Melting snow, blooming flowers, chirping birds, and a few desperate attempts to hold onto the remains of the winter season. That’s Innsbruck’s bittersweet transition from Winter to Spring. Unlike most places, Innsbruck is part sad to see Winter slip by, while simultaneously bursting with joy as Spring makes its glorious return. Ugly Skiing Day is one of the events taking place during this transition period. The USD crew puts on an epic party that transforms Axamer Lizum into a page out of a “Where’s Waldo?” (or Where’s Wally?) book.

Ugly Skiing Day at Axamer Lizum

Dressed in old school ski gear, Party-goers arrive by the bus load for a complete takeover of the mountain. DJs spin all the songs you’re embarrassed to know lyrics to, while everyone yells the words at the top of their lungs. You know what songs I’m talking about, “Barbie Girl”, “We Like to Party (Vengabus)”, “I Want It That Way”, “Wannabe”, and for goodness’ sake “Cotton Eye Joe”. I was really shocked at how many people know ALL THE WORDS to Cotton Eye Joe. Also, slightly dissapointed that people didn’t get really turnt up for “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. Folks, it’s a classic.

Ugly Skiing Day Innsbruck Axamer Lizum

Spinning the songs you hate, but love singing along with

How to dress for USD:

Definitely bring an ironic accessory. 1990’s WWF style shades, garden flamingos, stick horses, one of those mounted taxidermy foxes that farmer’s like to use as hood ornaments on their tractors. All of those items would be perfect for a USD outfit.

Ugly Skiing Day Axamer Lizum

Axamer Lizum takeover

Clothing should be limited to neon colors, jean jackets, spandex, and onesies. Anything else is unacceptable. If in doubt, ask yourself, “What would Richard Simmons wear to the slopes?”

Ugly Skiing Day Axamer Lizum Innsbruck

Axamer Lizum transformed into a page from a “Where’s Waldo?” book.

Yet, another reason to get the Dirndl and Lederhosen out. If you don’t have one of these, good reason to get one – no?


Most people do one run down the slopes and stay for the party. If you sit at the Hoadlhaus, overlooking the madness, you’ll have first class seats for the best people-watching experience you can imagine. I would rank it right up there with a balcony overlooking the Venice Beach Boardwalk or a Berlin Späti during May 1st.

Check out the Ugly Skiing Day experience with this video I made:

If you haven’t been, get there next year. Follow them on FB for updates on this and similar events.