The Silitch Family

Adventures in the Alps and Beyond

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Ski Mountaineering Season

2009 Races

1. 27 December, Holiday Hill Climb, Sugarloaf, USA 1st woman AT

2. 10 January, La Maurienne, Rhone Alps, Team race with Michael

3. 18 January, Valtellina Orobie, Italy, Ind World Cup, 12th

4. 25 January, Pyramid D’Oz, France, Ind. World Cup

5. 30 January, Montet des Signal, France, 3rd place sr woman

6. 7-8 February, TSF Millet, France, 2 day, 5th place

7. 17 February, La Verte Envers, France, 1st place sr woman

8. 21 February, Challenge Run & Skate, 1st place team women

9. 8 march, l’Integral du Rogneux, Swiss team Champs, 7th

10. 12-15 March, Pierra Menta, France, Team World Cup, 4 day, 7th WC div.- also - Miss Pierra Menta

11. 28 March, Dachstein Extreme, Austria, Ind World Cup, 10th Sr WC div

12. 2-5 April, Tour du Rutor, Italy, Team World Cup, 3 day stage, 7th WC div

13. 11 April, Cols et Cimes, France, 1st place woman

14. 2 may, Trofeo Mezzalama, Italy, high altitude team of 3 (to be confirmed)

Ranked 13th for World Cup 2009 Season- International Ski Mountaineering Federation

A very special thanks to my USA teammate Lyndsay Meyer of you we would not have had the all the fun & smiles!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Musings of a Mezzalama Mama

Today I headed up the Aiguille du Midi to try and do a bit of acclimatizing for the recently rescheduled Mezzalama before picking up the kids at school. The Mez had been postponed when all 1200 of us were on the start line at 5 am. This was a tough but smart call due to bad weather.
The new race date was not confirmed until yesterday so needless to say there were a few days of limbo. I had done 14 races this season, 5 of which were World Cup. I was ready to go on the 19th of April and was thinking summer days after that. It was kind of like showing up to an exam that you had been preparing for all semester and having the prof say –once you arrived with pen in hand, sitting at your desk,-sorry guys no exam today but maybe in two weeks. That was tough for the mind. I felt summer calling and so were my children.

2:30 pm- Aiguille du Midi view point 3480 meters (over 11,000 feet) I was up there trying to open up my lungs to acclimatize a bit. I fished around in my Petzl bug pack for my sunglasses. I found a Petzl e-lite, a pacifier, some homeopathic arnica tabs, lip stuff, a diaper and some wipes, but no sunglasses. Meanwhile a couple of tourists fished around in their bags and pulled out their Lucky Strikes. Hey, why not light up at 11,300 feet and fill the lungs with some cancer filling smoke rather than the fresh mountain air of Mt Blanc. You know it never ceases to amaze me here in Europe the amount of athletes who actually do smoke. In fact it was just last week when I was at the check in for the Mezzalama and I noticed a racer smoking as he was gathering his gear. What ever works man? This reminds me of a conversation I was part of last year. It went something like this, Yes, this year I am training for the Mont Blanc ultra trail, a woman explains as she takes a drag on a cigarette. Interesting training concept.

This winter was pretty full on with races almost every weekend, which meant focus on a few things: family, training and sleep. Cleaning seemed to be swept by the wayside as did going to the monthly book club meetings. But who am I kidding. I have read I think 2 novels since my 2 kids were born and a slew of child development books are stacked by my bed but I have not gotten through those either. It seems I read a few pages and then nod off to sleep only to be woken a few hours later to a wee cry in the middle of the night.

From time to time I will pick up a Martha Stewart She has some good craft ideas and recipes but who in their right mind could actually be that organized? She actually has a whole room dedictated to crafting. Sounds nice- We have a garage dedicated to gear. She begins each issue with a calendar that is marked with things to do each day of the month. The April issue usually has things like, turn mattresses from winter to summer side, ( I did not even know they had two sides), wash curtains ( I would be scared to shrink my curtains), polish silver (I opted for no silver when I got married- just a climbing rack instead), air out duvets (I could do this), plant seedlings, (have to wait on this til after 5 May) and put winter clothes away (should do this). I am thinking she probably does not have 2 young boys or does not do ski mountaineering races nearly every weekend.

