Ski-virgin? Us too, but how hard can it be, right? “I bet that you’d look good on the black slopes...” Well we didn’t. More "smash, smash" than "swish, swish" but bruising never felt so exhilarating (move over Christian Grey).
Pro-skiers will be aware of Crans Montana, Switzerland’s Alpine skiing paradise. To say it’s beautiful is like proclaiming Pete Doherty to be a wee scallywag with a flair for writing a catchy ditty or two.
Fortunately, Crans Montana takes its music as seriously as its ski-slopes. This year, from 8th-16th March, the lofty wonderland will be celebrating ten years of Caprices festival with a nine-day audio session worth learning to ski/snowboard/fly to attend. Or gondola, if you’re feeling boring.
Ice Queen, Bjork will be giving the climate a run for its money, but for those seeking to dethaw digits, The Killers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Cypress Hill will be on-hand for an apres-ski warm-up or two.
Up in the Alps it seems they adhere to a strict "don’t put all your skis in one ski-lift" rule, with headliners running on each night of the festival, the best days to go (if, of course you can’t make the whole week and a half!) depend on if you want sultry redhead Tori Amos to soundtrack your mountain experience, wind-up-toy robotic electronic sets and visuals from Amon Tobin or a "ditty" from Doherty.
Caprices’ founder, Maxime Léonard set up the festival back in 2003, when, in a resort that is famous for its scenery and winter sports, a world-class electronic/rock music festival was merely a twinkle in a group of local friends’ ski goggles. A decade later, and Maximo’s musical bundle of joy is still growing: “This year we have Portishead, I am very pleased to have them!” he says.
Sell-out artists aside, there are plenty of local, undiscovered bands up for grabs for I-liked-them-years-ago muso collectors. With their New Talent Contest, 2013 opening its international gates, one may even find the next you-probably-have-never-heard-of-them East London darlings.
The line-up itself is worth the jaunt over to Switzerland, Swiss Air can have you in Geneva in around an hour and connections to the resort are swift and, in true Swiss-style, on time (even when heaving under the stress of over a whole centimetre of the white stuff: National Rail, I hope you are taking notes!) Festival tickets can be bought separately, but Caprices Travel offer various packages including transfers and ski passes, for those of you who always got lost on a school trip (easily done, if you ask us!)
If your typical festival experiences are usually more pissed than piste, an hour’s ski lesson will have you standing up straight (ish!) and if you manage to waddle, sorry we mean, "snow plough" to the nearest gondola the foodier-festivaler can try out fondue-style steak tartare at Mountain Hut Les Violettes, reasonable prices and no hidden equestrian fodder.
Even higher up the mountain, at 2112 metres the Hotel Chetzeron with its panoramic bedroom views and snuggly-cabin-come-supper-club comfort is the ultimate post-festival hangover cure. Crans Montana has a wide-range of accommodation, from the 5-star Hotel Royal to local apartments, all budgets are catered for. Probably best to leave the tent at home, then!
A little slice of the Swiss Alps that even as a stand-alone oozes flavours of fresh mountain air, Bing Crosby-worthy snowy backdrops and some of the best eateries in the area (not to mention world-renowned ski and snowboarding!) But, like all good dishes, it is always nice to have a little liquid jollity to lubricate the taste-buds. Caprices festival: a nine day electronic (be sure to check out the daytime club, Modernity at 2,200m) and rock marathon complements Crans Montana perfectly. A match made in mountains.
Words by Kate O'Sullivan
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) serves 69 destinations in 37 countries all over the world via its Zurich hub and the further Swiss international airports of Basel and Geneva with a fleet of 91 aircrafts.
SWISS connects the UK and Ireland to the rest of the world, offering up to 35 daily flights from Birmingham, Dublin, London City, London Heathrow and Manchester to Basel, Geneva and Zurich. A total of eleven flights are available from London City and Heathrow to Geneva, with all-inclusive fares starting from £112 GBP. SWISS will even carry your ski equipment free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance, making it easier than ever to get to the slopes.
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