The Alps in summer – flowery meadows, glorious sunshine, and more energetic bikers, hikers, climbers and runners than you can shake a stick at. Just the thought of it is enough to make me feel quite exhausted. What, I ask myself, can the more sedate alpine tourist look forward to in the summer months? As this is a topic close to my heart, I decided to investigate further, and have come up with a few ideas. Nothing is quite so relaxing as watching other people working hard – after all, that’s what holidays are for.
For horse lovers:
You might not have thought of the Alps as a location for sporting equestrian endeavour, but two prestigious events this summer are here to debunk this belief.
Crans Montana: The Longines Show Jumping event in Crans Montana, sponsored by the Edmond de Rothschild bank, marries the elegance, refinement and tradition of this classy resort with the high level sporting performance of world class equestrians. 16 different nations were represented at the event last year, with the Swiss Philippe Putallaz taking home the prize. A prestigious event, we would even risk nicknaming it the Ascot of the Alps – quite the place to see and be seen.
Megeve: Following 6 incredibly popular years, Megeve International Show Jumping is returning to this iconic alpine town for another stellar event. The atmosphere of the place hums with a passion for the sport, with over 500 horses and 350 riders of twenty or so different nationalities descending on the town for a week. This exuberant event celebrates all things horsey, with more than 25,000 visitors and free admission, there is an infectiously festive ambience.
Zermatt: If you are of a more gastronomic bent, the Swiss Food Festival might just tickle your fancy. Now in its 7th year, this event is bound to intrigue those fascinated by the delights of the table, particularly the Swiss table, as it is a celebration of the best Swiss products and producers, as well as being a platform for the very best restaurants in Zermatt. No other destination in the Alps offers such a high concentration of top restaurants – some of our office favourites include Chez Heini, Zum See and Chez Vrony. But enough about our tummies – yours can experience a uniquely gravitational culinary experience and the highlight of the festival – breakfast or a fondue dinner served on board the Matterhorn-Express gondola. The view from your table has never been so good.
For music fans:
Image courtesy of Cosmojazz_lesHouches©Charlotte_BRASSEAU
Verbier: With its first edition way back in 1994, the Verbier Festival has grown into a powerhouse of a classical music event, drawing world famous names to perform there. Among them are the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, the Pavel Haas Quartet, the legendary Pink Martini, and the Russian-American composer and pianist Lera Auerbach. A huge range of music from chamber orchestra, to jazz, to choral is on offer, ensuring that every taste is catered for. World class music in a world class ski resort? We’ve booked our tickets already.
Chamonix: From dining with a view in Zermatt to Jazz with a view in Chamonix. All the concerts at the week long CosmoJazz festival are free to attend. You can spend the evening watching a crooning singer over a cocktail in one of Chamonix’s bars, the afternoon listening to a 7 piece ensemble in Couttet park in town, or – and most spectacularly – you can listen to the sound of some smooth jazz piano bouncing off the mountains which surround you on all sides. Surely no other music festival can boast views like these. Soul food for the eyes and the ears.
For climbing enthusiasts:
Chamonix: But I thought this was meant to be a blog post for the lazier Alpine traveller you cry? Not to worry, this is a purely spectator sport, for the Climbing World Cup in Chamonix. Eight of the world top-ten women and seven of the top-ten men will compete, as well as being joined by a number of rising stars of the sport. The climbing wall is erected at the foot of Mont Blanc, bringing this global sport back to its (mountain) roots. More than 20,000 people are expected to flood the summer alpine sports hub that is Chamonix, so come and get in on the action.
For the dancer:
Avoriaz: Alright you’ve got me, as the final offering, an event which will require you to get up on your feet. Since its hugely successful inaugural year in 2016, the Avoriaz Dance Festival invites dancers of all ages and levels of ability to come and join the fun. With more than 130 hours of dance classes in a huge range of styles – Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Swing, Rock, Lindy Hop and more – there is surely something to get every foot tapping. To put all your new found skills into practice, or if you are already a seasoned foot tapper, there are parties and DJ sets every evening where you can take to the dance floor in style.
Where to stay: Hotel – Hotel Des Dromonts
Have any of these ideas got your tummy rumbling, your hips shaking or your ears flapping? Give us a call on 01993 899 420, and the ever dedicated team here at Oxford Ski is committed to making sure you have the best summer holiday yet.