Wednesday, April 4, 2012

30th anniversary of the Allalin Races – Feel the burn on the glacier

Legendary Allalin Races celebrate 30th anniversary in 2012.

On 13 and 14 April it will once again be time to say: on the slopes, get set, go!

The two-day event will see over 1,000 participants race the almost 9 km course, descending from 3,600 metres into the valley at 1,800 m. World-famous skier Silvan Zurbriggen will once again be at the starting gate. For 30 years the Allalin Races in Saas-Fee have been part of the Super Vier –a series of the top four amateur downhill races in Switzerland.
Each year the races and after-parties attract ambitious amateur racers as well as winter sports fans who join in simply for the fun of taking part. Alongside the races, there will, of course, be a colourful and varied programme of events. An array of charmingly decorated wooden chalets will be offering a feast of delights at the festival site. They include a wine/champagne bar, a raclette hut, a barbecue lodge or an Asian food stand.A fun party atmosphere is guaranteed, with live music starting from 11 a.m.and going on into the night. There are also many attractions for kids, including face painting and a bouncy castle. To top it off, Silvan Zurbriggen –the famous World Cup skier from the Upper Valais – will be mingling with the crowds on Saturday. Zurbriggen will take part in individual races before giving interviews and even conducting a few of his own on the village square. Fans of all ages will then be able to pick up an autograph from the star skier.
Just over 1,000 participants have registered so far for the 2012 Allalin Races.This gives the organisers strong hopes of surpassing last year’s number ofparticipants and seeing the event’s popularity continue to rise. A total of 552 skiers have already registered for the individual races. The categories with the highest numbers of participants are "Individual Men’s 18 –35" and "Individual Men’s 36 – 50", each with almost 200 on the starting list. At the moment 373 people are registered for the team races. They make up 66 teams in the "Team Race", 23 in the "Fun Team Race" and two in the "Team Snowboarding Race". In addition, 144 skiers have signed up for the His and Hers Race.
This year, most participants in the Allalin Races are from Switzerland (over 90 percent), whilst 5.8 percent are from Germany. The rest come from Italy, the UK, Spain and Austria. Among the Swiss participants, the highest proportion comes from Berne (43 percent), considerably more than the 12 percent from the Valais region. Close behind are the skiers from Aargau, who make up just under 11 percent, and from Zurich, who make up 8.9 percent. Hardly any skiers from Eastern Switzerland have registered.The oldest male participant comes from Germany. Born in 1936, he is participating in the highest glacier downhill race in the world at the grand oldage of 76. The oldest woman, born in 1949, will be competing at the age of63. The youngest male competitor is 16 and the youngest female 19. Invitation to all over-all winners from the past 30 years For the 30th edition of the Allalin Races, the organisers have come up with a very special idea. All the over-all winners from the past 30 years have been personally invited to this special occasion. For several of the former competitors this is sure to be a happy reunion with like-minded people and a chance to indulge in unforgettable memories of lightning-speed descents, comic moments and fierce competition. It will certainly be a great opportunity for all involved to enjoy the races in a jovial environment and to be up close tothe action once more.

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