It’s that time of year again – time to decide whether to race the Inferno (see http://tinyurl.com/3m5xjxs and earlier posts). The deadline for entries to the Swiss race organisers is mid-September, but if, like most Brits who take part, you’re entering through the Kandahar Ski Club, you need to get paid up by 31 August. The race is 18-21 January 2012.
Through the Kandahar it costs £52 to do the downhill – which can be anything between a couple and 15km long, depending on snow cover – and £67 to do the combination – comprising the downhill, a 6km cross-country and a giant slalom.
If you’re not a Kandahar member and want to join you need to befriend one or two in order to be proposed and seconded to join the club, which costs £40 a year (or £20 if over 70 or under 21).
When I last looked, 41 K members had signed up to this year’s Inferno – that number should more than double by the end of the month and in January the Brits are usually the third most numerous nationality after the Swiss and Germans.
Other British teams last year went by the name of Hotel Jungfrau (Muerren – which is run by a brilliant Scotsman and his wife), Hardres Ski Touring Club, Downhill Only (the Kandahar’s longstanding Wengen ‘rival’), Ealing Eagles, the Horseshit Balls, Auriol Kensington Ski Club, Pegasus, the Monty Ski Club, the Ski Club of Great Britain, the Jaegermeisters and Euro Snowholers.
I was told once that this last lot, the Euro Snowholers, somehow obtained a European Union grant for their cultural cause – which was having a blast during Inferno week, not necessarily based in a real snowhole.
I am still dithering about whether to go for it again this year (it would be Inferno number six for me). For any regular or semi-regular it’s important to go often enough to keep the advantage of a low start number.
First-timers usually have a start number of around 1600-1800, and this gets gradually better each time you do it, especially if you do well. Last year I was in the 400s. I understand that if you miss more than two (or maybe three) in a row you start again from scratch, somewhere near 1700.
Anyway, for anybody thinking of taking part, I recommend the whole thing 100 per cent. If you can, get fit, go for the whole week and take part in the cross-country, giant slalom and downhill, plus the Kandahar club races and training from Monday to Wednesday.
To read more – and to find out which British celebrity was there with us last year – have a look at this article of mine in Country Life this February http://tinyurl.com/3shxoar.
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