White Turf , ski and snow , an invitation I just couldn’t resist. The idea of this blog is mainly to show that my girls are important and whatever I do they come along too, it’s important to experience different things together makes part of growing up with mum great !  if blessed to do so … plus it’s important to get to know my children’s friends and a nice way to do this is on such family orientated events, white Turf was certainly that !

 

White Turf

February is the best month for skiing! For most as many of us take advantage of the school winter holidays early to mid February. In Switzerland where I live, we have a special local Swiss sport called White Turf, which takes advantage of the temperate environment. One of our favorite winter getaways is to St.Moritz, well known in the winter months for fairytale snowy mountain ranges, torturous snow passes, the big glacier lake, and the glitz and glamour of the famed and wealthy who spend time at their winter vacation homes during the peak ski season. While St.Moritz is an exciting place to visit, and legendary for the perfect combination of skiing and glamour, it is also home to an intriguing and lesser known sport namely White Turf, a historic race and based on how life was lived in the mountains during winter in the old days. It dates back 1906 and brings the wealthy tourists to the lake for champagne and betting.

After nearly ten years living in Switzerland and hearing about this event many times, we were invited to participate. I choose to go with my daughters and their friends since we enjoy each other and spend lots of time together. I try to arrange mum and daughter time with my girls  as often as our busy schedules allow and make it a priority (FYI),   “Me and my girls” will be my next blog). Mother and daughter time gets more difficult once they get married and live their own lives, therefore whenever possible all of us together is the best, though sometimes it is whoever is available -you never know with our family who might show up at the last minute! And that’s just fine , we are a spontaneous family  and we all love to travel and do cosy, often relaxing things together – or new and exciting things like White Turf.

White Turf is held on the big lake when the lake is frozen.

Its open to the public, so you can come too, next year in 2020.

https://www.whiteturf.ch/en/

The lake is 1,882 meters up in the Engadine mountains so it doesn’t take long for the lake to freeze, and the horses who are the subject of the sport are let loose on the ice. There are at least four different horse activities  played  on this frozen lake during a three week period:

  • Polo on ice with a red ball
  • Horse back racing on ice
  • Trotting
  • Skijoring

It is Skijoring and trotting that I am interested in sharing with you as the other two are more known.

Skijoring is a race with thoroughbred horses without riders on their backs, rather skiers in tow. It looks seriously dangerous but I assumed the long tradition means it is relatively safe given the Swiss from this region are born with skis on their feet. The race is run similar to other horse races, with all horses starting at the same time, fixed within gates and a gun to start the race along the 2.7km long track, which they run around twice. This particular frozen track has a backdrop of the fairytale Badrutts Palace Hotel, surrounded on one side of the St. Moritz village,

We watched with great excitement, my bet was on number 8 , while my daughter had her bets on number 6 , whom coincendally won, one of the races, lucky her !
 
 The men steering the horse on skis, which is very difficult .Completing the race requires  great strength and skill on behalf of the athletes. You place a bet on the horse but I guess the athlete must also carry some credibility too. We are not typical gamblers and this is just for fun. The bets are low starting as low as 2chf per bet, which you can increase based on several betting positions and wins. The skier with the most points after three races on consecutive Sundays is crowned the “King of the Engadin Valley”. We spent two wonderful days and a night, which was an excellent to way to spend the weekend so thank you to Andreas for the invite and look forward to this becoming a tradition and a nice getaway with the girls.

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