The town of Zermatt, Switzerland, will be the scene of the annual Zermatt Unplugged music festival, running April 11-15.

The town of Zermatt, Switzerland, will be the scene of the annual Zermatt Unplugged music festival, running April 11-15. (iStock)

As we slowly but surely ease into spring, ski resorts throughout the Alps are preparing for their final weeks of catering to winter sports enthusiasts. As per tradition, many of these places choose to close out their winter seasons with full-on music festivals, jazz fests or good-natured competitions.

Music festivals

Rock the Pistes, the mega music event of the resort of Portes de Soleil, has a unique claim to fame in that it takes place across two countries, France and Switzerland. From March 12-18, the festival will see five live concerts take place on the ski slopes daily from 1:30 p.m. More than 30 apres-ski concerts are also scheduled. Latest editions of Rock the Pistes have attracted around 28,000 festival-goers. Acts on stage this year include Eagle-Eye Cherry, Hot Sister, Martin Solveig and dozens of others. A single-day concert ski pass goes for 58.50 euros; a seven-day concert ski pass goes for 292.50 euros. Online:

Caprices, a music festival based in the Swiss resort town of Crans-Montana, is organized over two weekends. From April 7-9, and again from April 14-16, the slopes will ring out to the sound of dance music spun by top DJs and today’s top artists. Shows take place within two time slots, from 2 p.m.-10 p.m., and 9 p.m.-5 a.m. the following day, and tickets can be bought for either time slot or both. Weekend passes are also available. Online:

Snowbombing was one of the earliest large-scale music festivals to be organized at a mountain resort, and 20 years later, it’s still going strong. From April 10-15, the Austrian resort of Mayerhofen will welcome thousands of fans of dance music, from techno to club to reggae. The festival is known and loved for its original and atmospheric venues. The mountain stages are open from noon-4 p.m., while events set in town kick off from 5 p.m. and run into the wee hours. Artists taking to the stage represent a mix of DJs and live acts. An assortment of packages inclusive of accommodation and festival tickets remained available at the time of this writing. Online:

Zermatt, Switzlerland’s take on a winter mountain fest has a less hectic vibe. Zermatt Unplugged, scheduled April 11-15, always offers a solid lineup of contemporary artists; this year’s crop includes Passenger, Alice Merton, Peter Maffay, Calum Scott, Of Monsters and Men and many others. Tickets are available for specific performances or in the form of an Unplugged Pass; the latter goes for 65 Swiss Francs, about $69. Online:

Jazz and folk

The Seiser Alm, also known as the Alpe di Suisi, is a resort in northern Italy’s Dolomites region. Its annual Swing on Snow event, now in its 15th year, offers a mix of traditional folk music with jazz, soul, pop and classical thrown in. From March 15-19, groups from the entire Alpine region play on the slopes and in mountain huts by day. In the evening, the villages of Castelrotto, Siusi, Fiè and Tires host atmospheric after-ski concerts. Entry to all performances is free of charge. Online:

Since the opening of the Sägewerk event venue over two decades ago, the Austrian resort town of Gastein has been associated with first-rate jazz events. Jazz on Snow is a long weekend of concerts by Austrian and international acts scheduled March 16-19. A few festival passes remain at a cost of 125 euros; tickets to individual events are also available. Online:

The Austrian resort town of St. Anton am Arlberg takes on the flair of the U.S. south over the long weekend of March 30-April 2 with its annual event known as New Orleans Meets Snow. From late morning through late evening, the sounds of blues, Dixie, funk and soul will ring out on the slopes, streets and bars of the town. More than 20 concerts from Austrian and international artists are offered as part of its free program. Online:

Top of the Mountain concerts

The Austrian resort of Ischgl has made a name for itself by booking top-name acts to perform on the Idalp, a stage high up in the mountains that makes up part of the vast Silvretta Arena. The artists chosen to ring out another series of Top of the Mountain concerts include the English singer and songwriter George Ezra on March 30, the German rapper Sido on April 9, and Italian legend Eros Ramazzotti on April 30. In general, tickets are not sold to the individual concerts but rather for a day on the slopes that includes use of the lifts and the show itself. A ticket to see Ramazzotti and enjoy a day of skiing goes for 140 euros. Online:

Surf into spring

The town of See, Austria, sees off winter by staging a Watersurf Contest, a competition in which anyone brave enough to sign up can try their chances in hydroplaning across an icy pond in hopes of netting 2,000 euros in prize money. Competitors race down a mountain in the Medrigalm ski area and then attempt to “water ski” across the frigid body of water on skis, snowboards, sleds, surfboards or any other gear of their choosing. Costumes and creativity, as well as distance, wins points with the judges and pleases the onlookers. DJ music adds another element of fun. Registration takes place on the spot for a fee of 5 euros. Online:

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