La Sportiva Title Sponsor


We are so excited to announce that La Sportiva is returning as our title sponsor!  Not only do they make incredible climbing gear and clothing, they were the first climbing manufacturer to come to our event back in the days where there were only a handful of participants at the event.  Back in the early days, Mark Wilford of La Sportiva,  generously donated his time and talents to help build a solid foundation for our festival. This year we think (those early days are a bit hazy) Mark and Sportiva have been involved with the Michigan Ice Fest close to 20 years.  Besides Mark’s return, La Sportiva is also sending Will Mayo for a second straight year of instructing and presenting!   Look for exciting things to happen between Michigan Ice and La Sportiva for years to come!


Who’s the one guy you can guarantee you’ll see at the fest?  Mark of course!  A long time supporter of the festival, Mark is considered one of the most proficient and diverse alpinist/rock climbers in the world. With more than 30 years of experience, he has accumulated a long resume of bold rock ascents, alpine solos, Alaskan climbs and Himalayan expeditions. Among his most notable climbs are the first American solo ascent of the Eiger North Face, a first ascent route on Nameless Tower, a winter solo of the Diamond on Long’s Peak and first ascents in Alaska’s Saint Elias Range.




For those of you that are Ice Fest veterans, one thing that always sticks out is what characters some of the climbers can be, and Wilford is no exception.  Profiled in John Sherman’s book, “Sherman Exposed“,  Wilford’s accomplishments on the rock and antics off the rock are examined.  He has a passion for fast cars and that has given him the dubious record of surviving at least six automobile rollovers, although…… he claims he was only driving for five of them.



Caroline Treadway photo
Caroline Treadway photo

Will Mayo is one of the world’s strongest ice and mixed climbers.   Will has been very busy since we saw him at last years Ice Fest, putting up another testpiece in a string of difficult mixed lines he’s established on Mt. Evans’ Black Wall in Colorado. Read about it here!  We are so excited to have the quality of climber and instructor that Will brings to our Ice Fest!

“The most captivating aspect of climbing is the manner in which it demands complete focus on the present. In climbing, during a crux section, it’s only right now; it sounds banal, but it actually seems like a rare and precious thing in our day-to-day lives. Everything else just falls away from one’s mind and one is completely engaged in the moment. Climbing allows for a healthy reset of the mind which allows for clarity upon return to our daily grinds. Besides, it’s just plain fun!”


La Sportiva

In the Twenties Thirties and Forties, Narciso Delladio hand-crafted wooden clogs and leather boots for many lumber-jacks and farmers of the Fassa and Fiemme valleys, who trusted his skilled hands. Very important is the date of a participation certificate at the Milan Trade Fair in 1928. During the Second World War, Delladio custom produced mountain boots that were supplied to the Army. Dating back to this period is a patent for a special lacing system, that later will be used by the most important footwear factories.

After the war, the demand for boots increased, obliging Narciso to hire new workers: the good name of “Calzoleria Sportiva” crossed the boarders of the valleys and reached the cities of Trento and Bolzano.

In the Fifties, his son Francesco began to work for the company, and by doing the right thing at the right time he started building a new workshop on the outskirts of Tesero, where today is located a large industrial area. In the new and roomy building they began to design and develop ski boots, for a fast growing sport, requiring more technical boots. The market opened up quickly and Francesco Delladio introduced the brand name “La Sportiva” firstly in the Milan Exhibition, then throughout Europe, with a winter collection characterized by audacious technical and aesthetic solutions, and a summer collection of traditional mountain boots.

In the Seventies, with the arrival of plastic boots, “La Sportiva”, after a trial season, had to discontinue the production of ski boots, for financial reasons; the investment would have been too high and therefore the production was limited to mountain boots and cross-country skiing footwear. In the meantime the sons of Francesco began to work in the company: Lorenzo, Luciano, Marco. The desire to create, to stand out and to make a name for oneself in an ever increasing market is a characteristic present in the Delladio family.

During the Eighties  the focus of the firm moves towards the climbing sector due to an intuition which will prove to be a winner. An innovative shoe characterized by the colors purple and yellow was devised and produced to become the forerunner of a long series of avant-garde products, which very quickly will seal the success of the brand name world wide.