mom met and cheered in Val Ferret Italy before climbing up Col du Val Ferret-Here I refueled w/ soup and sports drink-and water.

Lyndsay and Kari first saw me just before the climb up to Champex (cheering next to the Swiss Cows). In Champex I ate some pasta at 7:40 and changed to long sleeve shirt and head lamp. I did not turn on until about 9pm. Still hot); In Trient, I switched to brighter Petzl ultra light Headlamp- amazing for down hills; In Vallorcine (Lynds and Kari still cheering- God only knew what time it was- sometime in the middle of th night and Kari had just flown over from the States and was running on no sleep and Red Bull), then Col des Montets (last big and toughest climb of the course before a tough descent into Chamonix) At this point I was only able to digest Coca Cola. It pretty much got me through to the finish in Chamonix.

Michael, Lynds and Kari welcomed me to the finish in Cham at 5:20 am Saturday the 30th. Yay!
Mom looking after kids at home. Thanks to so many of you who followed on the internet and texted me encouraging messages too!

Why did I do this race?

It's funny, when I first moved here, I said I would never do this race when I saw hundreds of people limping around Chamonix on the sunday after the race. Even last year when I supported my friend Lynsday in it, I said I would never do it, but somewhere in a moment of weakness-or strenth, thinking it would be good training for ski mountaineering, I signed up through a lottery draw, managing to avoid the madness on January 1st when thousands of people sit in front of their computers waiting to get into this race- Both races filled up this year in 10 minutes! Why would so many people want to put them through that kind of suffering? I can't explain.

It brings people together

50,000 people came to Chamonix, to either race, support their families or friends or volunteer. This race was impressive in the amount of manpower/women power it took to put on. On a large scale, there were people over 50 nations participating in the event -with in the Alps, it covered trails in 3 countries, 3 languages, bringing thousands of volunteers together in unity. On a smaller scale, there were over 60 people from my local running club in the event. On another scale- both global and familial, it was important for me to bring my own challenge to another level and help raise an awareness to those dear in my live who have suffered or are suffering from cancer. Doing this brought unity between friends and family from far away as we joined forces to help support finding a cure for this disease.

Throughout the entire 18hrs and 20 minutes my mind went through- highs and lows. I was more than honored to be running for those close to me who are challenged daily by cancer or have struggled with this disease. The Ultra Trail was in no way what these folks are enduring or have endured each day.

Thank you all for your support in other parts of the world in the effort to find a cure.

Please pass this blog update on to anyone who you think might want to unite to help search for a cure for cancer. My race is over, but our friends' with cancer's race is not. You can still join in unity to help find a cure.

Click on the link below to go to my fundraising page to donate to the American Cancer Society to help find a cure.

On another note, I lost a friend in the mountains less than a month ago. Her days ended too soon. She was passionate about the mountains in everyway- climbing, skiing and trail running. I also ran this race for Aurélie Lévèque who will always shine with us in the mountains.

If you would like to find out more details about the race-results, maps, and other interesting information- or if you are tempted to sign up for next year's race in 2009 click on the below link.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Adventures in the Alps

Back in Chamonix for the last of the summer holiday. The boys are having fun bike riding, bouldering and hiking and Nina is getting geared up for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc- In preparation, on August 10th, she competed in the Sierre-Zinal mountain race, one of the most famous trail races in Europe
The Mont Blanc race-passes through 3 countries- Courmeyer(IT), Champex (CH), and Chamonoix (FR)• CCC® : 98 km and 5 600 m + (18,372 feet!) + altitude change - 26 h max
start Friday, August 29 at 11:00 from the centre of Courmayeur (Italie)
When we first moved here Nina said she would never do that race - 2 years later she got pulled into the trail running bug and decided that it would be good training for the ski mountaineering season and a good challege.
Stay tuned for more...on this
Grammy is coming over to help w/ the support team.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July Fun

We made an annual trip to Maine for some summer fun with family and friend. Lots of water sports; swimming, waterskiing, ,kayaking and boating plus some good hiking and trail running. The boys enjoyed many adventures on the farm with the animals and trains and tractors and of course hanging out with Grammy and Poppy and their Uncle Bunge.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Vacation is almost here! Mont Blanc Marathon and Mini Cross

Silitch Family News:
On June 28th and 29th, Birken and Nina take place in the Mont Blanc Marathon mini cross and Marathon. Birken did his first race of 800m on saturday around the parapente field - very near to our house. He was a star and recieved a finishers medal just like his mommy did for her race on sunday. We had a fun family weekend enjoying the local sports of the area.

