21/1/11 – Inferno ski race 2011: metropolis Muerren

Swiss racers limber up at the Suppenalp mountain restaurant

Muerren seems little and limited, but we barely find time to visit all the restaurants and apres-ski spots we want to during Inferno week. For me, entered in the Inferno combination, the week looked like this:

Sunday – arrive, collect start numbers and lift pass discount voucher from Kandahar office, drinks in Eiger Guesthouse, Jungfrau Bar and Gondelbar, supper at Staegerstuebli, crash out early-ish.

Monday – gate training organised by Kandahar Ski Club; initial look at downhill course while visiblity good. Reserve race skis at Eddy Abegglen’s shop, plus cross-country skis and boots at a secret location: the gear is limited in the village, and we used to rent it in Lauterbrunnen, but we’ve found a source in Muerren. Leave regular skis to be sharpened. Ski Club of Great Britain drinks party at Eiger Hotel’s Taechi Bar. Meet old and new friends – and initially fail to recognise Sir Steve Redgrave, who’s racing this year for the first time. Supper at Eiger Guesthouse plus drinks at Staegerstuebli.

Tuesday – Kandahar giant slalom – two runs, plus a chilly session at the finish with the radio – then more downhill inspection. Collect cross-country skis for quick late-afternoon practice. Meat fondue at Blumental Hotel, a rustic, friendly place next-door to our lodgings. This isn’t for fondue snobs – it comes with an array of extras, such as tinned pineapple – but we love it, especially the cocktail and curry sauces. Midnight bed with few drinks – in readiness for cross-country tomorrow.

A favourite apres-ski spot - just beware of the Gluehwein

Wednesday – Two runs of Kandahar slalom followed by off-piste and a lie-down before the cross-country (see previous post). Drinks in the Gondelbar and Jungfrau, then supper with a fun group at the Hotel Bellevue’s cosy Jaegerstuebli. Not too late, as the GS looms.

Thursday – Inferno giant slalom plus powder skiing. Drinks in the Gondelbar, where we meet a newly arrived group of British racers whose emphasis is more on party than pace. One confesses he threw up three times during last year’s downhill. Kandahar drinks party at 6.30pm – our first visit of the night to the Bliemlichaeller (the Blumental’s disco), where Teresa and I land a surprising haul of prizes for club races and Inferno GS. Supper in the Staegerstuebli then back to Bliemli, Taechi and Bliemli in our latest night so far.

Friday – Collect race skis and practise on them; make a final course inspection before changing to ‘normals’ for Schiltgrat powder. Quick hot chocolate with rum at Suppenalp, then Blumental supper and early night.

Saturday – Race, watch the race and celebrate the race. Visit several aforementioned stuebli, attend Kandahar drinks and supper at Hotel Jungfrau then join the monster Bierfest in the sports hall till 2.30am. Proceed to Taechi then Bliemli and roll into bed a few hours later.

Barman Michael with Inferno regular Archie Holmes at the Taechi Bar

So what didn’t we fit in? Well, a visit to the Chinese restaurant; an evening at Suppenalp restaurant, followed by tobogganing back to the village; Thursday’s music night – yodelling and oompah – at the Allmendhubel restaurant; lunch at the Sonnenberg or Winteregg mountain restaurants; a circuit of the Schilthorn revolving restaurant; skating; curling; yoga… that’s probably it. Oh, and a night in self-catering, waxing our skis…

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Filed under Food and drink, Racing, Switzerland

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