Local women excel in ski race

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Two local women took part in an event which has been described as the toughest team competition in the world recently.

Former Banchory Academy pupil Alison Culshaw and Di Gilbert, a former Alford Academy pupil and Everest summiteer along with team member Catrin Thomas, were competing in the Patrouille Des Glacier event as the British women’s team.

The event involves 4000m of ascent on ski and 110km of distance travelled, through the night. The time limit for finishing is 19 hours.

However, things didn’t quite go to plan as the race had to be abandoned halfway through due to avalanche risk.

The women, who were the first all-women British team to compete in the event, finished the first section in a time of 6 hours 37 minutes, far faster than they had hoped for.

Out of the 390 teams that finished (more started but some failed to make the cut off times) Alison, Di and Catrin were 328th.

Alison said: “Only 24 of these teams were all-female teams and only four were British, of which we were the quickest.”

Alison aims to take part in more events in the next few years.

She said: “When I started the preparation for this event I thought it would be a “one off” like doing the London Marathon. Not only will we need to return in 2014 to complete the challenge but I think I might be hooked on Ski Mountaineering Racing and be entering a few more next year!”