Snowbombing's rowdy little sister...

Devised by the same people that brought us Festival No.6, Electric Elephant, and the legendary Snowbombing – a week-long winter sports and music festival held in the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen – comes Snowbombing’s rowdy little sister: Transition Snow.

If there is one thing Broadwick Live know how to get right, it’s location. All the company’s events are first and foremost set in stunning surroundings, and the first ever Transition Snow festival is no exception. Held from December 13th to 19th, all the action takes place in Avoriaz, a picturesque ski-in ski-out village set in the middle of the Portes du Soleil area, taking in a vast panoramic of the Alps stretching across France and Switzerland.

What better way to spend a week than going from pillow to piste first thing in the morning to clear the cobwebs? There’s no better hangover cure than 10 minutes of crisp mountain air on a high altitude ski lift, followed by the same air and snow smashing into your grid as you hurtle down the slopes.

The opening night kicks off in fine fashion with headliner Dizzee Rascal nailing a raucous set in a natural basin in the woods, surrounded by massive Christmas trees and sparkling lights lending the whole valley a festive twinkle. There was a slight delay in getting accommodation sorted which threatened to make some people miss the start of the live music, but this was down to the hotel chain and not the Transition organisers.

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It’s a minor hiccup that is mitigated by the fact Dizzee ate too much cheese before his performance and so put his stage time back by half an hour. The woods soon fill up and the town centre is bustling with thousands of new arrivals, all creating a seasonal ‘up for it’ ambiance. Dizzee belts out a frenetic set filled with crowd pleasers like ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Bonkers’, ‘You’ve Got The Dirtee Love’ and ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’. After the set, which culminated in fireworks, throngs of festivalgoers spilled away from the main stage and into an array of alpine styled bars and venues. Places like The Yak, Shooters and Le Bistro – a three-storey wooden building with an outdoor terrace overlooking the pistes that is perpetually busy.

The rest of the week for most people is a blur, both literally, as you spend glorious sun-filled days careering down a sprawling selection of slopes, and figuratively, as the local beers and gullet-warming shots take effect and you need to be told how you got to bed. Some verbatim quotes overheard on mid-morning shared ski-lifts include, “Steff vomited off the balcony and then pulled Josh… he didn’t seem to mind”, “Vodka and gin is a surprisingly delicious combo... I call it gidka, but you can’t ask for it in a bar” and personal favourite, “Can you die from a hangover?”

Broadwick Live arrange a packed itinerary of events throughout the week so there is always something going on. Highlights include the Ride & Seek – a ski and snowboard competition with pro-riders battling against festivalgoers for shits and goodies, the Transition Winter Olympics – a rally with obstacles, dares and teamwork tests, the Pool Party – a host of DJs including the likes of Ben Pearce livening things up inside a tropical indoor water park, the Snowball Fight – like rollerball on ice, a Japanese import that comprises helmets, body armour, pyrotechnics, solid balls of ice and equally large and sturdy balls between the legs, and finally the Mountain Meal – Europe’s largest torch-lit skiing procession to the Lindaret Valley, a wondrous night of food, starlit skiing and headline DJs.

This year some standout sets were dropped by James Zabiela, Huxley, Luedms, Bondax, Wilkinson, Barely Legal, Krafty Kuts and Pedestrian. This inaugural event bodes well for the future and Transition Snow is sure to make the ‘must-do’ festival lists for snow holiday newbies and slope weathered veterans alike. Go for the après ski dinner and drinks, the broad electronica line up (Grime, Pop, RnB, Russian Techno, Drum n Bass, Umpah?!) the carnage on the nights out and the calm of the morning lift up the mountain. Après the Lord.

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Words: Nick Rice

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