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Ski club celebrates birthday the old-fashioned way

Conditions made racing difficult for participants in the Grindelwald ski club's summer competition


The Grindelwald ski club in the Bernese Oberland has celebrated its 100th anniversary by reviving an old tradition.

The club held its summer ski race on the Jungfraujoch on Saturday, a competition that was staged regularly between 1919 and 1962. Teams of three skiers, strung together with a rope, and wearing old-fashioned ski outfits took part in the race.

The first races were organised in 1914 at the behest of the Bern ski club, two years after the Jungfrau railway opened nearby. Skiers competed for the winner's trophy by amassing points from a downhill race, a slalom and a ski-jumping competition.

Over 60 women and men took part in the first competition organised by the Grindelwald ski club in 1919, according to the local media. The team event was launched in 1930s.

Competitors started above 3,500 metres on the western side of the Mönch, and the run downhill took them down onto the Jungfrau glacier below the Sphinx, where the train arrives. This meant the racers had to climb not only to get to the start, but also to get back to the train.

Saturday's racers faced a less daunting task, with a shorter run and a ski lift to take them to the start. The competition was open to all comers, but they still faced one final hurdle before getting to the start - a SFr100 ($64) fee.

swissinfo with agencies

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