33 images Created 2 Nov 2021
I went to St. Moritz for the years that the annual surreal ski race took place. The Swiss tourist board began advertising the race on the lines of 'watch the eccentric English '. The Dangerous Sports club invented bungee jumping and pioneered other dangerous and sports. I first met David Kirke a founding member of the club at a Piers Gaveston party in Oxford. He called me shortly afterwards to suggest meeting the next day at 5 a.m.at Beachy Head where he planned to bungy jump off. I couldn't make that but did to St. Moritz for the years that the annual surreal ski race took place. The Swiss tourist board began advertising the race on the lines of 'watch the eccentric English '. We all stayed at an old fashioned sanatorium converted to a hotel halfway up the mountain. David had wangled rooms at subsidised rates via the tourist board. That was where I photographed the pre-race attempts to dive into an ice bucket from the bar by Mike Fitzroy and Mark Chamberlain. The first year there was a a small audience of less than a hundred in poor visibility. For the second year there was an audience of many millions via TV. There were some serious near misses. David Kirke was knocked unconscious briefly after going down extremely fast in a Sinclair C5. But snow is wonderfully soft and accommodating so fewer injuries than you’d expect. Xan Rufus Isaacs managed to get his double decker ( complete with passengers who had won the trip as a prize in a tv show ) half-way up the slope. The plan was to attach skis to the bus. It was the smart bus conductors uniform he was wearing that probably made the Swiss realise he was deadly serious. It would have been REALLY dangerous to go down the slope in a bus. After watching Steve Smithwick's cruise missile go down at high speed narrowly missing the road the Swiss authorities refused to allow the bus to go down on safety grounds. That really was the end of the race.