No, it’s not Glastonbury, Wembley or the O2. It’s somewhere so far out of their comfort zones it’s very unlikely you’ll know the answer.
So to put you out of your misery it is Ischgl. You’re probably none the wiser, unless you are a skier or snowboarder.
For Ischgl is a brilliant ski resort in the next valley to better known St Anton in Austria. No one has ever seen the stars hurtling down the slopes but thousands have seen them rocking on-stage high up in the mountains to celebrate the end of the ski seasons. The Top of the Mountain concerts started in 1995 and every year they have helped Ischgl attract more and more British skiers.
We spent a week in the marvellous, easy-to-get-to resort and discovered why everyone seems to go home with a smile on their face.
The 150 miles of slopes are first class. The snow from November to May is usually excellent, the town is fun and the hotels are top notch.
Everywhere we went, whether up on the mountain or strolling through the interesting streets with their inviting shops and bars, young and old were having a great time.
We stayed at the excellent 4-star Seiblishof Hotel where owners Dagmar and Christoph guarantee an “unforgettable time”. And it was.
The reception area has a big inviting bar which was always full of laughter. The rooms were very unusual but extremely comfortable. Our suite had a bath and shower which were curiously positioned in the centre of the room and the loo was hidden away in a wardrobe-type cupboard. Once we got used to it, everything seemed extremely well designed and practical. Breakfast and the four-course dinners, including a splendid salad bar, never disappointed.
All the facilities at the hotel were well thought out and the swimming pool, spa and childcare were excellent.
The hotel is situated just a short walk up the main street to the best lift which whisks you over the tree-topped valley to a ski bowl where there are wonderful pistes for skiers of all abilities, from first-timers to the most experienced.
While we were there, we were bathed in all-day sunshine, while snow fell on most nights. On one occasion we watched as about 12 inches came down, leaving the pistes in magnificent shape.
That’s when we decided to take up the challenge of the “smugglers’ run”. These are pistes over the top of the mountain taking you into Switzerland. From the early 1900s smugglers used them during tough times.
Locals tell how their ancestors skied over the mountains carrying butter, cheese and fur in exchange for coffee, rice, flour and tobacco.
All over the slopes we found brilliant restaurants. At The Berg, we had the finest pizzas we have tasted and down in the town, the steaks at the Trofana Royal hotel were also excellent.
As in most Austrian resorts, the après-ski was outstanding.
The Elisabeth Arthotel was raucous but tremendous fun. And when the Trofana Royal stopped cooking steaks, it went wild.
Best of all was the Kuhstall near the Silvrettabahn lift which was warm, welcoming and very friendly.
But no matter how raucous the partying got, at 8pm it all calmed down – in the streets, anyway. A Local by-law forbids anyone wearing ski boots from walking around the town.
The law is rigorously enforced and anyone flouting it faces a £2,000 fine. It was introduced to ensure that those who wanted to go to bed early could get a good night’s sleep.
Ischgl is great for all ages, all skiing abilities and can be as noisy or as quiet as you like. You won’t regret visiting.
Crystal Ski Holidays (0208 610 3123/crystalski.co.uk) offers seven nights at the Family Resort Seiblishof in Ischgl, Austria from £1,085 (two sharing), half board. Price includes return flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers. Book by October 2 and save over £200 including buy-one-get-one-half-price lift pass and €100 hotel credit. Ischgl tourism: ischgl.com
Source : EXPRESS