January

The first days of January are often the coldest of the year. Whilst the people of the lowlands are being driven to despair by the fog we have clear, though cold, winter weather. The sun does shine in the village, but not for long. In Eschen it cannot be seen at all for six whole weeks. In the Niderimatte the first sunrays do not appear until nearly noon, only to disappear again behind the mountains just before one o'clock. If you want to be in the sun you must take the cable car up into the mountains The advent windows can be admired every evening until Epiphany (January 6th). As every one knows, finances are at a low ebb in January and this is also felt in Gimmelwald. Over Christmas every holiday flat is occupied, but after the first weekend in January our village is calm and peacful. The car park down in the valley of Stechelberg iis deserted and doesn't fill up again until February. Only on the weekends, mostly Swiss tourist go skiing. Although the snow situation is often at its best in the second half of January, it's no help - the hotels remain empty. To make things better the Inferno ski race was brought into being and so the hotels and holiday flats are again occupied for one of these January weeks. Whether or not it is due to the patron saint with horns has not yet fully been investigated, but for some reason harmless skiers suddenly degenerate into rowdies on the piste. In any case the 15.8km Inferno race is one of the longest and most spectacular in the world. When over 1500 amateur skiers defy death and launch themselves into the race there is plenty of entertainment for the spectators. The first-aid volunteers of Gimmelwald together with a doctor and one or two helicopters are on hand should they be needed. In January there is yet another famous international ski race nearby - the famous Lauberhorn race. Iit is easily possible to take part in the festivities staying in Gimmelwald. The good thing about Gimmelwald is that most people will not ski in the Mürren-Area and you will not have to wait for ours just to get a lift up the mountains. Staying in Gimmelwald has yet the advantage that you can enter the gondola in the middle-station. As such you don't have the problem of overcrowded gondolay or long, tiring waiting at the station in Stechelberg.