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A festive sports hall and a cheering and friendly crowd welcomed the 21 nations

19_02_2011 – Welcome to Valcellina!
Transclautana Ski Alp Race

Last Saturday the Bersaglieri fanfare played the very first notes to open the Ski Mountaineering World Championship that will be held in Valcellina until next Friday; a mix of sport, competition and incredible passion for the mountains and the values they stand for.
The Ice rink of Alceo Della Valentina welcomed the crowd and the over 250 athletes representing over 21 nations scattered over three continents with incredible warmth.
The choreographies organized by the athletes of Associazione Polisportiva Claut sezione Ghiaccio, and the children of the elementary and secondary schools of Claut contributed to a magical and effervescent atmosphere.
The President of the Organizing Committee, Mr. Carlo Martini, gave the official welcome to Valcellina, at the heart of the Dolomiti Friulane National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, on behalf of the whole committee. “This week – said Martini – will rest on pure competition, but it will also be a time of holiday and relax to be spent here, in our land and among our people.”
After the speech by President Carlo Martini, Gionata Sturam, Mayor of Claut, acted as a perfect host and welcomed all the delegations in the facility. “For Valcellina – opened Sturam – this is an incredible opportunity and an interesting project for the future of our community. Over these days you will have a chance to discovering and becoming familiar with the heart of Valcellina and its unique and magical spirit; I am not talking about the land only, but also our culture, our lifestyle, our dreams and values. These values are based on respect, community, friendship and dialogue in the name of sports; our goal is to give you an unforgettable experience”.
Alberto Piccin, Vice-president of Federazione Sport Invernali, complimented the people of Claut on envisaging this project and then turning it into reality. “I believe that the highest endeavour of mankind is to go beyond the ordinary, to dream”, said Piccin. “The people of Valcellina – continued the Vice-president of the FISI – had this dream and made it come true. The athletes over the next few days will come face to face with the highest expression of a mountain, when it is covered in snow”.
The President of the Province of Pordenone, Alessandro Ciriani, wanted to personally thank all the organizers and volunteers. “This is a great victory, – said Ciriani – a victory won thanks to many different elements, including the drive and the opportunity to let everyone know how beautiful this land is, a land we are proud of and that was also named World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This Championship is a tool to promote this land, to let the world know about our generosity and hospitality, as well as our traditions, our culture and the natural beauty of our mountains.
“This is a symbolic moment for our Region and Valcellina”, said Claudio Violino, Regional Councillor for rural, food and forestry resources. “I would like to thank – continued the councillor – the Regional Forestry Service, the Snow and Avalanche Desk and the Ersa. From these land, many generations set off for every corner of the world, and today all these people have returned to bring forth the value of our land”.
Some races of this Ski Mountaineering World Championship will take place in Piancavallo, this is precisely why the President of Promotur Stefano Mazzolini wanted to underline the Ski Mountaineering promotion plan. “In the near future Promotour will develop and trace dedicated trails for all the fans of this sport. Thus Friuli Venezia Giulia will have the opportunity of making itself a name out of the national borders”.
“It is a great honour – said Maurizio Salvador, Vice-president of the Regional Council of Friuli Venezia Giulia – for Claut, Valcellina and Piancavallo to welcome all the delegations for this week’s event, sharing moments of solidarity, brotherhood such as only sports can give. This Championship is an outstanding showcase for the Pordenone Mountains. The sport/touring combo lays at the very base of the investments made over the last years.
Before the end of the opening ceremony Luca Ciriani, President of the Regional Council of Friuli Venezia Giulia, took the floor. “Besides welcoming all athletes and managers – said Ciriani – I want to congratulate the organizers on being able to win this challenge. Their determination and passion allowed them to overcome all the obstacles that invariably arise when organizing such an important event. We should never forget the sporting miracle achieved by the volunteers who made this event great with their relentless work; I hope that all athletes may return home full of medals and bearing the images and memories of our land in their hearts.”
Lluis Lopez, President of ISMF, the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, highlighted the hospitality that Claut and the whole of Valcellina had in store for the delegations from three continents. “All the athletes – said Lopez – will taste the friendliness and hospitality of these people. I know these traits of Valcellina and I am confident that all those who are here for the first time will be enthused”.
Before lighting the torch with Carlo Martini, Lluis Lopez, Rosanna Menazzi and Eros Sciuz, Manuela Di Centa, the spokesperson of the IOC, wished the athletes to fulfil their own goals to see their sacrifices rewarded. “I wish – said Di Centa – that after so much hard work you could manage, these days in Claut, in my Region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, to express your strength, joy, emotion that you have within, as well as the beauty and ability that is in your hearts. Thus you will bring home marvellous medals”.
The first medals of this edition of the Ski Mountaineering World Championship will be assigned on Sunday morning. According to the plan, the team race, the epitome of ski mountaineering, will start at 9.00 from Pian del Muscol to Claut. Fifty-two teams will take part in the race and the uphill difference in altitude they will have to face amounts to 2105 meters.

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