A little about the marthon in brief-Not your typical marathon - it has a new course this year with even more elevation gain. I will not know the difference as it will be my first mountain marathon. Le nouveau parcours du Marathon vous offre un dénivelé positif de 2445m (just over 8000feet in elevation gain) et un dénivelé négatif de 1480m (4850 feet in loss) It is going to be hot hot hot here in the Alps. The course is semi self contained w/ limited water and aid stations meaning you will have to carry water as well. The goal for me for this is to stay hydrated and finish the course! For more info on the course- check out the site.

Marathon Day!
We could not have asked for a better day- It was a little hot but not too bad. Most of the race was in the trees-or shade as we started at 7am. The water stations were good where you could refill your camelback. I drank lots of water and ate lots of gels to avoid cramps. Refilled the camel 2x. I was surprised by my result- I took tenth place for overall women w/ a time of 5:51 min. just 35 mins behind the winner> There were over 135 women who raced. It was a beautiful race in the Chamonix valley with great support from volunteers from the Chamonix Sports Club and the Chamonix Mont Blanc Running Club-as well as locals. Birken, Anders, Cassidy and Michael headed up to Flegere to cheer and give great support as well towards the last part of the race. I could not have done so well w/out the great support of my family and Cassidy! Thanks!

Birken is just about to finish his first year at Ecole Maternelle. He loves his school and his teachers found him always smiling! They studied cows this spring and learned how to make yogurt and butter. His school celebrated science last week and had a festival for friends and family. They took a field trip to the local Swiss Alpine Zoo.
Here are some more pictures from our weekend!

Older news:
Gearing up for summer-trying to stay fit for ski season. Nina took place in a local 18km trail race w/ 900 meters of elevation gain and about the same for loss. It was a good warm up for the coming Mont Banc Marathon

view the results: This is the Ultra Trail that I said I would never do but managed to sign up for the CCC- Courmeyer-Champex-Chamonix only 98kms! Yup- that is far. I will be training for this this summer.

I have been training with our local running club the Chamonix Mont Blanc Club- CMBM- Check out our site and our upcoming trail race

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Solstice Arrives

Spring has been lingering on here in the Alps with almost a month now of rain and showers. We are managing to still get out and enjoy the mountains in rain and shine. Birken is playing mini-tennis and Anders is adventuring on bikes and trikes. We have enjoyed some quality time together as a family and continue to appreciate this amazing place we live in and the lifestyle and pace here. It is a blessing that Michael can come home each evening after his commute to work up to the mountains and we are continually grateful for that. We enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Majorca, Spain- the same area we were in last year. A nice break after a long ski season of guiding and racing- before gearing up for summer season.

Our vegetable Garden. We planted our seeds in mid April and have harvested our first radishes (The boys like to pick them but not eat them) Birken is eagerly awaiting the sugar snap peas to come. We have enjoyed fresh mixed baby greens for salads and are waiting for our rainbow carrots and kaleidoscope kale!
Summer is coming soon! We hope to catch up with friends and family! Michael is gearing up for his summer season of guiding. full of alpine rock and limbstone routes. He is staying fit wih yoga and biking. We just did a great yoga workshop with Bryan Kest of California Yoga is a great strength builder, healer of injuries and aches and also stress reliever. It teaches you to be calm and non reactive with a peaceful mind. Nina is training for the Petit- Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (98k) August 27th and will do the Mt Blanc marathon for a warm up end of June. Stay in touch!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Patrouilles des Glaciers- Team Ataka!

