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The winter season provides plenty of world-class skiing, snow sports and mountain-based events that are well worth visiting, or even worth considering arranging a holiday around if you get the chance.

Some are world class sporting events whilst others are just an excuse to party. And the end of the season doesn't mean an end to the annual events calendar either - more events start kicking off in the summer and through autumn before the winter season events begin again.

Here's a list of the top annual events in the winter resorts of Europe and beyond, so get your diaries out and get planning...

March Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

18-25 March 2017 Snowboxx Festival

The Snowboxx festival is held each year in March in the French ski resort of Avoriaz. Whilst the week long event features the standard plethora of DJs and musical acts there's also a big emphasis on some manic snow-related activities. So mixed in with the karaoke-gondolas to get you up to the slopes, DJs sessions in igloos and ice caverns you'll also find the likes of "human bowling" (involving giant zorb balls hurtling down a slope into some equally giant bowling pins), skiers attempting to skim over icy pools and "extreme" snowball fights.

Snowboxx »


The Arctic Challenge is a snowboarding event held every February or March in Norway. It was created by world champion Terje Haakonsen and includes disciplines such as the "highest air" and "best trick". The event is renowned for its friendly atmosphere.

Arctic Challenge »



April Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

Also known as the British Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships. With our lack of reliable snow and big mountains, the Championships are held abroad, but that hasn't stopped the week-long event becoming extremely popular amongst members of the UK's thriving freestyle scene. Unlike many other national events it's open to anyone - pro's or amateurs alike. And it's not just about the competition either - the week has become a big music event as well featuring appearances from many of the nation's top DJs.

The Brits »


Mayrhofen is lively enough for the rest of the season, but come Snowbombing week it quite literally goes berzerk.

Billed as the greatest show on snow, "an awesome alpine gathering with goggles, guitars and great music on the grandest of stages - the Alps!", it's definitely one of those events where the emphasis is more on the partying than the actual skiing or snowboarding.

Snowbombing »


The Verbier High Five event (set-up and sponsored by Carlsberg) is a series of five pro-am races held one day at the end of the ski-racing season in the Swiss resort of Verbier.

The event has the novelty that as well as current professional ski racers, some ex-pros also take part along with hundreds of amateur skiers, who compete with each other to try and get the opportunity to pair up with a profession in the finale - the slalom race.

The best end-of-season pro-am ski party in the world ? Probably....

The Verbier High Five event, sponsored by Carlsberg, has been run since 1999 and has now established itself as a cult end-of-season party event for many of the professional ski racers from the FIS white circus.

The event features five races - Giant slalom, Speed Monster, Big Bad Boarder Cross, Carlsberg Triathlon and then the Parallel slalom Pro-Am, which sees the best amateurs team up with pro's to make two-skier teams who then compete against each other. The races are all run on the same day and feature both pro-skiers and hundreds of amateurs. The fun aspect of the event has made it hugely popular with amateurs and pro's, who get to rub shoulders with each other during the event. It's a bit like the skiing equivalent of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Andres Iniesta having an end-of-season five-aside football tournament with a dozen pub teams.

Verbier High Five »


Anyone who's ever been to Ischgl knows that the Austrian resort certainly knows how to party. And in the world of ski-music festivals it's no exception, as Ischgl plays host to not one winter music festival, ...or even two, ...but three of the things !

The event is called the "Top of the Mountain" and there's one to celebrate the season opening, obviously one to celebrate the season closing, and then a bonus one at Easter just for good measure.

You'll need to check with the official Iscghl website to see which acts are confirmed for each event, but there have been some major stars appearing on the slopes of the Idalp in previous years, with the likes of Elton John, Robbie Williams, James Blunt and even the Beach Boys all doing their stuff there.

Top of the Mountain Season Easter Festival »


Anyone who's ever been to Ischgl knows that the Austrian resort certainly knows how to party. And in the world of ski-music festivals it's no exception, as Ischgl plays host to not one winter music festival, ...or even two, ...but three of the things !

