February 25 - The Annecy 2013 International Military Sports Council (CISM) World Winter Games has announced it will feature two ski mountaineering events on the stunning slopes of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc – home to the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924 - attracting 60 of the world's best athletes.
The event will take place across two days on the slopes of the Aiguilles Rouges and at Les Planards in the Mont Blanc massif mountain range, above Chamonix - dubbed the world's "mountaineering capital" located in the South-East of France.
The first event will be the men's and women's individual races on the Aiguilles Rouges massif on March 26, where skiers will undertake a challenging course featuring between 1,600 and 1,700 metres of vertical, over numerous climbs and descents, as well as a section that athletes must complete on foot.
Following this the men's and women's team relays will see skiers embark on four laps of the Les Planards course, twice individually and then twice in teams of two, on March 28.
The 2011 World Championship gold medallist team Matteo Eydallin and Denis Trento of Italy, along with Tony Sbaldi, silver medalist in the vertical race at the 2009 European Championships, are just some of the 60 athletes battling it out for this year's titles.
But all eyes will be on France's young ski mountaineering star Laëtitia Roux who recently added gold from this month's International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) World Championships in Puy-Saint-Vincent, Pelvoux-Vallouise to her already impressive medal haul.
The region, which is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, is a fitting venue having held the infamous 1924 Olympic Games where 258 athletes from 16 nations took part in the first ever Winter Olympics.
In addition, the region is home to France's military mountain school responsible for the organisation and security of the WWG.
Ski mountaineering has enjoyed a huge popularity boost in France over the past decade with 250 clubs and an estimated 55,000 to 85,000 enthusiasts now taking part in the sport.
Ski mountaineering is one of the six major sporting disciplines to feature in the four-day CISM World Winter Games on March 25-29 – the largest military sports event to be held in France, with nearly 1,000 athletes from 40 countries due to take part.
The competition will also showcase the contribution that military athletics make to high-level international sports and will also demonstrate the values of the CISM whose motto is "friendship through sports."
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