Located at 11,371 ft, Jungfraujoch is the very top of Europe and one of the amazing Swiss Alps attractions and things to do. The typical weather in Jungfrau in summer ranges from 32F (1 degree Celsius) with peak sunlight to about 25F (-4 degree Celsius) at night. On average, Jungfrau gets about 15 days of snow in summer. Tourists choose to go to Jungfrau primarily to experience the best of Swiss Alps and try out activities like skiing, tobogganing and sledding. The longest sledding in the world is located in the Jungfrau region at Faulhorn. The sledding does require you to take a long hike from Grindelwald to Faulhorn. Jungfrau also boasts the highest railway station in all of Europe. Additionally, if fans of Glaciers visit Jungfrau to try out the two-day hike through the famous Aletsch glacier.
Yes, all these activities in Jungfrau are great. And yes, they all could be considered special experiences by a lot of people. However, the special experience referred here sets a very high bar for what is considered to be special for Swiss standards. Jungfrau has been known to play host for special sporting events once every few years. There has been five such major sporting events from 2007 to 2016. Overall, there have been ten such sporting events until 2016. The events are primarily meant to promote a sport at the top of Europe. These events are typically invite-only. It attracts celebrities and media coverage, not to mention some incredibly talented and famous sports players who are the top of their game. With all the media coverage, these events have helped spread the word about Jungfrau and tourism in Switzerland. So, without much further ado, here are the sporting events (in reverse chronological order).
1. September 2016 - Tony Parker shoots hoops promoting basketball and Tissot in Jungfrau
September 14, 2016 turned out to be a day to remember in my life as I got to watch Tony Parker, one of the iconic superstars of the NBA franchise San Antonio Spurs and an European basketball champion, play at the top of Europe. Tony Parker and his team members played a classic 5x5 game against a team of professional Swiss players.
The event was meant to be a promotion for the new Tissot shop on First above Grindelwald. Tony Parker being the brand ambassador of Tissot graced the occasion and promoted basketball by playing the game in Aletsch glacier. You can read more from NBA's press coverage of the event. Here are a few amazing pictures and the video of Tony Parker’s interview.
2. July 2014 - Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis in Jungfrau
On 16 July 2014, Swiss maestro Roger Federer took part in a tennis match with the American Alpine ski racer and legend Lindsey Vonn. Roger Federer is an 18-time grand slam champion and is considered to be the GOAT (greatest of all time) tennis player. Lindsey Vonn is a four-time overall World cup champion and only one of the two female skiers to accomplish this rare feat. Lindsey Vonn is also known for the distinction of three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. So, it is no surprise that the event turned out to be very special when these two legends played tennis at the top of Europe. The event was meant to promote Lindt and Sprungli chocolate shop at the Bernese Oberland station. Federer was the brand ambassador of Lindt chocolate at the time. Read more from the press coverage of the event.
3. August 2011 - Freddy Nock and the highest Tightrope course in Jungfrau
Freddy Nock, a true legend in the world of tightrope walking chose to leave his mark in Jungfrau on August 30, 2011 by setting a new world record for the longest and highest altitude tightrope walk balancing his way across 160 meters at 3,400 meters above sea level. Freddy Nock is a world famous extreme athlete and high wire artiste. Hailing from Swiss, he has made it a regular practice to set new records in tightrope walking every few years. Needless to say that his presence in Jungfrau and his new world record at the top of Europe made the event incredibly successful. Read more from the press coverage of the event.
4. August 2009 - Kapil Dev and Cricket in Jungfrau at the top of Europe
On August 18 2009, legendary cricket player Kapil Dev and other Indian cricket team members played against a team of cricket players from Britain in Jungfrau. Indian cricket team won the match 109-105. Cricket is a sport that is primarily famous among the Commonwealth of Nations. Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 52 member states, all of which were former territories of the British empire. Kapil Dev is a world-famous cricket player, particularly known for his leadership and captaincy of the Indian cricket team when they won the cricket world cup in 1983. For the event, a special cricket pitch was flown in from India and laid down in the snowy mountain. The event was considered wildly successful in promoting cricket in Switzerland and Swiss tourism around the world. Read more from the press coverage of the event.
5. June 2007 - One-year kick-off for Euro 2008 in Jungfrau
On June 11 2007, soccer players from Switzerland and Austria got together in Jungfrau for the one year kick-off of Euro soccer championship. The game was played in a much smaller field (obviously, laying a full length soccer field in Jungfrau would be incredibly challenging). The game ended with the score tied at 5-5. Read more from the press coverage of the event.
I was lucky enough to watch a basketball game played by Tony Parker, up close at the top of Europe. I felt privileged to walk around and have a good conversation with Tony Parker, one of the iconic players of San Antonio Spurs. I even got to play basketball in the court for 5 minutes. So, I can say that I am one of the few people in the world who has played basketball at the top of Europe :). As you plan your summer vacation in Switzerland, look up for such special sports events in Jungfrau and maybe plan your trip around that time. These are very unique events and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be part of something incredibly special. Most importantly, considering that the event happens at the top of a cold snowy mountain, the crowd would be relatively low, which would give you the opportunity to rub shoulders with these stars, get awesome selfies and even have a short meaningful conversation that you could cherish for the rest of your life. After all, such vacations are about making special memories that last a lifetime.