As part of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of the Ladies’ Ski Club, members and guests were invited to take part in a free and fun costumed slalom race in Mürren, Switzerland. The race was held on 23rd January 2023, the 100th anniversary, to the day, of the founding of the club.
The slalom race was a light-hearted way to celebrate the first 100 years of the club. The course was set up in the main meeting area of the resort and timings were kept the old-fashioned way by waving a flag each time a racer left the starting gate. Over the course of an hour or so, 26 club members made their way down the course, some taking it slow, others going for the win. Countries represented included the UK, Switzerland, Norway, USA and Canada.
Although the race was for fun, there was one unbreakable rule: To take part in the race all entrants had to be dressed in 1920s outfits to commemorate the club’s 100 years as well as the original founders and members. Also on show were some skis and poles from the era – you can see in the image below how long the skis were compared to today’s standards.
It was a timed event, with staggered starts, and the winner, Emma Hinde, passed the finish line in just 11.1s. Along with a bottle of Champagne for the winner, a special prize medal was awarded for best dressed. Once all the contestants had been through, and the times checked and announced, a number of ladies side-stepped back up the slope to have a second run.
After the race, refreshments were served to participants and visitors from the nearby Bellevue Hotel outside bar.
(Adrienne Kirk, Emma Hinde and Barbara Gruenig Hoppeler)
In the evening of the 23rd January a celebratory reception was held in the lobby of the now closed Alpin Palace Hotel. Built in 1872 at the station end of the village it is one of the largest and most imposing buildings around. Guests enjoyed locally produced food along with drinks. The club’s president, Ingrid Christophersen, gave a rousing speech covering a brief history of the club along with its goals and what it stands for. Rachel Arkin, the Director of the Mürren Tourist Office also spoke, thanking the club for the support it gives to the town.
(Ingrid Christophersen, President of the Ladies’ Ski Club)
The following day a brunch was held in the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant located at the very top of the Schilthorn, at 2970m. It’s known as the James Bond Brunch and as your seat and table slowly rotates around the centre of the restaurant, you can indulge in local meats, cheeses, soups and much more, along with bottomless drinks.
Why is it called the James Bond Brunch? The building is also famous for being used as Blofeld’s lair in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Screens are placed around the restaurant showing clips from the movie, filmed exactly where you’re sitting. One floor below the restaurant is a museum dedicated to the film, full of information and facts.
From the restaurant and viewing platform you get stunning 360° views stretching for miles. It’s the best place to get a view of the three local mountains: the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
(Piz Gloria Restaurant)
To finish off the centenary celebrations in Mürren, a drinks and dinner event was held in the Hotel Eiger.
History of the Ladies’ Ski Club
The LSC is the oldest women’s alpine ski club in the world, founded in Mürren on January 23rd, 1923, by the leading female ski racers of the time, headed by Mabel Lunn, and assisted by her husband Albert Lunn, the alpine skiing pioneer. Today the club has around 300 members.
Vice-President Gayle Parsons said the goal of the club is “To encourage and support British female Snowsports competitors and build fellowship among women who just love to ski!”
The Club continues to thrive and honours its considerable legacy to competitive snow sports by raising funds to support elite British female athletes each year. All the UK’s current top female racers, including our para-athletes and many of the top freestyle athletes, are members of the Ladies’ Ski Club.
If you are interested in joining the club, more details can be found here.
The location for the celebrations and the race is the picturesque village of Mürren, high up in the Bernese Highlands of Switzerland. The village isn’t accessible by road: from Lauterbrunnen you take a gondola up to Grütschalp and from there it’s a short local train ride to Mürren. It’s a small village of around 450 permanent residents with two main roads that can be walked in 20 minutes or so.
Mürren is integral to the history of British skiing. It’s where the first slalom race was held back in 1922. Today the village gives access to 51km of slopes, mostly blues and reds, along with some challenging black runs. A wider ski area – the Jungfrau region – provides access to the Wengen and Grindelwald resorts, offering 206km of piste in total.
In January each year the region hosts the International Inferno Ski Races, a series of events that have taken place since 1928. The highlight of the programme is the Inferno Downhill, now in its 79th year, which runs from just below the Kleines Schilthorn (under the Piz Gloria restaurant) all the way down to the valley, finishing in Lauterbrunnen. This year there were 1850 skiers taking part!
How to Get there
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) connects Switzerland with the world, offering more than 160 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London Gatwick (seasonal) to Zurich or Geneva. One-way fares start from £76 to Zurich and from £54 to Geneva, and include all taxes, fees and surcharges, one piece of checked luggage weighing up to 23kg and one piece of hand luggage. SWISS are also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance subject to availability (excluding hand-luggage-only fares).
The Swiss Travel System provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days across the Swiss Travel System rail, bus and boat network. This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in around 90 towns and cities, and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices start from £186 for a three-day second-class ticket.
For more information on Switzerland, visit MySwitzerland.com