Saturday, August 25, 2007

The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

Yesterday, Friday 24th August 2007, at 12:00 hours the 5th Edition of the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc started in the centre of Courmayeur. The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc is one of the greatest European Mountain Trail Races. The international race, with 2319 participants from 44 nations, takes place in one of the most incredible landscapes on the world. A breathtaking scenery of seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits like the Mont Blanc, the Dent du Géant and the rock face of the Grandes Jorasses. The athletes cover a distance of 163 km along the famous GR TMB, within 46 hours, with 8900 m of ascent, at an altitude ranging between 1012 m and 2537 m., crossing six passes over 2000 metres high. They will pass through 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.
Alternatively, the Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix will give the 1609 participants 24 hours to cover a distance of 86 km with 4500 m ascent from the Italian heart of the Aosta valley, through Switzerland, before finishing in Chamonix.
Created in 2003 by a united party of friends lovers of cross-country racing and of the country of Mont-Blanc, les Trailers du Mont-Blanc, the race is a real challenge for the organization: 1200 volunteers maintaining 30 control and safety points for a duration of 60 hours to ensure the wellbeing of all who participate. Also, the entire length of the trail is checked and marked with about 5000 flags or signs, all of which have to be removed the days following the race. In the route there will be a total of 16 refreshment posts, some in villages and others at high mountain refuges, together with 4 reception bases at Les Chapieux, Courmayeur, Champex and Chamonix. For hours the volunteers will ensure a continual supply of hot and cold drinks, and trays of all kinds of foods (some places delight in offering their speciality – fresh cheese from the alp, homemade tart, etc.).
You can follow the two races live on the Internet site: This year, the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is experimenting with a new technology to follow the athletes during the Race. Via the Goggle Earth Program you will be able to follow the leaders of the race for the final 50 kilometers (GPS tags giving out a signal every 5 minutes will be given to the first 10 men and the first 3 women in the 163 km at La Fouly, 56 km before the Finish).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Des Glaciers et des Hommes. Espace Tairraz (Chamonix)

Desde el 25 de junio de 2007 y hasta el 1 de septiembre de 2008 podemos disfrutar de la Exposición Des Glaciers et des Hommes. La idea de la exposición es acercar al visitante el mundo de los glaciares desde una perspectiva científica pero también mitológica. Por un lado la creencia, vigente hasta tiempos recientes, que relacionaba la existencia de los glaciares con el Diluvio Universal. Por otro lado los últimos avances de la glaciología como disciplina científica.
La Exposición se encuentra dividida en siete zonas temáticas (Evolución del clima, los grandes ciclos climáticos, los grandes glaciares, los cambios y la memoria de los mismos, los glaciares en movimiento, los glaciares como fuerzas de la naturaleza y los posibles escenarios climáticos del futuro). La visita nos permitirá conocer el funcionamiento de los glaciares, su impacto en el paisaje, su evolución a la largo de la historia.
Resulta especialmente interesante la sección dedicada al periodo conocido como Pequeña Edad del Hielo (1600-1800), ilustrada con imágenes y relatos acerca de su incidencia en el Valle de Chamonix. Recordemos que el Mar de Hielo, el glaciar más importante de Chamonix, alcanzó su máxima extensión en 1645. Como consecuencia de ello se extendió el temor entre los habitantes de la localidad de que su avance cortaría el paso del río Arve, provocando la inundación del Valle. La respuesta de la población fue solicitar la intervención del Obispo de Ginebra para que exorcizara el glaciar y frenara su avance.
Una colección de más de 250 fotografías nos permiten contemplar los glaciares más importantes de todo el mundo: Groenlandia, Himalaya, Andes, Antartida, Alpes, Escandinavia y Alaska.
La visita finaliza con imágenes y documentos que nos muestran un planeta completamente helado en sus origenes, o el avance del hielo durante la ultima glaciación, con los glaciares extendiéndose hasta Lyon, Grenoble o Ginebra. La Exposición se completa con imágenes de satélite, proyecciones audiovisuales y documentos sobre la evolución del clima extraídos de datos obtenidos en las investigaciones realizadas en los Polos.
La visita de la Exposición es una magnifica oportunidad para aquellos que tuvieron la oportunidad de visitar la Exposición Glaciares bajo el efecto invernadero. Un viaje fotográfico en el tiempo a los hielos Alpinos que pudo verse en distintas localidades de Castilla y León gracias al esfuerzo conjunto de la Universidad SEK y la Caja de Burgos.
Espace Tairraz
Parvis Saint Michel
Horario de visita: 14:00-19:00 horas todos los días
Precio de la entrada: adultos : 5 euros, niños y jóvenes 12 a 18 años : 1,50 euros

