|Citadin racing is for those who enjoy skiing and the thrill of racing but live in towns or lowland areas, so that they can only visit the mountains.at weekends or holiday times. Naturally, those who live in the mountains (berglers) are stronger and better skiers than those from cities or lowland areas (citadins) . In 1937 Arnold Lunn worked out rules for these townsmen and set a race for them in Murren. He said his son, Peter, and Marc Hodler, then expert young racers, would not qualify as citadins because they had both spent too much time in the mountains. The first event, for a cup called after the Duke of Kent who was Patron of the Kandahar, took place on 9th January 1937. It attracted over 100 entries and was won by Arnold Kaech of Berne.
The Second World War interrupted ski racing but after 1945 many countries organised citadin races and they became very popular In 1963 FIS adopted the idea and set up a citadin committee. Appropriately the first president was a lowlander, Roland du Roy de Blicquy from Belgium, and the first meeting was held in Brussels. Roland Rodin (SUI), Helen Tomkinson (GBR), Stephen Caretta, (ITA); Gerhard Barolin, (AUT) and Rene Oriani, (FRA); Hansheinrich Kirgessner (BRD), Mr Heres (SPA) and Andreas Antonopoulos (GRE) formed the first committee. Observing the meeting (and sometimes contributing his own ideas) was Sir Arnold Lunn. The day's work started at 9.30am, stopped for a drink at the Martini Club and lunch at the Atomium, and finished in time for a cocktail given by Roland du Roy de Blicquy at 6.45pm.
Naturally, the defintion of a citadin was the first item on the agenda. From the start, they must not have lived or worked within 25 kilometers of a ski resort during the previous three years Also they must not have skied for their national team in the last three years (2 years for girls) or trained with their national team during the preceding season. Exceptions were made to the last two points for racers who came from Britain, Belgium, Holland and Denmark. For these countries, national team racers were accepted unless the commttee considered that they were of too high a standard. In the early days, Gina Hathorn and Divina Galica from Britain and Patricia du Roy de Blicquy (daughter of the President) were not allowed to race as citadins because they were among the top twenty lady racers in the world.
From the start a good calendar of events was organised. In the 1964/5 season there were 12 races, organised by Italy, France, Austria and Britain. Year by year the calendar developed. A biennial World Criterium was organised and Marc Hodler introduced The Arnold Lunn World Cup, giving racers and national teams the opportunity to gain points at specified races towards annual trophies.
Little change was made to the rules until a working party met at Annecy in the 1980s to redraft those which had become difficult to enforce or out of date.. Much thought was given to the definition of a ski resort. Eventually this was stated to be a place which advertised itself as a ski resort.- a neat definition which solved the problem of Innsbruck, Grenoble, Geneva and many other places within easy reach of lifts and courses.
The various chairmen of the committee have all contributed their own skill and knowledge. Roland du Roy de Blicquy, after organising the committee, setting up the circuit and laying down the basic rules, eventually handed over to Helen Tomkinson. Her indefatigable work and knowledge of racing at all levels, strengthened the cause of the citadins. During her time the draw became much easier to organise because a system of citadin points was introduced to prevent the long battles for places in the earlier groups. Paul Hoffman, Marc Decremp and Heinz Maurer all did valuable work during these years to lay down fair guidelines for racers without points, while Uberto Stefanutti and Fredy Weiss encouraged Italy and Austria to host excellent events. Until alcohol sponsorship was banned by FIS, Martini sponsored an annual citadin event run by the British.
Jose Bofill had well represented Spain in the early days and on his tragically early death, his widow, Nuria, took over as president and further expanded the circuit. By this time the citadins had become a subcommittee of the Committee for Racers with Specal Qualifications. This was fortunately chaired by Paul Hoffman, who had built up the French citadin team and organised many citadin events in France. Then, in 1989 Urs Dietrich, who had also worked hard on the snow for Switzerland at citadin races, contributed his own expertise round the committee table as president
One of the pleasures of citadin races is the friendly gathering as racers arrive the night before a race. Many drive from their universities or work on Friday evening, and must leave quickly after prizegiving so that they are home for the start of the next week. But because they meet often during the season, many international friendships are made. Competition is, of course, intense on the snow but there are also great parties. There is no doubt that, as the current rules make clear, citadin racing brings all the different nationalities together in friendly rivalry; and young racers are able to enjoy their passion for skiracing against others who cannot live or work in the mountains.