Belalp Hexe - (c) Blatten-Belalp Tourismus
The Belap Hexe is an annual ski festival held each January beneath the Aletsch Glacier near to the ski resort of Belalp. The festival is dedicated to the legend of the.. er.. Belap Hexe. Hexe ? Well, given that everybody celebrates this event by painting their faces sickly green, sculpting on a crooked false nose, donning a large pointy hat, carrying a broomstick and cackling madly, you won't be too surprised to learn that Hexe translates to Witch.
Yes, the Bexalp Hexe is a week-long event that culminates in the Witches Descent - a crazy 12km amateur ski race that sees witches heading off up the mountain on chairlifts and then hurtling back down in surprisingly authentic outfits and makeup.
The name of the skiing festival is based on a medieval legend of the Belalp Witch, who was said to haunt the Natischerberg mountain. There are a number of ski races held during the week, and whilst some are just for fun, the 'actual' race is taken seriously, and is a prestigious amateur ski title to claim victory in. The races regularly attracts nearly 2000 entrants, whilst even more turn up for the two 'Witches Nights', held on the Friday and Saturday. The Witched Nights are Belalp's excuse to have a serious party, and they are one of the largest après-ski events in Switzerland.
The Belalp Hexe is one of a trio of famous Swiss amateur ski races, the other two being Murren's world-famous Inferno race and the Allalin Rennen up on the glacier above Saas Fee.
The next Belalp Hexe at Belalp will take place on 6-13 Jan 2018.
The official Belalp Hexe at Belalp site is: www.belalphexe.com