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YODELLING AT ALTITUDE - James Rampton, Mayrhofen
Tuesday December 13, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Laughter is ringing round the mountains like the sound of an old Alpine farmer yodelling to his cows. PlanetSKI is at the Altitude Comedy Festival in Mayrhofen in the Austrian Tirol. NEW

We are at the Altitude Comedy Festival, the annual gathering of the best of British and Irish (as well as German and Austrian) comics, which began in fine style on Monday.

The comedians gather in this picturesque resort to indulge in skiing by day and stand up by night.

Your correspondent was very honoured to be invited to the festival's launch dinner on Sunday night.

Dozens of comedians assembled for an evening of excessive eating and drinking.

What could possibly go wrong?

In fact, nothing did.

It was a highly convivial, yet also very civilised occasion.

As far as PlanetSKI was concerned, the only disappointment was the fact that the Altitude's charismatic co-founder, the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell, showed up without his trademark lederhosen.

When I questioned him with Paxman-esque rigour on this matter, Maxwell replied, "I only wear the lederhosen during the actual festival.

"So I wake up tomorrow morning, and I'll be magically wearing the lederhosen.

"It's a Christmas miracle!"

He went on to explain that the lederhosen help him to blend into the background in Mayrhofen. "Look at you in your jeans! I'm the normal one here!"

And lo and behold, when I saw Maxwell the following day, he was indeed miraculously dressed in his characteristic leather festival trousers.

Andrew Maxwell dressed in his characteristic leather festival trousersAndrew Maxwell - the Christmas miracle dressed in leather festival trousers!














The Festival started with a bang as The International Impro Allstars - Andy Smart (the only comedian apart from Maxwell to have appeared at every single Altitude), Steve Steen, Ian Coppinger and guest star Jimeoin - gave an inspired display of off-the cuff nonsense at the Apres Ski Show in the Sports Lounge at the Strass Hotel.

Jimeoin & off-the-cuff nonsenseJimeoin & off-the-cuff nonsense




















We then moved on down the main street - dazzlingly illuminated with Christmas lights - to the Europahaus.

Here Maxwell was the MC at Altitude's blistering opening night gala show on Monday.

The Europhaus prepares to become The House of FunThe Europhaus prepares to become The House of Fun




















The stars come out for the stars of AltitudeThe stars come out for the stars of Altitude




















PlanetSKI has attended the festival for many years, and this was certainly one of the most hilarious evenings we have ever spent here.

Maxwell, who also shone at the last Altitude Comedy Festival in January, set the tone with a series of cracking topical gags that got everyone in the right mood.

"Anyone in from Britain?" he asked. "Welcome to your last look at Europe. Spend your currency while you can!"

He proceeded to speculate about what the Irish equivalent of Brexit would be: "If we had a Referendum, I'm sure we would vote to leave Bono."

Maxwell was followed onto the stage by a series of top-class comedians, including the superb Zoe Lyons.

She performed a memorable routine about panicking when the zip on her ski jacket jammed.

She went on to imagine that, like the character in the movie 127 Hours, her only way of getting out of the ski jacket would be to cut off her own head!

The evening ended on a high.

The brilliant comedy rap duo, Abandoman took the roof off with a stunning performance.

Front man Rob Broderick managed to spin highly amusing rhyming rap out of such subjects as an audience member's disappointment that his local Lidl had run out of Merlot.

Their slot left everyone with a smile on their face.

Maxwell came on at the end and, quite rightly, as the man who started all this wonderful mayhem 10 years ago, he had the last word.

He admitted that, "It's not been a great year.

"A lot of idiots have won elections.

"But it can't be that bad, as 2016 is the first year that they have been not one, but two Altitudes.

"I'm loving this second Altitude of the year.

"I'm starting to think that we should do it once a month.

"In the summer, we'll chase marmots or collect mushrooms or whatever it is they do here when they're not skiing!"

PlanetSKI will be filing further reports this week from the festival of mountain merriment.

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

And his second post: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED

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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