Reviewed by Adam Bloodworth
Newbie snow festival, Rise, is eight days of skiing and music, set over the slopes and a couple of indoor and outdoor arenas, in the French town of Les Deux Alpes, 70 kms south east of Grenoble.
Just in its second year, Rise is increasing in size and scope, and the organisers' dream is to turn the town in a labyrinthine festival maze with intimate parties where 'the music just comes on'- perhaps halfway up the mountain in a musical ski lift, or in private chalets and mountaintop bars.
For now it is confined to just a couple of key sites - like the W.A.R Arena (a basketball court-turned-rave), and the town centre club Avalanche - but at least that means you don't waste time schlepping between venues.
The Main Stage popped up twice in the main town square, and at the top of the ski lifts, Après Ski joint Pano Bar, below, made a chilled spot for daytime partying.
The drill is to ski all day, then catch headliners until twelve or two am. If you're not fussed about missing a morning's skiing, then after-parties at Avalanche club go on until 5am and feature the festival's biggest stars popping up on the decks, playing to a young and probably affluent crowd (we saw a corduroy-wearing crowd surfer…).
Music was a cool mix of garage, grime, d 'n' b, house, dance and techno, and our highlights included a ravishingly good Miss Dynamite on the Sunday night, and a crowd-cheery Sigma; Skream b2b with Jackmaster on Monday and a vintage performance from So Solid Crew, full of throwback moments.
We loved that the timing of the acts was spread out, that they rarely clashed, and they often played twice, so if skiers missed a performance in the afternoon, they could catch it again in town that night.
You're going to need much more energy at a snow festival than you do on the summer circuit, where mornings can be spent recovering in the shade.
Skiing takes that time away, and while it's the best hangover cure, the all-day, all-night fun can take its toll by the final days. Just make sure you factor in some Jacuzzi-downtime while you're there, and book a holiday to recover when you get back.
Rise Festival 2016 will return to Les Deux Alpes between December 10th and 17th 2016. A full festival pass, which includes skiing and full access to day- and night-time parties, is available for 2016 at the early bird price of £99 (Price will then rise to £159 at sell out).
There's a traditional mix of raclette and fondue restaurants: our favourites were Le Cellier, Le Paellou, and Après Ski (Le Pano Bar, a part of the festival; and for a noisier time, Avalanche Club, or The Polar Bear Pub, for quieter drinks.