Ahh, the joys of spring skiing — warmer days, long lunches in the sun and quiet ski resorts. Say goodbye to shady, icy pistes and hello to springtime super slush.
Those of us with aching legs in the slush might find excuses to quit the pistes early. I have personally used a few whoppers, such as ‘needing’ to do a load of washing to have clean ski socks for the next day.
Thankfully, Chamonix has come up with a bonafide reason to leave the pistes early— a music festival. The festival means you can ski until the slush is too much, then party until after dark. Not to be confused with the summer version of Musilac in Aix-les-Bains, Musilac Chamonix is held in April over three days, starting late in the afternoon and ending around midnight. Conveniently situated not far from the town centre, Musilac features two stages with an impressive natural backdrop of gigantic rocks and peaks, including l’Aguille du Midi.
But let’s rewind.
I drove to Chamonix on a sunny spring morning to meet Céline from Savoie Mont Blanc. We caught the free bus to Les Grand Montets—the highest patrolled ski area of Chamonix. The snow had only just softened for our 10.30am arrival, making the lower pistes perfect for skiers and snowboarders alike.
We were keen to avoid the slush on the lower pistes so we took the cable car to the higher pistes and the lookout point at 3300 metres.
Chamonix town is visible all the way down in the valley far below from here, and we stopped for a moment to enjoy the view of the picturesque peaks all around before we clumped back down the stairs in ski boots to where we had left our skis.
Back on the snow, we skied down the empty ‘Point de Vue’ black piste. Full of icy moguls, this run isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but it’s worth it for the rare and special treat of skiing overlooking the enormous Argentière glacier.
With tired legs, we stopped for a late lunch on the sunny terrace of The Rider Café. We had ample time after lunch to get back down to Chamonix, cool off with a shower and get changed for Musilac opened. I took a little extra time to stroll around the beautiful town centre and stop for drinks at a few of the many cafés and bars. The festival was close enough to walk to, with free buses arriving regularly for those staying further out of town.
Inside, we joined the 15,000 other people dancing and singing to Selah Sue, Ben Harper and Beth Ditto, along with some popular French acts including Shaka Ponk. There wasn’t a ski boot in sight, and the glorious warm weather gave the evening a proper summer festival vibe. Food trucks were propped along a raised hill at the back of the arena, and that hill is where I watched Beth Ditto’s entire set due to long queues for food and the toilets. More of both facilities are planned for next time. Thankfully, getting a beer or hot chocolate from the drinks tents was almost instant.
- Musilac Chamonix will be held from Friday 26 April to Sunday 28 April in 2019.
- Tickets are available with our without ski pass for single days or all three days. See mont-blanc.musilac.com for the full range of options.
- Saturday night was a sell-out during the festival’s first year, with all three days expected to sell out next year.
- Chamonix is around an hour’s drive from Geneva airport.
- Thanks to Savoie Mont Blanc for arranging Wendy’s trip.