It’s mid-morning, and I’m thousands of feet up on Ahorn mountain in Mayrhofen channelling my inner-Madonna. The sun’s starting to break through the icy mist and promises a warm afternoon, but for now, the crisp air blowing against my face is pleasantly refreshing. It’s the final day of Snowbombing and getting my sleep-deprived body out of bed wasn’t easy, but I promised my friend I’d join her in the Voga session. Voga is a fusion of dance and yoga inspired by Madonna’s 80’s hit Vogue. I’m fully clad in ski wear, but some braver folk are head-to-toe in Spandex. If this isn’t already surreal enough, I notice Mr Motivator out of the corner of my eye.
© Giles Smith / Fanatic 2017
Snowbombing is regarded as Europe’s best snow festival. It brings world class DJs and bands together for a week of action-packed festival antics against the backdrop of the alps. The festival began in 2000 as an idea to shake up the apres-ski scene. Since it started, Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, 2 Many DJs and Carl Cox have all taken to its stages. Our line-up this year included Chase and Status, Run The Jewels, Courteneers and Groove Armada.
Strolling through Mayrhofen in the daytime
The Tyrolean resort is fairly sleepy during day. Most people are either still in bed, or hitting their hangover with a shot of adrenaline on the slopes. In the evening, it comes alive with the thousands of festival goers with many of the larger groups parading around in fancy dress. There were times it reminded me of Freshers Week, but this was easily cured by checking myself into one the town’s many saunas and spas.
There are several venues and acts to check out which meant nowhere felt too overcrowded. The largest is Racket Club which spends most of the year as a tennis center, then transformed especially to a cavernous superclub with a serious sound system. I would’ve loved to have been here when Fatboy Slim dropped ‘Right Here, Right Now’ in years past. On our first night, Groove Armada brought the place alive. On Thursday, I danced my Moonboots off to MK until the early hours and revisited again on Friday for a magnificently produced performance by DJ Yoda.
MK taking over Racket Club – © Richard Johnson / Fanatic 2017
Brück’N Stadl is a more intimate, but also more vibey venue. It had some of the best tech-house DJs on the line-up including many of the Hot Natured residents. I ended up spending a lot of time here with our group. Occasionally, I had to elbow my way past groups of sweaty, shirtless, Jaegar-filled men, but the effervescent atmosphere made it worthwhile. Highlights here included sets by Patrick Topping and DJ Koze.
Outside the Smirnoff Arctic Ice Disco. Dressed in Perfect Moment and Moonboots.
The Arctic Disco is well worth booking tickets in advance for. There is nothing like partying in a giant igloo, 6000ft up a mountain and tickets sell out pretty quickly. As the cable car pulled up, the visibility was pretty poor and it was only when I was meters away that I could see the incredible structure. Inside the igloo I witnessed two unforgettable sets by the Disciples and Claude Von Stroke. Everything, including the bars, the DJ booth, the tables, is maginificently carved from ice. Dress warm and enjoy plenty of their mulled wine – the only thing that’ll be dripping is the ceiling.
© Richard Johnson / Fanatic 2017
It was only on my last night that I visited The Forest Party. As the sun was setting, I followed the signposts until I found the stage hidden between towering alpine trees. The setting was magical. Headliners, Chase and Status, put on an unforgettable performance with all their hits packed into their 70 minute show.
Chase and Status performing at The Forest Party
© Jenna Foxton / Fanatic 2017
Unlike most festivals, there is plenty to do during the day. After a late night, the sound of your skis against the snow, is a sweet soundtrack to your day. If you want to indulge in some organised activities, there’s plenty to do including cable car raves, pool parties, chairlift speed dating, Snolympics over the course of the week as well as Mr Motivator’s daily warm-down. British Olympic ski jumper, Eddie the Eagle is also in attendance and taking small groups on private ski tours. It sadly isn’t for those who can barely snowplough down a blue…
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Not quite Olympic level yet. Dressed in Peak Performance with Dragon Alliance goggles.
A disco nap and refuel between skiing and the evening events is well advised. There are plenty of delicious food options at the resort. Our hotel, Manni, served up delicious steaks and stone-baked pizzas. For more traditional Austrian dishes, I recommend Gasthof Restaurant Perauer. If you’re in the market for cheap, cheerful and stomach-lining grub, UFO Pizza is probably more your scene. The best restaurant in town is Pane e Vino da Michele. Wise to avoid it if you’re on a stag do, but it serves up delicious, authentic Italian food – their black taglioni with lobster is sublime.
It’s no surprise that Snowbombing is nearing to it’s eighteenth year. There’s much more on offer than your usual festival: the stunning Alpine backdrop, affordable luxuries to aid your endurance levels and some of the hottest acts out there. There are also quirky idiosyncrasies like Hans The Butcher that bring its cult following back year after year. I’m excited to see how the festival evolves with the shift in music trends. I look forward to seeing what 2018’s line-up brings.
<em>Snowbombing took place on 3rd-8th April 2017. Four star Hotel Manni was priced at £718 for a six night stay and festival wristband.