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9 reasons why Les 2 Alpes is great for good skiers this winter 2017-18

Deux Alpes has some serious mountain terrain to play on

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Ian Huyton | Les 2 Alpes Reporter | Published: 8th November 2017


9 reasons why Les 2 Alpes is great for good skiers this winter 2017-18

Les Deux Alpes is well known as a resort for families and as a resort for partying. It is a great destination for beginners but it has lots to offer more experienced skiers too. Whether you consider yourself a pretty good skier or a true expert you will find terrain to suit.

Here are a few reasons why advanced skiers should pay Les 2 Alpes a visit.

The black runs have fast lifts with short queues

If you want to lap a steep run, you can usually find a fast chairlift with no queue to do just that, even in the busiest weeks. There is rarely a wait at the Belle Etoile, Village, Bellecombes, Super Diable or Fée chairlifts. These give quick access to the Valentin, Bellecombes, Super Diable and Fée black pistes respectively. If you plan your route well, you can ski hard runs all day without ever seeing a lift line. Just avoid the Valentin in the late afternoon if you are trying to dodge the crowds.

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It is an upside-down resort

This description is often used to promote the resort to beginner and intermediate skiers. It advertises the fact that the top of the ski area abounds with cruisy blue runs. Intermediate skiers can appreciate superb views across the Alps from easy, open pistes at over three-and-a-half thousand metres. The other side of this coin is that the lower and mid-mountain slopes are often steep and challenging. Three of the front face’s six runs back to resort are blacks, for example. Consequently, you never have to travel far to find challenging terrain, wherever you are on the mountain.

Also see: Advanced Ski Areas in Les 2 Alpes, France

The La Fee sector

French for ‘The Fairy’, this sector is situated around the old Refuge de la Fée mountain hut. Now a mountain restaurant, it is a great place to stop for lunch. This is one of the best parts of the ski area for accomplished skiers, with superb reds and blacks descending from the Belle Etoile peak. While the marked runs are very good, those of you who head off the pistes will find the best that La Fée has to offer. There is off-piste skiing on all aspects, so you are likely to find good conditions whatever the snow is doing. In the spring, the east, west and south faces give the best skiing at different times of the day. There are also marked but un-pisted itineraries giving off-piste conditions without the risk. Some of Les Deux Alpes’ classic off-piste routes start near the glacier and finish in La Fée, including Chalance, Les Gours, the Electric Couloir and Combe Interdit. The Deversoir, tucked under the snowmaking lakes, makes a nice introduction to couloir skiing.

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The advanced runs are quieter

The blacks and harder reds in Les 2 Alpes tend to be respected rather than busy. With the exception of the Valentin, you will rarely see a crowd on a black piste here. The same goes for the off-piste. While certain slopes get tracked quickly after a snowfall, the less obvious ones tend to keep the fresh snow for a while. You can find powder even a few days after it has snowed without having to walk.

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The Freestyle Land snowparks

Les Deux Alpes has long been known in the freestyle community for its parks. Both the winter snowpark on La Toura and the summer park on the glacier are world class. There are seriously big modules for those with the skills but there are also ‘Easy Park’ and ‘Progress Park’ lines for the rest of us. Events and competitions are a regular feature throughout the year, so there will often be something to enter or to watch depending on your ability level.

Also see: Snowparks in Les 2 Alpes, France

Ski racing

If you prefer speed to airtime, Les Deux Alpes also attracts some of the world’s best ski racers to train on the glacier. This is where the French and Italian national teams come to train in June and July. Aspiring racers from all over the world make the journey up the Jandri Express each summer and autumn. Les 2 Alpes is a great place to learn to race at almost any time of the year. In summer, the glacier provides consistent conditions with enough easy angled slopes to suit newcomers to racing. In winter, there is a dedicated racing area around the Côte Brune drag lift. If you do want to race, make sure you book in advance with a ski school or coaching organisation.

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La Grave

We cannot talk about expert skiing in Les Deux Alpes without mentioning the link to La Grave. For those not in the know, La Grave is a place every serious skier needs to visit at least once. The Vallons de la Meije and Chancel routes are right up there with Chamonix’s Vallée Blanche in terms of classic off-piste descents you absolutely need to do. There are plenty of harder options as well and the place is a magnet for top class extreme skiers. Visiting from Les Deux Alpes gives you all the benefits of staying in a major ski resort, whilst still getting to ski the wild, untamed runs on the other side of the mountain. Getting to La Grave from Deux Alpes is an adventure in itself. At the top of the Lauze T-bar, a piste-basher will tow you across to the top of the Girose Glacier at over 3500 metres. From here, La Grave’s only piste allows you to avoid the crevasses as you cross the glacier. After this, from 3200m down to 1450m there are no marked runs, no ski patrollers and no avalanche control. Hiring a guide or going with a guided ski school group is highly recommended. 

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St. Christophe

If you have ticked La Grave and want to get even further away from it all, the unspoilt village of St. Christophe en Oisans lies high in the Veneon Valley beyond Venosc. The good news is that you can ski to it from Les Deux Alpes. There are several routes including the Vallon de la Selle and the Aiguilles Rouges de la Toura. Be warned: these are challenging and remote, with steep slopes, avalanche zones, significant route finding and no mobile phone reception. For very good skiers accompanied by a guide, skiing to St. Christophe is a wonderful day out in the Alps. When you arrive in the village you can enjoy a long late lunch in one of the two restaurants before taking a pre-booked taxi back to the Venosc gondola.

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Road runs

If La Grave and St. Christophe have not convinced you that Les 2 Alpes has plenty for expert skiers, the road runs between Deux Alpes and La Grave should do the job. There are numerous routes starting from the Girose and Lauze glaciers and ending at the main road to the north, two thousand metres below. All are for expert skiers only. All have difficult route finding. Some require abseils. Booking a mountain guide is a must if you are contemplating any of these itineraries.

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Read more from our reporter Ian on his website.

NB: Off-piste skiing and mountaineering are dangerous. The opinions expressed in these articles are very much time and condition-specific and the content is not intended in any way to be a substitute for hiring a mountain guide, undergoing professional mountaineering training and/or the individual's own backcountry decision making.

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