Martin Bianchi skied clear of chasers in the early kilometers of this year’s 21st annual Marchablanca 21/7.5km freestyle race held on August 19th at the small resort of Tierra Mayor outside of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Bianchi has been Argentina’s best skier for several years now and turned Argentina’s biggest race into a solo time trial effort along the course which is laid out once a year for the race.
The women’s race went to Alma Zampatti, another Fueguina local. Following Bianchi in the men’s race were local racer Federico Cichero and Marcel NoÃ©l, a coach for the visiting Spanish National Junior Team.
The winter’s good conditions continued for the race despite a warm front that started the previous afternoon. Alternatively, the race was not without some classic Argentine flair. The premier distance, which is always 21km, was an unannounced 25km this year. One American who has done the race four times now summed it up, â€œI got to kilometer 18 and instead of turning right and back towards the barn, we go left and add a 4 kilometer loop through Cerro Castor’s base area where the gravity crowd was drinking beer and shouting at us the best part is the organizers just spread out the same 21 individual kilometer marker signs a little more on the course, I love this race!â€.
The organizing Club Andino Ushuaia has slowly but steadily been improving nordic skiing in the region and hopes to continue that trajectory despite the enormous difficulties of Argentine infrastructure in the area known as the â€œend of the worldâ€.
More information and help with skiing in Tierra del Fuego is available through Matt Muir at Skifire Inc., visit www.skifire.com.