It was all of our 1st Patrouille des Glaciers-and it was a memorable one. We finished 7th place in the women's civilian category, starting at Midnight in Zermatt and arriving 12:30hrs later in Verbier. In a nut shell the 12 1/2 hrs consisted of the following:

We started out in rain- ran through mud, wet snow and ice, skinned up the glacier through heavy snow with fog and high winds, skied down through moguls and crud, rappelled down an icy rocky couloir, climbed up the steep snow steps of Rosa Blanche 3600 meters, and hauled "ass" down the slopes of Verbier to arrive at the finish in the sun!

The Patrouille des Glaciers was our final race of the season- though it was also the first race on our mind of the season. We had to apply the race October and be selected -like a college application. We were preliminarily selected in November and the final selection was Dec. 22. So needless to say - it was a long and detailed process. We had friends' teams who were not only denied but also rejected because they filled out the application incorrectly. But we made it, we read the 19 pages of Swiss military rules multiple times- as if we were combing with a fine tooth comb. It took a lot of organising and liaising with the team to sort out who would bring what in terms of equipment.

We set off mid day on Thursday the 17th of April to have a night of rest before the day to check in and start. Warren-dad, captained the Grey Goose- the 12 year old grey mini van- and we embarked on our journey over the mountain roads. It would take us 2 1/2 hrs by car from Chamonix. The typical Chamonix-Zermatt haute route takes 6-8 days -passing through Verbier. We were to set off and do this distance Zermatt-Verbier in less than 13hrs.
We parked the car in the Tasch parking lot and trained up to Zermatt. The Spanish team had the same idea as us to arrive a day early to rest a bit before the big day. Kilian Jordan, the young World Cup champion from Spain was on this team.

We met Tara in the morning and set off for our equipment check- It was very well organized by the Army. We were greeted by the soldiers who were cordial and friendly. It was speedy and efficient, much more so than the previous races like Pierra Menta and Mezzalama where were waited in line for hours to check in.

Lunch...pasta and pasta and more pasta to fuel and then a rest in the afternoon.

The briefing was at 5pm at the Zermatt Church. The place was packed. We had standing room only- Dad did not make it in with us- as he did not have the " arm band" but he managed to sneak in the door at the end and got to see the Commandant's cautionary words to dress very warmly for the -30Celsius temps at the top of Tete Blanch- 3600meters and the 75km hrs winds. He scared the crowd with photos of previous military patrouilles from the first race-faces with frost bite. They showed slides of the course to the Enya song, "sail away" and I visualized us sailing through the Swiss Alps into the night and the morning.

Because of the severe weather that was fore casted they would not make the final decision to run the course until 8pm. In the meantime, we prepared to go ahead. Some teams were deciding to not start. A fellow Italian women's team made the choice because they had a colleague who had gotten severe frost bite at an earlier race- but he was only wearing light weight gloves.

Our nerves were a little on edge, but we had the measurement of 2 Swiss mountain guides, Danni and Michael. They both were watching the weather closely from a distance and said the weather was improving after midnight. They encouraged us that we would be fine just as long as we were prepared for the conditions with warm mittens and face masks and plenty of extra layers.

The race was a go. It was raining slightly at the start so we put plastic bags over our ski boots and skies. We started the race in running shoes, as the first 1:15minutes was running on a dirt, snow packed and wet road leading up a path. It started to snow. We finally reached the checkpoint of Stafel and changed out of our running shoes to our ski boots. Our running shoes were going to be picked up and brought to the finish.

About an hour later we roped up for the glacier. Our transition was fast. The army soldier gave us the go-ahead after looking at our knots and we put on some layers, our wind breakers and warm mits and we moved on. The visibility was getting worse but we forged ahead. We made it to the top of Tete Blanche in good time -and were doing well for the time barrier at 6:30 hrs in Arolla.

The decent down from Tete Blanche-roped up as a team was entertaining. Tara had her big headlamp which was awesome-shinning the path. We skied down through 15cm of fresh powder. Skins on again for an easy climb to col de Bertol. Not far...the magical Bertol hut stood high in the distance like an eagles nest.

