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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 Summer months draw nearer, the slopes become quieter and quieter. Airport transfers become much smoother and faster, there's smaller queues everywhere, you don't have to worry about busy restaurants and you 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 - plus on a powder day you'll be able to ski more fresh laps. It’s also a great time to bring along the kids and those who are just learning – they can focus more on their riding and less on trying to dodge others!
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 too, 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.
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 and Zermatt Unplugged (see our events guide to what's on in the mountains this month here).
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!
The winter is now well and truly over for most of us. If you're not fortunate enough to have planned some summer skiing to the Southern Hemisphere the next six months will be all about next winter. Where to go, who to go with, and how many times can I get my snow fix in during to 2010/2011. Some of us addicted to waste deep powder, others prefer spending their days inverted in the half pipe and some people are all about the apres ski and party scene.
To aid my fellow snow addicts through another British summer I will be pre-viewing and updating information on the big events, festivals and parties to hit the slopes next winter.
For now I have compiled a list of what we can expect this winter with dates, line-ups and news to follow.
To kick off the winter the London Freeze has been announced for the weekend of the 29th-31st October 2010. The Freeze will play host to both FIS Ski and Snowboard competitions where big names such as Stefan Gimpl and Danny Kass have competed recently and line ups that have included Cypress Hill and Eagle's of Death Metal.
The early season snow and parties usually starts at the Ischgl Opening Party. Last year the conditions were great and Katie Perry headlined the piste side stage.
New Year is a huge party across the Alps, Tignes has a huge stage by the Aeroski and Courchevel 1850 has a massive party by the Crozets. Every bar is packed and the atmosphere from Morzine to Meribel is rocking.
January offers up a few competitions where the skiing and riding will be awesome and the celebration parties, no doubt, will be big. Laax plays home to the Burton European Open, where Brit Jenny Jones has shown success the last couple of seasons. Aspen usually hosts the Winter X-games, one of the biggest competitions in snowsports, expect to see everyone from Shaun White and Tanner Hall to Torah Bright and Jenny Jones fighting for the podium. The party atmosphere is huge with flood-lit competitions, big crowds and DJ sets to keep you warm.
February, being the school holidays and peak holiday season, is a little more chilled. If you need an adrenaline rush though head to Innsbruck, Austria and the Bergisel Stadium for the Billabong Air & Style. This event is home to Dave Benedict's original double cork and Travis Rice's double rodeo. Expect large crowds following the huge dare-devil stunts in the snow filled stadium.
March is a major month for parties, festivals and competitions There is something here for everyone. You can check out everything from the Avoriaz Jazz Festival or Meribel's Altitude Festival to the hedonistic Snowbombing in Mayrhofen. For some serious freestyle skiing and boarding we are hoping to see a return of last years European X-Games held in Tignes as well the Burton US Open in Stratton Mountain, Vermont. There is also The Brits in Laax and BUSC (British Uni champs) in Alpe d'Huez for a more home from home vibe. The Big Snow Festival in Arinsal brings Ibiza to the slopes. For the seasonaires and locals there is the inter-resort competition held in Chamonix, Boss de Bosses.
Finally we head back to Ischgl for the Closing Party in May where you can expect another big name act, spring snow and champagne in every direction.
With all this and plenty more to be announced and confirmed, the slopes are not just for skiing. There are some world class parties and must be seen to be believed events to come this winter. So get yourself out there and enjoy everything the mountains have to offer. If we have missed out any festivals or events that are worth a mention tweet us the info for the next update.
Written by Stephen Adam
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