Pete Thompson

13 Oct 23

Rock The Pistes

Pete Thompson

13 Oct 23

As Eagle-Eye Cherry belted out his classic hit ‘Save Tonight’ on the slopes of Châtel, I had not a care in the world that tomorrow I’ll be gone.

I was too busy lapping up such an al fresco afternoon gig in such a breathtaking setting, following an exhilarating morning skiing around Avoriaz, Les Crosets and Les Lindarets on the penultimate day of my trip to the Alps.

Thousands continued to get their hips moving at the side of the piste after removing their skis and boards as exuberant Eagle-Eye put on a show in the snow.

Many were still making their way down the slopes towards a stage where the Swedish artist was performing at the 11th edition of the Rock the Pistes Festival, an annual music extravaganza like no other.

The Stockholm-born singer-songwriter’s concert was one of seven to be staged in as many days at the top of slopes and free to lift-pass holders in the Portes du Soleil, a stunning region where you can find 12 ski resorts in France and Switzerland.

Rock The Pistes

Spoilt for choice with over 300 slopes and 600 kilometres of skiing to sample, for a week in March winter sports lovers can also take their pick from over 30 apres gigs in the area.

The vast majority had clearly looked no further than headline act Eagle-Eye, who whipped the masses in the mountains into a frenzy and reached a crescendo by singing the ‘Save Tonight’ single that propelled him to new heights back in 1997.

He’s seen a lot since shooting to prominence over 25 years ago, but told InTheSnow he had never witnessed anything like this party just under the peaks at Plaine Dranse.

“That was a unique experience,” Eagle-Eye said. “I was looking up and seeing people ski down while I was performing. I’ve not had a gig anywhere quite like this before, it was so cool in front of  the spectacular mountains. 

“There are certain venues you remember clearly when you’re on tour and this is definitely one of them. I could definitely feel the pistes were rocking.”

Skiing down to Morzine before getting ready to fight the break of dawn on my final evening, it dawned on me I’d been transfixed by more than one eagle eye in the space of 24 hours.

When informed I’d been invited to ‘meet the eagles’ at the pointe de Nyon in the heart of the Morzine-Les Gets slopes, I thought I might be in for an afternoon with a famous band of ageing American rockers.

Rock The Pistes

Instead I was greeted by a majestic sea eagle proudly spreading his 2.1-metre wing span perching on a glove of a highly trained falconer at the sanctuary of the piste-side Les Aigles du Léman winter park.

I’m also introduced to an eagle owl, a European red kite and a falcon before offering my hand to don a glove which a huge Harris Hawk was soon flying towards at a rate of knots.

Following a successful landing, I took off to hurtle down a great variety of runs around Morzine and Les Gets under clear blue skies before being enjoying a delicious bowl of spicy ramen as the drinks flowed at the atmospheric Bec Jaune Brewery.

Designated as the ‘festival village’ for the 2023 Rock the Pistes, I was tasting the very best of Morzine and excitable young children set the tone with chants of ‘allez Morzine’ as they backed the local ice hockey team during an exhibition on my first night in the lively resort.

There was a very different ambience in the classy La Chamade restaurant, with a buzz in the air and a nod of appreciation from me as I sampled a sumptuous fillet of perch and fine wine on my last night.

During the picturesque journey back over the border into Switzerland, I had no idea what was on the menu on the mountain-top in Morgins and the first act, La P’tite Fumée, were certainly an acquired taste.

My jaw had already dropped as I got off the chair lift to see a huge stage with the spectacular backdrop of the Dents du Midi – or ‘teeth of noon’ – mountain range.

But my eyes were soon diverted down from those seven stunning jagged peaks towering high in the Chablais Alps to a livewire band of four that had to be seen to be believed.

Rock The Pistes


It was soon apparent why La P’tite Fumée are described as ‘real stage beasts’, with one bare-chested showman careering around before stopping to play a huge didgeridoo during a frenetic gig that gets the booming sounds of bass and drums bass reverberating around the mountains.

Following an interlude for the throngs of people of various ages in the mosh pit to catch their breath, a spine-tingling set from Etienne de Crecy ended my trip on a high note.

While marvelled at the beauty of the mountains behind the iconic DJ, I knew tomorrow had come to take me away. I wished I could stay.


Rock The Pistes 2024

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