The Ylläs 24 hour ski competition is on again in 2015. I was thinking of going, anyone else? Last year we did almost 50 km of vertical. The idea is that the gondola lift runs for 24 hours, and you can ski as much as you can during that time.
Any sleep, not running the few meters to or from the gondola, or taking bathroom breaks will immediately mean that you lose the competition. Still interested? It is a fun competition, but you better be rested!
I am now going for the second time, so I know the drill better. One thing that I was surprised about last year was the rules. I had understood that there'll be no downhill skiing during the competition, as the ski area is open for everybody. Turns out that in practice you have to make at least three turns on each run, and that's not much for the 430 meter (1300 ft) altitude difference! Also, the slopes turn a couple of times in any case.
In other words, the competitors were going really fast. As fast as you can, straight down. I was most scared last year in the early hours of the night, when we were skiing the steepest world cup slope, and the fog and rain moved in. With a visibility down to about 10 meters, I slowed down, but the leaders did not. Amazing skiing, full speed ahead into to the fog.
This year I also will rest better on the night before the competition. Last year I went on a tour in the local bars and slept only five hours. There's clearly room for improvement :-)
After the competition, I was so tired that I went to bed before my evening flights home. Three hours later I woke up to a phone call from the airport. The checkin agent was asking if I will be on the flight, everybody else is already in the place. Nice of Finnair to call me! But I had missed the wake-up alarms, and I was almost an hour away from the airport, so no, I did not make it to my plane. I took a flight the next day, and also had to call the office to say that I will not be there on Monday.
The competition runs in April 11-12, 2015, in Ylläs, in northern Finland. For more information, see http://www.yllas.fi/24-h-laskukisa-2015. See also my live report from last year's competition (myös suomeksi).
Photo (c) 2014 by Jari Arkko. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi.