I wrote in the post of Day Eight, that Nick had an chose an advantageous spot to be for this day, when he landed close to Verbier. My reasoning was, that the west wind down low was way too strong in the Wallis, but the southern valley were more or less sheltered. Eric ‘the Viking’ from team Sweden tried to make an early sledride out of the Zermatt valley and had to deal with some backwards landing. So even though this was the last thing we wanted to do, we had to tackle the Wallis on the ground. It was 70 kilometers to Martigny, the last town before the french border. There were also lennies in the sky, something you don’t really want to see when flying, especially in a place like the Wallis, where things are already wild enough as they are. So most of the field around us went for the day long walk and it goes without saying that everyone hated it and looked for other options. But it was mostly in vain. From where we were, we just couldn’t cross to the south side to be protected by the strong winds.
It was hot. Have you ever been in the Wallis on a hot summer day and not fly at over 3000 meters? It’s hot. And it’s not particularly pretty in the middle of the valley either. More a little bit industrial at times. So understandably quite frustrating to walk a complete day in the summer heat just because of a little breeze up high! It wasn’t even raining!
The athletes that had managed to get past Martigny had much better conditions and were able to fly past Chamonix. Particularly bad for the mood when in the front people have better flying weather than the athletes in the back.
Just past over the chain to the south, Nick managed again an incredible flight. Tucked away behind the mountains, hidden from the strong wind, he used the winds to his favour and wiggled patiently through those valleys until he finally made it into France. This flight was my absolute favourite of any of the athletes during the whole race. Not stratospheric, not fast, not booming. Persistent, low, patient. Winning.
What else happened today? Not much in our vicinity. But at the front Chrigel once more won this race. Fourth consecutive time. Dude. We raise our hats to you, Maestro del Cielo. Keep the trophy in swiss hands. This meant the race would be over in three days, thats what we had left to make it to Monaco. Well, doable. The forecast was perfect for the next days.
Dave made it to Martigny at the end of the day, where we called it and slept in an orchard.