The event is called the "Top of the Mountain" and there's one to celebrate the season opening, obviously one to celebrate the season closing, and then a bonus one at Easter just for good measure.

You'll need to check with the official Iscghl website to see which acts are confirmed for each event, but there have been some major stars appearing on the slopes of the Idalp in previous years, with the likes of Elton John, Robbie Williams, James Blunt and even the Beach Boys all doing their stuff there.

Top of the Mountain Season Closing Festival »



May Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

The Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships have been held every year since 1992 and features some of the world's top free-riders battling it out for glory in a number of men's and women's events, including alpine, telemark and snowboarding. The event is the grand-finale of the European freeride season and it's popularity has grown to such an extent in recent years that there are well over 100 competitors in the men's alpine event alone.

The races are held on the Nordalsfjall mountain in the cult Swedish resort of Riksgransen, one of the world's most northerly ski resorts, situated well inside the Arctic Circle near to the border with Norway. The resort is famous for it's late season snow, which usually hangs around long enough for skiers and boarders to be able to use the slopes under the midnight Arctic sun.

The 2014 race will be the 23rd running of the event.

Scandanavian Big Mountain Champs »



June Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

Crankworx was first launched in 2004 over at the Canadian resort of Whistler. It quickly grew into the world's biggest freeride mountain bike festival, and in 2012 it was announced that a European version of the event would take place in the French resort of Les Deux Alpes.

Crankworx »



July Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events


August Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

The 2016 Les Diablerets Film Festival will be the 47th running of one of Europe's largest events dedicated to films centred around the mountains. Centre piece of the festival is a giant screen showcasing the latest action from some of the world's top outdoor film directors, including some free-riding features. There also climbing walls and exhibition stands to visit.

Les Diablerets Film Festival »


TBC August 2017 Winter Games

A new entry to the calendar that is being advertised as the largest winter sports event outside of the Winter Olympics, Winter Games NZ has been set up to run every 4 years as a prelude to the Winter Olympics. Which is quite a clever marketing ploy by the crafty New Zealanders who are behind it. 2009 was the inaugural running of the event but it's already attracted over 800 winter athletes to compete in 26 different snow sports, from alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, curling and skating. The good news for anyone wanting to compete is that entry is free, whilst spectators can watch the events for nothing as well, apart from the stadium events at Naseby and Dunedin for the curling and ice hockey.

Winter Games »



September Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

The Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine is a spectacular car rally held every summer in the mountains around the French ski resort of Morzine, and is one of the 8 races that make up the French Rally Championships, organised by the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA).

Morzine is transformed over a number of days from its status as a summer paradise for walking and hiking to petrol-head heaven as the cars rolls into town. As you'd expect from a national event, the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine attracts most of France's top rally drivers as they test their skills on more than 500km of roads and tracks around the Massif du Chablais and Portes du Soliel areas.

In 2005, the organisers, ASAC Mont Blanc, introduced a classic rally into the event as well, increasing the popularity and appeal of the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine even further. So much so, the rally has now become one of the highlights of the summer in the area, and whilst the traditional peace and quiet of the mountains is temporarily interrupted for a few days and replaced with the throaty sound of accelerating engines and screeching brakes, it's worth it for the buzz around Morzine as all the modern and classic cars are spotted around the town.

Rallye Mont-Blanc »


Natives was set up at the end of the 1990's to help seasonal workers find jobs in ski resorts. The Natives Jobs Fair is a chance to get a taster of what the work is like, meet people who've actually been out there working for a few seasons, meet potential employers and basically get an idea of the different options that are available to you.

It's worth noting that entry is usually free. Which is nice...

Natives Job Fair »



October Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

The start of the FIS World Cup competition traditionally kicks off with giant slaloms for both the men and women at the popular Austrian ski resort of Solden in the Ötztal valley, Tyrol. Of course, this is weather permitting - the 2010 men's giant slalom was cancelled because of fog.

1993 was the first time that Solden had the privilege of kicking off the FIS World Cup season, and the resort has held this honour every year since Hermann Maier won the men's event back in 2000.

