Out Of Office Magazine reviews The City Ski Championships at the Momentum Ski Festival 2014, and gives you the 2015 dates for your diary
The Momentum Ski Festival took place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, from Thursday 13 March to Sunday 16, 2014. The event also included the Financial Times Alpine Business Forum.
This year’s festival saw 250 people taking part in racing at the 15th City Ski Championships, debating at the FT Alpine Business Forum, and taking part in a full compliment of après-ski events featuring fantastic bands.
There was a fantastic mix of attendees. There were business leaders there to networking and getting to know clients, groups of staff taking full advantage of a great incentive while building bonds with colleagues, and sponsor businesses building connections with the event and other businesses in attendance.
The Momentum Ski Festival was founded by Loredana Barindelli and Amin Momen in 1996. They have experience in the ski industry dating back to 1986 – and believed passionately that they could offer their corporate clients a complete service with maximum flexibility. We certainly agree here at OOO.
The festival takes place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, a few hours away from Geneva and Zurich Airports by train or car.
Crans boasts some of the most breath-taking views of the alps, from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. It’s south facing so it gets plenty of sun too. This can make the snow a little soft at the bottom of the mountain – so we found that it was worth getting out on the piste early before the snow gets soft.
There is a whole host of great restaurants, bars and hotels to choose form as well. It’s no wonder the Momentum Ski Festival keeps returning to this location!
14 Carat Grapefruit and The Elements kicked off a full programme of après-ski events on the Thursday evening. Friday early evening featured 29 Fingers, then Saxmaniax on the Saturday.
After the awards ceremony on the last night Rick Parfitt jnr. – son of Status Quo’s singer/guitarist – made sure the dance floor stayed packed by playing hits from Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll to Black Eyed Peas’ I gotta Feeling. After the encores DJ Ibba lead the party into the early hours of the morning.
The competition kicked off on the Friday under a beautiful blue sky with the slopes in good condition for the Radar Trap event. One at a time, competitors pushed off from the start hut with the sole aim of recording the fastest speed.
A crack team of Montana Ski School instructors were on hand in the afternoon, offering racing tips before the start of the legendary Accenture Dual Slalom. Teams of four battled it out on the Nationale piste, normally a testing World Cup track for such champions as Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the course spectators looked on while they enjoyed a superb lunch of raclette washed down with local Swiss Valais wines.
As Saturday arrived, so did the big race – the individual giant slalom sponsored by JEANRICHARD and Snow+Rock.
For those that didn’t compete in the races and wanted to improve their technique (like us) you are free to ski before, during and after the races and carve out your own path on the piste. I preferred heading up to the glacier early, then finding my way down to the Nationale to watch a spot of racing while eating lunch, before heading off the après ski in the late afternoon. However, it’s worth noting that no mater what level you are, you are encouraged to race. We’ve promised to compete next time!
Even though it was mostly skiing, partying and informal networking there was also the Alpine Business Forum, run in association with the FT.
Hosted by FT Weekend Magazine Deputy Editor, Ravi Mattu, 2014‘s discussion topic was ‘The New World Of Work (A Brave New World?)’.
On the panel was the Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams MBE, as well as acclaimed author Robyn Scott, author and researcher Marc de Rond, and Bruno Grande – COO of JEANRICHARD.
Over 70 delegates packed the conference room for the absorbing session at the Hotel de l’Etrier.
The big finale
The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on the Saturday at Centre Le Regent was a great finale to a fun, action-packed three days of skiing and networking.
After spending the previous two days of racing commentating live from the slopes, BBC broadcaster Matt Chilton returned to host the awards.
Momentum Ski founder Amin Momen celebrated another successful event, announcing his delight in more than £7000 raised in charitable donations for Borne.
We asked founder Amin why the event is good for staff incentives and networking.
He said: “The Championships is a great experience for racers of all levels, you can organise your own race too. Accenture have its own competition.
“The festival gives you the chance to get quality face time with your colleagues or clients, while you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery.
“People are very approachable and you can mix with your colleagues, other businesses; like suppliers, and there is a real mix of sectors too.”
We would highly recommend this event to any business looking to make new connections and contacts or as a staff incentive. It is the perfect package to offer staff as a bonus, or invite a group of clients. And if you’ve never been skiing before it’s a great place to learn. You can organise lessons and attend the clinics to perfect your technique, or if you prefer something quieter then there are plenty of spas, shops and bars too.
Next year’s event takes place from the 12 to the 15 March 2015
Book now to avoid disappointment
Book here: momentumski.com/festival/book
Partners: Financial Times, Accenture, JEANRICHARD, Snow+Rock, Borne, Dare 2b, RKHHarrison, Cavendish Ware, Crans Montana, Valais Tourism, College Group, Valet Alpin, Taking the Piste and Switzerland Tourism. Travel partners: Swiss, Zurich Airport, Swiss Travel System, Europcar, Swisscom, and American Express.