BC Touring

MAR 08, 2021

The Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Andorra were a huge success for the Backland athletes. A total of 11 medals, 4 of which were Gold, was achieved across all classes. This constitutes the best ever result at World Championships for the Backland ski mountaineers. Besides the established athletes Iwan Arnold (SUI), Rémi Bonnet (SUI) and Davide Magnini (ITA), there were the young athletes, who showed strong performances in all disciplines.

The conditions for the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in the small mountainous country between Spain and France were far from ideal. Strict Covid safety measures made preparations and races very complicate. Furthermore the Pyrenees are not blessed with a lot of snow, which made the course setting very difficult. Despite the challenges all races could be held as planned.

Already the first day brought stellar results. At the sprint race the athletes achieved 3 medals: Gold by the Swiss Iwan Arnold in the senior category, Bronze by the Spaniard Pau Coll Turra in the U23 category, and another Gold by the Austrian Julian Tritscher in the U18 category. It was Arnold’s 2nd World Championship Gold after 2017 and after he had to be content with a Silver medal in 2019. The victory didn’t come easy for the 29-year-old favorite. After good and tactically perfect preliminary rounds he placed everything on one card in the final and crossed the finish line absolutely exhausted.

“This race was the hardest race of my career, I had never gone so much to my limit ever before.”

On the second day the team relay took place, an event, which only ever happens at championships. In this relay the Backland athletes scored 2 medals: a Silver by Iwan Arnold as part of the Swiss men‘s relay team and a Bronze by the 20-year-old Spaniard Albert Angles Perez as part of the youth team relay.

The vertical race on the 3rd competition day was extremely thrilling. It was Rémi Bonnet of the Backland athletes, who stormed to Gold in the senior category, incredible 38 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed athlete. Bonnet showed his enormous strength in the 2nd half of the race and never left any doubt about his dominance. For Davide Magnini however, the dreams of a medal ended in tragedy. After breaking a ski pole 2 minutes after the start and not getting replacement he gave it all but was finally mere 2 seconds short from the Bronze medal. However, there was a 2nd Gold by the Austrian Nils Oberauer in the U18 category to be celebrated.

After a rest day the individual race, the highlight of the World Championships, took place on Saturday, albeit with a delayed start due to dense fog and snowfall. Even in these conditions the Backland athletes were successful. Davide Magnini finally scored his Bronze medal in the senior category, followed by the Swiss Rémi Bonnet, who was shifted to the unlucky 4th place due to a time penalty. There was a 2nd medal in the U18 category at the individual race by the Austrian Nils Oberauer, a Bronze - his 2nd World Championship medal.

Patrick Tritscher, Sports Marketing Backcountry Touring, comments the great results at the World Championships in Andorra: ‘Congratulations to the ISMF for realizing the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in this difficult season. For ATOMIC these were the most successful World Championships in our relatively short history of backcountry touring racing. Rémi Bonnet’s victory at the vertical race was a stellar performance. It felt absolutely dominant and easy how he controlled the field. It was different with Iwan Arnold’s Gold medal though. This was pure will power paired with tactics and his excellent technique during the transitions. It was „hot“ and „cold“ for Davide Magnini. He lost a safe medal on the last 10 meters of the vertical race and won a Bronze at the individual race because of a time penalty for his fellow Backland athlete Rémi Bonnet. Of course it was a pity for Rémi, who showed a strong race performance despite some problems. And the young athletes gave us a lot joy. 7 medals in total in the categories U18, U20 and U23. The highlights were two times U18 Gold for the Austrian Nils Oberauer in the vertical race and Julian Tritscher in the sprint race. The Backland Ultimate-Performance is absolutely there – medals across all disciplines prove that the material is at par with the high level of our athletes. A good part of this success belongs to our R&D team in Altenmarkt.’

Next: the long distance World Championships had been planned for next weekend as part of the classic Pierra Menta, but this was shortened to one day only because of the Covid situation. That’s why the focus in the training for most of the Backland athletes is now set on the last event of the World Cup in Madonna di Campiglio from the 25th to the 28th March 2021.