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THE EAGLE HAS LANDED - James Rampton, Mayrhofen
Monday December 12, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Over the past decade, the Altitude Comedy Festival in Mayrhofen has played host to more legends than King Arthur's Round Table. Now look who's jumped aboard. NEW

Among the comedy greats who have enjoyed skiing and stand-up in the pretty Austrian resort in recent times are Eddie Izzard, Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr, Tim Minchin, Al Murray, Sean Lock and John Bishop (no fewer than three times).

But surely legends do not come any bigger than one of the acts topping the bill at Altitude this Christmas.

Eddie the Eagle has swooped into town, and will be providing entertainment to the punters all week.

On Tuesday he presents his show, "The Eagle That Dared".

Meanwhile, on Wednesday he will be leading a ski tour around the Hintertux Glacier and participating in a Q&A after a screening of the German language version of well liked biopic, which the festival has dubbed, "Eddie ze Eagle."

But on Monday, he had an even more important engagement: a day's skiing with PlanetSKI.

It is a delight to share a ski lift with this icon of the slopes.

Altitude Comedy Festival, MayrhofenAmong friends




















A plasterer from Gloucester who glided from complete obscurity to worldwide fame after coming last in the ski jump at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1998, Edwards is a likeable and witty man.

He has a particularly a nice line in the quality that we Brits prize all others: self-deprecation.

He told me that he was invited to Altitude, "Because my ski jumping was always a bit of a joke."

Altitude Comedy Festival, MayrhofenAKA Eddie the Eagle




















Of course, Edwards is someone who is very much on first name terms with the snow.

An extremely able skier who narrowly missed out on selection for the British team as a downhiller in 1984, he absolutely whizzes down the slopes.

Your reporter has been skiing for more years than he cares to remember, but he struggled to keep up with the supersonic Eagle.

The pistes in Mayrhofen and are in pretty good shape this week.

They have been maintained by regular blasts from the extensive snow cannon system.

That artificially created base has benefited a great deal from a small snow fall on Sunday night.

 It has just left enough powder on the surface of the manufactured snow to enable your skis to grip and to conceal any nasty ice that may be lurking underneath

These conditions helped the already pacey Eagle reach even greater speeds.

Over lunch, he explained to PlanetSKI just why he loves bombing downhill so much.

Altitude Comedy Festival, MayrhofenCheers!




















He reminded us that in 1982 during a "flying kilo" competition in Les Arcs, he was recorded travelling at an eye-watering 107 mph. Edwards recalls it as, "A brilliant experience.

You simply go down in a straight line and hold on.

You're not scared.

You're just focused.

Of course, you don't want to catch an edge, but it's great fun."

Edwards also once clocked 118 mph while he was strapped in his skis to the top of a car.

With a hint of a smile, he said that, "Speed is an addiction."

After lunch, the Eagle was soaring down the slopes once again.

Shame that I was so far behind him, I could scarcely witness the flight of The Eagle!

PlanetSKI will be reporting from the Altitude Comedy Festival in Mayrhofen all week.

We will also be running a full interview with Eddie the Eagle.

Altitude Comedy Festival, MayrhofenAltitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen




















See here for the first blog post from James in Mayrhofen: THE HILLS ARE ALIVE TO THE SOUND OF LAUGHTER

The Fact Box.

Tickets for the Altitude Comedy Festival can be found here.

Crystal Ski Holidays (; 020 8939 0726) offers a week's half board at the Sport & Spa Hotel Strass from £662 per person including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers departing during January 2017. Departures from all major UK airports available (at a supplement starting from £25).

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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