This year I have taken part in a few cross country ski races. The events share a very similar atmosphere to cyclosportives.
Races give the opportunity to ski at different resorts and sometimes in areas that are not normally on the cross country ski itinerary; fields, roads and countryside pisted and prepared just for events. At some, snow is shipped into small village streets so that you can ski amongst the houses and farmsteads, it's really quite unique.
My second race of the winter, back in February, was in a stunning spot not far from here,Valgaudemar, a small valley similar to La Berarde (for those of you who have ridden that in summer). It was a difficult day weather-wise with fresh snow on the circuit and snow falling for the first half of the race. This made the field pretty small, only 19 people, including myself, in the line-up for the 30km event.
|Skiing through the village of Valgaudemar|
Sunday saw me setting off for one of the last events on the 2014 calendar; the 'Etoile des Saisies'. Up at 04h30 to start a stunning drive into the Savoie where, like here, spring is on the way. As I neared the resort of Les Saisies at 1600 metres, I was up in the snow-line and the scene looked altogether more wintry.
|Sunday's snowy race conditions|
The first lady crossed the finish line having completed twice the distance that I had in half the time. I've got a long, long way to go to get to that sort of standard, but as they say, it's the taking part that counts!