In the early days of tourism in St. Moritz, the first toboggan races were held. Close to today’s Kulm Hotel, up to six tracks were built down to the frozen lake of St. Moritz. Sledding was also enjoyed on various roads, as can be seen here in the picture.
Since 1876, sledding has been enjoyed in St. Moritz on tracks near the Kulm Hotel. Now the so-called “Outdoor Amusements Committee of the Kulm Hotel” plans the construction of a new toboggan run: the Cresta Run.
On January 16, the first “Grand National Toboggan Race” takes place on the Cresta Run. The race is still one of the highlights of the Cresta season today – and is considered to be the oldest winter sports competition still in existence. Ten participants from Davos and ten from St. Moritz take part in the first race – each riding a conventional toboggan. The winner is Charles Austin.
The Cresta Run is opened after several weeks of construction. One of its driving forces is Major William H. Bulpett, who becomes a key figure in the sport of tobogganing. He commissioned the first skeleton to be made of British steel (1888), then also the first multi-seater bobsleigh (1889).
Foundation of the “St Moritz Tobogganing Club”. The club operates and maintains the Cresta Run to this day, and the club language since its inception has been English. In the picture: The winner of a “Grand National Toboggan Race” in the 1890s.
For the first time, the Cresta Run is ridden head first in the “Grand National” – by a certain Mr. Cornish.
In addition to conventional sleds, low wooden “Americas” are now used. The first “America” is constructed by L. P. Child, a spa guest in Davos.
Major William H. Bulpett has the first “skeleton frame” sleds built by the St. Moritz blacksmith Christian Mathis – from British steel. The previous wooden side walls of the “America” are eliminated, and the new sled resembles a skeleton.
Christian Mathis, a blacksmith from St. Moritz, constructs the first multi-seater bobsleigh by using two skeleton sleds.
The first “Ladies Grand National” is held. Women actively participating in sporting events are not uncommon. In the picture: Ursula Wheble – here riding in a seated position – at the Ladies start around 1900.
The Skeletons receive their distinctive “sliding seats”. The movable seats allow better control.
In St. Moritz, sledding and bobsledding have now been conducted on several tracks and on the snow covered roads for many years. Right next to the road from St. Moritz to Celerina, a newly designed track is built: the Olympic Bob Run, and this still exists today (opened on 1.1.1904).
The Cresta Run is not without danger. During the season, this is confirmed by two fatalities. In the picture: Cresta riders around 1909.
Mrs J.M. Baguley wins the last women’s race to be held for the foreseeable future. Women are excluded from the Cresta sport between 1929 and 2018 because of an alleged risk of breast cancer. Pictured is May Bott, watched by Mrs. J. A. Bott, a pioneer of the Cresta sport.
At the 1928 Winter Olympics, the Cresta Run is the focus of the Skeleton competitions. Pictured: Olympic champion Jennison Heaton in full Cresta gear.
An advertisement in the “Engadiner Post” announces something spectacular: Billy Fiske, the 1928 Olympic champion in five-man Bobsleigh, is to compete against Jack Heaton, the 1928 Olympic Silver medalist in Skeleton, at the Bob Run St. Moritz. The referee is none other than Charlie Chaplin. Jack Heaton wins the duel.
The famous Shuttlecock Club is founded. The club is named after the most spectacular curve of the Cresta Run. Membership is granted to those who loose the control and soar over the edge of the curve due to their speed.
The Frenchman Hirigoyen achieves record time in the Skeleton Championships on the Cresta Run in 1947.
Nino Bibbia shines at the Second Winter Olympics in St. Moritz. The St. Moritz greengrocer with Italian roots wins in the Skeleton. Nino Bibbia later becomes “King of the Cresta Run”, winning well over 200 races.
The Olympic champion Nino Bibbia wins the Swiss Skeleton Championship and the battle for the Heaton Cup, which is contested with international participation.
The sport for young athletes? But not only. In 1952, for example, a 70-year-old colonel plunges himself onto the track “with British composure”. More on this in the film.
Canadian Douglas Connor becomes World Skeleton Champion on the St. Moritz Cresta Run.
Colin Mitchell from England wins on the St. Moritz Cresta Run just ahead of Robert Küderli from Switzerland.
On the Cresta Run in St. Moritz, Hans Küderli becomes Swiss Champion ahead of Nino Bibbia.
Nino Bibbia wins the Swiss National Championship in Skeleton on the St Moritz Cresta Run.
The clubhouse of the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club is built.
The Cresta Run claims its fourth fatality.
The 19-year-old Marcel Melcher from St. Moritz becomes the youngest ever winner of a Cresta race.
The Cresta Run celebrates its centenary. To mark the anniversary, the sculpture “Cresta Rider” by David Wynne is unveiled in St. Moritz.
A portrait of a legend: Nino Bibbia, the 1948 Olympic champion.
For beginners: a Skeleton course on the Olympic Bob Run.
The story of the Cresta Run in Reto-Romansch? It does exist. For the 125th anniversary of the Cresta Run, Romansch Television broadcasts a portrait of the icy legend.
The Canton of Graubünden and St. Moritz celebrate “150 years of Winter Sports”. Of course, the unique Cresta Run is an integral part of this celebration.
A new “Cresta Bar” is opened in London: it is the result of a collaboration between the Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz and the five-star London hotel “The Goring”. The bar is a so-called Pop-Up and will remain in place until February 2017.
Lord Clifton Wrottesley wins the Grand National, the most important race at the Cresta Run, for the 14th time.
“Eleven years with a total of 802 rides (including 12 from the Top), and 17 crashes, and now this victory in the ‘Grand National’, my dream finally came true!”. The words of Nico Juelich after his victory in the “Grand National”, the most important Cresta race.
The British Army has long been associated with the Cresta Run. Given the equality of the sexes in the army, the armed forces call for female army personnel to be allowed to ride the Cresta Run as well as males. The members of the St Moritz Tobogganing Club vote on it: Women will be allowed again – initially for two years – on the Cresta Run.
“You are now a Cresta Rider” – that’s the announcement coming from the loudspeakers at the Cresta Run in February 2019. The newest rider is a woman: Carina Evans. The British woman is the first woman in 90 years to master the Cresta Run from the Top Start. This means that the ban on women riding, which was lifted in 2018, is now history.
In the center of St. Moritz, the construction machines are rolling up: Where the legendary – but dilapidated – Scala Cinema used to stand, a new building is being built with a cinema, restaurant, boutique and the new Cresta and Bob Museum.
The British armed forces were instrumental in bringing the Cresta Run back to life after the Second World War. The Royal Air Force also provides a team for each event, as shown here in a photo taken in 2020.
The Cresta & Bob Museum in St. Moritz opens its doors. A very warm welcome!