18/3/11 – City Ski Championships: tales from the City I

Few men can wear white trousers on or off the slopes without looking a bit of a wally. At the City Ski Championships this weekend, where London’s big financial brains are let loose on a giant slalom and giant apres-ski sessions in Courmayeur, Italy (http://www.welove2ski.com/cityskichampionships/index.jsp?lnk=000), I have come across two.

Italians in Italy can get away with this

Filippo and Alessandro Guerrini-Maraldi, London-based brothers in their 40s on the Lloyd’s team, are recognisable from great distance by their high-end Continental ski-wear. The look – which also involves a red vertical stripe – won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I like it.

Filippo, who is married to the aunt of a friend of mine, has proved the star of the City Champs so far, making the decisive run to land his team the men’s prize in the dual giant slalom alongside Alessandro and two more Lloyd’s boys, Chris Oliveira (a brilliant former GB racer who I met at the Inferno this year) and James Prike.

Lloyd’s were trailing to a younger and very determined Accenture team in today’s relay-style race by the time Filippo started his run as the last racer. “I had three gates to make up, so it was shit or bust,” he told me. A skier who is going way faster than he looks, Filippo closed the gap and passed the Accenture number four just before the line.

Lloyd’s have also been performing highly at apres-ski (indeed so has nearly everyone). They retired at 2.30am from Bar Roma last night, then today piled into the mountain restaurant Maison Vieille after the race before hosting a party at the Post for dozens of racers, organisers and VIPs (namely Damon Hill, Colin Jackson, Marcus Brigstocke, Konrad Bartelski, Graham Bell and Matt Chilton).

There were 22 teams in today’s dual slalom; in tomorrow’s individual race 150 people will take part – from stockbrokers, bankers and underwriters to not-so-City types: one of the best non-pro female skiers (who raced on the Ski Club team with me – see next post) here is Kate Mullins, who works at Arsenal Football Club, and there’s also a contingent from UEFA. But my money is on Filippo to show everyone how it’s done.

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