It’s that time of the year when we go from freezing cold weather to miserable wet days. Money is starting to appear again after the Xmas meltdown of your bank account and things are starting to look up.
The local indoor skatepark has not got the creativity to even organise a half decent event to bring everyone together, club nights have been done to death, the TV wreaks of rubbish programming and you have the horn!
Everything is a little dour, the winter has completely dominated your existance and you are fighting for a change of scenery and some fresh air to match. But will you go for sun, sea, surf and tight units sunning themselves on the beach?
Will you go for the option of amazing food freshly trickling down your gullet like never before and not out of the freezer for once? Or will you go and spend your hard earned cash on a weeks worth of carnage on the slopes where you bruise like an apple and sting like a bee on the dancefloor whilst guzzling down peach shnapps like never before until you puke?
The latter is a snowboard holiday, you know it will be the nuts, but where do you go?
Firstly choose your destination carefully, and always consider the quality of local produce. The USA boasts that they go bigger, which may be true of their waistlines, but for brains and personality the yanks don’t always come up to size. “Do they really speak English in England?” asked one chairlift flirt, in Mammoth, instantly destroying any urge for some post piste action. Mainland Europe is far more promising, especially if you go for passion, politics and poor personal hygiene. Also, look out for those suave Scandinavians- underneath that angelic exterior is a Viking bursting to pillage you (and the rest of resort.)
Bright Lights, Big City or Country House?
So you’ve chosen your country of residence; but will you base yourself in the temptations of a large ski town or choose a backcountry bachelor/ette pad? Latter resorts such as Livigno, Zermatt or Saas Fee could be perfect for some cosy small town romance. But, inbred alpine villages also limits where you sow your wild oats, leaving you to decide between cousin a or cousin b – and even then you may have to compete with their sheep.
If you want quantity not quality, the large European resorts such as Val D’Isere, Tahoe and Meribel guarantee fresh faces every week due to the high number of randy tourists but Tignes is still a Crossfire favourite as the Dragon Lodge caters for lots of skaters every year and is run by cool people. With extensive terrain to roam nightly, you’ve limitless bars to make a run at possible conquests. Then spend the rest of the week teaching them how to ride properly until changeover day, when the next set of freshies arrives for you to play with.
Pimp Rock Palace
But before you can go looking for potential sliding partners, you need to find yourself a suitable first base. Thankfully typical accommodation has moved on from the small hole in the attic, with just a mattress, cockroaches and mould for company. And despite most beds in resort now owned by the big holiday companies, you can still weasel out a plush pad to impress possible mates. You won’t be able to get anything as bling as ‘The Block’ in Tahoe or the Rider’s Palace in Laax for a season, but companies such as Seasonaires, Planet SubZero and Alpine Elements can organise a roof over your head, liftpass, food and more reasonably – leaving you more time to work on your lines.
But be prepared, as most accommodation means bunk beds so watch out for low ceilings. No one likes to get knocked out halfway through riding the pipe. Also, although you may be sharing a small space with another six sweaty shredders, try to keep things clean. Befriending a chalet assistant helps, as you can then persuade them to clean your bed linen – dirty sheets won’t make anyone act the same between them.
Rhythm and Stealth
So you know where you’re going to park your love nest but when’s the best time to go? If you can’t do a full season some forward planning is essential; so look out for any upcoming snowboard comps or events in your chosen resort. DJs, bands, media and groupies could also be in town looking for action, ready to provide some welcome variety and a window back into the real world.
It’s not credible, classy, or actually about snowboarding, but the annual end of season Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria, guarantees some up for it action – even for one night. While if it’s dedication and core you’re looking for – not just muscle groups – Laax, Switzerland could be perfect, as it hosts both the Burton European Open and the Brits and is rammed with riders looking to be the next big thing – not just in the competition. This years entertainment includes 2manydjs, Audio Bullys, Roni Size, The Cuban Brothers, DJ Yoda , Bez and parties hosted by Bugged Out!, Warp Records, Finger lickin’ Records and many more.
Home Sweet Home
But remember – home will be a long way off. Dropping out of mainstream society for a couple of weeks maybe one long idyllic haze, free from responsibility and reality, but always remember that you can’t get away with everything and just because you are on holiday, the same rules still apply. You may want to share the love, but be safe and when it’s time to come home, just don’t get caught carrying any unwanted souvenirs!