14,200, 1969, 67, 42 – these are numbers that invariably feature in any report on the Engadin Skimarathon. 14,200 cross-country skiers from 67 countries tackled the 42 kilometres of the last edition of the world’s second-largest cross-country ski race, first held as far back as 1969. The winners bask in the spotlight, competitors and spectators alike celebrate new course records, and full rankings are published. But what happens apart from these publicly known facts? Who orchestrates “Operation Engadiner”, why does it need a dairy vat, and what has a women’s gymnastics club to do with 8 March? Menduri Kasper, director of the Engadin Skimarathon, reveals all.
Menduri Kasper in the bright and sunny offices of the Engadin Skimarathon (ESM). While summer is in full swing outside, our conversation indoors revolves around winter sports.
Menduri Kasper grew up in Champfèr in the Engadin, in a family of cross-country skiers. “But as CEO, it is other skills that count,” he says with a smile – although sound knowledge of the scene is certainly an advantage. His team has been responsible for organising the Engadin Skimarathon since May 2016.