St Moritz celebrates 150 Years of Ski Tourism
It was 1864 when Thomas Cook first introduced adventurous English holidaymakers to Switzerland, but the history books are coloured more by what came next. It was then in the following September that Johannes Badrutt promised his sceptical summer guests in the Engadin Alps that they would also enjoy the region in winter — if they were bold enough to return. A legendary wager was then agreed upon. The hotelier would reimburse travel costs from London if St. Moritz didn’t provide fun in the winter sun, and the guests could stay as long as they wished.
That was 150 years ago, and St. Moritz has long since forged its reputation as one of Europe’s top winter destinations, replete with deluxe lodgings and fine dining, year-round. Now, the town is celebrating its wonderful heritage as the birthplace of European winter tourism with a host of exciting events. The festivities will begin to snowball from next month, when the Anniversary Kick-Off event takes place. December 5-7 will see teams compete in various traditional snow sports, with concerts and shows each evening. The following months will present visitors with highlights such as the Gourmet Festival (January 26-30) with 182 international master chefs from 30 nations cooking within the town’s hotels.
The Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz takes place from January 29 to February 1 and promises to offer an adrenalin packed competition for over 15,000 spectators. And for horse fans there will be the Alpine equine action, White Turf St. Moritz will take place on Sunday February 8 and on the following two Sundays. Dating back to 1907, this event takes place on the frozen Lake in St. Moritz. It is not just a horse-race meet. impressive steeds thunder across the hard ice in flambouyant races over a series of three events. Here we will see tough competitors pulled along on skis, testing the true horsepower of their trusted charges. Other celebratory events include the World and European Cup Bob and Skeleton on the Olympia Bob Run from January 12-25 and to mark 125 years of the sport, a dedicated bobsleigh Hall of Fame is due to open that month. So, if you are a lover of Alpine pursuits then St. Moritz is the place that you’ll want to be this winter! I didn’t mention the Apres Ski of course and the wonderful fun and frolics off piste! That is for another post!