After a 2-year hiatus, the event was back in the mountains and better than ever, with a new name and in a new location. And it was 13 adventurous teams that made all the difference at the AJ Bell Crans-Montana Marathon!
We are delighted that our event raised an incredible £50,000, as this year we faced challenges like no other. From new covid variants to ever changing travel restrictions, we were unsure whether the event would ever take place, so we are grateful and pleased that we were able to make it happen! Thank you to our headline sponsors AJ Bell and to our 13 amazing teams who all went above and beyond to be there with us.
The Crans-Montana Marathon challenged teams of 4 to complete 5 snowsports activities in just 2 days. Teams tackled ski orienteering, a snowshoe hike, laser biathlon, a team distance challenge and slalom racing. The skills, determination and commitment needed to complete our marathon cannot be underestimated, and every donation received celebrates the teams’ incredible achievements.
You can still support their efforts here.
The event opened with a welcome dinner at Hôtel de l’Etrier. Alongside a traditional Swiss cheese fondue, teams received a full briefing on the rules of the event, were given their bibs and welcome packs and chatted to fellow competitors, who included a team of North West young people from our programme Snow Camp and their Manager, Morv Bett (pictured below). For 2 of our young people, this was their first ever trip to the mountains! And for this we have to thank Knight Frank, for all their support and for funding the young people’s incredible experience in Crans-Montana.
Day 1 of the AJ Bell Crans-Montana Marathon was composed of 3 activities, a snowshoe hike, laser biathlon and team orienteering. The event began at 9am from the top of Cry d’Er, with a stunning Mont Blanc backdrop and bluebird conditions.
A dramatic Le Mans start launched the event, and teams were tasked with collecting 34 checkpoints from around the mountain, recording each checkpoint with a group shot and the checkpoint number in view!
Each team had a slot for their snowshoe hike and laser biathlon challenges during the day, with times for each drawn at random at the briefing dinner. This added to the strategy needed as teams would have to plot specific routes to maximise their checkpoint collection while also factoring in the time it would take them to get to the location of the other challenges to be completed!
The course for the snowshoe hike was set to run up the side of mountain around Arnouva, through the trees and back down again. Each team had to complete the hike as fast as they could with the clock stopping when the final team member crossed the finish line.
It was at the snowshoe hike where we saw teams’ competitive spirits really come alive. With Team Delanski (pictured below) winning the activity, pipping team Abra Dave Kababra to the post by just one second. This was the start of Delanski vs Abra Dave Kababra rivalry, as they battled to become overall winners throughout the 2 days.
Meanwhile, at the biathlon course, teams had to ski 2 laps of our course as fast as they could, shooting 5 targets at the end of each lap using Olympic quality laser biathlon rifles. Final times and penalties for missed targets were all added up to create the leader board, which recorded that the Abra Dave Kababra (pictured below) won this activity in some style!
Following an amazing day on the slopes in perfect conditions, teams headed back down the mountain to later join the Knight Frank City Ski Championships’ Financial Times Forum for dinner, run by our good friends at Momentum Ski.
Snow Camp were delighted to once again be the charity partner for the City Ski Championships, and as such our young people were given the opportunity to speak during the evening to attendees about their personal experiences and the challenges they have faced. They told the audience how our programme Snow Camp has helped to give their lives purpose, gain qualifications, find positive pathways and set goals for the future. Each young person spoke with incredible honesty and the whole room was captivated by their passion for snowsports and inspiring stories. Even celebs Damon Hill, James Haskell, Marcus Waring and Eddie the Eagle (pictured below) were impressed!
Day 2 commenced with more sunshine with teams eager to get onto the slopes. First up was the Team Distance Challenge. Each team received a GPS tracker from Trac Trac and had just 2 hours to ski as far as they could as a team, using no piste more than 3 times. Congratulations to Team Archie (pictured below) for smashing this activity, skiing an incredible 34.25 km in the time allowed!
The final activity, to close the Crans-Montana Marathon was the Team Parallel Slalom race. Teams raced well, many for the first time, and there were also some impressive wipe-outs alongside some fantastic skiing ability. It was fascinating to watch, and the commentary had everyone on their feet cheering from the paddock. Hugely impressive efforts were demonstrated by the Snow Camp young people who made their way down a daunting course to huge cheers from those watching in the paddock. They did themselves proud and came across the line with arms in the air! Slowly teams were whittled down through the rounds until the semi-finals saw Delanski taking 3rd place. In a tense final cheered by all teams, Abra Dave Kababra eventually came in a fantastic 2nd with underdogs Dan’s Dream Team taking the gold with some impressive racing (the two teams are pictured below).
The event closed in great spirits with an awards dinner back at Hôtel de l’Etrier. Tracey Bell from AJ Bell (pictured below with CEO Andy Bell and Snow Camp young people) spoke movingly about why the company supports Switch180 and the importance of fundraising events like the Crans-Montana Marathon.
We were then delighted to award the Top Fundraiser trophy to team Delanski (celebrating in the video below with Snow Camp young people) who had raised an astounding £19,500, the most that any one team has ever raised at a fundraising event. Delancey are long-term supporters of our work, and it was wonderful to once again have the team in Cran-Montana with us.
It was then time to announce the overall event winners and it finished as it started, with team Delanski beating Abra Dave Kadabra by just one point. Congratulations to our winners and to all participants of the 2022 AJ Bell Crans-Montana Marathon.
Thank you so much to everyone that helped make the event the amazing success it was. A special thank you to:
Our title sponsors: AJ Bell for their long term support of our work and events.
Knight Frank for their sponsorship support, and for providing the funding that enabled our young people to join the event.
Momentum Ski for having us a charity partner once again, and all the support with planning the event itself, including support from the wonderful Amin, Jess, Andre and Jorg.
ESS for running the snow shoe hike and laser biathlon challenges.
Trac Trac for supporting the team distance challenge.
Hôtel de l’Etrier for welcoming us and giving us the perfect base for the event.
And all our amazing teams without whom the event could never have taken place. Thank you to team Delanski, Abra Dave Kababra, Team Archie, Skiing Scousers, Four Perfect Parents, Last Ones Standing, Dan’s Dream Team, Ski Armadillo, Jolly Boys Ski Team, Snow Camp Legends, Mount Kleinwort, Summit Special and Three Men and a Little Lady.