Christmas and the New Year is over, everyone’s back at work, and everything is back to normal. There’s nothing left to look forward to or get excited about, right? Wrong! There are a ton of exciting ski and snowboard events taking place across the mountains this January, from some of the world’s most challenging sporting events, to cultural festivals and important anniversaries.
Here’s our run-down of the five most exciting ski and snowboarding events that we’re looking forward to this January:
1. The Hahnenkamm, Kitzbühel
When: 16 January – 21 January 2018
Many of Inghams ski resorts will be welcoming the FIS Ski World Cup and the planet’s best skiers this month. The famous Men’s Downhill race on the Lauberhorn takes place in Wengen this week, while women’s Ski World Cup events will happen in Bad Kleinkirchheim (10 – 14 January), Cortina (17 – 21 January), and Kronplatz (23 January). And Seefeld will host both the men’s and women’s Cross-country Ski World Cup on the weekend of 27 January.
However, the Ski World Cup event we are most anticipating is the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel on the 16 January. The Hahnenkamm, also known as the Streif, is probably the most famous downhill ski race in the world, and reputably the most challenging. Skiers can reach up to 145kmph as they descend, encountering intimidating obstacles such as the Mausefalle jump, which throws would-be champion skiers 80m into the air.
Kitzbühel buzzes with excitement during the Hahnenkamm race. Skiers and non-skiers crowd around the bottom of the slopes to cheer on their favourite ski racers and the whole town has a party atmosphere. This is definitely one of the best times to go on a ski holiday to Kitzbühel.
2. World Snow Festival 2018, Grindelwald
When: 15 January – 20 January 2018
Since its inception in the early eighties, the World Snow Festival in Grindelwald has become a staple of this charming Swiss ski resort’s calendar. It’s hard to imagine winter in Grindelwald without it!
During the festival, teams of international artists carve beautiful sculptures from meter high blocks of snow. Visitors can watch over the artists’ shoulders as they work on their creations and admire the finished results at the end of the week.
A local jury select an overall winner at the end of the festival and the many spectacular works of art are well worth taking time out of your ski holiday to view. The World Snow Festival 2018 runs from Monday 15 January – Saturday 20 January. Be sure not to miss out.
3. Verbier Freeride Week, Verbier
When: 8 January – 14 January 2018
Verbier hosts the Swatch Freeride World Tour final at the end of winter, but before all that, qualifying rounds take place across the globe. On the 13 January, the Grossglockner Freeride Open will take place near Zell am See in Austria, and on the 20 January the French Freeride Qualifiers take place in Chamonix. From the 8 January to the 14 January, Verbier hosts its qualifiers, one of the key qualifying stages in the tournament.
The ski resort has an epic reputation for off-piste skiing and riding, and this week is an excellent prelude to the final showdown that takes place at the end of the season. Three days of competition take place throughout the week. Watching the riders descend is an impressive sight as they attempt to carve the most creative lines into the mountain.
There is a fantastic atmosphere in the ski resort throughout Verbier Freeride Week, with a big freeride ski test and parties complementing the competition. If you’re on your ski holiday in Verbier this week, you’re in for an exciting time.
4. The Stash Week, Avoriaz
When: 22 January – 27 January 2018
January celebrates a couple of important skiing and snowboarding anniversaries. On the 25 January, it will be 94-years since the first ever Winter Olympics, a celebration that is especially notable this year. And this month in Avoriaz, they will be celebrating a smaller, but no less important anniversary – the Burton Stash is 10-years old!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Stash, it is best described as a nature friendly snowpark. Created by the snowboard company, Burton, the Stash was the first of its kind in Europe. All the modules are made from sustainable, natural materials, and its distinctive woodland setting makes it an essential park for dedicated boarders and freeskiers.
To celebrate its 10th birthday, the Stash will host a selection of dedicated events throughout the week.
5. The Internation Comedy Film Festival, Alpe d’Huez
When: 16 January – 21 January 2018
This event is perfect for the enthusiastic skier and film buff. Alpe d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival is now in its 21st year. The free event highlights a selection of feature length comedy films as well previously unseen short films. This year, Aardman’s new animated feature, Early Man, forms part of the official selection.
Perfect for anyone up for a laugh during their ski holiday.
Honourable mention should also go to World Snow Day and World Snowboard Day, which both take place on 21 January. The two days promote participation in snow sports and various ski resorts around the globe will be putting on their own dedicated events.
With so many, exciting ski and snowboard events taking place this month we can’t see any reason to have a blue January. Have any of these events caught your attention? Do you want to visit any of the resorts mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.