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New Year's Eve: The English influence

The Victoria-Jungfrau grand hotel is one of Switzerland's most exclusive New Year's Eve addresses.

(Victoria-Jungfrau)

New Year's Eve celebrations in Switzerland range from quiet family gatherings to fireworks, fancy balls and all night hip hop parties. But at some of Switzerland's best-known resorts, the old year is being put on ice.

There's more to New Year's Eve in Zermatt and St Moritz than a fancy dinner at one of the resorts' hotels or resorts.

Visitors to St Moritz can spend the day watching members of the St Moritz Tobogganing Club compete in the Fairchilds MacCarthy Cup. The competitors risk their lives hurtling head first over the ice down the kilometre-long Cresta Run.

The run was first built by the British back in 1885, and is still operated by the British, though the membership is now international.

While the pioneering English tourists brought tobogganing to Switzerland, it was the Scots who introduced curling. In Zermatt, the Walliserhof Cup tournament will be the New Year's Eve sporting event. It's being held on the village's natural ice rink and is open to everyone.

Interlaken was one of the first places in the Bernese Oberland to take advantage of the tourist boom set off by the British in the 19th century. The Victoria-Jungfrau grand hotel is a splendid relic of those heady days, and is ushering in the New Year in equally grand style.

Voted Switzerland's best hotel in 2000, the Victoria-Jungfrau plans a big splash on New Year's Eve. But the gala event comes at a price - SFr660 ($400) per person. If money is no object, the welcoming champagne cocktail is followed by a buffet dinner.

The price also buys the chance to hear Auld Lang Syne performed by no less than four orchestras.

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