What do you look for in a winter sports holiday? A great resort, challenging runs, opportunities for après-ski and value for money are all likely answers, and that’s for sure how you end up with a nice – but pretty average – package deal. Right? However, if you want to find a truly awesome skiing and snowboarding trip, here at Tribe we believe you have to consider a finely tuned balance of several extra factors, which, on our checklist, include:
* A decent mix of both on and off-slope activities
* A fun gang of fellow mischief makers
* Opportunities for shenanigans
* Easy access to champagne
With that in mind, we jetted off to Obertauern, a small village in the Salzburger Land area of Austria, to check out The Ski Week.
Only in its second year, the concept aims to bring affordable luxury to an international crowd of young professional winter sport fans with an exciting programme of carefully curated activities to keep them entertained on and off the mountains. Boasting over 100 kilometres of runs, breathtaking views from hidden mountain top bars and delicious Austrian food served up in traditional lodges, Obertauern in itself is definitely worth a visit.
But being part of The Ski Week’s heady whirlwind of adrenalin, snow, altitude, music, bubbles, fancy dress, dares, dance-offs and parties (as well as one lonesome inflatable leprechaun) pushed us above and beyond our arguably very high expectations of how to have fun in the mountains. Here, in no particular order, are our top reasons why YOU need to ride The Ski Week in 2016.
Because you don’t need to ski to have fun…
This might sound slightly controversial considering the holiday is called The Ski Week, but bear with us. Even if you’re travelling with a group of die-hard winter sport junkies, it’s good to have other options just in case you fancy a day off, no?
The Ski Week has a whole tab on their website dedicated to non-ski activities, including yoga and hiking, but even most of the on-slope events are accessible without having to strap on. So if you ever need a break or have a group of friends with different skiing/boarding abilities, no one has to miss out on the fun.
We challenged ourselves to a hilarious evening snowshoe hike, stomping up the mountain to dinner with our tennis racket style footwear and rolling down the slope some time later. Too. much. fun.
Because the crowd is awesome…
A holiday can live or die by the company you’re in – fact. And here at Tribe, we are always on the lookout for new partners in crime. The Ski Week prides itself on being a multi-national melting pot of likeminded people and our group felt like family within a matter of days, sharing everything from snowboarding tips and Alpine vistas to make-up and (vital) bar top dancing space.
Even better, your crew will be put up in a luxury self-serviced apartment in the same building as the rest of The Ski Week guests, which is perfect for carrying on the fun as we experienced during our first night when ‘one more quiet drink’ turned into a 50-strong early morning Footlose dance-off.
The next morning, over an extended breakfast debrief with our awesome roomie Nadia of The Daily S’Elf, we’d scroll through The Week app to see what incriminating snaps made it onto the Instagram-style newsfeed, which, thankfully, only your fellow Ski Week buddies can see. We hope.
Because, ‘bubbles before anything else’…
With Veuve Cliquot as a sponsor, champagne is often easier to come by than a glass of water. Need even more fizz? Book yourself an hour-long relaxation session in a slope-side pop-up hot tub while watching the world ski by and listening to the finest Alpine Deep House mixes. It’s like Ibiza on snow!
Because it’s got all the tunes…
The Tribe editorial team is well-versed in classic European après-ski songs, but that doesn’t mean we want to listen to them every day. Thanks to Ski Week music master Romàn Cleiss, who spun the perfect mix of chilled beats to warm us up during lunch on the mountain and then dropped the après anthems to keep us going all night. It’s entirely his fault we tore a blaze of moves through Obertauern and didn’t stop until we stepped on the plane home.
Because there ain’t no party like a Ski Week party…
Whether it’s a classic afternoon mountain tear-up or their very own mini Oktoberfest, this lot know how to throw a bash. For the latter, organisers went to the trouble of flying in an authentic Bavarian live music band and driving traditional Dirndls and Lederhosen all the way from Munich to Obertauern so we could channel our inner Germans for a night of beer, sausages and ‘schunkeln’.
One of our other favourite Ski Week moments was the pond skim, when we spent a lazy lunchtime watching those braver than us flying across a man-made pool on skis or boards, some in unicorn onesies, others carrying a giant bottle of champagne. Low-key, like.
Because the crew is pretty legendary…
Nothing’s worse than forced fun at the hands of a commission-hunting holiday rep, but hanging with The Ski Week crew was literally a laugh a minute. There is no obligation to get involved in all of the shenanigans the staff are organising – chances are you’ll want to though.
Special shout-outs to Ben Jones, who looked after us with such good-natured, saintly, bearded patience (nothing was ever too much of an ask), Mike Savas for owning all the moves and motivating us to dance on every surface possible, Julian Brockhurst for sharing the most interesting experiences and insider tips with us and Ben Edwards for his impressive interpretation of Billy Elliot.
For more information on The Ski Week visit www.theskiweek.com or call 0203 6 952 901. Prices start from £453 (€550) per person, including seven nights self-catered accommodation, a six-day lift pass and TSW Wristband. Flights and transfers are not included, however transfers can be arranged for €25 each way from Salzburg.
For more information on Obertauern head to www.obertauern.com.