07.01. - 14.01.2023

Belalp Hexe

The Belalp Witches' Run

Every year in January, the Blatten-Belalp region is shaken by piercing screams and horrible cackling. The picturesque vacation region on the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site is then firmly in the hands of witches. The fastest racers complete the 12-kilometer course from Hohstock at 3118 meters above sea level down to Blatten at 1322 meters in an adventurous 10 minutes. The witch groups take it more leisurely. With green heads, crooked noses and loud shrieks the witches fly on their brooms towards the valley. In between they put their brooms in the powder snow and treat the spectators with food and drink from their backpacks. Quite a few groups do not arrive at the finish line in full numbers, because every now and then witches get lost on the white, snow-covered slopes of Belalp, or else they can't stop marveling at the unique panorama.

The 40th edition of the Belalp Hexe from 8 - 15 January 2022 had to be cancelled due to the Corona pandemic.

Further information on the Belalp Witches' Run

  • In the evening, the approcimately 1500 participants and the numerous spectators and visitors from Switzerland and nearby countries transform the tranquil village of Blatten into a witch's cauldron and celebrate the eerily beautiful Witches Nights until the early hours of the morning.

    For the young witches, the race already starts a week before the actual event. In the Mini-Maxi race, the children and an adult try to complete the shortened race course as quickly as possible. The mini-witches, on the other hand, dress up and the scariest mini-witches are awarded prizes. Until the "big" witch race on Saturday, various preparatory races will take place during the week. In Friday, the funeral pyre is lit in Blatten and the Belalp Witch is officially opened. The old tradition of the witch dance has been reintroduced into the programme and was a highlight of this year's Belalp Hexe. One of the few changes made by the OC around Preesident Sebastian Truffer. The success proves them right. The Belalp Hexe is one of the largest and most popular winter events in the Valais.

  • But how did the event get its name? It goes back to an old legend, which is told this way:

    It is said that a witch, married to a good man, once lived in Hegdorn on the Natischerberg. At one time, the witch also lived in "Aletsch". She had a more intimate relationship with a lover who lived in "Birgisch". When these lovers wanted to visit each other, they took the form of black crows and flew together. These crows were often seen flying up and down, just like today, ecept that in those days the crows were witches and lovers, whereas today they are just ordinary birds. In these circumstances, our witch hated her pious husband very mutch, but she could never harm him. It happened that in Aletsch, the witch wanted to make soup. She put a pot and butter on the fire and remembere that she didn't have any garlic on hand yet. She hurried down to Naters and fetched the necessary herb from a garden. On her way back to Blatten, she saw her hated husband picking cherries from a tree. In the form of a raven, she flew to the top of the cherry tree and dropped excrement into the eyes of her husband, who had forgotten to say the noon prayer, so that he fell from the tree, blind, and dies. the witch returned to Aletsch and continued to cook her soup. Then the wise authorities began to lose patience. The witch was arrested and accused of stealing often in the form of a crow and of having killed her husband in Blatten while she was making soup in Aletsch. She probably confessed to all these crimes under torture, because the judge sentenced her to be burned at the stake, according to the criminal law of the time. The culprit was burned in Hegdorn, where the place of execution is still called "Hagsch-Schädji".

  • Centuries later, the Belalp Ski Club created this witches' race in honor of this man. According to the sources, the man died on the cherry tree at the current finish area in Blatten.

  • The event is not only fun as a participant. As a spectator, the "Belalp Hexe" is also very interesting and exciting. On the one hand, because the witch groups are usually very generous with all kinds of drinks and, on the other hand, because Belalp is one of the most beautiful and attracctive ski areas in the Valais. The new Blatten cable car can be reached from Brig in 15 minutes. Gone are the days when you had to wait in line for a long time at the valley station. The view of the Aletschbord form the Hotel Belalp is a highlight. In addition to the breathtaking panorama with viewes of the giants of the Valais Alps, including the Matterhorn, there is a clear view of the great Altesch glacier and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch.

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