Champoluc /Ayas /Antagnod, Gressoney-La-Trinité, Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Valtournenche, Breuil-Cervinia
- Saturday 22 April 2023
The Mezzalama Trophy is an international ski mountaineering race with classical equipment, included in the calendar of the Grande Course and is open to teams composed of three athletes, even of different nationalities.
The race takes place every two years on a high-mountain route in harsh weather and environmental conditions: altitude exceeds 4,000 meters in several points and requires mountaineering-type skills. For this reason, the Mezzalama Trophy is influenced strongly by the general and high-altitude weather conditions and can be postponed or, in extreme cases, even cancelled.
300 teams can participate and the curriculum of each athlete is decisive in deciding whether a team is admitted or excluded from the race.
A real marathon on skis, and therefore, to be precise, on mountaineering skis, those with mobile locks that are used for the descent, but also and especially for the climb, by pasting “sealskins” under the insole.
The glaciers on which the crucial part of the race takes place, more than 3,000 meters a.s.l. and, this year, in three sections of the route even reaching higher than four thousand, are those of the Aosta Valley, covering the peaks of Monte Rosa, above Breuil-Cervinia, Gressoney and Champoluc.
It is the highest ski mountaineering race of the Alps, as it climbs higher than the peak of Castor (4126 m) and, this year, the calotta of Naso (4275 m) and the Roccia della scoperta (4177 m), but it is also the most classic race, as it was first organized in 1933, at a time when the first skiing resorts and ski lifts opened.
The number of athletes per team (three) has remained unchanged over the history of the Mezzalama Trophy, but the “modern” Mezzalama has been held every two years since 1997, and has increased both the length and the difference in height compared to the original route of the 1930s and the 1970s.
The first 19 times it’s been run always from Breuil-Cervinia (2020 m) to Gressoney-La-Trinité (1624 m).
In 2015, the same route was used but in the opposite direction: the 20th Mezzalama started from Gressoney-La-Trinité with the finishing line at the foot of the Matterhorn to commemorate and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent up the most beautiful and symbolic peak in the Alps.
Now, the original route is back, which connects Breuil-Cervinia to Gressoney through Monte Rosa.