When it comes to my winter trips abroad, I have to admit that I am a sucker for ski/snowboarding in Austria. You will find that most skiers/snowboarders will agree that it is not only the huge ski areas, amazing snow conditions or great après ski that makes a memorable skiing/boarding trip, but it is the people that you are with, and the people you meet that makes it a fab one. Having snowboarded in most of the countries in the European Alps, and a few North American ones too; I have to admit, that the genuine welcome and general friendliness from the Austrian’s, for me, just can’t be beaten!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Snowbombing, it’s a week long music festival similar to the festivals you get in the UK, but plonked into a lovely traditional Austrian town with some of the best skiing/boarding in the Alps. The festival is generally at the beginning of April so the weather is usually pretty good, with regular spring snowfalls to keep your days interesting. The locals absolutely love it! For local businesses it is a great end of season boost when over 2000 fun lovin’ Brits descend on the town- and they think we are great! They tell me that us Brits are respectful and are always generally polite during our stay. Honest, that’s what they tell me!
The thing I love most about this week is that every day is different. An example of an average day at last year’s at Snowbombing…
Start the day with a good hearty continental breakfast at our hotel, the ‘Zillertalerhof’! We then head to the top of the Penken Bahn cable car (Mayrhofen’s main cable car access lift to connect with the ski area) around mid morning to get ourselves to Mr Motivator’s ski ‘warm-up’ aerobics class. Yes they even recruited the legend that is Mr Motivator (tight lycra and all) to take a morning warm-up and afternoon cool-down class to make sure we are all ready to tackle the day, and every day for the rest week. It is the funniest thing watching 50 people doing an aerobics class at 2000 meters on snow.
The rest of the morning we would head over to our favourite ski runs on red 7 & 27, before heading for Bolognese & Beer at the Mountain Alm by the main lifts in the bowl by the ‘Vans’ terrain park (at ‘on mountain’ prices that will leave you baffled at how much you can get for 10 Euros), and just in time to watch the ski & boarder cross competition that had the best ever finish line; a 5 meter ice cold pool right located right in front of the restaurant. Great fun for the spectators, especially when a David Hasslehof wannabe (sporting just shorts and a buoy) is making sure no one drowns if they don’t make it over the water, with three gorillas and a pose of superheroes amongst the crowd cheering when someone ended up taking a dunk!
For the afternoon we decided to head up to the Hintertux Glacier (which is also included on your Zillertal lift pass and is only 30min from Mayrhofen) to find some high altitude fresh snow. This glacier is just fantastic, and no matter what time of the year it is! I have even had fresh snow up there in July before, and on this afternoon, in the second week of April, we had fields of fresh knee deep snow at 3000m all to ourselves. Bliss!
After a great day on the mountain (s), it is back to Mayrhofen for a few cheeky beers, and to get cleaned up, so we can catch acts like the Cuban Brothers, De a Soul & Madness etc. Every night of the festival there are a large number of acts to choose from in a variety of different venues. Due to its popularity, Snowbombing is just getting bigger and bigger every year, and as a result attracting some great live acts like Madness, Fat Boy Slim, Doves and the Prodigy to name just a few.
It is not just the traditional town of Mayrhofen and its friendly locals that lure me back there season after season, but also the five fantastic skiing/Snowboarding resorts of Mayrhofen, Ahorn, Hintertux, Zillertal Arena & Kaltenbach you can access with your ‘Super Zillertal’ lift pass. Every ski area is different and has a great variety of terrain and pistes to keep you busy during your stay and these ski areas can be easily accessed by the efficient transport system that runs up and down the valley. But when you also throw in a fun week long music festival with like minded people who love to ski/snowboard…well, it just doesn’t get any better!
Snowbombing 2011 is from 4th -9th April 2011. 7 nights at the 4* Hotel Zillertalerhof on a Half Board basis & private transfers for this year’s Snowbombing is from £772pp. Flights available at a supplement from regional airports.