Check point- Col de Bertol-skins off and down hill. Still quite dark and low visibility- but we set off skiing fairly conservatively for the descent. With in 30 min we were in Arolla for the re-fuel. We were fast on the decent passing lots of teams. Dad was there to meet us with water and food. We were able to drink up to the glacier then our water froze so it was nice to get some fresh water. I was not super hungry - after being at altitude my stomach was still nauseous but I tried to force something down. We left the high energy of the fans and supporters and set off w/in 10minutes up the next climb.

The climb out of Arolla was long- we set out at a slow and steady pace. There were crowds of people cheering along the way. We also were catching up with many teams at this point, some of whom were doing the Petit PDG. A short bootpack over the Col de Riedmaten and then a very icy -rocky chaotic rappel over the other side.

Then another descent and the long traverse of the lac de Dix then the final big climb up Rosa Blanche. I was feeling it now and my stomach was still nauseous. We managed to get some more water and refuel. Our team was working well and encouraging one another.

The crowds were amazing and encouraged us up the bootpack of Monta Rosa and then one more small climb-Pas de Chat- we pulled through to the last check point of Les Ruinettes, fueled by swigs of spectators Coke. Coke is the beverage of choice for the long haul.

And then we hauled it down for the descent, doing what we do best, skiing fast down, even though at times it felt like our legs were going to give out. We weaved through the day-tripper skiers who were on the slopes of Verbier and made some nice turns on the groomers. Finally we arrived in Verbier and clicked off the skis, and had to run 2km to the finish! Crowds of people lined the streets of Verbier, cheering. I had just one thing on my mind, get to the end and meet my family and give them a big hug. Michael, Birken, Anders and Dad and Anna were there waiting for us. "Go mommy Go!" Allez, Allez! Yay, we made it!

A special thanks to:

  • The Restaurant Maison Carrier and Perrine and Pierre for sponsoring us for the race!

  • Warren- aka-WCC, Dad and Pappy - Chief Team support- driving us around and staying up late for the midnight start, driving around to Arolla- catching some z's before the Arolla refuel and then driving some more to the finish!

  • Anna- could not have done it without your help w/ the boys and at home!

  • Birki and Anders- your great support and Go mommy go signs !

  • Michael-aka daddy and Chief Technician and Coach..Weatherman...could not have done it with out your support and encouragement.

And of course

  • Lyndsay and Tara- we were a great team! The most important- we made it together - from start to finish!

    Some interesting links on the race:

the official race site link:

this will give news and updates on the race- links to weather stations and other articles.

here is a video that shows how difficult it was to make the decision to run the race due to high winds and severe colds.;vid=8992007

Here is a link that follows a British civilian team and gives you another taste of the conditions.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Patrouille de Glaciers Training

Lyndsay and I drove to Cervinia to meet Tara our 3rd on our Patrouille des Glaciers team. She is dutch/canadien but lives in Cervinia and speaks fluent Italian. It was a very windy day- 80km winds at the Plateau de Rosa- at 3840 meters. Our goal was to train together as a team- practice skiing with the rope up and down and sleep at the Rifugio Guide del Cervino- which is at 3840 to get some altitude training in. We managed to get all our goals in despite the high winds and cold temps. The hut was friendly and warm with good italian food. One other PDG team of men arrived later in the afternoon to do the same as us. At first we thought it was just 6 of us that night, but just before dinner 12 Swiss National Team men arrived. It turns out that all of them work for the Swiss Border Patrol- Douane Suisse. They were also doing some altitude training up high to prepare for the big race. It was helpful to talk with them and get some tips as well on training and the race itself. Michael did an amazing job preparing the rope. Thanks to him we were in good shape and got the thumbs up from the Swiss team for the rope. The next morning we were the first up. The wind howled all night and shook the shutters. I managed to get a good night sleep anyway. We set out into very low visability and did some rope training in the high winds. Skiing down and doing a bit of skinning. It was a good training session in tough conditions. To find out more about this famous Swiss Ski Mountaineering Race put on by the Swiss Military click

Click on this link to see a very cool inspirational video on the PDG

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Pierra Menta - First American Team-

Nina and Lyndsay set a goal to compete in the Pierra Menta - the famous four day French ski mountaineering race. Nina had had a few set backs in the past 3 weeks missing the World Champs due to flu and strep, then a car accident and a relapse of strep throat. Needless to say- she strapped her skis on after almost 3 weeks of being away. Sometimes a good break is all that is needed. The goal was to purely finish the race and we did more than that. They were the first American team to take place in this event. And we took 14th place out of 21 womens teams. This year there were more womans teams than ever and the level was high; they were competing against top teams from France, Italy Spain, Germany. In total there were about 165 teams men included.

