Tuesday, 22 January 2013

This season don't miss... The World Monoski Championships

"Three, two, one, let's monoski!" boomed a voice on the tannoy, and the first two competitors shuffled across the start line and raced through the eight gate giant slalom course, in a blur of banana yellow and flamingo pink.

Last  April, I was in Val d'Isere at the World Monoski Championships - an event which started off as a few friends having a laugh with some old skool ski gear but, six years later, has become one of the hottest events in Espace Killy.

Whilst entry into the competition isn't essential, fancy dress is. Don't even think about turning up unless you're sporting a day-glo one piece suit, fresh from the 1970s, a fluorescent head band or, at the very least, a pair of mirrored sunglasses.

Most competitors have never set feet on a monoski before, so there's no need to worry about lack of experience. In fact, it's the low skill level which makes the event such good fun: many struggle to make it up to the start line in the first place, usually catching an edge and getting dragged the rest of the way up the slope with the Poma still stuck between their thighs.

And spectators are well looked after, with steak haches sizzling on the barbeque and soft drinks flowing - bring your own booze if you fancy chilling out with a beer in the spring sunshine.

The competition itself is a knock-out event, with pairs of monoskiiers racing each other in turn. Last season, Simon Twigge of the Tignes Chalet Company, won the event for the third time, and Amanda Pirie took the trophy for the women.

The awards ceremony and after party is hosted at Blue Note Bar, and the celebrations tend to go well into the night, with fete-style drinking games at various pubs and bars in Val d'Isere.

Read my full article about last year's champs in this month's Ski and Board Magazine, or visit themountainecho.co.uk to find out more.

The 2013 Champs

This year's champs are on April 17th. To enter, visit Blue Note Bar or Planks Clothing in Val d'Isere to sign up.

YSE chalets (yseski.co.uk) offer a week's half board with flights from £535.

If organising board and flights separately, snowdroptransfers.com offer good value transfers.

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