As always over the last few years, the races take place on the Rettenbach glacier high up in the Ötztal Alps mountains above the resort.

World Cup Start - Solden »


Advertised as 'the World's biggest consumer winter sports show', the Ski and Snowboard Show London is held every year in Autumn at one of London's exhibition centre. Up until 2014 it was held Earl's Court in Kensington, London, but moved to Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park.

Previously known as the Metro Show, the Ski and Snowboard Show London has recently grown into a massive general event, with quite a lot of non-snow stuff going on such as live music, comedy and food. On the ski and boarding side there are plenty of interactive things to look at and some competitions on the indoor slope, and there are a massive number of exhibitors (over 200) trying to showcase their equipment, resorts etc.

It's also worth noting that kids under 11 go in free. Which is nice...

Ski & Snowboard Show London »



November Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

Levi is a baby when it comes to World Cup races, having only hosted it's first World Cup back in February 2004. However, the event has really captured the imagination of the Finnish public and more than 30,000 people have descended on the tiny Lapland resort for the weekend's slalom races in recent years.

Such has been the popularity and enthusiasm from the hosts that Levi has now earned itself a regular slot on the race calendar, with the 2nd race weekend of the season taking place here, featuring the opening men's and women's slalom races.

Levi's excellent early-season snow record and the passion that the Finnish nation has shown for ski racing (which could be viewed as something of a surprise given the country's normal preference for cross-country skiing and ski jumping) means that it should continue to host such a prestigious annual skiing event for the foreseeable future.

Levi World Cup Races »


Anyone who's ever been to Ischgl knows that the Austrian resort certainly knows how to party. And in the world of ski-music festivals it's no exception, as Ischgl plays host to not one winter music festival, ...or even two, ...but three of the things !

The event is called the "Top of the Mountain" and there's one to celebrate the season opening, obviously one to celebrate the season closing, and then a bonus one at Easter just for good measure.

You'll need to check with the official Iscghl website to see which acts are confirmed for each event, but there have been some major stars appearing on the slopes of the Idalp in previous years, with the likes of Elton John, Robbie Williams, James Blunt and even the Beach Boys all doing their stuff there.

Top of the Mountain Season Opener Festival »



December Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

10-17 December 2016 Rise Festival

Rise Festival is an independent ski & snowboard music festival set in the French resort of Les Deux Alps. The Rise Festival normally runs for a whole week and is usually held a couple of weeks before Christmas.

It's a dance-oriented festival with lots of DJs and is pretty much a week-long rave high up in the French Alps. Previous years have seen acts such as Ms Dynamite and Kano appearing there.

Rise Festival »


11-17 December 2016 Altitude Festival

If you like skiing or snowboarding, and you like comedy, then the Altitude Festival at the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen is the mountain event for you.

First held back in 2006, the event has established itself as a regular fixture on the Alpine entertainments calendar and has always attracted some top-notch talent with the likes of Marcus Brigstocke, Sean Lock, Al "the Pub Landord" Murray, John Bishop, terry Alderton, Stephen K Amos and Zoe Lyons all having featured over the years.

With some of the comedians, e.g. Marcus Brigstocke, being well into their snow-sports some of the gigs can be quite topical to the setting and to snow-sports and there's a good chance of bumping into one or two of them on the slopes in the daytime.

Altitude Festival »


The Four Hills Tournament is a prestigious ski jumping competition that takes place on four different hills in Germany and Austria over the new year period. The tournament has taken place since 1952 at the same four venues, Obertsdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, along with Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in Austria.

For more details on this event, check out our full Four Hills Tournament section.

Four Hills Tournament »



January Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

The word 'classic' is often over-used, but not in the case of this race.

Set on the slopes of the Lauberhorn above the Swiss resort of Wengen, this is a race that has the lot - history, drama and the best scenery on the World Cup calendar.

The 2016 year's event will be the 86th running of the races, making it the longest running of all the FIS World Cup races. It's traditionally run the weekend before the Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbuhel, making back-to-back classic downhill races.

Lauberhorn Races »


The word 'classic' is often over-used, but not in the case of this race.

