Portrait & History
The Engadin Skimarathon is not only the most well-known sporting event in the country, but also a beloved meeting point for the world’s elite. The “Engadiner” is the largest cross-country skiing activity in Switzerland and the second largest worldwide. Furthermore the Engadin Skimarathon is member of World Loppet. Since the first holding in 1969, the international resonance and renown of the event have grown strongly. In 1977, the number of participants breached the ten thousands for the first time. Since then, the number of participants has rounded to 13,000 people per year from roughly 60 different countries.
Every year since 1969 on the second Sunday in March, the enormous Swiss cross-country season highlight kicks off. The love of the Engadin Skimarathon remains unbroken to this day; the cross-country skiing experience in beautiful Upper Engadin is unforgettable. The “Marathon Week” opens on the first Sunday in March with the Women’s Race, in which by custom only women can participate. The various side events throughout the week present an attractive offering centered on the cross-country skiing sport. The second Sunday in March presents the Engadin Skimarathon and as the high point for all competitors. Only those who have been there before – as partner or participant – are able to comprehend the emotions brought out by the start in Maloja. All are represented: the relaxed, the experienced, the top-tiered, the hobbyist, the ambitious and the achievement-oriented athlete.
Organization structure and finances
The Engadin Skimarathon is an association. The members are the eleven Ski Clubs Maloja, Sils, Corvatsch-Silvaplana, Suvretta-Champfèr, Alpina St. Moritz, Trais Fluors Celerina, Bernina-Pontresina, Piz Ot Samedan, La Punt, Zuoz and Sarsura Zernez. The board of the Engadin Skimarathon consists of five people. For the operational realization is the management with his five members responsible. The OC-Committee consists of an additional eight persons and the OC has a total of 90 members. On the event day itself, around 1,500 helpers commit themselves. The office employees of the branch in Samedan are employed year round and total they share a work load of approximately 300 percent. The event budget is around CHF 2.5million. Of that, approximately 47% comes from sponsor and 46% from start fees. The other 7% originates from various contributions.
History & mile stones
Nobody, not even the founders of the Engadin Skimarathon could foresee that the event would ever attract thousands of participants each year. They were even surprised to have 945 registrations for the first edition on March 16, 1969. From then on there was a very fast and continuous increase in entries: approx. 2,000 skiers for the second event, a further doubling to 4,000 the third time and at the 8th Engadin Skimarathon the magic limit of 10,000 participants was already exceeded. After that, over all the years the number of around 12,000 participants became standard. The record year was 1998 at the 30th anniversary of the Engadin Skimarathon with 13,527 entries.
The nine ski clubs of the Upper Engadin were responsible for the organisation of the Engadin Skimarathon from the beginning. In 2002 the ski club Sarsura/Zernez joined them. Originally, one to three of these ski clubs organised the event until a central secretariat was established in 1979. Since then, the organising committee consists of members of all these clubs.
Many changes and improvements have been made over the course of the years. Actual milestones in the race's history were undoubtedly the introduction of the block start in 1993, the switching of the finishing post to S-chanf - where there is more open space and buildings with the requisite infrastructure - in 1998, the newly built RhB train station „S-chanf-Marathon“ - especially for the Engadin Skimarathon - just a few meters from the finishing line, the integration of the train ticket into the starting fee in the year 2000, and so on. The same year saw the first edition of the Frauenlauf (Women’s Race) one week before the Engadin Skimarathon. More than 700 ladies participated in the initial race and in the 5th edition already over 1,000 participants were registered.
In more recent times great innovations include the introduction of the Half Marathon two years later and an additional starting wave „Elite C“ in 2010 and the paddock start in 2014. In 2017 the 1st Engadin Night Race took place and will also be hold in the future every Thurday before the Engadin Skimarathon.