When the alarm goes off at 4am I am not usually incentivised to get out of bed, that is unless I have an invite to go to Mayrhofen courtesy of Volvo to enjoy the Snowbombing Festival, before accepting the challenge of driving a Volvo back to Marlow on one tank of fuel.
A short flight later and we landed in Munich to a fleet of Volvo cars, with the sun shining we set off up the mountain in convey. For anyone who thinks Volvo’s are still a little staid think again, these sporty numbers look seriously appealing; think fat sports wheels and twin tail pipes! What is incredible is that the new cars are so sporty yet still so practical, without any exterior racks snowboards, cases and passengers fit comfortably. They are quite quick too, we barely made it out the airport before one of us managed a ticket.
Drive complete, we checked into the Neue Post Hotel just outside of Mayrhofen before heading into town for lunch, a tour and to hire our equipment. As a town Mayrhofen gets completely taken over for a week long party of hedonistic adventure and extreme sport. Flags line the street, the Volvo Snowbombing Oom-Pah Band keep the party atmosphere going during the day and with the weather being as good as it was, this was as close to paradise as I was going to get, or so I thought.
By nightfall we had changed into a variety of costumes and headed to the Racket Club, a huge subterranean arena comprising of a vast ‘intergalactic’ main room, this was the main live venue for the festival. That nights line up included Tempa T, Subfocus, DJ Wire, Example, Nero & MC Wrec with Chase & Status headlining; so much for a quiet night.
Morning arrived sooner than I would have liked but with the temptation of the slopes I pulled myself out of bed and headed up the mountain. With more clear blue skies the snow wasn’t at its best and we regretted not going to the nearby Tux glacier (Austria’s highest lifted point), although it is open all-year round, I hear it is at it is best in spring.
Instead we headed to Pilz Bar – considered Volvo’s HQ on the mountain and home to Mr Motivator. He wasn’t in residence when we arrived so without being forced into exercise we discovered the underground reservoir of chilled beer. He arrived at 4pm, long enough to have our photo taken with him before heading down the mountain and driving the rather lovely Volvo V60 DRIVe back to our hotel.
Early dinner that night as it was to be the climax of the festival and the venue was likely to fill up well before the first act arrived. Mountain & Soul provided the perfect backdrop, with the sun still beating down we ate one of the finest meals I’ve had the pleasure to be served in a long time. Tapas style plates to start and a selection of main courses that gave me food envy each time a new dish arrived.
With the main event upon us we headed down to the Eristoff sponsored Waldfestplatz Forest. This huge clearing was the place to be, Hansel and Gretle huts and shacks had been turned into bars, a pine-cradled platform set the stage for an awesome set courtesy of Beardyman and Toby One before Firestarters Prodigy took to the stage, by then I was ensconced in the VIP area backstage chatting to Beardyman – who was beat boxing us our very own Stylebible track. This was as good as it was going to get, mindful that we had a rather long drive back we started to think about calling it a night. We stopped in at the Racket Club on the way back to hear enough of Fatboy Slim’s set to say we’d seen him but he didn’t keep us there till the end. Bed beckoned.
Skiing and partying over, we began the Volvo Challenge to drive back to Marlow on one tank of fuel. It all looked promising enough, we had 850 miles in the tank and the journey was round about the same, it could be done – those driving out at the beginning of the week had proved it. We set off driving at a reasonable 60mph but soon found ourselves creeping up to seventy on the open road, the digital milleage on the petrol tank was decreasing faster than the miles on the sat nav, but we figured we still had a jerry can. Urging my partner in crime to slow down we dropped back down to 56mph and got flashed by an articulated lorry – it felt nothing short of embarrassing. At that point we abandoned all hope and went for decadence over economy. We fully enjoyed the limitless German autobahn reaching a top speed of 121mph – not too shabby for a 1.6 diesel loaded up with ski gear.
After seven hours of driving we stopped at a wonderful Persian restaurant and hotel, having burned through our budget filling up at numerous petrol stations the kitty was looking a bit thin on the ground, but ever the negotiator, I had the landlady laughing and throwing in dinner, beers and a bed for the night for the bargain price of 150 Euros.
Fed and rested we set off for Calais bright and early; with 400 miles to go we cruised through Germany and Belgium before finally finding ourselves in France. The Volvo really was a joy to drive, with little or no engine noise the car is also ridiculously comfortable, we did consider taking the seats out for our front room but our return invite to Mayrhofen next year means more to us. It will come as no surprise that we failed miserably at the challenge, four tanks of fuel and a jerry can later we arrived back in Marlow. We may not have been the most economical of drivers but we were by far the quickest.
Snowbombing really does put a unique twist on festival travel, fancy dressed inspired cars, customised vehicles, world class music and snow really do make for an incredibly impressive trip. To our superb hosts from Volvo, Chris and Duncan, our organiser Anna and to the lovely Polly and Harriet at Mindshare THANK YOU. We really did get to meet some great people and have a huge amount of fun.
Until next year, Amanda
To read more about Snowbombing visit www.snowbombing.com
The DRIVe models are available on the road from £18,905 for the C30, £21,045 for the S40 and £22,425 for the V50 in ES specification. On the road prices for the top SE Lux specification start from £21,890 for the C30, £24,035 for the S40 and £25,515 for the V50. For more visit www.volvo.com