The Areche/ Beaufort region is the heart of ski mountaineering. The children in this area start randonee skiing at age 10 so they have some distance and training behind them. It was clear from the course setters that they wanted to give a taste of what real ski mountaineerin is about. The courses were varied and changed a bit with the lack of snow in places. The arrival day it poured with rain but were blessed w/ 3 good sunny days and then the last day a bit of mixed weather.

  • The first 2 days of downhills skiing was pure surival skiing. Our first decent was bullet proof ice...Bode Miller would have let them run on this. It reminded me a bit if Sugarloaf/USA after a good rain and then a freeze. Lyndsay and I let them run as much as we could but then it was purely survival skiing getting down over roots and rocks and then icy couloirs with rutted out mogals. There were places on the decents we had to take off our skiis and literally run down a steep muddly slope w/ rocks and roots and trees. We called this the Rambo run. Lyndsay's ultra trail running kicked in and she launched by some teams like a gazelle. There was one section that went up a cable line and we must have done 85 kick turns. We got those down. Another section the snow was to hard to make a track so it was fend for yourself over an avalanche debris slope- It was pure mayhem -people forging there way in all directions trying not to slide down the icy slope. Another section again was pure ice. One had to gently skin, with abs engaged...tread lightly....On this section one could look to the left of right and people would loose traction and just slide right down the slope they just climbed. The last day we did well and made up time on the decents and the flats. We knew it would be over soon - and were looking forward to the finish. It was hot but we hung in there and moved up 4 places.

    We finished- our bodies a bit sore- blisters under our toes and on ankles but good none-the less. We remember why we do this. To push ourselves to a challenged. Enjoy meeting new people and also to be thankful for what our bodies can do.

    Often throughout the course people would cheer, Go Lyndsay, Go Nina. Go USA. It was nice to have the encouragement from the crowds. One man said to us, "oh you are from America; This isn't too hard for you?" We of course said no. Yes the sport is new in the US and we are happy to be helping it grow.

    Throughout the 4 days, I often thought of Tour de France riders- finishing their stages and then having to recover and take care of their bodies. this would be our schedule:

  • finish our race...

  • grab some food and drink

  • change clothes,

  • re fuel,

  • shower and stretch,

  • nap

  • get a massage (these were given to all racers each day!) and

  • then get the briefing on next days course,

  • eat some more,

  • prepare our equipment, (Skis, boots, food- water_

  • sleep

  • wake at 5am for 7am start.

Most days we were out racing between 4hr:30 and 5hr:30 min- The last day was much shorter -only 1:30 ( a welcome change) Total elevation gain over 4 days: (10000 meters or 32,800 feet)

The best was to have Michael and Birken at the finish w/ Birken's. I could not have done this with out the support of Michael- my ski tech and coach- My boys and Anna too! and the support of Mom- Dad and Bunge. Thank you!

Go Mommy Go! sign!

To Read a first hand account from Lyndsay - our feature writer-

Featured on LIVE TO SKI

For a very cool video on the Pierra Menta click on the following. This was aired on French TV. You will have a chance to practice your French.

For more about the event click below:

Next...The Patrouilles des Glaciers... the swiss ski mountaineering race Zermatt to Verbier April 18th....we will join up w/ Tara Jeffries from Cervinia, Italy.

The Pierra Menta- The most legendary alpine ski competition in the world

What is the Pierra Menta: read on..
(from www.

