Chef swaps heat of kitchen for chill of the mountains

Mark York at Hartley's Bistro, is taking part in a charity ski challenge in memory of a friend
Mark York at Hartley's Bistro, is taking part in a charity ski challenge in memory of a friend

A chef will swap the heat of the kitchen for the chill of mountain air when he enters a ski marathon in the French Alps in memory of a family friend.

Mark York, who works at Hartley’s Bistro, White Hart Fold, Todmorden, is preparing to take part in the La Tania Escapade, a one-day ski marathon covering 92km.

Mark and his wife Aggy will be participating in the event with his brother-in-law Richard Hall.

Richard attempted the challenge with his friend Neil Blood, from Stoke, last year.

They did not complete it, so they pledged to try again in January 2014.

But tragically Neil was killed in a cycling accident while on holiday in Jersey earlier this year.

Mark said: “Richard decided to repeat the challenge in Neil’s honour and in aid of two great charities.

“The first is The Teenage Cancer Trust, which was Neil’s lifelong supported charity, and the second is the University Hospital of North Staffordshire’s trauma unit, where my brother-in-law is a consultant in emergency medicine.

“He roped me and my wife Aggy in to help him and we are hard in training.

“I’m in the gym four to six times a week and doing a lot of lower body work.”

Getting back on his skis has been a big deal for Mark.

When he first started skiing years ago, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury.

He had to undergo a long rehabilitation programme and did not get back on his skis for a full year.

“It’s been a challenge for me,” he said.

The event will take in the scenic points of the “Three Valley Ski Area”, the largest linked skiable area in the world with more than 600km of interconnected slopes covering a vertical distance of 51,000ft - almost twice the height of Mount Everest.

Participants have eight hours to complete the marathon.

“It will be enjoyable but also quite dangerous,” Mark said.

“It’s going to be a challenge but we’re doing it for good causes and hopefully we’ll raise lots of money for them.”

Mark said people have been very generous with their sponsorship.

“We are very appreciative of that,” he said.

“To be so generous in this climate is very kind.”

To sponsor Mark and the team, call in at Hartley’s or visit

You can follow the group’s progress on Facebook (La Tania Escapade 2014) and on Twitter (@Lataniaescapade).