23 March 2016

Skiing LAAX

Photographs by Ellie Fox.

It's hard to describe the feeling at the peak of a mountain. Looking out over miles of snow and silence is serene. There's something about being thousands of metres up that's entirely fulfilling.

That's where I found myself, with Ellie and Erica, almost a couple of weeks back now. After an early morning flight, train and bus to the mountains, we arrived in LAAX, just an hour and half away from Zurich, and threw ourselves straight into it - head first, in my case.

We couldn't have asked for more ideal conditions on that first afternoon; skies were blue, the sun shone and the snow was perfectly powdery.

Our first night included some welcome drinks that resulted in dinner and further drinks with some of the pro-skiiers. It had been the finals qualifiers that afternoon and if ever there was a reason for a few drinks, not quite making the finals seemed to be it. We left the guys competing the next day home and went to check out the infamous Rider's Palace, the resorts main nightlife attraction.

Our second day lent itself watching the European Freeski Open. I've only ever seen freestyle skiing on YouTube and watching it just metres in front of us was astounding. The things these guys can do are incredible. James Woods (GB, represent) told us the night before that it gets harder and harder each year as people realise their bodies can go that bit further - instead of two flips, people realised it's possible to do three etc. By the end of the competition I was completely in awe of it all.

Luckily for us we had met a couple of the guys who placed, including James Wood who placed 3rd for GB. If not making the finals made for a party, making the podium made for an absolute ball.

LAAX is special place. Firstly, it's so huge, there's no chance of getting bored from having to ski the same thing over. Secondly and ultimately, it has this insanely laid back and non-pretensious vibe about it that's rare to find with winter sports.

It was an incredible weekend and thanks to LAAX for having us. Watch the competition highlights below!

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