Part of the Snowbombing experience is the drive from London to Mayrhofen where after 15 hours you reach the valleys of Austria dwarfed by snowtipped mountains and lush greenery. Winding down the window you take in a breath of fresh mountain air that revives you after seemingly endless motorways and the perils of Germany’s autobahn. The stunning beauty of Mayrhofens landscape and the timeless architecture of its hotels and guesthouses makes this festival distinct from anything you’ve experienced.
As you drive into the town itself your greeted with huge banners, signs for festival venues and bunting wrapped across the small windy streets of this intimate venue. People dressed in ski gear mingle with those in costume as well as the locals who seem unfazed by the ludicrousness of this yearly event that transforms Mayrhofen-Hippach for a whole week. Just as well, because I’m dressed in a cow onesie as I casually check into my luxurious apartment for the week with incredible views of the Penkhen and Ahorn mountain range.
After stocking up on Jaegers, regional Zillertall beer and different cuts of local farmed meats the party starts almost immediately at one of the many bars decorated in banners that are brimming with revellers donning their fresh Snowbombing wristbands. The crowd chatter with how they’re going to get from DJ Rodigans set at Racket club to ‘Hot since 82’ who’s playing at Bruck’n Stadl, they’re only 10 minutes away from each other so it’s not going to be that much of a hassle. More important is how late you want to stay out tonight, because the snow is going to be perfect in the morning and you’ll want to get your ski legs for the rest of the week.
Everyone you meet at Snowbombing is pumped. From the cute staff who tie your wrist band to the ski instructor who’s planning on how late you want your lesson to start (because Groove armada are playing at 130 and you don’t think you’re gonna get home until 4). The crisp air at 2000m is your cure from the night before and Toddla T awaits you at the end of slope 14 when you feel refreshed after skiing your hangover away. The Mountain tops are pumping with a blend of house music and it’s gearing you up for another brilliant night.
Boarding blends into apres and good food blends into beautiful house beats as you lose sight of what time it is for 5 days of partying, sliding down powder and meeting new people. One of my top tips is heading early to the Forest party venue where this year I witnessed Chase and Status completely transform a chilled out venue into a bouncy moshpit. True to the relaxed vibe Snowbombing attracts, it was probably one of the friendliest I’d been too. After being pushed to the ground, I was promptly hauled up by the crowd behind me, brushed down, asked if I was OK before continuing to party with new friends!
If you haven’t even considered a mash of skiing and incredible festival artists it’s every bit amazing as you would expect it to be. Snowbombing has grown a lot over the years but it’s still maintained an intimate vibe with a good mixed crowd despite huge acts like Rudimental, Disclosure and Fatboy Slim. Definitely worth a visit.
I would rent skiis and a locker from the top of the mountain where there is a rental shop. It saves so much time and effort in the morning, the lockers are heated and it means you can drag your weary ass out of bed to hit the mountains without the added effort of gear weighing you down
No matter who plays at the forest party, it’s guaranteed to be my favourite gig of the week. Head there early!
Use a ‘revolut’ card for amazing exchange rates, it’s accepted everywhere but bring cash as well. Annoyingly they still only accept cash at some venues.
Drive to Mayrhofen if you can on the official roadtrip. It’s a brilliant rally to start the mad Mayrhofen experience.
They’ve recently started a cashless wrist band feature. Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed well, the top up points were an added hassle to deal with as well as the many bars on the mountain tops that didn’t accept them. Plus, claiming unspent money left on your band is a two step process that is just an added hassle people don’t need.
You had to pay an extra €5 for the venue lineup information or a phone app (that wasn’t user friendly), without which you wouldn’t know where or who was playing during the week? I really didn’t understand this move from the organisers. It kind of left a bad taste in your mouth that you were essentially being forced to pay money for an absolutely necessary part of the festival experience. This needs to be rethought, but my tip is to go to the merch vendor and photo the lanyards on your phone … which I did unashamedly after buying the poorly designed app.
Ski rentals, passes and lessons can be bought when you arrive. Don’t stress too much about sorting this in advance, it’s very easy.
Try and ski the glacier if you can. It’s magical
You may wake up from the night before with renewed confidence in your skiing ability and try to tackle Harakiri, Austria’s steepest piste. If you’re a novice/intermediate don’t even think about it. The number of people I saw sliding down that slope arse over face was comical. Not worth sacrificing the headline event at the end of the week!
Head to Scotland Yard Pub. It’s a local skier hangout with a quirky crowd and talkative bar staff. They also do pizza until 2am which beats lining up at the kebab shop on the main road for 20 mins to get served!
Apres at Hans the Butcher is legendary but ribs and steak at hotel and gastof perauer is brilliant after a long ski.
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