The end of the season is almost here, meaning closing parties and events aplenty throughout the majority of resorts. This brings the chance to indulge in plenty of last minute treats you’ve come to associate with snowy mountain holidays – glühwein, fondue, ski shots! There’s also been some pretty amazing snowfall for this time of year, meaning that the later opening resorts will be able to offer good conditions well into May. If you’re keen to try out a bit of last minute spring skiing, or even a bit of summer glacier skiing, you can see our blog on top late-opening resorts here. If you won't be heading out to the mountains again until next season then think of this as a list of suggestions for things to do in the 2014/15 season - many of the activities mentioned below will repeat again next year and of course, alpine food and drink will always be available!
Quite possibly the most famous chain of bars on the après scene and the host of some of the best end of season parties in Europe. The resorts of Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez are still open, meaning you still have a chance to experience some of the fantastic music, food, drink and partying on offer.
There are a handful of festivals and closing events happening between the end of this month and the beginning of May. What a better way to add to your mountain experience than by watching exhilarating contests, taking part in fun events and dancing until you drop.
Here are our top suggestions:
Combining Harley rides with spring skiing and plenty of après action. Enjoy the stunning mountain views on a series of unforgettable tours, followed by plenty of partying.
An end of season celebration featuring the White Lines Rail Jam, a treasure hunt, pub quizzes, the Monster Energy party and more!
Celebrate the end of season with a dance contest, DJ’s, fancy dress and plenty of food and drink, all while surrounded by the beautiful Swiss mountains.
The Dutch head to France for a week of après ski parties, lunch time concerts, sunshine and snow, all in celebration of their Queen’s anniversary. On Sunday 27th April, there’ll also be the chance to test next season’s equipment at the Test & Ride Center.
Watch the Monster riders take part in the Hip Jam contest over the course of two days, followed by a huge after party on the last evening. Plus, on May 3rd it’s also the Bikinis for Breast Cancer event where all ladies are invited to ski or snowboard down the course in bikinis and ski pants to raise money.
Prepare yourself for next season and book yourself a last minute ski or snowboard lesson. While the resorts are quiet and the prices cheaper, you might as well make the most of the empty pistes!
Val d’Isere are offering some late ski clinics between the 28th April and the 2nd May. The sessions are spread across five half days and are aimed at skiers who are comfortable with black and red ski runs.
Many glaciers offer skiing throughout July, giving you the perfect combination of hot sunshine and snowy mountain scenery. What’s more, you can also try out other activities such as mountain biking, white water rafting and rock climbing in between skiing.
Between the 5th and the 7th July, Les Deux Alpes will play host to Kumi Yama, a Japanese event to kick off the summer season. Featuring slopestyle jams and photo contests set to the backdrop of beautiful snowy mountains and warm summer sun.
If you haven’t samples some of the food or drink below, then do it now! And if you’re already a seasoned connoisseur of mountain cuisine, then now’s your time to indulge in more before it’s too late. No need to worry about ruining that summer beach body – skiing and snowboarding are great forms of exercise and you’ll burn off more calories than you might think.
Also, if you want to drool over pictures of delicious Tartiflette, then visit our Tartiflette Club page. You can join our club by tagging your Tartiflette photos on Twitter with the hashtag #tartiflette.
‘What do I pack for a spring ski holiday?’ we hear you ask. Read on and you’ll have no problem packing for spring skiing with our handy spring skiing checklist.
The sun is out, meaning that you’re bound to catch a few rays while you’re on the slopes. The sun reflects off of the snow making it more intense than usual, putting you at a higher risk of sunburn. Avoid the nasty peeling tomato look and be sure to pack your sun cream! Protective lip sunscreen is also a must, as is moisturiser to keep your skin feeling happy and hydrated.
You may not want to burn to a crisp, but you do want to get yourself an awesome goggle tan so that you can show off to your friends and family back home about your recent ski trip! You also want to protect your eyes from the glare of the spring sun so that you can enjoy the views and see exactly where you’re skiing. Goggles are sturdier than sunglasses and have much less chance of breaking, especially if you take a tumble.
Leave behind your thickest, warmest, heaviest winter thermals and instead, take lighter spring ski wear that you can layer up. You’ll get hot quickly on the slopes with the sun beating down on you, so soft shell jackets, thin fleeces, hoodies, t-shirts and vest tops are your best bet.
As the season comes to a close, there are more parties, meaning more silly outfits on the slopes. Get your onesie at the ready and be entertained as you see fellow dinosaurs, bears and leopards whizzing past you. If it’s hot enough, you might even want to layer up your swimwear so you can do a spot of sunbathing in between runs.
With all the end of season parties and festivals on the go, you’ll more than likely be waking up with a sore head in the morning. Be sure to bring some Pro-Plus / Lucozade Tablets / energy drinks to give you the energy to power through the day! The earlier you’re out on the slopes, the better, so that you can make the most of the spring conditions. It’s also advisable to take a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated during the day.
Take an uphill gondola ride to this traditional Austrian cabin, which boasts spectacular mountain views. Enjoy a delicious fondue or a tasty gourmet dish plus a welcome drink whilst listening to the live music entertainment by the roaring fire. Hut evenings are held every Wednesday from 6.30pm until 10.30pm and must be booked in advance.
See our holidays to Obergurgl & Hochgurgl.
To book a place, visit the Hohe Mut Alm website.
Every Friday, head up the mountain to Hochgurgl for a spot of night time tobogganing and skiing on the 3km-long track. The session runs from 7.30pm until 10.30pm and the run is well lit by floodlights so you can always see where you’re going! To get there, you can catch a free bus from nearby Solden or Obergurgl. From there, you can then catch a lift up to Hochgurgl.
Up and coming snowboarders from all around the world will come together to compete in this junior slopestyle competition. All competitors are under the age of 18 and this is an excellent opportunity for them to break into the industry, getting a taste of the professional skiing and snowboarding lifestyle while showing us their gravity-defying moves.
See our holidays to Ischgl.
This event is the highest downhill glacier race in the world, and it’s not just for the professionals! If you wish to compete then you can register here, choosing from one of four race categories (him &her, solo, team race and a fun team race). For a bit of extra fun, there’s also the chance to estimate your pace before starting – whichever participant comes closest to their estimated pace in the actual race can win a special prize!
See our holidays to Saas Fee.
Visit the website to register.
Party with Krowd Clothing at this fun event and get priority lift access for the weekend. Your ticket also entitles you to discounts on selected hotels. After a day of skiing or snowboarding, continue the party with the big post-ski Saturday night event, featuring DJ’s Revolvr, Robbie C, Michelle C and more.
See our holidays to Lake Louise.
Head to this unique event for a chance to witness some of Ischgl’s most prominent Chef’s competing not just for a culinary title, but also for a chance to be crowned the winner of a downhill ski race. After the race, the chef’s will run over to a special cooking area, where they are given a basket full of miscellaneous ingredients. They must then whistle something up as quickly as possible with what they are given, serving it up to a panel of judges who must pick one winner. There will also be an appearance from World Cup footballer Andreas Brehme at this event.
Celebrate a week of kids going free, with complimentary ski hire, lift passes, lessons, plus a free kid’s meal and childcare, all for those who were born on or after 2008. Kids Week is great for parents who want to take their little ones on a ski holiday for the first time, as well as for those who are looking to help their kids to improve on the slopes.
Enjoy live music in the mountains with Snowbombing Festival, featuring artists such as The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Chase and Status, Rudimental, Tom Odell, Foxes and more! Spend your days skiing and boarding down the mountains, then get your après on for some cracking partying to top your day off.
See our holidays to Mayrhofen.
This acoustic festival features big names such as Aloe Blacc, Katie Melua, Tom Odell and Mick Hucknall performing unplugged renditions of their songs. As well as live acts, you’ll also find an After Show Party, a stage for kids to show off their musical talents and a host of great bars and restaurants to unwind in.
See our holidays to Zermatt.
This event, hosted by Ischgl and Laurent-Perrier Champagne, sees chefs, waiters and other staff from the hotel and hospitality sector come together to compete in two days of fun races. The will be coached by former World Cup skiers and divided up into 2 teams, with bar staff, waiting staff, sommeliers and suppliers in one category, hotel staff and chefs in the other. This unique event is not one to be missed!
Enjoy a combination of live music, skiing, snowboarding and extreme sport film screenings at this mountain festival. There’ll even be a silent disco and the chance to test run the up and coming equipment for next season.
See our holidays to Whistler.
If you fancy a break from your day of skiing or boarding, then take some time out to watch this Belgian ski and snowboard freestyle competition. Head up to the Toura or Lac Noir seats to get the best view.
See our holidays to Les Deux Alpes.
In the aftermath of the recent Winter Olympics, freestyle skiing and snowboarding disciplines are gaining more and more popularity. Head to Val Thorens to watch some of the top freestyle skiers defy gravity and battle it out to win the European Slopestyle Cup. The competition runs between 10am and 3pm.
