Ski race hots up cold Swiss Alps

On Sunday morning, the starting pistol for the Engadin Ski Marathon was fired in Maloja, Switzerland.

The Engadin Ski Marathon is an annual ski race held on the second Sunday of March in Engadin, a long, high Alpine valley region located in the canton of Graubunden in south-eastern Switzerland.

Every year, the country's largest sports event attracts more than 12,000 skiers and cross-country fans from over 60 nations. Athletes compete on the 42km long route, travelling over frozen lakes and past typical Engadin villages, from Maloja to S-chanf.

According to the Engadin St Moritz tourism website, the Staz forest section is especially boisterous, as a lively crowd usually gathers to watch the antics of less-experienced skiers. The website estimates that around 4 per cent of participants "kiss" the snow here - which makes for about 500 falls.

Anyone above the age of 16 is eligible to participate in the marathon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'Ski race hots up cold Swiss Alps'. Print Edition | Subscribe