Inspired by The Jump? Here are nine amateur ski races you can enter this season or next.
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THE INFERNO SKI RACE – MURREN
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018, this ski race combines downhill racing with uphill climbs… on race skis! Competitors are capped at 1850 with over 2500 applying to race each year. The answer to securing your place is to become a member of a ski club (such as the Kandahar Ski Club who founded the event). You’ll also need to ensure your entry is in before the deadline of September 15, 2017 (entries can be submitted from May 2017).
The main downhill event is 14.9km long and competitors are set off at approximately 10-second intervals (sometimes the course is shorter, depending on snow conditions). As well as this there’s a cross-country ski race around the town of Mürren and a GS event – both taking place earlier in the week. For the 75th anniversary there are plans for a mass start team event – the ‘Sir Arnold Lunn Cup’, where all competitors will start at the same time. Entry cost is £55 for the downhill race. Find out more on the Inferno website.
THE AMATEUR INTERCLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS – ALPBACH
Founded in 2008, this year’s Amateur Inter-Club Championships will be held in Alpbach, Austria and hosted by the Alpbach Visitors Ski Club – March 9-12, 2017. The Championships are an annual team event, held in March every year, and taking place in the home of the host club.
Races can be Slalom, GS or Super-G, at the discretion of the club, with teams of four racing ladies or gents in each group. This fun team event offers the following age categories: Men and Women 60+, 45-59 and 18-45. The fastest time of three members of the team count towards the overall time clocked. Visit the Amateur Interclub Championships website to find out more.
CITY SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS – VERBIER
Originally this weekend of racing was aimed at skiers working in the City of London and their organisations, but the invite now extends to many more businesses. The championships take place in Verbier in early February with teams of four taking part in a dual slalom on the Friday and a main GS race on the Saturday.
The weekend is as much about networking and having fun, with a full entertainment programme thrown in on the après front. Entries are open now for the 2018 weekend taking place from February 1-4, 2018 . Entry price is from £750pp. Find out more on the City Ski website.
THE TWEED RUN – DAVOS
Dress up in old-fashioned tweed and take part in this fun one-day event in the Swiss resort of Davos. This year’s event takes place on February 25 if you happen to be in Davos, otherwise next season it will be held towards the end of February 2018. This event for locals and guests attracts young and old. Two runs take place from 12.30pm and an evening ceremony is held at 6pm at the Hotel Bellevue Wiesen. It costs 20 CHF to enter. Get your tweed on and find out more about the race.
IGO N60° – NORWAY
The IGO N60° is a cross-country, 4-stage event covering ski touring and cross-country skiing, alongside fat biking and running. The challenge is to cover one hundred miles between Hemsedal and Geilo in Norway. Home to the ‘Heroes of Telemark’ raid, the race takes place across a challenging snowy landscape that has earned the respect of countless polar explorers, as well as the British Special Forces.
Even so, IGO is not exclusively aimed at the super-fit (though it would certainly help) – instead it’s all about your attitude. Previous competitors include members of the Special Forces, but also businessmen in their 60s and many more up for the challenge.
The four stages:
Day 1: Touring and Downhill Ski | 15 miles | Race time 4-9 hours
Day 2: Fat Biking | 26.2 miles | Race time 3-8 hours (followed by husky dogsled)
Day 3: Cross Country Ski | 26.2 miles | Race time 4-9 hours
Day 4: Marathon Run | 26.2 miles | Race time 3-6 hours
Taking part in this Norwegian Challenge can be arranged through IGO Adventures and includes training, flights, food and all transport costing from £4,500 per person. The expedition will run from March 11-19, 2017 and deadline for entry this year is February 28, 2017. Find out more at IGO Adventures.
DHO MCMILLAN CUP – WENGEN
This race, organised by the Downhill Only Club, takes place in the resort of Wengen in Switzerland on the first Thursday of February and is a massed start downhill race. The McMillan Cup is awarded to the fastest skier and was donated to the DHO by the family of Flying Officer Douglas McMillan. McMillan enjoyed skiing in Wengen in the 1920s and sadly died in a flying accident in 1928. The race was first held in 1929 in his memory.
THE SUPER 3 – MURREN, SAAS-FEE, BEL ALP
Many skiers have heard of the Inferno (see above). But only a very few have competed in the Super 3 – a series of three ski races across Switzerland (including the Inferno). All three are aimed at amateur skiers and take place in Bel Alp, Murren, and Saas-Fee.
The main Bel Alp Hexe race ‘Hexenabfahrt’ is a 12km course where most of the 1500 skiers dress up as witches! The spooky 1790-metre descent finishes in the little village of Batten beneath the Aletsch Glacier. Next year’s race takes place on January 13, 2018 with fun events throughout the week before the main race. Open for entries from 27 August – 12 January 2018 costing CHF 35.
The 9km Saas-Fee Allalin Race is one of the highest races in the Alps and takes place at the end of March to complete the Super 3 series. The race covers over 1800m of descent and is priced at CHF 50 per entry. Only three British people took part in the full Super 3 in 2017 – so who’s up for the challenge? Find out more on the official website.
THE PARSENN DERBY – DAVOS
First run in 1924, the Parsenn Derby is one of the oldest downhill races in the world and is open to experienced amateur skiers. The race was founded jointly by the Davos Ski Club and the Davos English Ski Club and was run from the Parsennfurka down to Kublis. In 1933 the start was moved to the Weissfluhjoch. With a length of 12.5km and a vertical descent of some 2000m it became one of the most important events in the international ski world before the founding of the Ski World Cup.
The race has been adapted to the modern day and no longer runs down to Kublis – modern equipment and safety requirements rendering this impractical. To take part in the race you should be a strong black run skier comfortable skiing at fast speeds. The team event takes place on the Saturday and the individual on the Sunday. Around 500 skiers take part each year. This year’s race is scheduled for March 24-26, 2017. Find out more on the Parsenn Derby website.
SKI 4 CANCER – SAALBACH
Become a World Record holder on Thursday 9 March 2017 by taking part in Ski 4 Cancer’s Everest Challenge. The Challenge will take place on the slopes of Saalbach. Skiers will descend the height of Mount Everest (29,029ft / 8,848m) as one large group and raise funds for Ski 4 Cancer at the same time.
Any competent skier can take part – most intermediate skiers should be able to complete the Everest Challenge in about 6 hours. Advanced skiers will need slightly less time.
Eddie the Eagle Edwards will be taking part, and this year also sees the launch of a special fund: The Wenche Hammond Fund. Wenche, a good friend to many in the ski world, died from cancer last year at the age of 42, leaving behind her husband and daughter. Find out how you can enter on the Ski 4 Cancer website.