My weekly list goes something like this:
Take shower and brush hair! -Since motherhood-this routine has lessened
Catch up on laundry (the piles of laundry!)
Wash dishes
Unload dishwasher
Wash power gels out of race suit
Buy diapers and wipes
Put race stuff away
dry hockey socks
Organize kid’s art drawer
Tidy toys

Long Term List: looming out there in the distance somewhere on the monthly calendar
Organize garage
Vacuum cheerios and cookie crumbs out of Chariot Carrier and car
Wash couch slip cover (the kids take a beating on it)
Potty train Anders

Spring Clean after Mezzalama!

So needless to say, I may not be Martha and I know my house will never be as neat and tidy as my neighbors who name I will not name but then again she does not have 3 and 5 year old boys who seem to wreak havoc on any bit of organizing I may have done. Seriously I could spend hours tidying toys, closets and art drawers and moments later it seems as if WW3 has broken out when one pulls that favorite shirt from the bottomof the pile or they dump out all the blocks to find just the one they need for their tower.

But my husband would say, that stuff is not important- yes it might look good on the outside to have a spotless and well organized home but did that person actually enjoy a ski up a 4000 meter peak or spend the afternoon playing soccer with the boys? It's more important to do yoga than clean the bathroom or sort toys. Or more important to get a good night sleep than stay up for hours surfing aimlessly for friends you once had in grade school on Facebook. And remember, you aint gonna see Martha doing the Mezzalama either... but maybe you can find her on Facebook.

And so he is right and as a Mezzalama mama I have learned to prioritize. In order to be a high level athlete and a mom/ wife and run a household it is important to be at my best. If this means I have to sacrifice some dirty dishes or extra loads of laundry piling up, so be it.

Important news: Spring Cleaning postponed to a later date. Date to be confirmed by end of the week.

So for the record, I aint no Mezzalama Martha, but just a Mezzalama mama who is trying to keep motivated for the big spring cleaning coming up!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chamonix Cols et Cimes- 1st place woman

The 2nd Chamonix Cols et Cimes on Easter weekend- Saturday April 11, 2009 was a great success. The organisers of the course- the ski patrolers of the did a great job accomadating with the foehn wind. (for full results and more pictures also check this site)

I placed first for the women with a time of 2 hrs 28 minute.

The race took place in the Aiguilles Rouge area above the Brevant-Flegere.

The course was technical, fitting to the alpine flavor of Chamonix, with half a dozen transitions from ski to boot packs to descents down techincal couloirs. These transition were favorable to my skills.

It is great to see ski alpinisme racing growing in the Chamonix Valley. This course debued our new local club with the Chamonix Club des Sports: Chamonix Ski Alpinisme Competing from the club were Daniel Hoffman- President, Nina Silitch-vice president, Nuno Cateono - Secretaire and Michael Silitch-club guide.

Go Michael Go!

Fun downhills!

The finish at the Flegere Refuge, with a backdrop of the Chamonix Aiguilles, was followed by a hot savoyard tartiflette in good company.

A great thanks to the organizers and volunteers to a job well done! It was great to see my CMBM friends there too!

Also a big thanks to my sponsors!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mezzalama Altitude Training

We set out to Italy to do some high altitude training as a team in preparation for our final race of the season the most famous high altitude ski mountaineering race, the Trofeo Mezzalama We also practiced skiiing roped up as a team; for this race we are obligated to ski up and down with a rope.

Our team: Nina, Lyndsay and Cecile

Our refuge at 3600 meters. Great food and good company- Good hospitality from our friends Walter and Tara.
Heading up towards the Breithorn Peak on a beautiful day.
Plateau de Breithorn

Looking out towards Castor Peak and Mezzalama course.

The course is April 19th with a weather date of the following sunday. We will cross our fingers that the weather stays good.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

7th Place Rutor Extreme- Final Team World Cup

The Rutor was our first international race in 2007. Lyndsay and I had great memories of this race: very technical and super long descents- just what we love. We finished in the top 10 in 2007 and were eager to take the start line again, especially since it was now a 3 day stage race, like the Pierra Menta and a World Cup.

The Rutor is held every two years in the valley of Aosta, Italy (not far from our home in Chamonix). Kudos to Marco Camondona and his Rutor team for their excellent organization on and off course. It was a pleasure racing in the region. As before the race was beautiful with technical ridges to cross and great descents!

These 2 races combined are part of the Trophy des Alpes.
Also important this year was that the Rutor was the final Team World Cup event of the 2009 season. We finished 7th for the Rutor World Cup. 6th place overall for the freeride competition which was a cumulative time for the last 2 days of descents.