January: not all doom and gloom. Photo: Snow Bike Festival
1. Lauberhorn races, Wengen – Jan 13th-15th
Head to Wengen to watch the world’s top professional skiers compete in the longest downhill race in the world. A fixture of Wengen’s event calendar since 1930, its races (downhill, slalom and combined) attract tens of thousands of spectators every year. Food trucks, music and an air display help make this a fantastic slope-side party.
2. SIHH, Geneva – Jan 16th-20th (open to the public on 20th only)
Photo: Richard Juilliart/AFP
The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is one of the world’s most prestigious trade fairs for watches. Though primarily aimed at industry folk, this year for the first time it will open to the public for one day only on January 20th so you can go and ogle the latest designs and marvel at some of the finest (and most expensive) timepieces in the world.
3. Inferno Races, Mürren – Jan 18th-21st
Inspired by the Lauberhorn? Head to nearby Mürren for the Inferno, the largest amateur ski race in the world. Every year some 1,800 competitors hurtle down the 14.9km course. As well as the classic downhill race – now in its 74th year – the event includes an evening cross-country race, a giant slalom and combination race, as well as festivities and entertainment for spectators and competitors. It’s too late to enter this year’s race, but going to watch may give you something to aim for next year…
4. Snow Bike Festival, Gstaad – Jan 19th-22nd
Photo: Snow Bike Festival
Now in its third year, the Snow Bike Festival has become a popular new event in the ski resort of Gstaad, which was one of the first places in Europe to welcome fat bikes (bicycles with extra-wide tyres for gripping on snow). Open to all fat bike enthusiasts, the weekend includes a stage race, a night race under floodlights and a time trial, as well as plenty of entertainment for spectators.
5. Antigel Festival, Geneva – Jan 27th-Feb 19th
Taking over Geneva from the end of January is this fantastic music festival, now in its seventh edition and comprising 104 shows spread over 40 venues. Among the local and international names performing are Lambchop, The Dandy Warhols (pictured) and the legendary Patti Smith. Dance events, kids entertainment, DJ nights and even a nightswimming party in a pool help make this a festival not to be missed.