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia. Interlaken, Switzerland

From 28th June to 1st July 2007, a group of athletes were in Interlaken, Switzerland for a completely unique event combining sporting competition and a video and photo festival. A multi-sports event, the Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia feature the world’s best athletes in 5 outdoor sports disciplines: mountain-biking, kayaking, rock climbing, paragliding and BASE jumping.
The athletes arrived in Interlaken (in the heart of the Swiss alps, between the Lakes of Thun and Brienz and at the foot the famous trio of peaks, the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau) five days before the event started invited by the organizers. The competitors are grouped into six separate teams. Each athlete performed his sports. Their challenge: produce a 5 minutes movie and 20 still photos. In order to guarantee a high quality production, each team is joined by a pro photographer, a pro cameraman and a film editor of their choosing. Each team was settled into temporary canvas bivouac homes in the great outdoors and is free to roam the canton of Bern at the wheel of a NISSAN X-trail Columbia – suitably kitted out for the occasion – to produce a series of breathtaking images for inclusion in their film. Action, humor, lifestyle sequences... the script is free; it’s all game! Arriving at 18:00 on Friday 29th June 2007, each team must hand over a short film to the organizers, no more than 5 minutes in length as well as 20 photographic images captured during the course of the week.
Projected onto a giant screen located in the heart of the town of Interlaken (Oberland, Switzerland), each of the five team films was presented to the general public as well as the jury. Comprising a number of different athletes, adventurers, journalists and image specialists, the film jury carefully reviewed each submission before determining which team claimed the Best video film of the Outdoor Games 2007 and the Best photograph prize.
Team ‘EPHEMERE’ won the Golden Eiger film competition prize. Dom Daher, the photographer on the same team, was awarded the photographic prize. After 2 weeks of intense voting the winner of the online Team Films competition was Natural Outbreak.
The organizers of the event also scheduled in Interlaken several competitions during the course of the weekend for the viewing pleasure of the general public. Each athlete was compete in either judged competition or against the clock in his or her own chosen discipline.
The organizers announced the first Winter Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia will be organized in Chamonix (France) from 14th to 17th February 2008.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race 2007

Saga Events, organizer since 2004 of The Raid World Championship, created on July 2007 the first Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race a major international multisports event. A contest celebrated on the Savoie Mont Blanc Region, on the French Alps. Starting in Morzine the competition reached the end at La Clusaz. The duration of the race was 5 consecutive days, involving different disciplines (mountain biking, downhill mountain bike, white-water, rope-works, canyoning, mountaineering, trail running, adventure running). 3 categories (mixed, male & female) and 29 teams from France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, USA and United Kingdom, took part on the race.
The first challenge for the teams on July 2nd under a torrential rain was a trail running event on an 8 Km course between Morzine and Les Gets. The day after, July 3rd, a strenuous X-country 48 Km mountain bike event took place. The following day the mountaineering event was cancelled. The ascent to the Domes de Miage (3,600 m) was withdrawn from the course because of heavy snowfalls. As a replacement a 10 Km trail running event was organized in Les Contamines/Montjoie at the foot of the Mont Blanc range. The teams set out again two hours later on a 14 Km, and 1,269 meters of elevation gain, trail-run from Notre Dame de la Gorge to Chapieux. On July 5th with the sun finally sunning, was the time for the white water sports -Canoeing, Hydrospeed and Kayak (slalom) stages- on the famous Isère river. In the afternoon another trail run took place. On July 6th after raced over a 13 Km trail, although the canyoning section was cancelled, the racers need to prove their rope skills. First the teams had to climb the selected rock face on a limited time of six minutes, then came a via ferrata of 4,5 Km, before a plunge into the depths of the Massif des Bauges for a short caving section in the Grotte à Carey. The last day July 7th, the 29 teams participating in the first Mountain X-Race finished with a long adventure running stage (40 Km that included a shattering 3,000 meters elevation gain) on the steep slopes of the Aravis Mountains. In La Clusaz the Saab Salomon British team integrated by Phil Davies (captain), Chris Near and Ben Bardsley sealed a memorable victory.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Alex Hofer (Switzerland) wins the 2007 Red Bull X-Alps Race

Today after 14 days, at 21:10 Alex Hofer from Switzerland, the 2005 Red Bull X-Alps champion walked on to Mt. Gros to won his second consecutive Red Bull X-Alps title.
Martin Mueller from Switzerland arrived at Mt. Gros first, but the penalty he incurred when he was found to have flown illegaly through restricted airspace in Sion (Valais, Switzerland), means he cant fly down for another 36 hours.
Tomorrow Alex Hofer has to fly down to the goal on the platform of the coast of Monaco to complete his raid across the Alps to keep his crown.
Behind, Toma Coconea, an incredible challenger from Romania who hiked more than one thousand kilometers is going to claim the second position in the podium. Urs Lötscher from Switzerland reached the Mont Gros in fourth position.
Behind the teams continue struggling over the next two days to complete or improve their final position in the race.
The 2007 Red Bull X-Alps race was really exciting, and the last two days were amazing. When everything looked than Toma Coconea was sure the winner of the present edition, Alex Hofer thanks to an incredible lesson of flying took the lead. He flew, using his legendary flying skills, high along the summits of the Mercantour to his goal at Monaco overtaking Toma Coconea.
The 2007 edition confirms the Red Bull X-Alps race as one of the most technologically advanced sporting events in the world.
The Live Tracking feature allowed thousands of followers worldwide to know at every moment the exact location of every athlete. Their movement were monitored via an interactive map on the website Vector measurements means followers were able to know if the participants were hiking or paragliding, to measure precise distances between athletes, turn points and their position in the race.
Nokia N series devices were crucial in the Live Tracking feature. Bräuniger Competino Systems used Bluetooth technology to transmit GPS data to the Nokia N95s of each athlete, which then sent that information every few minutes to the Red Bull X-Alps server for inmediate update on the Live Tracking map.
The picture and video galleries, the athletes diaries, allowed fans to follow the race in truly live sensation. Guestbooks online in the athlete’s section allowed fans to leave messages of support and greetings for their favourite Red Bull X-Alps team.