New records set skiing Zermatt to Verbier
Swiss ski mountaineers won the Patrouille des Glaciers race, with men’s and women’s teams setting new records on the high-alpine route from Zermatt to Verbier.
Martin Anthamatten, Yannick Ecoeur and Florent Troillet pruned 20 minutes off a previous speed record set in 2006, crossing the finish line in five hours, 52 minutes. The route is 110km long and includes 7,000m of elevation gain and lost.
This is the second consecutive win for Troillet, who competed with different partners last year. His sister, Mari Troillet, also walked away with a record. She, along with Swiss teammates Nathalie Etzensperger and Emilie Gex-Fabry, shaved 12 minutes off a 2008 record at seven hours, 41 minutes.
The Swiss Army organises the race, which is held every two years. Snow conditions were superb for this year’s edition, unlike in 2008 when bitter cold, fog and snow made a tough race tougher.
More than 5,500 people took part in this year’s contest, a thousand more than in 2006. More than 89 per cent of them were Swiss.
The first race took place in 1943 as a way for the military to test troop endurance. It opened to civilian racers in 1984 and has become popular enough that organisers must hold two races. The first ran from Thursday night to Friday morning. The second race, which typically attracts top competitors, was held from Friday into Saturday.
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