Mention Switzerland and most people immediately dream of skiing in the snowed Alps. And that’s just as many folks from there would like you to think of their beautiful home. Indeed, there’s consensus among the Swiss that their country is the original destination for cold weather fun — and that this coming season marks the 150th anniversary of winter tourism.
As the story goes, in the summer of 1864 St Moritz hotelier Johannes Badrutt made a bet with four of English guests that if they came back in the winter they would enjoy the same sunshine on his terrace, in their shirt sleeves. If not, he would pay all their travel costs. But if so, he would invite them to be his guests for as long as they wanted to stay. The Englishmen agreed and returned to Badrutt’s hotel sometime before Christmas and had such a good time they stayed until after Easter, becoming the first winter tourists of the Alps ushering in – and pioneering – years of downhill skiing, tobogganing, trekking, and more winter sport activities and plenty of off-piste shenanigans too!
To commemorate this first season of Alpine vacationing, St. Moritz and much of the rest of Switzerland are going all out with a winter’s worth of special celebrations and events. Kicking the party off is the Snow Sports Opening from the 5th to the 7thof December with a variety of events and competitions for celebrities, guests and locals through St. Moritz and its slopes.
More highlights of this winter in and around St. Moritz will include a retro ski day in Sils, skeleton team competitions on the Cresta Run open to the public, on-site viewings of the Free Fall, the world’s steepest start platform (45 degrees or 100% gradient) on the men’s Alpine World Ski Championships, a light installation by light artist Gerry Hofstetter in Salastrains, fireside discussions with entrepreneur families from the Engadin — and lots more!
Does this sound like your kind of winter wonderland? Get more details about Switzerland’s 150th anniversary of winter tourism at the official St. Moritz tourism site.