Patrouille des Glaciers: Switzerland's gruelling high altitude ski race with a breathtaking view

Published: 18th April 2018 02:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2018 02:19 PM  

The 'Patrouille des Glaciers' or Glacier Patrol is a ski mountaineering race that takes place along the Swiss-Italian border once in two years at the end of April. It is organised by the Swiss Armed Forces and military and civilians participate in patrols or teams of 3 members. IN PIC: Start point of the 21st Glacier Patrol race outside the ski resort of Zermatt, Switzerland. (Photo | AP)
There are two race catogories - Zermatt – Arolla – Verbier which is 53 kilometres including the altitude difference (equivalent to 110 km on a flat road), and Arolla – Verbier which is 27 kilometres with the altitude difference (53 km). The three members of every patrol must follow to a certain fitness criteria before the race. (Photo | AP)
The Patrouille des Glaciers was first organised in 1943 during the Second World War to test the ability of soldiers to defend the southeastern part of the Swiss Alps. (Photo | Patrouille des Glaciers official website)
In the third edition of the race in 1949, a military patrol disappeared in a crevasse between Zermatt and Arolla and was found only eight days later. After that, the event was banned for more than 30 years. (Photo | AP)
The event resumed in 1984 and almost 190 patrols participated amidst hightened security. (Photo | Patrouille des Glaciers official website)
The record time in the men's catogory is 5 hours 52 minutes 20.7 seconds and is held by a Swiss team winning the 2010 race; while the record for women's catogory is 7 hours 41 minutes 18 seconds from the same year from Switzerland. (Photo | Patrouille des Glaciers official website)
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