Words and photos: PJ Rueda/Fluofun
Warm weather, snowboarding in the morning, tons of activities in the afternoon and crazy parties at night : that’s what Les 2 Alpes will treat you with. As the only french resort with a decent park in the summer, most of the scene gather there. Frenchies but also tons of noisy Italian and Spanish guys, with a few Swiss riders.
Remember France is almost a socialist country, so there is no such thing as “Private park”. Once you have your lift ticket, you can ride 100% of the features.
Les 2 Alpes is a small mountain city with easy access to the lifts. Once there, you won’t need your car to ride, eat, shop or get drunk, and it’s only one hour drive from Grenoble. Here is what you need to know.
Camping can be an option, but be warned: nights can be cold at 1650m. Just rent one of those cheap apartments and spend your day (and night) outside.
Eat at the “Creperie du centre” for cheap and good stuff (or “Les Sagnes” if you have more money) after riding, and try the best raclette in town at “Le Paellou”. Avoid the glacier restaurant : super expensive and not so good.
The snowpark crew used to give free tickets for the next day against a few hours of shaping, but those days are gone. If you want to work up there, just go hassle the bars, camps, shops and restaurants, but it might not be an easy task if you don’t already know someone up there.
PROS : The park is pretty cool with several lines, from beginners mini-jumps and boxes to pro features. Two lift lines run through the park. Snow harvesting is forbidden here, so people do not get ecoli in their water.
French people tend to complain about the price of the lift tickets but you know frenchies : complaining is what they do best. €37,50 ($51) is what you will pay for a day, with full access to the parks. Snowboarding is shut down at 1pm, but your pass will give you access to the lifts in the afternoon for mountain biking if that’s your thing. If you buy your pass after 9am, it will be only 30€, a good option.
CONS: The lifts can break down and get crowded. Do not expect a mid-session reshape. On very windy days, the glacier might not open at all. Tons of freestyle skiers.
The party scene is pretty easy to navigate through. Start your evening at “Les Bleuets,” then get a few drinks at the “Smithy’s” before getting wasted at the “Avalanche Club.” The three joints are only a few meters away from each other.
Try the arranged rhums at Les Bleuets, and it might already be your final stop.
– Count on a good 45 minutes travel between the time you get in the first gondola to the time you hit your first rail.
– Early in the summer, you don’t need to get to the park early — everything is just hard-blue ice until 10am. After July 10, get yourself early on the glacier, or the whole park will be already melt down when you arrive. Avoid late August.
– Kumi Yama, the only event of the summer, is going on July 4th to 6th. It’s a cool team contest, parties, free stuff, decent riders (Danny Kass, Kazu Kokubo, Sage Kotsenburg, Victor de le Rue were there the previous years). Note that the biggest jumps are closed to public during the Kumi Yama weekend.
– If you speak Spanish, check out the Dalton camps managed by former Burton pro rider Iker Fernandez. Es el hombre de la situation.
– Take a minute to watch the view from the top of the glacier. Tons of mythic mountains around and on clear weather day, you can see the Mt Blanc, highest European peak, more 100km away.
– If you want to chill in the sun in the afternoon, there is a small artificial lake by the entry of the resort. Bring your own beers.
– Do not buy bread at the supermarket. Bread MUST be bought in a boulangerie.
– Bring water and your own meat, there is a disposable BBQ in the chill zone.
– Respect the locals.