In a bit of a miracle today, I actually enjoyed the Inferno langlauf race. My sister Teresa felt the same. We set off around 6pm in heavy snow, within half a minute of each other (numbers 253 and 259 out of around 400), wearing lightweight clothing, goggles, headbands and edelweiss neck scarves. I had a wobbly practice yesterday, having not worn the gear for three years: the snow was slippery and worn and I felt like a beginner. But, thank goodness, it snowed half a foot today, making the 6km course almost inviting.
The nastiest bit was a pair of man-made humps next to a gluehwein stand on the lower road, where quite a few came a cropper. One racer flailed and fell between the humps, blocking the way for others and knackering herself trying to get back up. Picking yourself up from langlauf skis is tricky and I was happy, this year, to stay on my feet – though sometimes swaying badly – the whole three circuits. The winning time was around 12 minutes; the best Brits were on about 17; Teresa and I made it in just over 23, while the back-marker skated round in a leisurely 45 (did she stop for a gluehwein?).
The snowfall continues, and those who had the sense to enter only the downhill rather than the combination will have a chance to hit the powder tomorrow while the rest of us struggle to hold our own against the locals in the giant slalom.
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