You know what? We can state with some certainty that the popularity of cross country skiing is growing. Need a proof? Well, here’s a brand-new xc skiing event that has every chance of becoming popular in itself – and paving the way for more.
Paznaun – Ischgl area in Austrian Tyrol is very well known – for its downhill skiing. But as “narrow skiing” destination – not so much. No, it never lacked dozens of miles of great ski tracks ( more about which below) – but it lacked The Event. Nearby Engadin valley has mass distance race, ditto for Livigno while Davos has historic, famed World Cup stage – and Seefeld has both mass and WC races.
Enough is enough – probably thought good citizens of Paznaun valley – and came up with a new event – Galtür Nordic Night Race.
On April 5th there will be an inaugural edition and we talk about it with Nina Siegele, marketing manager from
Tourismusverband Paznaun – Ischgl, an organizer of the event.
So, what’s the big idea behind the race – what are you aiming to achieve by introducing that?
Many years ago we already had a similar and very successful X-Country Sprint race in Galtür. Various discussions among the local population of Galtür showed a very strong wish to initiate a revival of this event. Following these discussions at some stage last year the decision for the Galtür Nordic Night race was done to not just have a fantastic event but also to communicate Galtür as a cross country destination which is hardly known . With the Galtür Nordic Night Race we will make a statement that our region is perfect for xc-skiing: miles of perfect tracks and – importantly – snow guarantee from December till April!
We are expecting around 120 participants – which is also the limited number for the first year of the event. At the moment we do have approximately 70 registered adults and approx. 50 registered kids/juniors.
You chose city-sprint as race format over more traditional distance mass racing e.g. Engadin or Kaiser Maximilian Lauf – why is that?
We are already concentrating on distance mass racing with our summer events Silvrettarun 3000 and Silvretta-Ferwall-Marsch, therefore we assumed the Night Sprint would be the best option to present x-country racing.
the race will take place directly in the centre of Galtür. We are going to need 1600m² compressed snow to build the race-track. Costs involved? At the moment we can’t tell the exact costs of the event because it’s the first time. Afterwards we are going to recalculate everything.
Is it amateurs-only or do any professionals at the national team level participate?
All Children will get a small giftbag – the first three will get something bigger, and of course a trophy. The first five adults (each men and women) are getting: € 1.500,- / € 1.000,- / € 750,- / € 500,- / € 200,-
The following professionals have confirmed their participating: Austrian Olympian Dominik Baldauf as well as his countrymen Mario Seidl ( Olympic medalist in the Nordic combined) and Franz Josef Rehrl plus Elisabeth Schicho and Monique Siegel from the German national xc-ski team, Tatjana Stiffler from Switzerland and Dusan Kozisek from Czechia.
– Paznaun-Ischgl area is well known for its downhill skiing – less so for cross-country skiing. Are you aiming to change that? Do tell more about xc ski facilities in Paznaun-Ischgl, please
Yes you are right, downhill skiing is our main offer. With this race we want to present us as a xc-skiing resort. We know that we will never get as big as other resorts in Tyrol but we can offer snow guarantee from December till the beginning of April because of the altitude of our tracks. In Galtür and Ischgl we offer 74 km of cross country tracks (classic and skating) with a range from between 1377 and 2036 meters altitude. We even offer our guests a 2.2 km long floodlight-night-xc-track, which is open every day.
Photo Credit: All images used are courtesy of TVB-Paznaun-Ischgl