The 2020 City Ski Championships took place in Courmayeur – with new partners Snow-Camp

What a great way to escape Brexit as the curtain came down: the Knight Frank City Ski Championships held once again in Courmayeur – combined, for the first time, with the national snowsports charity Snow-Camp’s own annual fund-raising event, the A.J.Bell Alpine Challenge. 

I found myself part of Snow-Camp’s four-person “Dan’s Army” team – a fun-name based on Snow-Camp’s hugely active founder and leader, Dan Charlish.

The charity, based in Hove, Sussex, introduces inner-city young people to skiing and snowboarding “to provide life skills training, nationally recognised qualifications and work experience to increase their motivations and aspirations” – enabling them to gain employment in the snowsports industry…”and beyond”. 

Combining the two separate programmes, with a total of some 175 competitors in all – was a little complicated and did present a few challenges, but overall things went surprisingly smoothly on both days of the combined event.

Arnie with Graham Bell and Chemmy Alcott.

As February dawned with clear blue skies on Friday, the race paddock – a short ski down from the legendary Maison Vieille restaurant, with its stunning views of Mont Blanc – echoed to the sound of commentary on the City Ski Giant Slalom by the BBC Ski Sunday presenter Graham Bell and the inimitable Chemmy Alcott, who seems to have secured an excellent new career as a fellow commentator of Bell’s.

While the City types, celebrating the event’s 21st birthday, were racing on Day One, the Snow-Camp teams of four were battling it out in their own events: Ski Orienteering (with compulsory selfies at scores of different numbered locations), a Snowshoe hike and a Laser Biathlon.

Do you recognise this man? Known more for his car racing than ski racing… (answer at the bottom of the page)

Things got really interesting on Day Two, in gradually less gorgeous weather (wet and windy as the afternoon progressed) when the City Ski teams ran their Team Distance Challenge in the morning, while we Snow-Camp skiers held our Team Parallel slalom – reversing roles after lunch when Snow-Camp switched to our own Distance Challenge while the city types ran their parallel slalom event.

Did I say the events went smoothly? Well yes, they did – almost – except for one rather amusing glitch. One of the Snow-Camp teams – I won’t embarrass them by naming them – inadvertently shot off on the wrong Distance Challenge and found themselves competing in the City Ski event by mistake! 

Saturday’s awards dinner and prize-giving ceremony rewarded all the top racers over the two days across a multitude of award categories, with Chemmy Alcott and Amin Momen, MD of Momentum Ski, hosting the evening.

Next year’s City Ski Championships will be back in Courmayeur from January 28 – 31, 2021 and once again Snow-Camp will be in attendance. To read more about the great work that Snow-Camp does or to donate please click here

To book onto next year’s trip contact the team at Momentum Ski: +44 (0)20 7371 9111

 

Answer: Damon Hill