If you’re looking for a winter activity that doesn’t involve skiing, sledging, or snowshoeing, the White Turf races in St. Moritz offer a unique cold-weather spectacle: horse races atop frozen Lake St. Moritz in Canton Graubünden, Switzerland.

Image credit: Myswitzerland.com

Image credit: Myswitzerland.com

After hearing all about the White Turf races from friends, last February my husband and I planned a long weekend in St. Moritz. We weren’t disappointed – from the snow-capped mountains of the Engadin valley and charming St. Moritz village, to the tent city set on frozen Lake St. Moritz and the horse races themselves, our weekend in St. Moritz was one of the highlights of our winter.

The White Turf horse races began in 1907; today, they are held on three consecutive Sundays every February on a track erected on the frozen surface of Lake St. Moritz. The first races take place this Sunday, February 8. The programme of events for each of the race days is available here.

Image credit: Myswitzerland.com

Image credit: Myswitzerland.com

Each race day features flat races, trotting races, and Skikjöring, races where ski-clad men are pulled by unsaddled thoroughbreds. The first and second race days will also see the return of hurdle races.

Beyond the horses, a newly redesigned tent city welcomes spectators with gourmet food, drink, and souvenirs.

Tickets: CHF 21 buys one entrance to the tent city and standing-room viewing areas. Seats in the grandstands range from CHF 41 to CHF 81. Children up to 16 years enter free of charge. Family tickets are also available. This year, CHF 1 from each ticket sold will benefit the Roger Federer Foundation. Click here for more information about White Turf tickets.

Tip: Hotels in St. Moritz book up well in advance and tend to be quite expensive, more so than usual during the race weekends, but trains and buses from neighboring (and less expensive) towns like Celerina, Pontresina, and Samedan run frequently.

Useful Links

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/