Last year’s 33rd place finisher in the American Birkie, Meiko Hoemke sent us these photos from glacier skiing in Les Diablerets, Switzerland last week.
Here is Meiko’s report:
– I finally made it up to the glacier this morning. The temperatures in Europe are ridiculous warm at the moment. The glacier is at approximately 9800 feet elevation. Temperatures up there were in the 42F+ range, the conditions were old wet snow with chunks of ice and dirt. It basically sucked. But I was determined to get my first ski of the season in and skated my first roughly 20 kilometers. The course was rather flat, which is good for early season skiing and high altitude. I went super easy but after 10k I felt like I had skied 2/3 of the Birkie course. The good thing with the â€œmediocreâ€ conditions was that it was not crowded at all.
I was actually surprised that this glacier is really a multi purpose glacier. They have (of course) some alpine slopes, but also some half pipes for boarders, a park for slope style skiers as well as sledge dog rides. They also have a restaurant and a warming hut up there. At my lunch break all the cross country skiers were hanging out there.
In the afternoon I did a nice classic rollerski up the Cole de la Croix. This bastard must have been a Tour de France stage years ago. All the names of riders were still painted on the road. The climb is pretty steep. Comparable with the steep sections up Big Mountain, Utah – barely any kick double pole breaks. It took me 49min to the top. I chased a huge group of other roller skiers up the pass. Close to the top I was battling with a couple of guys for the win and had to take second ;). As they did not speak German or English I figured out later that this is the Team of the French speaking part of Switzerland. So they have basically three elite teams here, one for every language they have in this country.