How to juggle the 24-hour timetable of skiing, drinking and skiing again without completely foregoing sleep is a tricky balance to strike, and one that will only hurt your brain more on a hangover. Exactly when to rest is a poser that has plagued Snowbombers in the eight years since the festival began in Risoul, France. You only have two choices: don’t sleep, or have a night off and miss out on the mayhem that everyone on the mountain will be talking about the next day. Honestly, who wants to be that sucker?
Arriving well after the party had started three days earlier on Sunday, we’d already missed out on enough, plus the line-up was too tempting by far: Thursday – a Bugged Out street party hosted by 2manyDJs, Different Strokes and Neil Diablo; Friday – Kid Carpet in the Ice Bar, Audio Bullys and The Cuban Brothers at the Arena and James Zabiela at the Schlussel (a wood-pannelled barn-styled club which is the closest thing you’ll find in Mayrhofen to a cheesy après-ski venue); and Saturday, well, you get the picture. It’s a miracle anyone actually makes it up the mountain.
Then again, when the first thing you lay eyes on as you step off the Penkenbahn cable car is an al fresco bar with cold beer, sun-drenched tables, DJs pumping out some of the best recovery beats this side of a day club and spectacular views of the Austrian Alps, you could be forgiven for ‘forgetting’ to bring your board and skis altogether.
Besides, after riding the Penkenbahn – which rises over 1200 metres to the base of the mountain – with a hang-over, you might be in need of a bit of hair of the dog to settle the shakes before heading onto the slopes. Such an approach might have helped me avoid a spectacular dismount at the bottom of the first chairlift.
Traditionally derided for a lack of creative and challenging pistes, Mayrhofen has grown in stature in recent seasons, adding runs (there’s 625km in total) to challenge even the most qualified (and sober) skier/boarder. Gentle slopes let you take in the beauty of the Alps, while Harakiri, a piste with a 78 per cent gradient, leaves grown men (well, me at least) fearing for their lives. For boarders, Mayrhofen’s Burton Snow Park has been ranked among Europe’s best by Snow-parks.com and its eight kickers/hips, 16 boxes/rails and a half-pipe should keep those brave enough to tackle the park busy.
At the end of a punishing day on the slopes, the spas back in Mayrhofen are too tempting to pass up. The Strasse Hotel’s spa – ranked one of the top 20 spas in the world by Cosmopolitan magazine – boasts three pools, seven different saunas and a range of treatments that will help ease the aching mass your body will no doubt have become.
Then, after a quick bite to eat at one of Mayrhofen’s restaurants (get in early, because from 9pm onwards all you’ll get is a kebab at the bottom end of Hauptstrasse – though after a few beers you might not care), it’s back out on the streets for another night of rampaging parties. Sleep? To quote Jon Bon Jovi – an act you most certainly won’t hear in Mayrhofen during Snowbombing – “I’m gonna live while I’m alive and sleep when I’m dead.” •