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Annecy: The Soul of European Action Sports

by Nick Baines October 18, 2020

High Five Festival & The Love For Annecy

High Five Festival was cancelled for 2020. Set to welcome skiers and mountain lovers from across the globe on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, this annual event has become known as the kick-off to the winter season. Being cancelled due to COVID-19 is a tough blow, but the people, the sports and the mountains are still there, and so is Annecy…

An ode to High Five

Despite this cancellation, we thought it was a great opportunity to not only bring the inaugural event to your attention, but also explain why the location for High Five is so important. This event is pitted as ‘The Alternative World of Skiing Festival’ and for the past decade has been where the latest video edits, and premieres are dropped to the industry.

Alongside films showcased at both an indoor and outside cinema, High Five is home to masterclasses, conferences, shows and gigs. If it’s not already a firm date in your calendar, then be sure to add it to your plans going forward for 2021 and beyond. It’s an epic festival for those in the know where all the major brands are present alongside a whole heap of awesome food trucks. As you can probably tell, the cancellation of this festival is a tough blow for the industry.

The European capital of outdoor sports

Now there’s a reason High Five has called Annecy home for the past ten years. Annecy has embraced ski-bums and dirtbag climbers for years. From the glassy lake, to the nearby resorts, Annecy puts you within easy shot of some of Europe’s premier proving grounds.

Whether it’s downhill mountain biking, freeriding powder, or tacking some multi-pitch climbing routes. Annecy calls itself the European capital of outdoor sports and heavy hitters like Salomon, Arc’Teryx, Lafuma and Scott all have their Euro headquarters there.

Slingshot to more

From Annecy, it’s only a two hour drive to many of France’s most acclaimed mountain resorts such as Chamonix and Morzine. If you’re desperate for a snow sliding fix in the summer, you can ski the glaciers in Tignes and Le 2 Alpes in a day trip.

But beyond snow sports, the mountains surrounding Annecy are also prime terrain for cycling, both hill climbs and flatter routes around the lake. To be honest, it’s no surprise that this town has seen the great and the good of the outdoor world pass through its streets.

The climbing scene is big in Annecy, with a wide selection of crags to choose from. Up here in the mountainous fringes of the lake you'll also find some of the best canyoning in Europe, descending down the mountain streams and rivers by means of swimming, abseiling and cliff jumping.

The beauty of Annecy is that in the same day, you can access several different extreme sports. Paragliding in the morning, rock climbing for lunch, then an evening spent wakeboarding on the lake. It's easy to see why so many outdoorsmen and women call Annecy home. 

Nick Baines
Nick Baines


With an insatiable thirst for travel, Nick Baines is a journalist based on the UK’s south coast. With more than 20 years experience in snow sports, he’s contributed features to publications all over the world.


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