From 14 to 21 January 2012, ice-climbing and ski-touring freaks from across the globe will once again flock to Saas-Fee. Again "Ice on Tour" will take place in the glacier village, a week-long
programme of action-packed sporting events and legendary iceclimbing parties in the multi-storey car park.
This January the renowned ice-climbing competitions will draw athletes and fans from all over the world. The decision to create an exciting events programme to accompany the Ice Climbing World Cup was made in 2010 – and it has proved to be a very good idea. In 2012 Ice On Tour, including the 13th Ice Climbing World Cup to take place in Saas-Fee, will once again provide both spectators and contestants with thrilling competition and wild parties right through from Saturday to Saturday.
This year’s Ice on Tour week kicks off with the SAC Swiss Ice Climbing Youth Swiss Masters in Saas-Grund. Climbers will compete in two categories (U22 and U18) in the disciplines Lead and Speed climbing. Everyone is welcome to join in, although a certain degree of ice-climbing experience is recommended.
There will also be musical entertainment and a bar serving drinks and light snacks to ensure the event has a party atmosphere.
Exciting night-time ski-touring races will take place on the Wednesday, when around 150 athletes will compete in three different disciplines. All races will start and finish on the village square in Saas-Fee. The "Race" discipline is aimed at those looking for a real sporting challenge; the "Fun" discipline will appeal to those who take the Olympic approach and believe it’s the taking part that counts; while in the "Kids" category keen youngsters can take on their own special course equipped with snowshoes. Before, during and after the races, spectators can enjoy hot drinks, Swiss raclette and "Icespaghetti" on the village square.
Registration for the Ice Climbing World Cup takes place on the Thursday and, in accordance with tradition, all participating athletes are invited to come and gather their strength at a big pasta party.
The action starts in earnest on the Friday and Saturday, when the spectacular ice-climbing competitions get underway on the 30-metre ice wall in Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park – with up to 3,000 spectators. Afterwards, if previous years are anything to go by, there’ll be no time for resting as the hugely popular ice climbing parties are known to continue until morning!B
Bächli Ice Climbing World Cup; European and Swiss Masters
The ice-climbing competitions in Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park are a great opportunity to see top Swiss and international athletes in action and to experience the party spirit of the ice-climbing scene. The competitions take place in a distinctive, one-of-a-kind location: Saas-Fee’s ten-storey car park.
With its spiral access ramp, this indoor venue provides spectators with shelter from the elements and an ideal vantage point to watch the action. Each year some 3,000 spectators get close enough to the climbers to see almost every detail of their ice axes and gripping fingers. Deep down at the bottom is the party zone where guests can let their hair down, hit the dance floor and celebrate the climber’s amazing performances. To make sure no one misses out on any of the sensational action on the ice wall, the climbs are also shown on various large and small screens throughout the venue.
The disciplines: Lead and Speed
In Lead climbing, competitors have to master a long, difficult and unfamiliar route in a given amount of time. Routes can be anything up to 35 metres in height. Besides the ice wall itself, climbers must contend with obstacles such as overhangs, hanging ice blocks and tricky rock sections. Ice climbers consider this discipline the ultimate challenge. The winner is the competitor who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time. One way of measuring
this is by counting the number of carabiners that the climbers manage to clip the rope through.
As its name suggests, the competition’s second discipline is all about speed. As soon as the starting barrier falls, the competitors leap onto the 15-metre vertical wall of ice and scramble to the top at a breath-taking pace – just like Spiderman! Top athletes can complete the course in an incredible 13 seconds. In 2012 this discipline will be run in parallel for the first time.
A legendary party atmosphere
When night falls, the ice-climbing parties get going in Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park, ten floors below ground level at the foot of the competition ice wall. These parties have become the stuff of legend for the spectacular performances given by the pros that attend. Ice-climbing holds are fixed to the ceiling of the party zone especially for these shows. As the party gets later and crazier, more and more climbers start lining up for another opportunity to show off their prowess. Dangling upside down, they make their way across this unique course, once again reminding us of Spiderman. The spectators, who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, look on in incredulity as the climbers appear to stick to the ceiling like glue. Alongside the main party zone, which pumps out the latest chart and club hits, the Bacardi Bar offers the ultimate après-ski party atmosphere. For those who need to come down a little, the heated food tent with its wide variety of cuisine is a great alternative – as is the tavern, which serves a selection of fine
14.01.: SAC Ice Climbing Youth Swiss Masters, Saas-Grund
18.01.: Ice Night-Time Ski-Touring Race (Swiss Cup), Saas-Fee
20.01.: Bächli Ice Climbing World Cup, European & Swiss Masters, Saas-Fee Ice Climbing Party
21.01.: Bächli Ice Climbing World Cup, European & Swiss Masters, Saas-Fee Ice Climbing Party