From Europe’s biggest freestyle snowboarding open to an ice climbing festival and an international sled dog race, here are top five winter sports events in Switzerland this season.
Image by lahiu
The Ice Climbing Festival
The ice climbing festival in Kandersteg (7 to 9 January 2011) attracts ice climbers from around the world to this small and picturesque village in the Alps. There are climbing contests, and guests can also meet ice climbers, test ice climbing gear and learn about the sport in one of the most popular ice climbing areas in Switzerland. Kandersteg is just an hour away from Switzerland’s capital Bern and easy to get to by train, and the views are obviously stunning.
The Swiss Snowkite Championship
Snowkiting is like kitesurfing with your skis or your snowboard. The final stage of the Swiss Snowkite Tour takes place at Lake Silvaplana (3 to 5 March 2011). Top snowkiters will gather to the scenic Silvaplana resort, at 1815 metres altitude; once you’ve had enough of watching the snowkiters, there are winter hiking paths, tracks for cross-country skiing and a 1-kilometre-long toboggan run.
The Burton European Open
The Burton European Open in Laax (8 to 15 January 2011) is a major annual snowboarding event and brings together hundreds of snowboarders from around the world. The even focuses on freestyle and there are competitions in halfpipe and slope styles. Snowboarding amateurs get to compete with professionals and the top prize is $125 000. The location is perfect: Laax is one of Switzerland’s most popular freestyle resorts.
Sled Dog Races
The International Sled Dog Race inLenzerheide (29 to 30 January 2011) brings together over 300 dogs and around 90 sledge dog teams from different countries. The Lenzerheide ski resort in Graubünden is at 1500 metres altitude and also offers 155 km of ski slopes and over 50 km of cross-country tracks. The organizers ask that the spectators leave their own dogs at home.
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