SkySnow, the new skyrunning discipline, came to a hugely successful close yesterday with the first World Championships held on February 4–5, 2022, in Andalusia at the Sierra Nevada Ski and Mountain Resort, Granada, Spain.
Twenty-one medals were at stake across the Vertical and Classic disciplines, the Combined title, and the country ranking. Fifteen ISF Member countries took part from across the world: Andorra, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, USA.
Italy came out on top with a phenomenal Luca Del Pero, 24, nailing no less than four gold medals, world titles and the leading slot for the country ranking together with his teammates.
Gold, silver, and bronze medals went to Spain’s Virginia Perez plus a silver for the country ranking. Overall, Italy, Spain and Russia headed the country ranking based on the best four results (at least one per gender) in both the Vertical and Classic disciplines.
Yesterday’s SkySnow Sierra Nevada Classic kicked off at dusk in less than perfect conditions with soft snow and scarce visibility over a 12.5 km loop and a 925m vertical climb summiting at 2,913m altitude.
Men’s winner, Del Pero, who started running just three years ago, commented, “I couldn’t hope for anything better than this. Three gold medals and one for my country! Today was harder than yesterday – for the snow conditions, the scarce visibility at the top and because I had Mike Popejoy on my heels the whole time. I managed to build an advantage only on the last sprint. I’m so happy to be double World Champion!”
Second man was American Mike Popejoy, who placed 9th in the Vertical, took home the silver. “It feels fantastic to be on the podium of a World Championship. I didn’t have a great day yesterday and so I was hopeful I’d have a better chance today but didn’t know how I’d feel, so I was ecstatic to get the medal. I was going back and forth along the course with Luca [Del Pero], so I thought I might win, but I’m still very happy with second. I’m really grateful to the ISF for starting this discipline!”
The bronze medal went to Russian Aleksei Pagnuev.
The women’s medals in the Classic, apart from the gold to Spain’s Perez, Joana Soares from Portugal took the silver and Sanna El Kott Helander from Sweden, the bronze. Perez had a lot to celebrate. “This weekend was fantastic, a dream come true. I’m going home with three medals, one of each kind: the gold for the Classic, silver for the Combined and bronze for the Vertical. Yesterday it was very hard due to the snow conditions and because I had to push hard the whole time to be first. The World Champion title was the perfect birthday gift!”
Rogelio Macias, ISF VP and Board Member was responsible for introducing SkySnow at the 2020 Annual Assembly and for arranging this first World Championship. “We’re very excited about this new SkySnow discipline and these first World Championships held in Sierra Nevada have marked the way forward to a very promising future,” he stated.
At the close of the events, ISF President and skyrunning founder, Marino Giacometti, concluded, “I’m very happy to see fifteen countries and medallists from six different nations at the first World Championship. I think we started on the right ‘skyfoot’!”
SkySnow embraces the traditional concept of skyrunning – running at high altitude – in this case, during the winter and exclusively on snow and wearing micro crampons. On board as main sponsor of the 2022 SkySnow World Championships is NORTEC, the Italian brand, market leader and producer of ISF approved micro crampons.
WADA anti-doping tests were carried out at the Championships managed by FEDME, the Spanish ISF Member.
SkySnow Sierra Nevada Classic results
Gold – Luca Del Pero – ITA – 1h06’47”
Silver – Mike Popejoy – USA – 1h06’54”
Bronze – Aleksei Pagnuev – RUS – 1h07’22”
Gold – Virginia Perez Mesonero – ESP – 1h18’39”
Silver – Joana Soares – POR – 1h19’28”
Bronze – Sanna El Kott Helander – SWE – 1h20’41”