FROM THE PEOPLE that brought us The Yacht Week comes The Ski Week. Exchanging sailing for skiing, The Ski Week (TSW) offers an opportunity during the winter months to pull together friends for a week of high-intensity action sports and high-end partying.
I got the opportunity to catch up with TSW’s Leo Alsved during their US tour covering 16 ski resorts in 26 days. The team was charged with finding a perfect resort for The Ski Week USA 2015.
For more information on the US tour visit The Ski Week Blog. All images courtesy of Pictionary.
KSA: From sea to snow. Are you guys aiming to take on all climates?
LA: Sure, why not! At the very least the skiing world complements our sailing background beautifully and many of our guests are already keen skiers in the wintertime. So considering the high demand for the event since The Ski Week’s conception, we’re certainly excited to see how it goes. I think there’s a big demand for these types of tailored events right now, so with any luck we will have more to offer in the future!
You are in the middle of a tour of the US scouting out locations for the TSW 2015 — tell us a little more about this venture?
Over the years we’ve received a growing number of requests from our TYW clientele to host a ski event, so roughly a year ago we decided to take action and launch The Ski Week. We set out on a tour to scout for the very best location to host our event in the Alps and found Obertauern! We organized the first event to be held in March 2014, and after launching bookings this past September we sold out all 400 spots in 45 minutes flat, with guests from 18 different countries.
I have to admit we all were a bit overwhelmed by the huge demand, and realized very quickly we might have to add another destination just to appease our guests. The US has some world-class mountains and exceptional resorts, which made this an obvious choice to launch TSW’s the second destination in 2015.
Can you tell us about the logistics of TSW? What can people expect?
Just like The Yacht Week, it will be a high-intensity week with plenty of exciting activities and events. Daytime it will of course be all about the skiing and snowboarding, but we’ll also be adding big team lunches, hot-tubs, off-piste guides, competitions, torch-lit descents, and much more. As usual we’ll host some great sunset parties, plenty of après-ski, and come the evening the guests can join us for dinner and night parties.
Have you seen a lot of interest from TYW alumni, or have you reached out to a new market?
A bit of both actually. There has been a massive interest from TYW alumni, so it’s a well-versed group of people we’ll be bringing to the mountains, but there are also plenty of guests that have never experienced our concept before. And that’s how we like it.
What inspired you to take on the US?
This project was actually primarily spawned from the high request rate coming from our TYW guests. Once we launched TSW in Europe, I got bombarded with emails and social telling us to come to the US. The skiing here is just as good as Europe so it was an obvious move — basically it was our guests’ idea!
Are there large disparities between the slopes in Europe and those in the US?
Interestingly, the most distinct difference we have observed so far is the après scene. Most resorts in the Alps have a few great sun terraces to grab drinks with your friends and celebrate the day after skiing. Often the parties become something of a spectacle, and table dancing in ski boots long after sundown is nothing unusual. So far we haven’t seen anything like it in the US, which is a bit surprising, but also presents a great opportunity for The Ski Week. We’re going to bring European après to the US!
Basically you guys are ripping it up all over the States, nice gig. How has the tour been so far? What have been the highlights?
Skiing-wise, Jackson Hole was fantastic. We got lucky and had a foot of fresh snow the first morning we arrived, plus their ‘Stash’ natural terrain park is actually great. After our first stop in Jackson, a big high pressure system parked over the west coast and brought with it a wave of very warm spring-like weather. We’re currently in California scouting around Lake Tahoe, but with a daily high of 15C° there’s barely any snow on the slopes and only a few lifts open at each mountain. It can get a little frustrating when you see the potential lines but you can’t ski them. Especially legendary areas like The Fingers at Squaw, that was a tough one.
We’ve found great snow and terrain for all ability levels are always a factor, but we’re especially searching for the unexpected. For example, we just found an old steamboat on Lake Tahoe that could potentially host up to 500 persons for an après-ski sunset cruise on the water. I don’t know many skiers that have had an experience like that before!
What is one of the most memorable things that’s happened along the way? The funniest?
Cat skiing at Powder Mountain was definitely one of the top moments so far. We arrived on the same day they opened some brand new terrain, and our hosts threw us straight into the first cat up there in the morning. We certainly got our powder fix that day on some great untracked runs, and we had an amazing day exploring the rest of the mountain.
We’ve also had the chance to meet up with some of the followers of our blog — all of them have been super stoked to show us around their home mountain. It’s always an extra level of fun to have a local guide that knows the TYW vibe and can show us exactly what we’re looking for.
Where can we follow the team on the rest of your tour?
What can we expect from TSW in 2014 in Obertauern?
It’s the first TSW event ever, and I can guarantee that it will be one to remember. We have a killer lineup with DJs, parties, creative surprises, and of course some really good skiing. I can’t reveal too many details early on, but for the lucky few who managed to book a spot on TSW Obertauern, you are in for an amazing week.
When can we sign up for the US?
Dates and destinations for all of our 2015 events will be released in the lead up to summer. All information about pre-booking and how to join will be published on our blog and Facebook page.