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Switzerland- White Turf - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Switzerland- White Turf

In St Moritz during February 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 their athletic horses speed along the icy track at an daringly fast pace. 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.

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 furs and sleeping bag-sized pelts, always 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.

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