Les Deux Alpes is as bald as Bruce Willis – there’s not a tree to be seen: not a bush, not a blade of grass, just a wide-open monochromatic landscape that rolls up and away from the town for 10Km. When there’s good snow, this is a lot of fun, though when it’s actually falling, making out where you’re going can be tricky! A resort that’s always welcomed snowboarders, Les Deux Alpes has long been a favourite with Brits and it’s easy to see why. In the summer it is THE place to head; the park high up on the glacier at 3200m is beyond huge.
- Highest Point: 3,600m
- Descent: 2,300m
- No. lifts: 54
The town itself is a mixture of old and new buildings, all strung out ribbon-like along the floor of a valley that sits on a plateau overlooking the village of Venosc. From the old-town end, the views of the titular “two alps” are fantastic, and there’s a decent mix of places to stay, with something to suit all budgets.
The strange thing about the resort is that it feels sort of upside down. The glacier at the top is very flat and often wind-blown, the mid-section of the mountain has most of the best intermediate terrain, while stupidly steep and sometimes icy black runs are at the bottom – leading you back into the resort’s base.
The Parks – 4/5
Freestyle-wise, Les Deux Alpes has the lot: a series of park lines for different abilities, a pipe, various ‘Slide Zones’ and a boardercross. Most of the action is situated in ‘Freestyle Land’, serviced by the Toura, Lac Noire and Envers lifts. The main park is situated by the Toura chair at 2600m and moves down from the glacier (usually in December) when there’s sufficient snow; by mid-January it is in full flow. A local’s top tip is to take your lunch to the top of the chair, hike for a while in the same direction and enjoy some spectacular views.
“A local’s top tip is to take your lunch to the top of the chair, hike for a while in the same direction and enjoy some spectacular views“
To your right as you go up, there’s a short rope tow allowing easy access to a few of the smaller hits and jibs, as well as the competition big air kicker. From the top of the chair you can take the boardercross, or enter the park proper. There are two options – a slopestyle course with well-sculpted (and sizeable!) kickers and rails to the right, or to the left, a few smaller hits and jibs leading down to the 120m-long halfpipe with its 5m walls.
To the extreme right, there’s usually one mega-booter, with a tabletop of around 25m – strictly for French rudeboys and bold seasonnaires only! All this is finished off with the ‘cool zone’: a BBQ area where music blasts from turntables. Under the glacier chair are two ‘Slide Zones’ which, while short, are great if you want to practise banked turns at speed without the out-of-control fools who block up the main boardercross.