Another weak winter shortens race to only 8.5 km
Martin Bianchi, a Tierra del Fuego native, won this year’s edition of the Marchablanca on Sunday August 21st, crossing the line in 23 minutes, 14 seconds. On the women’s side, Sona Klikarova of either Slovakia or the Czech Republic (some confusion existed on her entry form) took the women’s race in 28:08. The normal 21 km circuit was shortened to 8.5 km due to poor conditions for a second year in a row.
Bianchi, who was granted Argentina’s one nordic start spot for the Salt Lake Games but turned it down for various reasons, is now working hard to arrive at the Torino games. Whether or not he will make to Torino still remains unclear.
The big story was, again, the weather. More than one organizer was quoted as expressing nearly the exact same sentiment, â€˜After last year, we thought it had to be better. Well, it was better, but not by much.’ After years of reliable snow, the weaknesses in Argentina’s nordic infrastructure have come to the fore in the last two to three years of poor winters. â€œWe need real trails; designed and cut to be nordic trails, in the woods where there is snow even on a bad year like this, and we need new grooming equipment,â€ said Sebastian Menci, a local leader in the ski community who has skied in a Junior World Championships and the 1992 Winter Games. But the look on Menci’s face said it all: â€˜Who knows when that will happen?’ Until last year, the Marchablanca had taken place 18 consecutive times and was even FIS sanctioned for a brief period.