A fine and sunny day in March saw a group of journalists from Great Britain stand up to take part in the Ortisei Spring Race Party in the beautiful Val Gardena valley in Italy. Alongside us were 35 other teams including a journalist team from the Netherlands.
Our mission? Successful completion of five complex tasks, some of which are not traditionally seen on the slopes – Slalom, darts, dropping a metal thing in bottle (we still don’t know the official name for this but it seemed very familiar to our Dutch colleagues…you must draw your own conclusions), apple bobbing and golf.
All the tasks had to be completed within a specified time of no quicker than 2 hours and no longer than 2 and a half hours…it was going to be a tough afternoon.
The prize? Not just the admiration of your peers but (perhaps more usefully) one thousand euros split between a team of five.
With a 2pm event start time, Team GB prepared thoroughly in the morning with some warm up runs and a couple of stops for refreshments.
We’d been advised that all the local teams really entered into the spirit of things, so lunchtime saw both us and our Dutch compatriots getting into our team outfits, well supported by Christina and Gunter from the Val Gardena tourist office. GB were proudly flying the flag, team Netherlands were proudly sporting their national orange…in fact all the teams were proudly sporting something, even if we’re still not quite sure what they were.
The race organisers had planned well with refreshments available at most of the task locations. The weather was frankly glorious and we experienced some of the best snow I’ve seen all season.
The afternoon passed in a flash and finally, with all five tasks completed, the team headed to the finish point. The last triumphant entry to the village square is on skis on a specially prepared snow carpet. With some minor hiccups and much hilarity (see the video below) the team crossed the finish line and took their final bow on the podium. We were surprised and delighted to find ourselves in 12th place.
It goes without saying that all of us are determined to beat our personal best in next year’s race.
With many thanks to Christina Demetz, www.valgardena.it