The Silitch Family

Adventures in the Alps and Beyond

Monday, February 23, 2009

Challenge Run & Skate- 1st place Team Women - Severine and Nina

The 2nd "Run & Skate" was held on sunday, February 22 here in our home town of Chamonix. It is a race- 12k run on snowy trails and 18k skate ski. It can be done indivdually or in a team. I was teaming with Severine Gaillard, a friend from my local running club-CMBM. It is not often that I only have to go 2 minutes to the start of a race. Even better, the race did not start until 10 am and my skate leg at 11:15. (Normally our starts are 8 or 8:30 which means for an early rise.) Needless to say it was an early rise at home. The boys, comme d'habitude, awoke at 6:15. They must be taking after their uncle Bunge who was an early riser at their age and still is to this day!
We awoke to snow falling steadily. The start of the run set off at 10am and Severine battled out the trails blanketed with a fresh couche of snow. The run was quite technical gaining +420 of elevation in 12k. She arrived at the tag zone, snowflakes across her brow and tagged me off.
I set off for my first of 2, 9k loops onto the powdery piste- ungroomed, and had memories of the Transjurasienne in 2005 when it snowed heavily on the 54 k course. I knew the course well and tried to stay relaxed as the snow kept piling up on the trail. One would have thought they might have tried to groom it in the morning, mais pourquoi, as they say here. It made it for a little more challenging and these "trailers" and "fonders" as they call them in France are pretty hard core- so they had to keep up with the image I imagine. Thanks to my wax technician, a.k.a. my hubby Michael, my skiis were fast, as fast as I think they could be in the difficult conditions. I started out with clear glasses but by the first big climb they were fogged up, so I had to put up with snowflakes in the eyes for the remainder of the course. Michael was out on course cheering me on, as well as many other local friends. It always helps to have encouragement on course. And the best was at the finish when I found my boys cheering me there!

The event was a super fun ambience with many friends from my CMBM running club and the Chamonix Ski de Fond Club. There were many folks who came out to help volunteer for the race. It would not have been a success without all their efforts as well as the super efforts from Fabienne and Tiery Ravenel of Ravenel Sports in Chamonix.
I was informed this morning we were on French T.V. last night and they showed us on the podium! Quelle chance!

This is how much snow we have in the yard! What a snowy winter!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Michael member of team for Nissan Outdoor Winter Games- Chamonix

This week in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, The Nissan Outdoor underway. Michael joins Team " Insomnia" before known as "The Dream Team" as an accomplished alpinist. This event has become THE event in action sports today.

The Concept

The top athletes representing the extreme sports of skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, speed-flying and BASE-jumping will be in Chamonix in February 2009, to dispute the Nissan Outdoor Games film and photo competition. After four very successful summer editions, the event is taking place in the Mont-Blanc mountain range for the second time.

In a class of its own, this biggest European outdoor event combines the sporting performances of professional athletes with a creative and artistic aspect and blends it all into a festival of film and photography.

For seven days preceding the event, as a prelude to this fantastic alpine show, the winter games will host about sixty athletes, photographers and cameramen from Europe and North America to take part in the competition. Their challenge: shooting and editing 20 pictures and a short film, which according to the rules, must be no longer than 5 minutes including a sequence of BASE jumping, paragliding, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding. Creativity-wise, anything goes… Elected by a jury, the best film will be judged on its photography, its screenplay and the performance of the riders. When it comes to pulling off the biggest moves, these high-level athletes should display the best combination of their disciplines with the Mont Blanc in the background.

This one of a kind event brings together athletic performance and a creative and artistic dimension to a film and photography festival.

“For the quality of the event and to ensure competitor security (since they perform in tough mountain conditions), we have limited the number of teams to five. These 5 teams represent over 60 people for which the security will be assured by the ‘Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix’”, explains David Carlier, director of the organization. “The selection was not easy because we received candidatures from all over the world and we were obliged to narrow our selection putting aside great teams.”
“The assembly of the international elite from 5 sports proves that this event is truly what the athletes and production companies are looking for. A commitment to quality to which the public will adhere.”

In town we enjoyed spectator events such as slack -line, bouldering, watching Petzl ice climbing and below future "petit alpinists"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

1st Place Senior Women-La Verte Envers-Les Houches

La Verte Envers is the named dubbed for the local Somfy Mountain Ski tour event held here in our Valley at Les Houches. If any of you are familiar with the world cup downhill-Kandahar / La Verte This race goes down the Verte trail. You can imagine as a world cup downhill it is pretty steep and goes pretty fast ( a few minutes) It was just last year we watched Bode fly down this hill.

