White Turf horse races on a frozen lake: The cream of society heading for an exciting race in St. Moritz
This Sunday, the 113th edition of the prestigious White Turf series will have its grand finale on a frozen lake in St. Moritz. Celebrities from all over Europe always make sure not to miss this spectacle. Stars such as tennis player Roger Federer or model Naomi Campbell have visited the races in the past. This year, up to 35,000 visitors are expected to arrive.
It's a high adrenaline spectacle. Riders on skis or ski carts get hitched to a horse and barrel down the ice to the finish line at great speed. The tension in the audience is almost unbearable and the demanding terrain requires that the participants are in top physical shape, because the air here is thin and the terrain uneven. The ultimate top of the event is a race called skijöring, where the skiers harness themselves directly behind the horse and fly at a speed of over 40 kilometers per hour. A single mistake or lapse in attention, and the battle for a trophy can turn into a disaster.
Celebrities from all over Europe
But that's what sport is all about, isn't it? Excitement is a must! The stands are filled with enthusiastic racing fans as well as celebrities. White Turf is a great social event frequented by famous personalities from the world of sport, fashion and show business, where women wear their best dresses and assorted delicacies are served. And the prizes for the winners of individual races are fabulous as well: a total of 400 thousand Swiss francs (which is approximately 9.3 million crowns) is being awarded.
The races suffer through weather changes
Unfortunately, the one-of-a-kind race, which has been held since 1907, is plagued by weather changes. The race takes place on a 44 meter deep lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland. And although the place is located at an altitude of nearly 1800 meters, freezing conditions have been rare in recent years and the ice covering the lake is not strong enough. Therefore, some races are being completely canceled or significantly shortened.
This year, the temperature problems hit again, wherefore the organizers had to pump out several million liters of water from the lake before the races. Thankfully, everything is in full swing now and thousands of people are looking forward to this year's climax - the main race that will be held on Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Tickets for the grand finale
"We expect a really exciting finale," says Thomas C. Walther of the organizing association, inviting for not one, but three final races. The last few tickets are still on sale, so if you feel tempted to experience these thrilling races, you might score one. VIP tickets for Sunday are available for 850 Swiss francs, which is slightly under 20,000 crowns.