From 13th to 16th March 2008, more than 160 two-person teams will attend the 23rd edition of Pierra Menta, the most legendary alpine ski competition in the world. The wonder of this mythical event will strike once more…....
A legendary alpine ski competition
• The most famous: 23 years of existence• The longest: 10,000 meters total climbing over a four day competition• The largest participation: 160 two-skier teams• The friendliest: spectators by the thousands support the teams, including on the top of Grand Mont (2686m), amidst the mountains.• The fairest: equal treatment for all over the total run but separate premiums for men and women.• The most international: the whole of Europe’s mountain world will attend
With Whom?
Smiling women and men are the spirit of Pierra Menta. They are accomplished mountaineers as well as amateurs, running the show for outstanding performers without dough, dope or showing-off…Simple heroes: the best European champions in their field but also fully dedicated, unobtrusive and anonymous athletes, practising a sport unspoilt with scandal or fashion.
At Arêches-Beaufort, in the magnificent alpine site of Beaufortain, Savoie.Four days of ski routes around the famous Pierra Menta summit that gave its name to the competition.
From 13th to 16th March 2008, when the mountains are gradually turning to spring snow.
Alpine skiing is the competition version of mountain cross country skiing. A two-person team ski up without any mechanical assistance and race down as fast as they can. The winners are clearly the fastest. Uphill, the skis are equipped with so called “sealskins” that prevent sliding back. They are removed when rushing downhill. The participants, on their own during the competition, are expected to be familiar with high altitude mountain conditions and truly respectful of the natural environment.
During the four stages, the participants may have the opportunity to climb such summits as Mirantin (2460m), Grande Journée, Grand Mont, Mont Coin, Légette…Carrying skis and wearing crampons will occasionally prove necessary. Each skier shall have his or her ARVA – a radio safety device used for locating victims of snow avalanches –, a snow shovel and a sounding probe, just in case!
Self sufficiency: everyone carry their own supplies (drinks and food). Departure is at daybreak. The last participants reach the arrival line many hours after the winners. Great spirit: cow bells, songs, happy mood.
And what else?
Pierra Menta is also a fantastic mountain, the result of Gargantua’s anger. In a fit of rage, he shot this obelisk in the middle of Beaufortain’s alpine pasture land. This stone needle now stands pointing up, reaching 2714m.
Information and registration for the 23rd edition of Pierra MentaOfficial site:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ski Mountaineering World Championships Opening Ceremony and Individual Short

Mom arrived mid morning and we had a nice birthday celebration for Anders. It was a special day for me as it was Anders 2 year birthday. I felt proud of where we have come in 2 years and proud that I was going to the World Champs.

I set off after lunch for a short hour and a half drive over to Switzerland. Lyndsay and I caravaned together and stopped at our favorite store to stock up on some food. You never know what you are going to get in the small Swiss towns and it is nice to have fresh fruit and cereal on hand w/ some PB and J too!

We checked in and did our equipment check, found our lodgings and met the others on the US team. There were 9 guys and only one other woman, Monique Merrell who had done quite a lot of endurance competitions.

The opening ceremony was fun. All the nations paraded in together. The best part was seeing my family in the stands, Michael, Birken, Anders and my mom and Anna. They came over to watch from Chamonix which meant a lot to me.

I rarely get the flu and was feeling in the best shape of my life, but this time it really snuck up on me and the wrong time. I came down with the flu and strep throat all at once on this opening day. As much as I wanted to race on Sunday for the individual, I could not physically. And knew if I had it would seriously hinder my recovery for my other big races coming up. I will rest up for the possibilty to race the long individual on Friday. These things happen and in the big picture it is not a big deal. I have done a lot of races this season and still have the Pierra Menta and Patrouille des Glaciers to come.

I headed out Sunday to cheer and watch. It was great to be out supporting Lynds and the other US guys and the UK guys I knew. It was actually very cool to be on the other side and watch these amazing athletes, many of whom have been doing this sport since a very young age. The mens start was fast and furious. I have enclosed a few shots of the race and a video of the start.

Check out this amazing video of the individual race. It will give you a real taste of what ski mountaineering racing is about.

Individual World Championship 2008 from on Vimeo.