Video: Mel Bernier races to 13th at World Championship in Verbier, Switzerland

Mel Bernier races to 13th at ISMF World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland

Marion Maneglia and Mel Bernier (right) pictured after winning La Grande Trace, Haute-Alps Superdevoluy Photo: Laurent Dastrevigne

Revelstoke ski mountaineering racer Mel Bernier raced to a 13th-place ranking at the International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championship in Verbier–Val De Bagnes, Switzerland.

Bernier competed in four of five categories, skipping the team race.

Bernier opened with an impressive fifth-place finish in the sprint portion. She faced tough competition in the semi-final, where she battled against the best in the world.

VIDEO: Don’t know what competitive ski mountaineering looks like? Here is Mel Bernier’s race in the sprint as shot from a drone camera. She’s in red and yellow with the blue helmet:

“It was really hard. I had to push,” Bernier said.

The next day she slipped back in rankings in the vertical race, taking 20th overall. She admitted that the uphill race isn’t her favourite: “I really resent them. There’s no reward; it’s just uphill.”

Next, Bernier raced in the individual race, finishing 13th.

After a few days off, she raced in the women’s relay, alongside Canadian teammates Michelle Roberts and Kylee Ohler. They raced to a 6th place result.

Bernier said after over a month of training in Europe it was great to meet teammates and fellow Canadians at the event. “Every time I go to races I am the only Canadian,” she said.

Mel Bernier pictured at far left with members of the Canadian team at the ISMF World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland. From left: Mel Bernier, Katarina Kuba, Michelle Roberts, Kylee Ohler, Martha Burley.  Photo: Travis Brown
Mel Bernier pictured at far left with members of the Canadian team at the ISMF World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland. From left: Mel Bernier, Katarina Kuba, Michelle Roberts, Kylee Ohler, Martha Burley. Photo: Travis Brown

In Verbier, her teammates did the whole Canada flag thing, even painting their nails with maple leafs.

“The whole week went by pretty quick. It was pretty intense,” Bernier said. “You race your heart out, you eat you sleep, you come back [again].”

She felt she was a little off her game, and also faced a setback with equipment failure in one race. “Everyone is peaking at that point. There is more people. There is a lot of stress, there is a lot of pressure,” Bernier said of the experience.

Bernier in the Team Canada uniform at the sprint semi-final at Verbier, Switzerland. Photo: Peter Knight
Bernier in the Team Canada uniform at the sprint semi-final at Verbier, Switzerland. Photo: Peter Knight

Bernier continues on the ISMF World Cup circuit in Europe until the spring. She’s planning to race in a number of events still. They include:

-Pierre Menta LDT World Cup race at Areches-Beaufort, France, Mar. 11–14. http://www.grandecourse.com

-Mondole Ski Alp World Cup race at Prato Nevosa, Italy, Mar. 13–15.

After the competitive season is over, Bernier plans to do some recreational skiing in the alps before coming back to Revelstoke to help organize a new ski mountaineering component to the Stoke to Spoke race at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. That race is April 11–12.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of revelstokemountaineer.com and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have aaron@revelstokemountaineer.com or call/text him at 250-814-8710.