Music, mountains and beyond...

As the burnt noses begin to fade and our stiff legs loosen up, we awake from our self-inflicted cheese coma and look back on the events that unfolded at this year’s Snowboxx 2019 festival.

The concoction of skiing whilst at a festival was something new and unfamiliar. Of course, if these (like me) are things you enjoy – the combination of outdoor activities, music and excessive drinking are undoubtedly going to whet your appetite.

And so, equipped with sunglasses, hip flasks and snow boots we prepared for what was going to be a week of total excess. The trip begins at Geneva airport, catching a short transfer up the windy mountains towards the ultimate destination – Avoriaz.

Fellow festival go-ers equip me with a flask of baileys in one hand and a bottle of gin and tonic in the other. A regrettable mixture of drinks as you make your steady ascent towards the festival destination 1800m above sea level.

Typical mornings open to stunning bedroom views and a child-like anticipation to get straight onto the slopes. Since the festival lands towards the end of the season, expect your days to be filled with picturesque clear blue skies and minimal clouds in sight.

Acquiring the full port du soleil passes will grant you access to ski on the world’s single largest network of slopes, a total of 12 linked Alpine resorts and 650km of marked pistes. And so, whether you are a beginner or expert, skier or snowboarder, the full piste map truly offers something for everybody.

Beyond the slopes, festival goers are invited to join the infamous après sessions at the newly built Folie Douce – a permanent open-air arena accessible by ski or by foot. Snowboxx’s prearranged après sessions saw it accessorised with extra bars, on stage dancers and highly renowned line-ups. Proceedings saw acts of legendary status take to the reins.

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Happy Mondays' Bez, KISS FM and Crazy P Soundsystem provided just some of these soundtracks. Catching the headline acts play a few sets around the festival could become a little cyclic, watching artists resorts to playing popular hits and selections rather than pushing into their respected musical capacities was frustrating.

And so, one lesson learnt was to make the most of exploring the many routes the festival had to offer. Heading further afield deeper in to the Proclou Forest, saw the new and exclusive ‘tree house’ venue.

The space welcomed none other than British royalty Mike Skinner, where he welcomed the British crowd with a characteristic show of UK grime, garage and hip-hop. The correlation of emblematic British artists and a loyal home crowd was no coincidence. It was clear to see why the ‘Brits abroad’ label has been associated with the festival. But with loud music and wonderful friendly staff there were clearly enough things to distract attendees from getting out of hand, an evidently courteous presentation of amusement from both the crowd and the performers.

As the familiar and undoubtedly successful rhythms of the headline acts begin to wear off, festival attendees typically head to the official after party at XX club. Admittedly on our outing we were somewhat oblivious to any line ups or specific set times.

Nonetheless, we arrive out of the thickening cold straight into the sounds of Madam X. This was a standout set. It was so refreshing to hear somebody with such an assertive and bold attitude to the dancefloor, where other acts had resorted to their trustworthy and effective rhythms, Madam X dug deep.

Educating the now warm dancefloor to a perfect blend of UK sounds, a style so synonymous with the underground giants of the scene today. Snowboxx prides itself on its ‘epic side experiences’, and from hilarious bottomless brunches, chairlift speed dating or even swimming in the ‘aquariaz’ lazy river, the opportunities to immerse yourself in festival activities beyond skiing and music really did turn the occasion into something more special than anticipated.

Snowboxx’s meticulous event planning was sharp and so finding the time to slip in any exciting and entertaining activities truly did make the festival a week to remember. From morning to evening, possible activities beyond the slopes were available right from the get go. Snowboxx’s bold guarantees paid off, and after a week of idyllic skiing, energetic dancefloors and epic side experiences, the week culminated in a smug trip back down the mountain.

Glimmering with a burnt nose we rest our feet up for the first time, slowly melting into the seat we catch our first successful nap of the weekend, knowing full well that making the most of what Snowboxx had to offer will always remain an unregrettable decision.

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Words: Thom Parris
Photography: Snowboxx

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