Engadin
Skimarathon

Is downhill
steep or sheer?

Skimarathon

Completed: 11 March 2018
The biggest challenge: weather conditions
The catchphrase: “Is downhill steep or sheer?”

Although I’ll never see it with my own eyes, the Swiss Engadin Skimarathon is said to be one of the most beautiful winter races. The course passes by frozen lakes, through picturesque villages, then right through the middle of the town of St. Moritz before climbing into the woods. Next, the runners descend to Pontresina, where the half marathon ends, and the marathon course continues through the beautiful valley of the Inn River through more villages to the finish in S-chanf.

I can’t see the scenery, but I can at least hear the locals cheering us with cowbells along the route and my tracker Marek navigating me: “Sharp right, snowplough on the left,” is one of his instructions.

The Engadin is the largest popular sporting event in Switzerland and the second largest cross-country skiing event in the world. As many as 14,000 skiers take part each year and I got the chance to participate in its 50th year. Unfortunately, we had difficult weather conditions during the race – the start was preceded by a downpour at times, alternating with rain and snow, with temperatures slightly above freezing. Marek, my tracker, was skiing ahead of me, describing the cross-country trail. The trail led me beautifully and after a while, there was a climb, which we double poled up easily. Down the hill, where the trail suddenly disappeared, I preferred to hold on to Marek’s poles. This ensured that I wouldn’t accidentally go off the track without my eyesight.

As we approached the grandstands, we made one last good run and crossed the finish line of the 42 km long race in a time of 4 hours 24 minutes.

Thanks to my tracker Marek Peterka for his first time guiding me on cross-country skis, and especially to our friends from the One to One organization who organized the whole expedition.

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