Every February, the frozen lake of St. Moritz becomes the setting for a daring display of racing bravado
The adventure: In St Moritz, the most thrilling action isn’t found on the ski slopes but in the valley below. The Lake of St Moritz turns to ice each winter and its surface provides the setting for winter-sports events. The most daring are the White Turf races each February, in which jockeys and horses dart along the track at dizzying speed. The crunch of compacted snow as they approach, and the spray of crushed ice slicing the air as they gallop past, add a jolt of excitement to this unconventional day at the races. The Skikjöring race tests the courage of the most competitive racers, who grip harnesses tethered to horses and are dragged along on skis. It’s a risky display of bravado, with the danger of participants being trampled never far from a spectator’s mind.
How to do it: Unless you are a professional jockey, White Turf can be enjoyed only as a spectator. Around 35,000 people turn up to watch. Seasoned visitors prepare for a day on the ice by swaddling themselves in sleeping bag-sized pelts and ensuring that a restorative glass of champagne is always close to hand.
When to go: White Turf takes place on February 9, 16 and 23.
The accommodation: The grand and traditional Kulm Hotel St Moritz is well placed for the action. Our lake-facing room overlooked the track with a jagged sweep of mountains behind. During White Turf, double rooms start at £670 a night, half-board, based on a seven-night minimum stay.