As we enter March, the ski season in Europe is drawing to a close once again. There is still plenty of opportunity for skiing, but the end is in sight (unless you train as a ski instructor!). (Featured image by Ski Safari)
But the end of the ski season doesn’t have to be a sad time. In fact, March and April are the most action-packed months of the season thanks to the wealth of festivals taking place.
When we think of music festivals we inevitably think of hot summer days in a field in the English countryside. But winter festivals offer just as much as their summer counterparts, and are growing in popularity.
With music from some of the world’s biggest acts, breathtaking locations and a party atmosphere that only a ski resort can offer, winter festivals have arguably a lot more to offer than summer festivals.
Skiing or snowboarding in the day, partying at night, what’s not to love about the winter festival? Take a look at our pick of five of the best:
Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
This party-hard festival has been running since 2000, when it was held in the French ski resort of Risoul.
Snowbombing started life as an après-ski event, but has grown to become Europe’s biggest snow and music festivals.
Now held in the Austrian resort of Mayrhofen, from April 1 to 6, Snowbombing is primarily a dance music festival, having played host to the likes of Fatboy Slim and Pendulum in the past.
But the line-up these days also features some of the biggest bands in the world, and headliners this year include Kasabian, Rudimental and Katy B.
Caprices Festival, Crans Montana, Switzerland
This year sees the excellent Caprices Festival celebrate its 10th anniversary with its biggest and best line-up to date.
Taking place in the picturesque resort of Crans Montana, in Switzerland, Caprices Festival’s location is its secret weapon.
Located high above the Rhône Valley, the atmosphere is made all the more electric by the festival’s stunning views.
Highlights at this year’s festival, which runs from March 8 to 16, include The Killers, Björk and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Zermatt Unplugged, Switzerland
Set in the shadow of the Matterhorn, Zermatt Unplugged is a little different to some of the other winter festivals that Europe has to offer.
As the name suggests, this festival has a far more relaxed, chilled-out vibe than the dance music parties found elsewhere in Europe.
Rather than thumping basslines and relentless strobe lights, you have intimate venues and acoustic sessions.
Running from April 9 to 13 this year, Zermatt Unplugged features performances from Morcheeba, Bryan Ferry and Marianne Faithful, among many others.
Altitude Festival, Mayrhofen, Austria
If your idea of a good festival is laughing your head off rather than dancing your feet off, Altitude Festival could be the one for you.
As well as Snowbombing, Mayrhofen also plays host to this huge comedy festival, which runs from March 18 to 22.
With a line-up to rival even Edinburgh Fringe, Altitude has gone all-out this year with some of the biggest comedians in the world.
Comics on this year’s bill include John Bishop, Marcus Brigstocke and Phil Jupitus (pictured above), along with plenty of up-and-coming stars and improvisation troupes.
BRITS Festival, Tignes, France
One of the original winter festivals, BRITS Festival has been running for a staggering 24 years. This year it’s being held in the excellent French resort of Tignes, from March 23 to 30.
It may not have the same big-name line-ups that many of the European festivals have, but the eclectic mix of genres ensures there is something for everyone.
What’s more, with packages starting from £279, it’s a fair bit cheaper than many of the other winter festivals out there.Alex Francis