Ski Triathlon

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24. Aug, 2018 Written by: Gregor Šket
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The most battle hardened skiers dream of the steeps even when the outside temperature is all about short sleeves and flip flops. They often take trips to the basement to gently stroke their skis and reminisce about the best turns of the past season while counting down the days to the first snowflakes of winter. This is true love. But there is a group of even worse addicts who actually ski even during the dead of off-season. It somehow makes sense that Davo Karničar is one of those people. He is the first man to ever descend from Everest on skis and the mastermind behind many ski mountaineering feats that secured his place in skiing history. His most resounding project bore the working title of 7 Summits and included ski descents from the highest peaks of the seven continents, culminating with the aforementioned ski descent off Everest. When asked about his perfect day a while ago, Davo described it as follows: “Ascend a three-thousander in the dark of night and ski down a nice slope, breakfast with the family and a few good GS runs with the family at a ski area, the afternoon on cross country skis and the evening in my wife’s arms.” This perhaps best sums up his immeasurable love for skiing, a lifestyle he has pursued for over fifty years. Yep, Davo is over fifty, but you could never tell from the youthful sparks in his eyes and his muscular and athletic physique.

A key question then arises: What does a guy like Davo do in the summer months when most people lounge about at the beach? The answer is simple. He skis whenever he can.

So this year he came up with his own version of the triathlon. The sport of triathlon normally includes three typical summer sporting activities. But Davo’s version is slightly different. If we take a look at it from a different perspective and take into account the season, it is not t hat far off a summer sport. Davo’s triathlon consists of cycling, mountaineering or climbing and skiing.

Since people from Davo’s home village of Jezersko are all mountain people, Davo also invited his cousins and nephews, all of them mountaineers, skiers and mountain rescue servicemen. And so they went.

They set off from home towards their start at Ravenska Kočna on bikes, bearing backpacks full of gear and Elan Ibex Tactix skis. When they made it to the base of the mountain they switched their bikes for mountaineering shoes and started climbing towards Vadine.The snow starts at 1750 meters and the glacier under mount Skuta is situated between 1950 and 2150 meters. “We did not even use skins when climbing as the soft spring snow has just enough give beneath your feet to make walking safer and especially faster than zig-zagging up the slope on skis. The weight of the skis on the back is pretty negligible so they did not hinder our cycling, walking and climbing at all, even on the soft spring snow,” explained Davo. The skis were put on at the top and the ski descent took them as far down the mountain as possible. When the snow ran out, the guys took off their skis and continued on foot. That is when the benefits of folding skis again made a difference. Classical skis are cumbersome on the pack, especially when walking downhill, and can pose a significant threat to safety in more exposed passages. The folding Elan Ibex Tactix skis bring an unprecedented degree of freedom and maneuverability - they make it possible to do ski mountaineering door to door. “The return trip down the Hunter’s trail is known for its many ladders and steps. Walking down a trail like that with a classical ski is a nightmare because you constantly hit the ground with the tails and get pushed forward. The other option is to turn around and walk backwards. The Tactix makes the entire affair much more relaxed and safe.

This summer skiing adventure shows Davo’s attitude to nature and the world. He has always advocated sustainable activities that do not damage the environment. “In fact, I think an adventure like this, without the use of transportation (cars and cable cars) that pollutes the environment, is a deeper experience that creates a different connection with nature. The feeling of experiencing some truly magical moments with zero consequences for the environment is fantastic and liberating,” adds Davo Karničar.

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