The ISMF Ski Mountaineering World Cup is back to Les Marécottes, Switzerland. From Friday to Sunday the event will offer three races also valid for the European Championship: the Individual Race, the Vertical Race, and the Sprint Race.

Winter has finally arrived at Salvan-Les Marécottes. In the past few days a fresh blanket of snow has given this Swiss tourist resort a fairy-tale look. Between Friday and Sunday, three World Cup races will take place here, the Individual Race, the Vertical Race and the Sprint Race. World Cup points will be assigned, but also the Continental titles will be up for grabs.

All in all 23 national teams will compete in the three events, namely Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

The European Championship even will open on Thursday evening at Salvan, a picturesque village a few kilometres from Martigny. The 23 national delegations will parade for the opening ceremony. As concerns the races, the Individual Race will take place on Friday morning, featuring all categories for the European titles – Senior, Espoir, Junior and Cadet. On Sunday morning it will be the turn of the Vertical Race, limited to the senior category only. On Sunday morning this weekend of sport will end with the Sprint race. In this case, too, the race will be open to all categories. The event headquarters will be at La Creusaz, a facility right over the Les Marécottes slopes.

The Vertical and Sprint Race were confirmed as originally planned, while the Individual race was lightly amended in view of the snowfalls that made the snow on some stretches quite unstable.

The rendezvous is on Friday morning at 9 for the Individual Race, the opening European Championship event.

In the women race Laetitia Roux completed her comeback over Jennifer Fiechter. After several seasons the Valtellina Orobie is back among the great worldwide ski mountaineering events as second appointment of the 2016 ISMF World Cup. The 30th edition featured an unusual start and finish to be crossed on foot. The athletes of the individual event have had to prove their worth on a track with 1750 m of positive altitude difference, 5 uphill stretches, 5 slopes, 11 set-up changes, open ridges and spectacular downhill chase-downs. The little snow that fell so far this winter had made these parts all the more athletically challenging. On his home mountains Michele Boscacci has attempted since the very start to win the race; he lived the dream and gave hope to his fans for three quarters of the race, before Kilian Jornet caught up and got the better of him. After a spectacular head-to-head, the two came together at the finish line in Campelli, a few kilometres from Albosaggia. The winner was declared by photo finish and then using the chip. Jornet finished the race in 1h, 35’28”609, Boscacci in 1h 35’28”690. Anton Palzer, the first among the Espoir, came third in 1h 35’56”, followed by a steadily and progressively growing Robert Antonioli. The top ten also included Xavier Gachet (FRA), Valentin Favre (FRA), Mathéo Jacquemoud (FRA), Martin Anthamatten (SUI), Matteo Eydallin and Alexis Sevennec (FRA). The women – and junior men – race comprised 4 uphill and as many downhill stretches (1315 D+ 1315D-). As for the women the French Laetitia Roux got her first success. The queen of ski mountaineering was restored to her throne ending the race first in 1h 42’30” before her Swiss rival Jennifer Fiechter - 1h 44’59” – and the Swede Emelie Forsberg – 1h 46’51”. Worth reporting is that Forsberg lost the second place after a time penalty: incorrect position of her skis in the bag. The Spaniard Claudia Galicia finished fourth before the azzurra Katia Tomatis; then, Valentine (France), Martina Valmassoi (Italy), Mireia Mirò and Marta Garcia (Spain) and the young – and first among the Espoir – Alba De Silvestro (Italy). In the Junior race Italy conquered the first two spots with Davide Magnini e Giulia Compagnoni; after 3 uphill and 3 downhill stretches (990 D+ 990 D-), the podium was completed by Lena Bonnel (France) and the local favourite Giulia Murada. As regards the men podium, the French Samuel Equy finished second and Nicolò Canclini won the bronze medal. Tomorrow the World Cup circus will be back on track at the Centro Sportivo Caspoggio with the Sprint event. Photo Gallery HD https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bxbuxds-oXM6aENMQ0FIa3E3U2c&usp=sharing Online on ISMF website : http://ismf-ski.org/www/content/races-result?id=152 All the ISMF World Cup rankings are online on http://ismf-ski.org/ismf2011/rankings.php