Everything you need to know about the Inferno
What is the Inferno Race?
The Inferno Race in the Swiss Alpine resort of Mürren was organized for the first time in 1928 by a group of “ski-crazy” Brits. Today it is the largest amateur skiing race in the world.
This spectacular annual event is so popular that participation has to be limited to “only” 1850 competitors – a few hundred applicants are still being rejected each year. The course covers 14.9 kilometres of contrasting terrain and topography, and is open to the skiing public at other times of the year.
The Inferno Race is particularly suited to allround skiers. As the official documentation explains: “The upper part of the course demands downhill turning technique and an optimal line. The middle section calls for an ideal downhill position and fast gliding. From the “Kanonenrohr” to the “Höhenlücke” technically superior skiers come into their own. Over the stretch from Maulerhubel to Winteregg, skating step and arm power can be all-important. And from Winteregg-Spriessenkehr to Lauterbrunnen optimal equipment, a clean downhill position and – not least – mental stamina can be the key to a fast final time.”
Briefly, the course can be summarised as follows: The Start is located just below the ‘Kleines Schilthorn’, from here, the course continues through the Engetal to the Schilthorn Hut. It then follows a long drawn-out “S” to just below the Muttlerenhorn, followed by the challenge of the Kanonenrohr. Next comes a further “Double S” and a sharp right curve. The course climbs into woodland, crossing below the Maulerhubel chairlift. A slight ascent then leads to Winteregg over the Winteregg Bridge, joining the forest trail in the direction of Lauterbrunnen.
This attractive course can be covered by competent skiers in about 45 minutes. The winner of the Inferno Race takes less than 15 minutes!
What are the classes?
The entry from asks for your date of birth to allocate you to one of the classes:
Female I, Female II, Ladies, Male Main Category, Male Senior Class I, Male Senior Class II and Gentlemen.
For further details, see the web site https://www.inferno-muerren.ch/en/edition-2020/entry-form-and-race-info/right-to-participation
What prizes are on offer?
Everyone who competes gets a badge and cool sticker with their race bib. After the race everyone gets a certificate which can be printed from the Datasport web site.
Medals are awarded to:
Bronze: category winner + 60%
Silver: category winner + 30%
Gold: category winner
Medal badges are collected by the DHO captain and given to winners at an appropriate time, usually the following year.
How do I apply?
Competitors for the Inferno must be part of a team. DHO start advertising the event in the summer. Applications to the DHO team are made through an online form which will be available on the web site, and sent by email to those who have expressed an interest in July / August. The deadline for entries for the DHO team is 1st September.
The DHO team submits everyone’s details to the Inferno Office using Datasport, an online portal. The deadline for entries to the Inferno office is 15th September, and late entries are not taken.
It is possible to swap bibs before the race up till Thursday at 5.30pm of the Inferno week. There is a charge for this (currently 25chf). Contact your team captain. Any racers starting under a false name will be disqualified.
Communication is through a Whats App group – it is great for building team spirit and last minute messages. Please do join it. Contact Tessa or Lara to be added to the group chat.
It would also be helpful if you had access to email during race week.
The Team Captain this year is Tessa Lawrance and the team captains email is email@example.com please contact her to ask any questions or express interest in taking part
The DHO Inferno team email is now firstname.lastname@example.org
Tessa, Lara Hirst-Malin and William Wells will have access to this and will send out further communications regarding Inferno week plans using this email.
What happens in race week
Collecting your bib and lift pass voucher
Combination racers: You will get your own race bibs from the Murren ‘inferno race office.
Downhill racers: You need to pick up your race bib from the DHO club room before race day. The club room is open 6-7 pm Monday – Friday evenings. Please liaise with the team captains as to which evening you will come that week. Thank you.
Training is in half day sessions arranged through Swiss Ski School, and held in Murren. It covers a course inspection, with valuable tips on which line to take. You will also look at skills not normally covered in training – going up hill and the best schussing position. There is an opportunity to ask any questions and cover things you think are important.
Racers go in bib order. There are a lot of people and it takes time to get up the mountain. Your captain will share published information about the time to start up the mountain.
Downhill Race day
Racers and supporters usually a group meeting for breakfast in one of the cafes in Murren. This is a great opportunity for photos.
It takes a long time to get up the mountain. You will be allocated a time slot to minimise waiting time at the top.
What to wear.
It can be cold. You may choose to wear warm clothes over your race suit. These can be put into a plastic bag before the start and will be transferred to a meeting point near the race finish.
The race itself
The race is fast and furious. Be prepared to overtake and be overtaken. Later racers also should look out for the huge ruts that form on the corners! If a flag is raised, slow down as there will be an accident ahead. Supporters will cheer you on – it is magic. There is a huge adrenalin rush at the end.
On the finish line
DHO will have supporters on the finish line to cheer you on. There is a party atmosphere.
After the race
There is a huge party in Murren – ranked as one of the top parties in the world. Some DHO racers go back to Wengen to leave skis and have a quick shower. They then return to Murren for a team dinner and partying in the Murren Sports hall till late. Others just stay in Murren, and many are dancing in their ski boots! A revised train timetable from Murren to Wengen operates till late.
Can I get a cheap lift pass?
A one-time discounted ski pass for the Mürren/Schilthorn area is available for competitors at the train or aerial cableway stations using the voucher that you receive with your start number for the downhill.
See the web site for further details https://www.inferno-muerren.ch/en/edition-2020/entry-form-and-race-info/ski-passes
Do I need additional insurance
Each competitor is responsible for their own accident insurance. Accident insurance for the downhill race can be purchased at the Inferno race office (payment only in cash).
Where can I stay?
Most of the DHO team stays in Wengen. However, the event is all running from Murren, so you may choose to find accommodation there instead. You will need to come to Wengen to pick up your bib.
Accommodation web sites:see links on DHO Website or contact the tourist office.
Where can I park my car?
There is a parking garage in Lauterbrunnen. Both Murren and Wengen are traffic free.
What equipment do I need?
Often racers use longer skis – either GS, Super G or Downhill. These give extra speed and stability through the ruts. The disadvantage is through the hair pin bends and the uphill section. If you plan to rent long skis, make sure you get comfortable with new skis before the race.
You can get advice and rent from : Ski set, Molitor, Central Sport, Alpia.
Whilst they look funny, race suits do make a big difference to your time. You will have the opportunity to buy or hire a DHO race suit. Numbers and sizes are limited. When you try it on, remember it is meant to be tight!