Patrouille des Glaciers: Record number of participants starting in Zermatt


This year, the Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG) has attracted record numbers of participants. Most of the 5,400 competitors will start in Zermatt, while some have opted for the shorter course beginning in Arolla. The two departure days in Zermatt had been posedponed by 24 hours each.

© Jean-Christophe Bott / Keystone

The participants will start in Zermatt on two nights, 29 April and 2 May. The most challenging team race in the world attracts military teams and civilian ski-touring racers from around the globe. Although the number of participants is as high as never before, 1,440 applicants had to be rejected. The race leads from Zermatt to Verbier via Arolla, crossing passes and glaciers. Taking place every two years, the race covers a distance of 53 km, 4,000 metres in altitude and 110 energy expenditure kilometres. Each patrol consists of three racers.

Zermatt is the starting point for the full distance race. Weeks before the event, ski touring racers crop up in the Matterhorn village to prepare for the challenging competition. In 2012, the PDG had to be suspended due to bad weather. Zermatt‘s Martin Anthamatten, winner of the 2010 race, will therefore defend his record time of 05:52 hours together with his team mates Yannick Ecoeur and Florent Troillet.

The elite athletes, including the defender of the title, Zermatt‘s Martin Anthamatten, will go to the starting line in the night of Friday 2 May to Saturday 3 May at 3.00 a.m.


Wednesday, 30 April (new!)

First start from Bahnhofplatz: 9.00 p.m. Thereafter starts every 60 minutes until midnight. Last start at 1.00 a.m. 400 patrols, consisting of a total of 1,200 competitors, will go to the starting line.

Saturday, 3 May, night of the elite athletes (new!)

Start from Bahnhofplatz, beginning at 9.00 p.m. Further starts until midnight, thereafter at 1.00, 2.00 and 3.00 a.m. The top favourites, defender of the title Martin Anthamatten (Zermatt) and his team mates Florent Troillet and Yannick Ecoeur, will start in the last group at 3.00 a.m. 

Marquee on Bahnhofplatz

Drinks, Raclette, sausages and a grandstand will liven up Bahnhofplatz during the Patrouille. Invited military guests will occupy the grandstand at the beginning of the two nights. Afterwards, the seats will be available to the public to find a good spot, observe the starts and cheer on the racers.


From 29 April to 2 May, Triftbachhalle will be very busy. From 9.00 a.m. to 5 p.m., numbers will be given out and material will be inspected. The public is welcome to watch the proceedings.

Armee-Spiel concerts

The Armeespiel military band will play on Kirchplatz on both start days, 30 April and 2 May, at 4 p.m. The band consists of around 40 brass players from all over Switzerland.

Special exhibition at Matterhorn Museum Zermatlantis

Between 4 April and 5 May 2014, two museums in Verbier and Zermatt will put up special PDG exhibitions. In Zermatt, visitors can admire the following exhibition pieces:

  • Winning equipment of Zermatt’s defender of the title Martin Anthamatten who, together with team mates Yannick Ecoeur und Florent Troillet, finished the race in record time (5:52 h) in 2010.
  • Photos and newspaper articles from former races
  • Films from former races
  • Equipment
  • Equipment identification marks and sealing marks

Changements of the schedules subject to alteration because of weather conditions.

Book about the PDG

“Patrouille des Glaciers – Ziel 2016”, Edition L’Hèbe, Charmey. ISBN 978-2-88906-072-. German and French editions. With contributions by Florent Troillet (winner in 2010), main author: Nicolas d’Eggis.

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