Usually when your job requires you spend the night in…
Date 29 March to 4 April
Place Mayrhofen, Austria
Style Boards, barns and bands
Setting Alpine winter wonderland
Now a decade old, Snowbombing fills the Austrian mountain resort of Mayrhofen with parties, DJs and bands for six days in April, attracting snowboarders and fellow revelers from around the world. Snowbombing has close links to Rob Da Bank’s Bestival in the Isle of Wight, and has the same friendly, playful, ‘grown-up kids’ party’ vibe. This year’s line-up sees Fat Boy Slim, Dizzee Rascal, Grandmaster Flash, Biffy Clyro, Zane Low, Ladyhawke, Mylo and countless more superstar performers take to the stage. There’s plenty of snowboarding along with all the sounds and silliness, and the custom-built course here, complete with kick rails and half pipes, plays host to some supercharged competitions. This is the perfect partnership of party and piste.
Event Highlights The street party on Thursday night is the stuff of legend, with the entire festival dancing in the snow, under the moonlight, most of them in fancy dress…
Head Count More than 3,000 ‘bombers.
Packing Tips Seasoned snowboarders should already have their checklist honed to perfection – but if you’re a snow virgin make sure you have the proper gear to keep you warm (equipment hire is bookable as an extra with Snowbombing packages, starting at around £60; www.snowbombing.com). Bring swimwear too, for those heated pools, and sunscreen.
Bar chat When two large sacks of the country’s leading fertiliser were delivered to their dressing room, indie rockers Soulwax realised that the word’ hummus’ presents a uniquely Austrian translation challenge.
• Do try the signature drink. Schnapps is to Austria what vodka is to Russia and there are almost as many types of this tipple here as there are mountaintops. We recommend the mighty Meisterwurz – which takes its name from the roots of supposedly mystical plants which only grow over 200 metres.
• Do make sure you see the Cuban Brothers. Snowbombing (and Bestival) regulars, they are an inspired combination of singing, stripping, breakdancing and comedy.
• Do wear sun cream, and sunblock on your lips. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you won’t get burnt.
• Don’t be shy. When it comes to spa treatments at the Strass, it’s all about nudity. No underwear or swimwear is allowed, so it’s time to let it all hang out.
NEED TO KNOW
Getting there A fleet of Snowbombing Express coaches offer luxury travel from around £109 return and depart from all over the UK. Go to www.snowbombing.com for more details. British Airways flies to Innsbruck, which is an hour by taxi or shuttle from Mayrhofen.
Children Snowbombing’s more geared towards grown-up fun, but you’ll find excellent kids’ facilities at Hotel Strass, including two play areas, indoors and out, and childminding.
Parking Most snowbombers travel to Mayrhofen by coach, and you don’t need a car once you’re here, so parking isn’t usually a concern.
Food & Drink With 43 restaurants and 18 bars here, there’s plenty of choice. For a treat head to nearby Kristallhütte (+43 (0)676 88 632 400) where the four-course dinners are a dream come true – and amazing value. Be sure to visit the White Lounge at some point during your stay, too. It’s a fabulous cocktail bar on nearby Ahorn mountain made completely of ice.
Sleep Mayrhofen has dozens of decent hotels. We recommend Hotel Strass, combining traditional Tyrolean style with state-of-the-art spa facilities, it’s the liveliest hotel during the event and is perfect if you want to party 24/7. Hotel Mannis and Hotel Kramerwirt also have access to the rooftop hot tubs at the Strass Wellness Centre, where you’ll get panoramic views of the mountains. If, all after the mayhem of the slopes and gigs, you’re looking for a quieter option, try the five-star Hotel Elisabeth. Group hotel bookings are available via www.snowbombing.com.
Tickets There are still a few left for this year’s festival (although don’t expect this to be the case in a few days’ time). Tickets include a wristband for all events, plus accommodation, and range from £279 to £379 (£159 without accommodation). You can add on extras, such as equipment hire and snowboarding lessons when you book at www.snowbombing.com.
We’re keeping a close eye on the international event calendar, so watch this space every month for more insider info on inspiring shenanigans around the world. Also check out the Smith selection of ski chalets and Alpine hotels in Austria, Switzerland and France.