Well, our race went up, 870 meters up- with 2 boot packs (ski carry's) It took Lyndsay and I around 53 minutes. This was the third year the race has been held. Lynday and I have done it each year, with our times getting better each year. This year it was snowing heavily at the start but we still managed to beat our time from last year. We came in 3rd and 4th overall for women respectively, and 1st and 2nd for senoir women.

The race was super well organized- by the EMHM (ecole military de haute montagne) These soldiers helped set up the course and were on the course throughout making sure it was safe- or serving tea or vin chaud at the finish, and helping keep the wine and water pitchers filled at the dinner. The ambience of the race is one of my favorites, as there were a lot of locals and friends from the Valley racing and cheering! It is really nice when people cheer or say "allez-allez" go go as these uphills are not exactly the easiest things on your lungs. When you get to the top vin chaud is not usually the first thing on my mind. All in all, a really fun local event for all to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February Vacation

ITALY- Val Ferret

February Vacation in France- We managed to escape the ski tourist crowds and venture off to Italy -only 15 minutes away through the Mt Blanc tunnel and get some great cross country skiing with no one around. The tracks in Val Ferret are amazing. The landscape is "sauvage" wild and you literally are in another country. We all skied and then enjoyed some delicious homemade Italian pasta for lunch and then found ourselves warming up in an Italian cafe for some good ol' Italian Hot Chocolate- a.k.a. chocolate pudding. The boys certainly enjoyed it.

Children's US passports have to be renewed every 5 years until the age of 15 and both parents must be present. The closest US Consulate is in Geneva, Switzerland so we decided to make a family day out of it. While we were waiting for the passport pictures to be developed we wandered around a corner to a Starbucks- (actually there are only a few in Switzerland and Nina could not resist paying the Swiss price for the vanilla latte. After a very efficient and quick passport check in, we strolled along the lake looking at ducks, boats and swans and headed to the Natural History Museum. There the boys got their first glimpse of the life size dinosaurs. They also have a great exhibit on all types of animals. And to top it off there was green grass to run around.....something we do not have at our house as the snow keeps piling up higher and higher. No complaining there. The skiing is excellent and the boys have been enjoying skiing in ski groups this week. Anders may be one of the few who ride the poma lift who is not yet three years old.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saddleback Maine Mountain Challenge February 28th

Be sure to Check out the Saddleback Maine Mountain Challenge!

It should be a super fun event for all! I can't make the overseas journey for the event but if you are not too far away be sure to check it out. Rangeley Lakes Maine has got to be one of the most beautiful spots in Maine and the views from the top of "The Back" are stunning. You can't miss the best fire place around either to warm up after the race- It is also a great place to bring the family to ski too!

Saddleback Mountain Challenge
February 28th 2009
In the beginning of skiing there were no lifts. A few hardy souls would attach animal pelts to the bottom of their skis to provide backward grip but allow forward glide. They would then climb to where they wished to ski, remove the "skins", and descend.
Today, those hardy souls are called ski mountaineers. The animal pelts have been replaced by synthetics, the leather boots with plastic, and the wooden skis with space age materials. The idea, however, is the same. There is a special satisfaction in accessing ski terrain by your own effort and determination.
The Saddleback Mountain Challenge taps into that same sentiment. This promises to be a unique experience either as competition with other mountaineers or just for the accomplishment itself.

For the winners, in both the men's and women's division, there is a season's pass at Saddleback. For all participants, there is a commemorative t-shirt and spaghetti dinner and celebration.

Registration for this event will be on the 28th, from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm. No lift pass is required to enter the race, but there is a $25 registration fee. All competitors must have ski mountaineering equipment deemed appropriate by race officials. Racers are not allowed to discard any equipment on route. It is recommended that interested participants scout the route prior to the event, not the day of the event. Saddleback Mountain welcome ski mountaineers, but ask that anyone climbing the mountain check in with Mt. Operations for safety reasons.


Randonee and Telemark
Competitors must have appropriate ski mountaineering gear
Aproximately seven miles
1800' verticle gain
Includes green, blue, black and double black terrain
Marathon start
Start time 2:30
Men's and Women's divisions
Gold, silver and bronze prizes
Dinner and celebration
$25 registration fee
No lift pass required to race