With the clock moving backward and daylight gracing us with its presence for just a few hours longer, we've been (foolishly) whipping off the winter jackets and fantasizing about rolling beaches, scorching sunshine and maybe a coconut crafted alcoholic concoction or two. But before completely packing in the winter clothes for another year (or few months at the very least!) and gearing up for the UK festival season, our Alya Mooro took to the snow capped mountains of Alpe D'Huez in France with Snowboxx and Inghams for a music festival like no other. We round up the highlights of the trip below...
The Longest Black Slope In Europe
Benefitting from reliable snow, even late in season, thanks to its 3,300m glacier, Alpe D’Huez boasts truly awe inspiring views and – for the more confident skiers - a feeling of being magicked into a realm above the clouds. With seemingly endless runs ranging in difficulty, on our (slightly more confident feeling) second day, and decked in Mountain Warehouse, we embarked on the 16km Sarenne – the longest black slope in Europe. Despite numerous ‘ummm, are you sures?’ ahead of the descent, it was a supremely rewarding feeling collapsing at the waiting bar at the end of the slope with a well deserved hot chocolate (with cream on top, of course). A definite must do.
La Folie - Literally
Anyone who’s ever gone skiing will know, après ski (which more often than not involves a fair amount of alcohol) is pretty much as, if not more, important than the skiing itself. Nowhere was this more evident than at the aptly named La Folie (which translates to madness, in English), an alpine bar that throws an almighty party throughout the season. It’s a mean feat to walk let alone dance in snow boots, but if you were to bear witness to the hordes of people stomping around on the tables above the sky, you’d be forgiven for thinking they must be light as a feather. Throw in a bunch of people spraying champagne, coloured flares bursting in the sky above you and fancy dress beyond your wildest imagination and it doesn’t get more mad than this.
And the appetite for raucous après ski behaviour continues long into the night at Snowboxx. So great was the enthusiasm for Tuesday night’s act 2manydjs, that the decking in front of the main stage sank into the ground! And so it was that a car park provided the stage for headline act Jungle on the Thursday night. The Mercury Music Prize nominees were a pretty chilled act for a headline choice, crowd swaying and seething almost impatiently before exploding and clambering on to neighbouring shoulders for the climax of the performance, ‘Time’. Bristol hailing DJ trio Eton Messy satisfied the demand for hype, spinning energetic hit after energetic hit until the early hours of the morning. Predictably, the slopes were ours and pretty much only ours the following morning.
Cheese Glorious Cheese
Because what’s a ski trip without an abundance of cheese? On our first night we frequented a little fondue restaurant which according to a sign at the door was home to ‘the best fondue in the world.’ Now we're not ones to believe everything we read but, needing to be rolled out of the door a couple of hours after entering, we wholeheartedly concur. With an extensive menu of different fondue options (we thought there was just one kind of fondue; oh how we were mistaken!), it was after an extensive and lengthly decision-making process that we eventually settled on a delicious concoction seasoned with chunks of bacon lardons. It’s making us emotional just thinking about it… And the rest of our stay was just as cheesy a fest. From a raclette croque monsieur to a delicious pizza topped with raclette (yes, you could say we have a problem with cheese), it was truly divine.
Packages start from £499 per person. Find out more and prepare for next year's festivities here.