St. Moritz is the birthplace of winter sports – but before that could happen, they first had to invent the winter holiday. And for that we can thank St. Moritz' hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt. Around 150 years ago, he made a bet with his English summer guests: if they weren’t able to sit out on the terrace without wearing their coat at least once during their winter stay, he would pay for their return tickets. And so, the English guests came for the sunny Engadin winter and noticed that, sure enough, the weather at 1,800 metres above sea level was gloriously restorative even in the coldest part of the year – not at all like the wet, grey London winter.
And then came curling and cricket matches for the amusement of the winter guests. Soon they were holding ice sporting events as well, giving rise to the Cresta Run and the Bob Run – and so winter sports were born.
Now this sophisticated centre can look back on two Winter Olympics and five World Ski Championships. And both the Cresta Run and the Bob Run are longtime fixtures in the worldfamous St. Moritz winter sport calendar.
The oldest (and now only) natural ice track in the world – the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz – Celerina - is legendary. Every year, daring men in full-body suits or the original, rugged clothing such as tweed or knickerbockers fly down the ice track from St. Moritz to Celerina. National and international competitions regularly appear on the winter agenda. Since its completion in 1904, the Olympic bob run from St. Moritz to Celerina has hosted two Winter Olympics and 24 bobsleigh World Championships. With a bit of luck, you can book a guest ride and experience the roaring adventure for yourself – with a driver and a pusher, of course.
The Cresta Run has ten curves and sees speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour. Every year, daring men in fullbody suits fly down the ice track from St. Moritz to Celerina. Well, not just men. The Cresta Club now allows women to use the track on certain days, overturning a ruling of almost 90 years’ standing. The Cresta in St. Moritz was a key site in the development of skeleton racing, which has taken place here since 1884.