• Ulma Packaging

Aitor Otxoa finishes the “Pierra Menta” for the eleventh time

Jul 30, 2013
Aitor has participated eleven times in this test, known as the unofficial downhill ski world championship. Seen from the number of events he has participated in, we could say that Aitor is a veteran, since only one other skier surpasses him statewide

The Pierra Menta, a competition that takes place in the Alpine village of Arâches, is the most important downhill ski competition in the world and, according to its followers; it is regarded as the Tour de France of skiing. Undoubtedly, the technical difficulty and hardships characterizes a test that accumulates a positive slope of 10,000 meters during four days in four 20-30 kilometres stages.

I started to go to the mountain when I was small, with my father and the Aloña Mendi group. Every Sunday we would climb mountains in the Basque Country. At  times, training in the winter is hard; I leave work at half past four and I always have to use the front light to see anything. Sometimes I have to work away and when I do I work many hours, so it is difficult to train.

Arâches is located in the Rhône Alps region, next to Albertville, and every year both locals and foreigners turn completely towards the organizing of this championship. During the week of competition, about two hundred participating couples and large crowds come to this small town. The most famous attraction of the championship develops especially in the ridge of Mount Gran Mont (2686 m.), where around 4,000 people gather to see skiers passing by. This year, France 3 public television has broadcasted live this competition to offer this sporting event to an ever-increasing audience.

Aitor Otxoa works in the flow pack of ULMA Packaging but every year he goes to this small town in France to meet with many other elite athletes. This year he participated next to Balen Tolosa, from Zizurkil, but previously, for five years, he competed with Arkaitz Letamendi, another Packaging worker. Pairing up with Arkaitz he managed to be among the top 50 in two occasions. It is important to note that not everyone that wants to participate in the trial can do so, since it is very difficult to enter the inscription list and usually many athletes are left out without competing. The organizers are the ones who evaluate the achievements in the competition itself or in other similar ones to come up with the list. Moreover, this competition is known to be very technical and to be filled with many ridges, passages, etc. where it is often necessary to use crampons. Aitor is also a well known athlete in the Euskal Telebista sports team. Otxoa collaborates with this team carrying a camera on his chest recording a great variety of amazing images.

Link to watch the competition offered by the Mara-Mara program in ETB: http://bit.ly/11Yqj71

In the future, Aitor hopes to continue competing in this sporting event and, as he says, he would be satisfied if he could do it 15 times, and who knows, even if it sounds to be a dream, he might reach 20th place.

Aitor Otxoa finishes the “Pierra Menta” for the eleventh time

Aitor Otxoa