2014 Allalin Glacier Downhill, Saas Fee
Each year hundreds of dedicated mountain bikers take part in an annual race in Saas Fee. However, the fact that the race takes place at the beginning of March and the course is a glacier means that the Saas Fee Glacier Downhill is no ordinary mountain bike race…
The Allalin was bathed in sunlight at 8am on the 8th March when 233 mountain bikers began the downhill race from the highest skiable point in Saas Fee. The Glacier Downhill race takes riders from a high point of 3,500 metres to village level at 1,800 metres is an annual event in the ‘Pearl of the Alps’, and has been running for the past 12 years. Riders must take part in pre-race training for the event, and complete the course, which runs from the top of the Allalin, down past the Morenia mid-station at 2,700 metres and down many red and blue runs, surrounded by the breath-taking scenery of the eighteen 4,000 metre peaks. The slopes were in excellent condition due to snowfall at the beginning of the week, followed by continuous bluebird days however, the race was not without drama as a few of the 233 riders fell on some steeper parts of the course.
The Glacier Downhill is a very popular event in Saas Fee with locals and tourists alike, all keen to watch a very different event in this beautiful corner of Switzerland. Spectators could be found at the start line, the Morenia mid station watching bikers come down one of the steepest reds in resort and of course at the finish line where a crowd gathered to cheer competitors across the line. Saas Fee is particularly popular due to the amount of free events provided. As well as the Glacier Downhill race, there is ice climbing world cup which took place in January of this year, and the upcoming Allalin Glacier races in April, the highest downhill glacier races in the world.
This year, despite much fierce competition, the Downhill Glacier was won by Philipp Bont from Visp with a time of 8 minutes 35 seconds, a time which is close to the overall record of just under eight minutes!
Guest Blogger – Hannah Blackstock, March 2014