See our holidays to Val Thorens.
Make the most of longer skiing hours and beautiful Springtime sunshine in the picturesque resort of Whistler-Blackcomb. Between these dates, you’ll find a range of family friendly activities to celebrate the Easter holiday. This event also runs in conjunction with the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.
A fun and exciting children’s festival to welcome the arrival of Springtime. Enjoy arts, crafts, outdoor activities, circus performances and much more. The festival runs between 2pm and 6pm and is aimed at kids between 6 and 12 years old.
Try out next season’s equipment prototypes, get freestyle coaching or even take part in a specialist nature photography workshop. On top of all this you can even get access to early bird skiing, the chance to drive a Pistenbully, avalanche training courses and a technical resort tour, where you’ll see the workings behind the lift systems plus the artificial snow making plant.
See our holidays to Zell am Ziller which is in easy reach of the Hintertux glacier.
See out the season with a bang - with 8 bars, live music, well-known DJ’s, yummy food and even a dance competition, this end of season party is set to be a good one. In the dance competition you can win prizes for displaying the best dance move, or for wearing the best outfit. A great opportunity to get your last taste of après before the resort closes for the Summer!
With this year’s Winter Olympics really raising awareness of disciplines such as Slopestyle and Halfpipe, many people are now wondering how they can try these styles out for themselves. The good news is you don’t have to travel far to give it a go, with countless dry slopes and snowdomes around the country offering freestyle lessons, one-on-one coaching and competitions for all ages and abilities. Stick with it and before you know it you could be smashing out those triple corks, backside rodeo 540’s and cab 180’s just like the pros!
The basic requirements for beginning to learn these tricks are that you can confidently perform linked turns on either your skis or your snowboard. You also need to be able to ride switch (backwards for skiers, riding with the opposite leg forward for snowboarders). This takes a lot of practice, but many beginner freestyle lessons focus on helping you to grasp riding switch before they begin to teach you the rest.
Wondering what all this stalefish-fakie-ally-ooping-lincoln-looping means? We’ve broke down some of the freestyle lingo to help you get your head around it all…
Kicker – Another name for either a man-made or natural jump.
Jib – Any obstacle that you can jump on or over eg. Rails, boxes, tree stumps, etc.
Grab – To grab either your board or your skis in the air, using either hand.
Air – Any kind of jump off the ground.
Switch/Fakie – On skis, this is riding backwards. On a snowboard this is riding with the opposite leg forward.
Stalefish Air – A jump in the air, using your rear hand to grab the heel edge of the board between the bindings.
Air-to-Fakie – enter the halfpipe forwards then come back down backwards, without any rotation.
Spin on – A spin before landing on the rail.
Spin out – A spin to exit the rail.
180, 360, 540, 720 – These numbers are the number of degrees in which the skier or boarder rotates. You can perform different moves with varying degrees of rotation, for example backside 180. 180 degrees is half a turn, 360 a full turn, 540 one and a half turns, 720 is two complete rotations, etc.
Lincoln Loop – A flip to the side, almost like a cartwheel with no hands, except the legs are tucked into the body.
A Lincoln Loop
Rodeo – A cross between a flip and a spin. This move is an off-angle backflip, where your feet come over your head at an angle rather than directly above.
Misty – The same as a Rodeo, except you flip forwards instead of back.
Cork – An off-axis spin, where the feet whip round to your side, rather than over your head as they would with a back flip.
In this video, the first move is a Backside Rodeo 540 and the second move is a Backside Corkscrew 540
Backside 180 – 180 degree rotation in the air, turning clockwise for regular and anti-clockwise for goofy.
Ally-Oop – For this trick, as you come up into the air you turn 360 degrees, grabbing your board or skis before landing to face the same way that you started.
How To Frontside Alley-Oop
In addition to all of these courses, you’ll also find that Maverix Snow, Definition Camps, Salomon Grom Ski Camps and Grounded Freestyle Coaching all offer day courses in freestyle at various snowdomes.
These are not all of the possible freestyle options that you can experience here in the UK – most dry ski slopes also offer freestyle coaching sessions. If you want to learn halfpipe, then you’ll have to venture a little further unfortunately as currently the only UK halfpipe is situated in Cairngorm, Scotland. However, most snowdomes offer quarterpipes which are a good starter to get you learning some of those halfpipe tricks.
Here's a video featuring the Team GB Freestyle athletes to get you feeling inspired. Enjoy!
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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)