King of the Mountain
“The ‘King of the Mountain’ event on the Gemsstock in Andermatt has been one of Switzerland’s most popular open freeride events for many years. The goal is to race from the “top of the mountain” to the “bottom of the mountain” as quickly as possible on a piste that is marked with only a few gates”, explains the race director Christian Müller. “Contestants can race with alpine skis, a snowboard or telemark skis. The various runs lead through couloirs, steep slopes and traverses – and offer plenty of variety and action.”
Each year around 100 freeriders compete for this coveted title – including many Andermatters. “But not only. We can boast that ours is an international race. Every year we have snow-sports cracks from Germany, Austria, Italy or Sweden on the starting list.” That’s in spite of the fact that this is not a classic style freeride race. “Our race is really about speed. Up to four racers start together on the Gurschenstock and complete the 4.6-km run to Gurschenmatt. That’s a difference in altitude of 943 m. The fastest racers cross the finish line in about three minutes, but you can also do it with a more relaxed pace.”
Up until the first participants start the race on Saturday, the organisation of the event remains intensive work. Christian Müller has been organising the „King of the Mountain“ for the past 15 years. “For me the days before the race are as intensive as the race itself. Next to the usual organisational tasks, of course I continually keep a close eye on the weather. This year we have absolutely perfect snow conditions. Thanks to the good piste preparation by the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun, we are using a slope that has no risk of an avalanche. The only thing that could spoil things now would be poor visibility or a storm.” But Christian Müller is optimistic. Until now, the race has always been held successfully.
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