Time your trip to co-incide with the Inferno Murren race if you want more of a challenge on your next trip to Switzerland. Inferno Murren is the World’s longest, and longest-running, intermediate downhill ski race. The 2016 race included Snow Action’s Features Editor Bronwen Gora and royal sibling Pippa Middleton, sister of Princess Kate, in the field of 1800 odd.
“This has to go on your skiing bucket list immediately!” says Bronwen. “We flew down the spectacular 14.9km course carved into the sides of the Schilthorn mountain (made famous in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the only James Bond movie to feature Aussie George Lazenby as 007), in full view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Any skier with intermediate and above ability can do this race – and we highly recommend adding it into a Swiss skiing itinerary next year. It will definitely be something you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life.”
The Inferno Race in the Swiss Alpine resort of Mürren was organized for the first time in 1928 by a group of “ski-crazy” Englishmen. Today it is the largest amateur skiing race in the world.
This spectacular annual event is so popular that participation has to be limited to “only” 1800 competitors – about half the skiers who would like to participate. The course covers 14.9 kilometres of contrasting terrain and topography, and is open to the skiing public at other times of the year.
The Inferno Murren Race is particularly suited to all round skiers. As the official documentation explains: “The upper part of the course demands downhill turning technique and an optimal line. The middle section calls for an ideal downhill position and fast gliding. From the “Kanonenrohr” to the “Höhenlücke” technically superior skiers come into their own. Over the stretch from Maulerhubel to Winteregg, skating step and arm power can be all-important. And from Winteregg-Spriessenkehr to Lauterbrunnen optimal equipment, a clean downhill position and – not least – mental stamina can be the key to a fast final time.”
Briefly, the course can be summarised as follows: The Start is located just below the ‘Kleines Schilthorn’. From here, the course continues through the Engetal to the Schilthorn Hut. Then follows a long drawn-out “S” to just below the Muttlerenhorn, followed by the challenge of the Kanonenrohr. Next comes a further “Double S” and a sharp right curve. The course climbs into woodland, crossing the path of the Maulerhubel Skilift. A slight ascent then leads to Winteregg over the Winteregg Bridge, joining the forest trail in the direction of Lauterbrunnen.
This attractive course can be covered by competent skiers in about 45 minutes. The winner of the Inferno Race takes less than 15 minutes.