Events & Results
Gsiesertal-Lauf 2024: One idea, one vision, many emotions
Several big names in the cross-country scene have competed in the Gsiesertal-Lauf over the years, many of whom also appear on the winners’ honor roll.
Among these, we find Norwegian Olympic winner and World Champion Anders Aukland, Austro-Russian Relay World Champion Michail Botwinow, Italian Olympic winners Silvio Fauner and Giorgio di Centa and Ole Einar Björndalen who, with eight Olympic golds under his belt, is the most successful biathlete of all times. Others, however, including cross-country legend Björn Dahlie (eight-time Olympic winner) and Kazakh Wladimir Smirnow, have yet to win a Gsiesertal-Lauf. Norwegian Gloersen Anders Nostdahl, World Champion in Falun 2015, is the 2017 winner of the freestyle race. The 2018 winner is Russia’s Yevgeny Dementyev, champion at the Turin Olympics. One of the most spectacular athletes on the cross-country scene, he took his place in the 2019 victors’ list alongside double Olympic Champion and 4-times World Cup champion Justyna Kowalczyk from Poland.
The defending champions in the 2023 marathon-distance freestyle race are Lorenzo Romano of the Italian National Ski team (also 2022 champion) and successful winter triathlete Siegrid Mutscheller, while Italy’s marathon expert Lorenzo Busin and Sweden’s Malin Börjesjö, who also defended her 2022 victory, hold the titles in the classic race.
The Gsiesertal also boasts an outstanding record: Ever since it was first raced in 1984, it has never been canceled due to weather conditions. This achievement is an excellent source of pride for President Walter Federer and the organization committee. At times when the whole of the Alpine region is suffering from a chronic lack of snow, the organizers themselves work together with the Tourist Board to conjure up the tracks through the countryside, an endeavor which is greatly appreciated by cross-country fans from the world over. In 2021, the event was canceled for reasons of force majeure (Covid-19).
With over 2.300 participants, the number of participants each year matches the number of local residents in the valley precisely. And in that time, 71.462 participants from all corners of the Earth have crossed the finishing line. And given that skiers from up to 40 nations take part every year, it is no surprise to enjoy the unique Gsiesertal Lauf.
Entrants can compete in either the 30km or the 42km course in classic or freestyle events, while the more clock-shy skiers may prefer to opt for the “Just for Fun” route along the original stretch. Kids come to take part in the 3 or 5km “Kids Run.” The 42km route links the three main villages of the Gsieser Valley in the north-east of South Tyrol with Taisten. From St. Martin, the route leads out of the valley towards Pichl and on to Taisten (municipality of Welsberg/Taisten), loops back again and past St Martin, up to St. Magdalena at the end of the valley, and before returning to St. Martin once again. Although the route runs mainly on the flat, the 200m climb towards St. Magdalena is tough, to say the least. Generally speaking, this is the spot where the race’s outcome becomes apparent.
The Gsieser is also unique in its firm roots and solidarity amongst the local residents in the valley. All 17 amateur sports groups are involved in the organization, and the 450 volunteers ensure the participants want no more.
Replete as it is with the Dolomite view, the landscape is another unique race feature. And it’s not alone: the cuisine is equally outstanding. Each year, the best chefs in the valley and 30 kitchen assistants cater to 7 hospitality stops along the route and at the party tent in St. Martin. The high point of the gourmet menu is the apple strudel, which measures an astounding 250m long; any less would not suffice. Small wonder, then, the number of participants and guests will outstrip the bed capacity in the valley before long.
The Gsiesertal-Lauf will be celebrating its 40th jubilee in 2024, and the anticipation for this unique event is mounting by the week. The event takes place annually on the third weekend of February. The classic race takes place on Saturday, February 17, 2024, while Sunday, February 18, is reserved for the freestyle race.
More information about the Gsiesertal Lauf 2024 can be found HERE.
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