Set on the Streif slope of the Hahnenkamm mountain above the glitzy Austrian resort of Kitzbuhel, this is a race that has the lot - history, drama and some of the steepest slopes on the world cup calendar.

The 2016 year's event will be the 76th running of the races, and if you decide to go and watch just one ski race, try and make it this one, it's an awesome spectacle. It's traditionally run the weekend after the Lauberhorn races at Wengen, making back-to-back classic downhill races.

Hahnenkamm Ski Races »


This spectacular ski race was started back in 1928 by 5 Brits from Murren's Kandahar Club and now has an important place on the annual ski calendar as one of the biggest and most popular amateur ski races in the world. The course is just under 15km long, starting just under the Schilthorn (think James Bond On Her Majesty's Secret Service at 2790m and finishing right down in the valley at Lauterbrunnen 2000m vertically below. The winner hurtles down in about 15 minutes but there's plenty of competition - with up to 1800 skiers taking part. The event has become big business for the village of Murren, with other events in the lead up and a massive Swiss party afterwards.

The 2016 race will be the 73rd running of the event.

Inferno Race »


When it comes to ballooning, the Swiss resort of Chateau-d'Oex is the Alpine capital, and this is the festival to celebrate it. The 2016 festival will be the 38th in the history of this renowned international event, and will feature about 100 balloons, including 10 special shaped ones, from over 20 different countries. The highlight for us though has to be the fantastically named event - "the David Niven Long Distance Hare and Hounds Competition" !

As the festival normally runs in the last week of January it's possible to combine a visit with a skiing holiday in the area - Chateau-d'Oex is situated in the Pays-d'Enhaut region (between Lausanne and Interlaken) and there are a number of other ski resorts close by, including Gstaad for the millionaires amongst you.

Chateau d'Oex Balloon Festival »


TBC January 2017 Transition Festival

Held in the French resort of Avoriaz, the Transition festival is the sister-event to the world-famous Snowbombing event that's been held for years in the Austrian party resort of Mayrhofen.

Transition is a newcomer to the ski/music festival scene, being held for the first time in 2015. Lasting just under a week, it features plenty of DJs, rappers and musicians appearing at a variety of locations across the resort. It includes some of the best features from the main Snowbombing festival, with more parties than you could shake a ski-stick at, such as woodland parties, pop-up parties, pool parties and mountain-terrace parties. There's even the odd snowsports competition thrown into the mix.

Transition Festival »



February Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events

Having started back in 2003, the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival has now firmly established itself as an annual event and is held every February in Scotland's capital city. There are usually around 20 films on show, all aimed at the mountain enthusiast. The majority are based on climbing, skiing and snowboarding, but there are also films on kayaking, BASE jumping and general exploration.

This season's event will be held in the George Square Lecture Theatre at Edinburgh University.

Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival »


The "White Turf" horse races have been held on the frozen lake at the Swiss resort of St Moritz since 1907. The races are held on 3 weekends in February, when the resort's image as a millionaire's playground is enhanced further by mega-rich visitors sipping champagne, wolfing-down caviar and handing over giant rolls of Swiss Francs in betting money. It's not just some sort of novelty event though - the races are actually the most lucrative in Switzerland, with prize money totalling just under half a million Swiss Francs. As well as the traditional horses-with-jockeys that we're used to in Blighty, the event also features skijoring, where instead of having someone on their back, the horses race along pulling a skier, a bit like an alpine-skiing version of chariot racing. The skijoring tournament takes places over the same 3 weekends and at the end the skier with the most points from the 3 weekends is crowned as "the King of the Engadin Valley".

The resort is also well known for it's polo tournament played on the frozen lake, whilst other sports have also been tried on it, an "ice-cricket" match for instance back in 1990's, although the event became more famous for David Gower's car sinking into the frozen lake, rather than the match itself !

White Turf St Moritz »



Further Ahead Annual Ski/Snow/Mountain Events



Annual Events of Different Countries



Annual Events that are no longer held

The Swatch Skier's Cup is free-skiing's answer to golf's Ryder Cup, as a team of Europe's top freeskiers battle it out on the slopes against a team from America.

