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Pining after the carefree hedonism of music festivals? Instead of waiting until next summer, swap mud for snow, wellies for ski boots and bohemian garb for a vintage onesie at one of these parties in the clouds.
1. Polaris, Verbier, Switzerland
Nicknamed “Ibiza on Ice”, the first festival of the season will see Seth Troxler drop dirty beats under a glass dome overlooking the Swiss Alps. World-class DJs are set high up Mouton Noir, giving this party some serious altitude. Verbier institution, Farm Club, will host four times Derrick Carter for a late-night disco – perfect for those who would prefer being last on the dance floor to first on the lifts.
2. World Ski and Snowboard Fest, Whistler, Canada
Ten days of pounding the slopes and knocking back vin chaud makes the World Ski and Snowboard Fest a marathon of art, music and extreme snow sports. Freestyle piste championships, roller derbys and Busta Rhymes taking to the stage are just some of the highlights of this mega event. With pristine powder snow and pop-up Corona bars littering the slopes, it’s a whirlwind of ice-cold bevs and Olympus Pro photographer showdowns.
Snow angels and wonky snowmen won’t quite cut it here as giant churches, pyramids, tigers and dragons are all carved from ice at the largest snow festival in the world. Ironically named “Sun Island” is covered with almost life-sized ice cities in the annual Snow Sculpture Art Fair, which starts in January and runs through until late February. Grab a sledge and explore the real-life winter wonderland.
4. Rock the Pistes, Portes du Soleil, Switzerland
Set across the entire Portes du Soleil area, five live concerts tear up the slopes and over 50 après-ski gigs spring up in the chocolate box town of Chatel. Main stages are erected across various mountain peaks enabling you to ski straight to the stages and shuffle in your ski boots. Last year saw The Klaxons, Rag’n’Bone Man and Hannah Wants replace cheese fondue as the après activity of choice – a no-brainer when concert entry is free and all you need is your lift pass.
5. Snowboxx, Avoriaz, France
Ramp it up and board the Jäger train as Rock the Pistes’ debauched lovechild transforms Avoriaz for the fifth year running in March. The mountain-side main stage will be headed up by Fatboy Slim and Chase and Status, with Radio One’s Ibiza expert Danny Howard hosting a roster of world-renowned DJs in an ice-carved igloo. The neon lights of Downtown will draw you in to belt out Beyoncé – even if you swear to only get down to minimal beats these days.
6. Spring Back to Vail, Colorado, US
One of America’s largest ski resorts, Vail ends each season with two weeks of free live concerts – plus a couple of parties, après debauchery and the odd giveaway thrown in for good measure. The festival culminates in the infamous World Pond Skimming Championships – open to anyone who believes they can race down the mountain and make it across the pond – on the final day. Taking place every March, kick off your skis and enjoy free daytime concerts at various outdoor venues before settling in for an early evening gig.
7. Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
Each April, international DJs and bands schlep to Mayrhofen in pursuit of one epic party. Spend your days on the slopes, enjoying music across six mountain venues; from pop-up raves to chairlift speed-dating and yoga, come nightfall, revellers can expect cutting-edge performances from the likes of Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Rudimental. Venues range from igloos to forests so make sure you come prepared. In the packing stakes, multiple layers and some striking snow boots will not suffice – Snowbombing also hosts Austria’s largest fancy dress street party.
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