Announcement from the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF). The American Trail Running Association is a longtime member of ISF and supporter of Skyrunning in the USA. Above photo: @josemiguelmunoze.
SkySnow, the new skyrunning discipline, launched the first World Championships yesterday on February 4, 2022, in Andalusia at the Sierra Nevada Ski and Mountain Resort, Granada, Spain.
Fourteen ISF Member countries took part in the SkySnow Sierra Nevada Vertical race designed specifically for the event featuring a steep 950m vertical climb over 4.3 km distance summiting at the 3,050m altitude finish line, illuminated by the rising sun.
It was in fact the altitude that played a major role in pushing the athletes to a lung busting effort using crampons, poles and all their energy the celebrate the debut of the discipline on the world stage.
American Mike Popejoy finished 9th in a field of 46 athletes in the vertical race.
First man to reach the top and take the gold was Italian Luca Del Pero and overall, the Italians dominated the leading group led by Daniele Cappelletti, Del Pero and Lorenzo Rota. The last 400m however saw Russians Vitalii Chernov and Aleksey Pagnuev challenge the leaders, with Chernov sprinting to clinch the silver medal, just 4” behind Del Pero and only 1” ahead of Rota who took the bronze.
“Altitude played a critical role in this race reaching 3,000m. I live at 300m so it was quite a challenge. I started with ease and was able to catch the leaders and keep the first position till the end. Being the first SkySnow World Champion is very special and I’m sure it will be something to remember,” Del Pero commented.
The women’s race was dominated by Sweden’s Lina El Kott Helander who took the gold while a strong Spanish team with Silvia Lara and Virginia Perez took the silver and bronze respectively.
Comfortable with running on snow but less with the altitude, Swedish twins Lina and Sanna El Kott lead the race with Lara in second, but the altitude didn’t suit Sanna who was passed by Spain’s Perez and Portugal’s Joana Soares. Only fourteen seconds separated Silvia Lara from the winner.
“I was feeling good, but the last 500m climb was so tough! The altitude really kicked in there and I just tried to stay focused to keep the first place,” said El Kott.
Fourteen ISF Member countries participated in the race and the provisional country ranking sees Italy on top, followed by Spain, Russia, Germany, Portugal, Andorra, Sweden, France, Norway, Bolivia, USA, Brazil, Peru and Chile.
After yesterday’s dawn start, today’s SkySnow Sierra Nevada Classic race will start at dusk. Athletes will face the 925m vertical climb over the 12.5 km course wearing headlamps and warm clothing to face the very low temperatures expected after dark.
Twenty-one glittering medals are at stake as well as titles for the Vertical, the Classic and the Combined categories. The top three countries will also be awarded medals at tonight’s 9 pm prize giving ceremony.
SkySnow was introduced at the International Skyrunning Federation 2020 General Assembly and embraces the traditional concept of skyrunning – running at high altitude – in this case, during the winter and exclusively on snow. One thing is compulsory, however: the use of micro crampons. On board as main sponsor of the 2022 SkySnow World Championships is NORTEC, the Italian brand, market leader and producer of ISF approved micro crampons.
WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the Championships managed by FEDME, the Spanish ISF Member.
SkySnow Sierra Nevada Vertical results
- Gold – Luca Del Pero – ITA – 39’37”
- Silver – Vitalii Chernov – RUS – 39’41”
- Bronze – Lorenzo Rota – ITA – 39’42”
- Gold – Lina El Kott – SWE – 46’31”
- Silver – Silvia Lara – ESP – 46’45”
- Bronze – Virginia Perez – ESP – 48’09”