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Cuneo 2006

Unexpected Avalanche

Slovak skimountaineering team took part in World Championships in Cuneo – Italy which from March 28 to April 4. Every member of the team was in good mood because of the previous results in World Cup and Vertical race. Those best were expecting very good results also in the individual race.

On Friday, March 3rd, was singles race in a program as an event of World Championships in skimountaineering. It was about to be in the different place than it had been till now. The name of the ski resort is Artesina, 30 km far from Cuneo. It seemed to be closer than to Crissolo, but it took almost the same time to get there.

When we arrived, everyone noticed that it was going to be at least a little bit interesting race that day. It was very windy up in the mountains – I mean where the track went. But at that moment, we didn’t even dream about what is going to happen. I didn’t start today, so I spent time by helping our younger athletes with final preparations before start. Katka went to the most exposed part of the track with fix-ropes to take photos.

Organizers were dealing about the track change, because of the wind conditions. It was realy windy. So the start was delayed.

It took organizers almost 1 hour to make decision, and finally they changed track of adults, but junior and cadet track remained unchanged. Finally, start came.

At start - Svätojánsky and Madaj in senior category. After 15 min. took place start of young categories. Guys were okay, but girls were showing a great respect before the race. Yet, some miniature corrections such as shortening of wind protecting anorak of Maťa Dobošová, because anoraks should be obligatory worn. So yet last encouragement and... and start.

I went to have my skis from the „before start area“ and went to follow our athletes. Track was crossed couple times so I could see racers a more than one time through the race. I ran down girls in a while and guys were a little bit faster and farer. I planned to wait for them later on the other place. After 35 minutes of walking, I was right behind Vierka, Lucia was not far in front of us and Maťa was even in front of her. Maťa was from time to time at 1st position, Lucia in a group of three on 2nd – 4th place and Vierka was also on about 3rd – 4th position. I didn’t see guys very well, but they seemed to be well prepared.

As we came up to a small plateau, there was suddenly silence everywhere. It wasn’t very suitable there. I looked in front of us and saw the zigzag line made of athletes going up the hill which suddenly disappeared. Everything was very silent and really so fast…few horrible seconds of fear. Organizers started to hurry up and in a while everybody was looking for those under the snow. Most of them immediately knew what to do in such a situation and quickly checked their friends. It is obvious that they were couple meters down the hill from them. Some of them farther but the worst was that they were under the snow. Later, to make sure, that everybody was saved members of mountain rescue formed the groups which checked the avalanche once again. Obviously, the race was suspended and it was over.

It was not very good for this sport, I mean for Slovakia, but also for others, it could be very good results, and again a new World Champion…. But it is necessary to say, that health is much more important. Our guys, Michal Jokl and Juraj Laštík, who were involved in the accident are fine and without injuries but with a great experience of falling in the avalanche. Jakub Sliačan was a bit behind them and so he was not involved.

We hope that tomorrow we will have good luck in relays, because it is really required in such as sport. Our two teams: Martina Dobošová, Michal Jokl, Juraj Laštík and second team Peter Svätojánsky, Miroslav Leitner, Milan Blaško, Milan Madaj. All of them are ready to do their best and maybe they will win. So we wish them good luck, once again.

Pridané: 2006-04-25 21:45

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