Nearly there... - (c) Lauberhorn Races
The Lauberhorn ski races, named after the mountain of the same name that stands above the resort of Wengen, are held every January and have become one of the best known sporting events in the winter calendar.
The race weekend comprises a series of races, with a super-combined race (a combination of one downhill race and one slalom race) kicking off proceedings on the Friday, then the downhill on the Saturday (this is traditionally the big race of the weekend), and then the slalom finishing things off on the Sunday.
The whole weekend has become one of Switzerland's largest sporting events, and its popularity is clear by the sheer number of spectators who attend the weekend. The downhill race in particular attracts massive numbers, with well over 30,000 people regularly lining the course just for that one event. With skiing's other big event, the Kitzbuhel Hahnenkamm Races, traditionally following suit the week after, it makes up two of the most eagerly anticipated weekends in the sport.
The races are amongst the most historic in skiing, having been held since 1930. The downhill is famous not only for being the most visually stunning on the circuit, with a series of incredible jumps, backdropped by the Eiger, but also for being the longest on the World Cup circuit, taking a thigh-burning two and a half minutes to get down from 2315m to 1290m.
The Lauberhorn Races are rather unique in the world's top sporting events in that amateurs are allowed to ski the downhill course after the race, something that you wouldn't see after a Formula One grand prix, or the Champions League final. However, you don't need to be a top skier to enjoy the weekend - it's worth being in Wengen on race weekend just to sample the fantastic atmosphere and see the incredible speed that the top skiers hurtle down the mountain at. As you'd expect nowadays at large sporting events, there are plenty of other things going off, such as general entertainment, and one of the highlights is a fantastic show by the Patrouille Suisse, which is the demonstration team of the Swiss Air Force.
The next Lauberhorn Skiing Races at Wengen will take place on 12-14 Jan 2018.
The official Lauberhorn Skiing Races at Wengen site is: www.lauberhorn.ch