Andorra & The Explorers
RACERS FIND ADVENTURE AT THE 2011 FIS WORLD
MASTERS CRITERIUM BY BILL MCCOLLOM
Nearly 400 of the world’s top masters
racers made their way to Andorra for
the 2011 FIS World Masters Criterion.
Headed to the 2011 FIS World Masters Criterium races in Andorra, few of
the U.S. squad of 10 had much of an image as to what to expect. After all, not
many were aware that this tiny country of only 2,200 square miles, located
high in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, was established
in the ninth century, during the days of Charlemagne.
The original purpose of the country was to act as a buffer to keep the Moors
out of Christian France — but how things have changed. Masters racers soon
discovered that Andorra has now become a tourist Mecca with sophisticated
ski areas, comfortable hotels and picturesque, cobblestoned villages.
They also soon came to appreciate that the local Vallnord Ski Club and Arcalis
ski area know how to run an elite-level ski race. After five days of skiing, racing,
sightseeing and soaking up the local culture, the masters contingent returned
from the mountain kingdom glowing with praise for their hosts and with tales of
a great and glorious adventure.
Andorra might have been a mystery to the U.S. squad, but for the Europeans the word was out that the championship event was not to be missed. As
a result, nearly 400 of the world’s top masters racers made their way into the
Pyrenees Mountains for this test of the best.
Eastern masters Class 4 ace Carolyn Beckedorff, along with her husband,
Tony DeGangi, and son, Harrison, were looking forward to skiing, racing and
touring. Not wasting any time, they flew into Geneva and then drove to Me-geve, France, for a few warm-up masters races. After Beckedorff collected a
silver medal in the overall and a class win in the slalom, the family piled into the
rented Audi for the 10-hour journey through southern France to Andorra.
“Southern France was just beautiful, with green fields and castles perched on
every hilltop,” said Beckedorff. “And then we started climbing up the switchbacks. It was up and up on impossibly steep roads. It was so rugged that if you
go off the road, they don’t even bother looking for you.”
SkiRacing.com MARCH 17, 2011 | 50