The Survival Guide to Snowbombing

Mayrhofen’s Snowbombing has to be one of the most hedonistic weeks in the festival calender, combing world class skiing & boarding with one of Europe’s premier music festivals. This is a week of riding, drinking, partying until sunrise and doing it all again the next day. Where else would you be able to enjoy the end of season snowshine and slush, a world class snowpark and glacier skiing before partying to world famous DJs and eating breakfast before bed!

There are a few pretenders to the crown, such as The Big Snow Festival, but Snowbombing is where its at. It’s a good job Easter falls after the festival this year, leaving you in the knowledge of a bank holiday to recover shortly after.

Though Snowbombing is a festival everyone can head to it really is a event for serious festival goers and snow addicts. With this is mind I wanted to explore how best to survive six days of riding and six nights of one of the best parties in the Alps on four hours a night sleep.

Preparation

Now most of us head to festivals with our camping kit, a few crates of beer and our barbecue essentials, but a week long festival in a ski resort, where getting on the mountain each day is a must, takes a little more preparation.

Unlike Reading, Glasto or Bestival there is no camping, portaloos or feral showers, depending on your budget or style there are 2* B&Bs to 5* luxury hotels. Most of us would probably head to the 2* and 3* B&Bs, saving our money for the parties and much needed alpine lunches.

Before you jump on the plane to Austria there is some serious preparation to do. Both gym and Jaegermeister sessions are a must! With a serious lack of sleep on the cards and an awesome mountain at your disposal, a few weeks in the gym working on stamina will definitely put you in good stead. With long nights to look forward to, getting in some Sambuca fuelled evenings followed by early mornings, and preparing for a diet of potatoes, cheese and meat will pay dividends.

On the Mountain

So with the accommodation sorted, and camping not on the agenda we can forget our sleeping bags and gazebos and concentrate on the important stuff, the mountain.

The first thing to pack or hire is your helmet, now not everyone is a fan of the plastic lids in April, but in a week of riding, partying and quite probable hangovers, you will be glad you bought it with you. There is also the obvious need for skis/board, boots and bindings. Personally I’d take/hire a nice easy set-up, you wont be hiking 3ft powder, and probably wont be trying double-corks off the black kickers in the park!

Goggles vs Sunnies? You need both, goggles for the mountain, sunnies for the terraces. You can’t get a decent goggle tan without them!

Apart from the obvious skiing and boarding a decent mountain lunch is paramount to survival. Whether it’s your first day or you are recovering from the night before a big plate of meat, carbs and cheese followed by the restaurateur home-made schnapps will sort you out and set you up for another night. With all the alcohol and exercise (from skiing and dancing of course) you’ll need to top up on energy, protein and salt, the French classic of tartiflette, or a bowl of spag bol are always high on my list.

To finish a successful day on the mountain head to the Arctic Disco for the iglu-style ice bar to start the night, break out the sunnies and Jaegermeister and get warmed up for the night’s events.

Off the Mountain

Whether Pro-Plus, Red Bull or coffee is your cup of tea, morning, afternoon and late night caffeine kicks will surely be on the agenda. After dropping off your kit and getting out of your ski boots, a couple of pints of water, an espresso and bite to eat will get you ready for the night ahead.

With acts like Fatboy Slim, 2many Djs, Fake Blood and the Doves on offer last season, this year will surely go off with a bang. After a day on the mountain you won’t want those jelly legs to ruin your night out. However tempted you are to stop the key is not to, drink as much water as you can (in between all the beer, schnapps and sambuca) and let you adrenaline take over.

The party atmosphere is pretty nuts, so pace yourself, remember it’s a marathon not a race. This could be your one week on the mountain, and the only festival you make it to so you want to make the most of it. Keeping hydrated and remembering to eat are the key.

The next morning do you give in to your hangover of get back on the mountain? Paracetamol, PG tips and a trip to the bakery on the way to the lifts has always worked for me.

Essentials

There are a few essentials worth taking that are either hard to get, or not even possible at all. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Passports, Tickets and Festival wrist band – I know it’s obvious but you’ll be surprised how many people forget them!
  • PG Tips – Tea just isn’t the same in Austria
  • Paracetamol – For bumps, bruises and sore heads
  • Sun Tan Lotion – For the all important goggle-tan opposed to goggle-burn
  • Decent Sunnies – With all those reflective surfaces you need a decent UV protection
  • EHIC & Travel Insurance – Just in case
  • Deodorant and Toothpaste – For the all important post mountain shower-in-a-can and freshen up
  • Cash – Cash points is resort are sparse and can run out during busy weeks
  • Plenty of clothes – after skiing in 20° heat all day you won’t want to party in the same clothes!
  • Mobile Phone or Walkie Talkie – Just in case you lose your fellow festival goers and cant remember they way home
  • Chargers – phone, iPod, razor, you don’t want them running out mid-week
  • Prescription Medicine – Don’t forget your insulin or inhalers, medical care isn’t cheap
  • Gaffa Tape – You can fix you board pants, jackets, goggle strap or favourite jeans midweek if needed

Okay, so some of this may be a little obvious, or even pinched from our earlier post The Ultimate Festival Checklist, but you’ll be surprised the amount of times someone has forgotten their base-plates, sunnies, favourite hangover cure or even toothpaste.

If you have any other suggestions I’ll add them to the list.

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