Saturday, March 30, 2013

Allalin Saas-Fee. The race that burns your thighs

From April 12th to 13th the legendary Allalin Races take place in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Around 1000 participants are expected at the amateur downhill race. The track descends over a length of 9 kilometers and overcomes an altitude difference of 1800 meters – no wonder your legs start burning!
This year the worldcup skistars from Valais Fränzi Aufdenblatten and Silvan Zurbriggen will open the His&Hers Race on Friday. The other participants of the race can challenge themselves by trying to be better than them. Afterwards Fränzi and Silvan will give their autographs at the VIP-tent.
The Allalin Races in Saas-Fee belong to the four most popular amateur downhill races in Switzerland. The “Super Vier” amateur downhill series consists of the four races Belalp-Hexe, the Inferno Mürren, the Parsenn Derby Davos and the Allalin Races Saas-Fee. Every year the overall masters of the whole series will be announced. The award ceremony and the presentation of the much-coveted cup always take place at the Allalin Races in Saas-Fee as it is the last one of the series.
For over 30 years the Allalin Races and the famous afterparties attract ambitious amateur racers as well as wintersports fans who join the competition just for fun. Surrounded by the highest mountains in Switzerland the race starts on an altitude of 3600 meters above sea level and aims the village on only 1800 meters.
The challenging downhill race was mastered for the first time in 1946. Back than the participants had to hike up to the mountain hut on Längfluh, only to get up the next morning and hike further to the top of the Allalinhorn on 4027 meters. The following race down didn’t happen on perfectly prepared slopes like nowadays. No, they had to pass the dangerous crevasses while getting through powder snow.
Participants can enter four different categories: the Team Race, the Fun Team Race, the His&Hers Race, and the individual men’s or women’s races. Men and women in the individual races usually intent to aim the best time. The participants in the Fun Team Race descend just for fun at a leisurely pace. A pit-stop at a mountain restaurant along the way is almost mandatory and dressing up is actively encouraged. Apparently, in the past a team has even plonked themselves down in the snow for a quick cheese fondue. It’s no wonder, then, that teams in this category have been known to take over five hours to “race” down to the finish line. By contrast, an ambitious, highly trained athlete can complete the course in less than five minutes!
The catering in the finish-area of the race will reward the racers with food and drinks. The atmosphere already heats up around lunch time, when the duo “Alpenflieger” starts playing their partysongs. In the evening the rockband “Wildbach” all the way from Austria will get everybody to dance.

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