Eat, ski, rave, repeat… Amy Rose Everett recharges at ZillergrundRock Luxury Mountain Resort in Austria’s famous Zillertal.

Snowsports festivals offer endless holiday fun, a fact which presents its own conundrum: the fun is endless. Finding some time – any time – to sleep, is an issue. Early mornings are for getting out on the slopes, late afternoons are for street parties, and the small hours are for dancing (you’ve got to fit some dinner in the schedule, too).

Approaching my mid-thirties, six whole days of overindulgence now requires a little more forethought than it did when I was 21. These days, I need to know it’ll be peaceful when I do eventually slope off to bed. Planning in some downtime between Fireball shots – preferably in a fancy spa – has become important.

So when I was invited to check out Snowbombing, the original ski festival celebrating its 25th birthday in Mayrhofen, Austria, finding the right accommodation was key (that and booking a shorter, three day stint. If you’re my age and still partying longer than that, tell me your secrets).Snowbombing festivalI loved the idea of a festival taking over half the town, but not my hotel. I wanted to stay somewhere far from the noise, but not so far I’d have to leave the party early to catch a ride home. Family-run Zillergrund Rock Luxury Mountain Resort presented itself as the perfect hideaway: a super modern sanctuary that hasn’t sacrificed its local charms.

Two excellent spas and a dizzyingly high outdoor infinity pool overlooking a beautiful valley caught my attention; the hotel is set well back from the festival, and just a short free shuttle ride from the Ski Zillertal 3000 Hintertuxer Glacier. There, five ski areas act as one big playground for winter sports lovers, with 125km of cross-country ski trails and toboggan runs.ZillergrundDuring Snowbombing, that playground supplements skiing with all-day raves at mountaintop venues, the “Snolympics” and a host of world-class live music acts in kooky venues. I pored over pictures of the hotel’s steam bath, infrared cabin, Kneipp pool and three saunas, knowing I was going to need all the recovery help I could get.

After a three-hour flight from Lisbon and a two-hour car transfer from Munich airport, a friend and I set our bags down in the glass-walled lobby of ZillergrundRock. A brief tour took us across vast walkways connecting the Alpin Lodge, Mountain Lodge and Ziller Lodge above and below ground, housing 70 rooms, two spas, a gym and the restaurant area, where guests enjoy gourmet local food on a full-board basis.Bright spring sunshine and crisp mountain air created an immediate feeling of calm, and we wasted no time enjoying the spectacular view of South Tyrol’s snow-capped peaks, catching our first sunset from the heated outdoor pool with a glass of bubbles. Moving through to the “event sauna”, a Sauna Master expertly swirled towels to accelerate the flow of hot air around the split-level, state-of-the-art space, while we properly took in the area’s epic mountain views.

We’d opted to try the hotel’s boutique eight course dining option, Rocky 7, on our first night, before grabbing a taxi into town. Awarded three toques by the prestigious Gault & Millau guide, Chef Alexander Hönigsberger aims for a casual gourmet experience. Guests are seated at the same table for meals throughout their stay, easily settling into a routine of being taken care of by the same friendly staff each day.ZillergrundA literal loaf of oven-fresh, crusty bread soon arrived with bacon-flecked lard, herb oil and a selection of butters, our favourite smoked with hay. Delicate rolled beef carpaccio, and a plate of pickled and fermented vegetables provided a pleasing contrast before our main course: slowly-roasted beef ribeye and beef cheek ragout, served with mountain cheese, potato, chives, sour cream, garlic and carrot.

A friendly (and super talented) pastry chef appeared at our table as we ordered Espresso Martinis, introducing her standout dessert – a huge Austrian cream slice, rich homemade vanilla custard neatly encased in crisp puff pastry. An accompanying plate of dainty handmade macarons and choux buns came up to the room with us, along with some excellent Austrian wine, as we hurriedly grabbed warm jackets.

Taking aim for the Racket Club live music venue, the largest of several spread across the town, we made use of VIP wristbands to skip the extremely long entry queue. Available for £100, they guarantee access to an elevated VIP bar area overlooking the main arena as well as a VIP bar near the stage.Snowbombing festivalMoney is pre-loaded onto Cashless festival wristbands using a debit or credit card via terminals dotted around the nightclub, which seemed to work intermittently at best. After lengthy queuing for the toilets (no VIP band can help you skip that one) we caught an energetic DJ set by Confidence Man, before Eliza Rose and Bicep took to the stage respectively.

Exhaustion catching up with us by 3am, we easily grabbed a taxi home, dozens waiting on the streets to hoover up festival goers. Waking up in our 35 sqm Design Suite the next morning felt super indulgent, as we fired up the coffee machine and threw open the balcony door. The sound of the powerful Ziller river filled the room, tempting us out onto the loggia in our dressing gowns to soak up the view of the verdant hills.

A claw foot bath beckoned from the corner of the room, but a quick session in the steam room downstairs (the hotel even pre-packs your “spa bag”) fortified us well enough to pick up our ski equipment at Bründl Sports at the Penkenbahn, back in town. Directly opposite the lift pass kiosk, we anticipated long queues to pick up our skis, poles and boots, but our late arrival guaranteed the opposite.ZillergrundTemperatures reaching 28ºC across the weekend, we had low expectations of the snow quality, or getting to ski much of the 142km Mountopolis ski area. Ahorn already closed for the season, we took the Penkenbahn followed by the Kombilahn gondolas to tick off a few early afternoon runs, but sticky snow prompted us to ski in the direction of Rompa’s Reggae Shack almost immediately.

A disco, dancehall and reggae party on the slopes every day from 12pm-4pm during Snowbombing, the party has become somewhat of an institution, prestigious resident DJs like Rinse FM’s Uncle Dugs and repeat performers including My Nu Leng, DJ Ardimann and Dr Dubplate drawing lively crowds for a dance in the sunshine.Snowbombing festivalSkiing down into town after a few drinks became a highlight of the trip, new friends leading us to famously quirky venue Hans the Butcher for an excellent chicken schnitzel burger. Days before, Fatboy Slim had taken over the working butcher’s shop, and last year Mike Skinner rocked up for a set amongst the sausage links.

Thousands of people filled the streets as a brass band kicked things up a notch – our cue to dash home, jump in the pool and take a breather before heading back to the Racket Club. Over the next two nights we’d catch drum ‘n’ bass-heavy sets from Andy C, Hybrid Minds and Wilkinson, before making the 15 minute walk up to late night venue Brück’n Stadl to try and make its 6am finish.Snowbombing festivalInnovative label, club brand and arts collective He.She.They stood out, lighting up the intimate room with a typically diverse house and techno show promoting self acceptance and sex positivity.

A spoiling gourmet breakfast on our final morning allowed some time to reflect on our mile-a-minute trip to Mayrohofen. A huge variation of things to do both at Snowbombing and ZillergrundRock (there’d hardly been time to think about yoga sessions, or lying prostrate in the many relaxation rooms) we resolved to come back for a longer stint in 2025. A year should be just enough time to catch up on the sleep needed to do it all again.

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