Picture yourself somewhere snowy—very, very snowy. There’s tons of terrain to shred and plenty of fellow snow sport enthusiasts to swap stories with. But it’s not all about the on-mountain action: there are concerts, films, and, of course, plenty of parties, too. Pack your portable power bank and get out of here!
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival
Let’s start the festival of all festivals: Whistler, British Columbia’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF). Whistler is known for some big mountain skiing and snowboarding, so it only makes sense that the festival is known for being larger than life.
Taking place every April, WSSF strikes the perfect balance between those last few powder days and some epic spring skiing. The conditions are usually perfect for the athletes competing, and they’re just as good for spectators watching on a nearby patio.
Aside from the skiing, snowboarding, and partying, there’s a cultural side to WSSF that you don’t want to miss out on. Events throughout the festival include an action sports photography competition, a time-limited ski film contest, and plenty more.
The Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival
Time for another BC-based festival: the Coldsmoke Powder Festival takes place in February at the Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC—the powder mecca of the Kootenays. The Coldsmoke Powder festival features the usual athletic competitions, but also plenty of clinics and demos – expect to get a lot out of the weekend. And don’t forget to catch the Coldsmoke Film Festival opener. Ski movies… mmm!
International Freeski Film Festival
The International Freeski Film Festival (iF3) in Montreal, Quebec involves more ski film watching than actual skiing, but satellite events as part of the iF3 film tour take place in ski towns like Le Massif, Innsbruck, and Whistler, so it makes sense to include it. The festival features ski and snowboard films long and short; some are made my pros, others are produced my amateurs. There are features, web specials, and even entire ski film series’. This ones a must for ski film lovers, and the after parties are legendary.
Snowboxx is not your average music festival. Hosted in France’s Alpe D’Heuz, this is a huge party: ski the resort by day, check out the live music by night. Featuring open-air main stages, international DJ sets, and late nights out at the club, you won’t have any trouble getting your music fix. Just don’t party so hard that you miss out on the mountain fun, including Retro Olympics, mountain yoga, and the chance to ski the longest run in the world.
If you’re looking for an excuse to ski in Austria, this is it. The 2015 Altitude Festival takes place in Mayrhoffenn, Austria from March 23 to 27, and there’s definitely skiing, but the festival is centered around something different: comedy. Throughout the event, head to improv, stand up, and musical comedy shows that will knock your ski boots off. Comedy is officially the perfect apres.
Holmenkollen Ski Festival
If you fancy a different kind of ski festival, look no further than Norway’s Holmenkollen Ski Festival. It’s not a downhill skiing kind of event: the stars of the show are ski jumping and cross country skiing. This festival dates back to 1892 and is an awesome way to watch some of the world’s best athletes in their element.
And that, in short, is what goes down during the world’s best ski and snowboard festivals. If you’re a fan of sliding down the mountain on a plank or two, do yourself a favor: make a pilgrimage to one (or all!) of these festivals and celebrate the sport you just can’t get enough of.