Snowboxx took over Alpe d’Huez for a week of vibrant festivities. When I mean takeover, you couldn't look anywhere without being reminded that Snowboxx was in town. From colourful onsies on the slopes, to gondola cabins kitted out with karaoke systems, to parties spread between nearly 10 venues every day throughout the week. After 2 years of successful festivals in Vallnord, Andorra, Snowboxx moved on to larger pastures to Alpe d’Huez in France. This fine resort hosts 250 km of pistes and is already renowned for its lively nightlife, making this resort the perfect place to ski hard all day and party even harder by night. Read more about Alpe d’Huez here: 10 reasons Alpe d'Huez is a must-ski destination
Horse Meat Disco at Folie Douce. Photo: Gregory Ke
The Ibiza style, grand terrace après parties at the Folie Douce was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me. Even after 4 ski seasons and countless après shindigs, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. As 3 pm strikes, skiers and snowboarders flock to the 2500m high mountainside venue for a 2 hour session of dancing in your ski boots. Eton Messy and Horse Meat Disco headlined the 2 Snowboxx après sessions at the Folie Douce, with these huge DJ acts, the theatrical fun and stunning panoramic views blazed in sunshine, nothing else quite compares to this extraordinary party atmosphere. As it hits 5pm the mountain is evacuated as everyone takes the last run home to carry on the party in town.
Jungle headlining the main stage Other parties included a tropical tea party at L’Etalon Rum Bar, Sticky Banit at Zoo bar, Tom Misch at Smithys, pool party, Retro Rentals Disco at Taburle, plus so much more. With packages starting from just £229 pp it is a great budget choice for a week in the mountains, as well as the access to an outstanding week of partying and experiencing top music acts in the snow. This was such an epic week, the music was amazing, the town was buzzing and the crowds were smiling all week as everyone was having such a fantastic time. The festival sold out again in 2015, and I’m very excited to see what they have in store for 2016. The Snowboxx line up included Jungle, 2manydjs, Blonde, TCTS, Eton Messy, Horse Meat Disco, Tieks, Anushka and more.
Photo: Sam Neil
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Skiing in March and April is our favourite time of the ski season. Days get longer and temperatures start to warm up so you can relish in the brilliant ski conditions in the morning then hit the bars in the afternoon and soak up après in the sun on a mountain top terrace. End of season skiing is a popular option for skiers and snowboarders as there is more availability in favoured accommodations and families can enjoy a cheaper ski holiday in the Easter break compared to the high prices at Christmas and half term. Here are our top 5 reasons why we love spring skiing:
There’s nothing better than carving up the mountain with the sun beating down on your back. You don’t have to cart around lots of layers, you can sunbathe in between ski runs and you’ll have that special code worn only by fellow skiers and boarders – a cracking goggle tan so that everyone knows you’ve just returned fresh from the slopes.
More sunshine = longer days = lifts are open longer = more time out in the snow! Do we need to say any more?
As the slopes get emptier, the prices get cheaper, meaning that a last minute ski holiday is a great way to save the pennies. You'll have a bigger choice of accommodation as chalets and ski in - ski out accommodation won't sell out quite so fast. If you’re looking to squeeze in your second holiday of the season without using up all of your budget, then now’s the time.
If you don't have the time to enjoy a full week on the slopes, there are a number of Weekend Ski Breaks available so you can squueze in that last ski adventure of the season.
Take a look at Last Minute Ski Deals
As the spring months draw nearer, the slopes become quieter and quieter. Airport transfers become much smoother and faster and there are much smaller queues for chairlifts, lunch stops and bars. You’ll have more time to enjoy the breathtaking mountain views, rather than rushing to be first on the lifts.
You'll find that there's much more space on the pistes and if you are lucky enough to enjoy a late season powder day, you’ll be able to ski more fresh laps.
Spring is also a great time to bring along the kids and those who are just learning so they can focus more on their riding and less on trying to dodge others!
Experience some top après as resort bars aim to drink dry the last of their stock, ready to close down for the summer. You’ll find plenty of closing celebrations at just about every resort with live music, BBQ’s and of course, snow – a perfect combination!
