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I’ve always pegged myself as a city girl. Someone who loves the bustling metropolitan lifestyle surrounded by thousands of other people from all walks of life, the tall skyscrapers, modern hotels, hundreds of international restaurants and a constant stream of cool pop-ups and events. But last month I headed out to the beautiful region of Tirol in Austria and almost immediately found myself feeling right at home among the snowy mountain peaks.
It was the first time since I was 15 that I’d been on a snow sports holiday, having decided as a child that skiing and other winter sports probably weren’t for me (I’ve always been extremely uncoordinated and clumsy). However, returning as an adult, I realised that I should have given the mountains another chance far earlier. I fell in love with it all, from the cosy alpine huts and warming home-made lunches, to whooshing down the mountains followed by the schnapps-fuelled aprés-ski.
Returning to London I vowed that I wouldn’t leave it another 10 years before heading back to the mountains again, so I started planning for my next trip. This is when I decided that my next winter holiday was going to have to be a European ski festival, combining one of my existing passions – unique parties – with my new passion – snow sports!
With help from Admiral’s new ski festival finder, I started my research and put together my bucket list of the best ski festivals in Europe. If anyone wants to join me, or at least help me decided which one to go to, here are my top choices…
Described as ‘the Glasto of the slopes’, Snowbombing is a crazy 5 days of festivities in Mayrhofen in Austria, with over 100 acts and unique events such as igloos raves and enchanted forest parties. Plus for snow sports enthusiasts, Mayrhofen has over 650km of runs with Europe’s steepest incline, the fearsome Harikiri at 78% (I assure you I won’t be taking that on myself!).
As well as the snow sports and live music, there are loads of crazy and fun activities at Snowbombing festival including chairlift speed dating and the much-anticipated snowlympics. Snowbombing also hosts Austria’s largest fancy dress street party – a particular selling point for me.
In 2019, Snowbombing is celebrating its 20th anniversary with over 100+ acts including Stormzy, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Sub Focus and more.
Upcoming festival: 8 Apr – 13 Apr 2019
Rise Festival is a six-day electronic music and snow sports festival held in the French resort of Les Deux Alpes. Located on top of Europe’s biggest skiable glacier, the festival combines great music, lots of skiing and snowboarding, as well as plenty of other adventure activities such as snowmobiling, paragliding and husky-sledging.
One of Rise Festival’s unique selling points is its particular emphasis on wellbeing, with opportunities such as mountain-top yoga, ice-cave meditation and spa retreats for party-goers to take a break from the more hectic aspects of ski festivals.
Another cool thing about Rise is that it takes place the week before Christmas and is a sure-fire way to get you into the festive spirit, with plenty of snow, a Christmas market, Secret Santa and more.
Upcoming festival: 14th – 21st December 2019
Snowboxx is held in the Avoriaz region of France and features the world’s largest ski area spanning across France and Switzerland and an impressive open-air arena with many huge DJs and live acts joining for the week-long festival (past headliners including Fatboy Slim and Chase & Status).
As well as 7 days of great music and mountain fun, Snowboxx is known for its legendary bottomless brunches, special comedy nights, pool parties and heated snowball fights.
Upcoming festival: 23rd – 30th March 2019.
Which Ski Festival to Choose?
Choosing which ski festival to attend can be a difficult decision, especially for a newbie snow sports traveller and ski festival goer like me. There are so many factors to consider… What level of skier (or snowboarder) are you? What type of music are you in to? What’s your budget? Well, Admiral Insurance has launched a cool new Ski Festival Finder tool which helped me narrow down the numerous options and find the festivals best suited for me above.