The organisers of the famous Inferno race, the world’s longest amateur downhill ski race that has been staged for more than nine decades (with a few breaks) down from Mürren to Lauterbrunnen in the stunning Swiss Jungfrau region say they are hopeful it will go ahead for the 78th time this January.
“On 12 August 2020, the Swiss Government announced that events with more than 1,000 people will be permitted to resume from the beginning of October. This ruling means that the 78th International Inferno Races from 20 – 23 January 2021 may go ahead as usual. Nonetheless, the organising committee has considered all eventualities and drawn up a Plan B,” a statement from the Schilthorn Cableway Ltd states.
That Plan B designed “for holding the event under more stringent COVID-19 restrictions …which could quickly be put in place should tighter restrictions be re-imposed” includes spreading the 15.8 km (9.8 mile) downhill race over two days.
Under ‘Plan B’ there is no plan to reduce the maximum number of 1,850 participants but it would not be possible for everyone to compete on the same day. Therefore on Friday, start numbers 701 to 1600 would compete then on the Saturday, it would be the turn of the top favourites in categories 1 to 700, along with ‘Inferno rookies’ (Nos 1601 – 1850). Five athletes would enter the course per minute (12-second start intervals) and gatherings of more than 50 athletes would be avoided, with appropriate control measures at the start and finish areas.
Entry fees will be reimbursed in full if the Inferno race has to be entirely cancelled due to COVID-19 the organisers state, adding,
“It goes without saying that ski racing and the health of everyone involved is the overriding concern.”