The competition takes place in Valle Nevado in Chile and sees a number of head-to-head battles in both big-mountain and back-country slopestyle. The concept is simple - the winner of each of these races earns a point for their team, the team with the most points at the end of the competition wins the Swatch Skier's Cup, and bragging rights, for at least the next 12 months....

Swatch Skiers Cup »


The Winter X Games has been held every year in America since 1997, and in 2010 Europe got it's own version of the event, called the Winter X Games Europe. Tignes hosted the 2010 event and has been the venue ever since. The event consists of slope-style and super-pipe competitions for men and women in both skiing and snowboarding.

Winter X Games Europe »


If the thought of Formula One meets Moto GP meets Ski-Resort appeals to you then the Wroom event, set up in the Brenta Dolomites in the plush Italian resort of Madonna di Campiglio will be right up your ...er ski slope.

Wroom »


First run back in 1999 as a competition for mainly local free-skiers, its now classed as one of the world's best free-skiing events. Verbier itself is renowned for its off-piste routes, including the likes of Mont Fort, Mount Gele, Vallon D'Arby and Gentianes. Its from the summit of one of these routes, Mount Gele, that freeskiers ride down, making their way via cliffs, cornices and other obstacles they come down the west face. The event also features skier-cross competitions and a friendly atmosphere. Verbier has some of the best nightlife of the Swiss resorts and the event means the towns best-known bars Ice-Box Club, Casbah, Tara Tata, Farinet, Pub Mont Fort, Wonderbar and the Farm Club.

Verbier Ride »


Up until 2013 the NEC at Birmingham hosted one of Britain's largest ski shows - the British Ski and Biard Show, with over 130 exhibitors from around the globe. However, in the summer of 2013 the organisers of the NEC show decided to join forces with the rival Ski and Snowboard Show as they were hosting an event in Manchester for the first time.

In previous years, as well as all of the exhibitors, the British Ski and Board show featured the Big Air Demo team, free-skiing and boarding lessons on the show's indoor slope, kids snow tubing, a climbing wall, a winter film festival and a snow talk theatre, featuring guests such as Graham Bell.

Watch this space to see if the British Ski and Board Show returns to the NEC in 2014.

British Ski and Board Show »


NOTE: The London "Freeze Big Air" event was unable to find a viable date in the snowsports calendar for Freeze Big Air during winter 2015/16 so unfortunately the event was cancelled.

London gets transformed into a mini-ski resort when the London Freeze event hits town. The London Freeze event combines top snowboarders and skiers with a massive music line up to boot.

The event has had a number of names and locations over the years, including a successful stop at the Battersea Power Station which saw the event attracting big crowds over the weekend with upwards of 20000 fans attending, and it's not hard to see why, with an International Freestyle Ski Competition, alpine themed bars and stages pumping out about 100 hours of live music at this iconic location by the Thames. Back in 2011 the event even became the London leg of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup, with 500 tonnes of snow brought in and a ramp as tall as about 10 of the city's famous red buses.

Just a shame they couldn't get it organised again for 2015 !

London Freeze »


Scotland's very own snow and extreme sports exhibition. The show features plenty of winter resort and travel exhibitors, plus all the latest gear from the industry's top manufacturers and retailers. There's lots of live music and a fantastic après-ski area. And there's plenty of performances at the show from some of country's top freestyle skiers, snowboarders and cyclists, plus an artificial slope to get some hints and tips from the experts.

Scotland Ski and Snowboard Show »


The Ski and Snowboard Show London has been running for a number of years down at Earl's Court (for many years running in it's previous guise as the Metro Show) and has grown into a huge annual ski and snowboard event.

In 2013 it was decided to do a sister event in the north of the country, with Manchester getting the nod and spawning The Ski and Snowboard Show Manchester. It's not quite the same size as the London event, and takes place over 3 days rather than 5, but it will be interesting to see if it grows into as big an event as the Earl's Court show.

Ski & Snowboard Show Manchester »





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