In the autumn of 1864, reputedly, Johannes Badrutt wagered some English summer guests the cost of their stay at the Hotel Kulm in St Moritz if they did not enjoy wintering there as much as they had enjoyed staying there over the summer. They arrived in time for Christmas and stayed through until Easter. In contrast to the gloomy, short, damp days of an English winter cooped up indoors, they were able to sit outside in the almost endless sunshine. Badrutt had won his bet, and with that the winter tourism industry was born.
That famous wager was made 150 years ago, and St Moritz will be celebrating it in style.
Winter tourism now vies with summer tourism in the Alps for the numbers of visitors and overnight stays. Badrutt and his son, Casper, went on to be responsible for a series of innovations, including coining the term Palace to describe a grand hotel and creating the world’s first bobsleigh course. And, of course, Badrutt’s Palace to this day remains one of the most iconic hotels in the world, and St Moritz the epitome of winter holiday resorts.