The end of season also brings along a lot of festivals, such as Snowbombing, Snowboxx and Zermatt Unplugged.
Snowboxx festival at Folie Douce, Alpe d'Huez
View Ski Holidays in April | Ski Next Weekend | View Snow Reports
If you’re looking to kill a few calories but are unwilling to sign your soul away for an unused year at your local jazzy gym, why not consider the outdoor life and some truly awesome winter sports to get in shape the fun way!
Of course the temptation of all that heavenly indulgent mountain food on a ski or snowboarding holiday might have you concerned about piling it on, but fear not as food = fuel and that’s exactly what you’ll be burning tonnes of each day spent on the slopes.
Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles.
Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.
When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.
Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…
Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).
The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.
Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays.
Last winter our lives were taken over by the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. This year we can get engrossed in the many more ski and snowboard competitions and events that take place in Europe. Most kick off early season in January, getting us stoked up nicely for the rest of the ski season.
One for the snowboarders. Innsbruck is the second stop on the Air and Style circuit, Emil Ulsletten stole the show at the first event in Beijing in December, and then next step will be Los Angeles in February. The World’s best snowboarders have competed in this big air event over the past two decades. Athletes are whittled down through 3 rounds before the 4 snowboarders battle in out in the super final. Athletes includes at Innsbruck include: GB’s Billy Morgan, Halldor Helgason, Sage Kotsenburg, Max Parrot, Stale Sandbech, Seb Toots & more. Date: 16th & 17th January 2015
One for the British Team This year’s World Championships take place in Kreischberg, Austria. This is the first time that both freestyle skiing and snowboarding have been combined in a World Championships. After Great Britain’s success at Sochi we have a 22 strong squad of skiers and snowboarders competing in the event, including slopestyle, halfpipe, moguls, aerials and more. View the full British team line up. Date: 14th -25th January
One for the girls This is the 5th big air competition of the Suzuki Nine Queens in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Austria. The world’s best female skiers and snowboarders are invited to this stunning pocket in Tirol for a unique event consisting of a series of jumps and features set around a huge sculpted ice castle. Date: 15th – 20th March 2015
For the utmost dedicated This mammoth snow sports tour consists of five venues in Europe and the USA. 2015 is bigger than ever with two new stops on the Freeride calendar, Vallnord, Andorra and Alaska, USA. Last season more than 637, 000 viewers followed the finest skiers and snowboarders across this spectacular journey.
Taking part in the Freeride World Tour Competition will be 28 male skiers, 14 male snowboarders, 14 female skiers and 7 female snowboarders. Through the events the riders will be narrowed down to a limited few that will take part in the Grand Finale in Verbier. The FWT season kicks off in the ultimate freeride resort, Chamonix, on 24th January, then heads to Fieberbrunn, Austria, on 31st January before Vallnord, Andorra for the first time on 14th February. Then it is off to Alaska on 14th March before the grande finale and the 20th anniversary of the Xtreme Verbier on 28th March. Athletes that reach the Verbier climax will have to take on the legendary Bec des Rosses mountain face. Two-time winner at the Bec des Rosses, Sweden’s Reine Barkered is delighted to be part of the history of the “Bec”: “I'm excited to have the chance to compete at the 20th anniversary of Verbier Xtreme. Verbier is the crowning point for a freerider and I will do my very best to step up to the top of the podium here a third time.”
One for the ski elite Austria’s greatest ski festival is bigger than ever in 2015 as it is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. The Hahnenkamm race is one of the most famous alpine ski races of the world and is the highlight of the World Cup calendar. For Kitzbuhel, this is the best week of the year, as spectators and celebrities flock to the town to see the famous ski racers, as well as joining in the week of partying. The magnificent race features jumps up to 80m, steep slopes including peaking at 85% gradient on the Mausefalle, and skiers reaching speeds up to 140 km per hour along the run. The famous ‘Streif’ is considered the most spectacular ski runs in the world where only the elite can Date: 20th - 25th January 2015
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)