TDR d’Antan, The roots of the Tour du Rutor
The Tour’s history is recent: it was first held in 1995 by Corrado Gex ski club in Arvier and a number of young ski touring enthusiasts. But if we go back in time to 1933, when the first glorious Mezzalama Trophy was held on May 25-28, we will find some surprises having to do with the Tour du Rutor as well. On the crest of the wave of the competition in which athletes still race from the Matterhorn to Monte Rosa, the Rutor Trophy was held on July 1 and 2: a high altitude ski touring competition for three competitors roped together and equipped, according to the regulations, with an ice pick and a “bundled up Alpine sleeping bag”. Organised by the “Comando Federale dei Fasci Giovanili di Combattimento” and reserved for the Fascist Youth and university students from Piedmont, the competition saw the participation of 20 teams on a ring-shaped route (18 km in length, with a 700 m difference in elevation) winding around Rutor glacier. The athletes climbed, after spending the night at the Santa Margherita shelter (2494 m, in the town of La Thuile), at the base of the Grande Assaly mountain range, touching upon the hills of Loydon (west and east) and Avernet, and climbing around the Rutor peak to the Defey shelter (3373 m), the highest point on the route. On their way down they touched base at Château Blanc and Flambeau. The moral victory was won by the team of Fascist Miners from La Thuile, including Alberto Chenoz, Francesco Chenoz and Bartolomeo Carrel, who, though not competing, completed the route in 1 28’ 42”. The Trophy was awarded to Team A of the Federal Command of Young Fascists of Aosta, composed of Giovanni Pellissier, Antonio Gaspard (who had already won the Mezzalama Trophy with Carrel and Maquignaz), and Antonio Hérin, a young alpine guide from Valtournenche, with a time of 1 35’ 47”.
Despite the change in route and the differences in ideology, the Tour du Rutor, held for the 16th time this year, may be considered to all intents and purposes the heir to the old Rutor Trophy, the second high altitude ski competition ever to be held on the glaciers of Valle d’Aosta. We would like to re-establish a form of ideal contact with the 1933 competition that inspired the new direction in the skiing technique we now know as ski touring.
Rivista della provincia,
Anno V, Gennaio-Aprile 1933-X1, numeri 1-4,
Edita a cura dell’Amministrazione della Provincia e del Consorzio Provinciale dell’Economia Corporativa.