Just around the (hundred or so) corner from Alpe d’Huez is Les Deux Alpes, making it the natural ‘day 2’ of the French part of the Euro exploration.
You can ski here in the summer on the glacier at the top of the mountain. Plenty of people do. The town was full of skiers and snowboarders heading to the slopes. Most of them looked pretty warm and clearly thought an XXL jacket is the right size for a skinny guy in 30 degree heat. Who am I to say otherwise…
This influx of snow bums (I can say that, I was one for a good 6 years) does at least mean that the town is fairly vibrant in the summer and most of it fairly cheaply – lots of reasonable bars and restaurants, hotels etc. at about the right price. This is definitely the place to stay if you are planning on visiting here and Les Deux Alpes.
The landscape is pretty similar to Alpe d’Huez. Very few trees, lots of rocks, dust and a bit of grass. And a lot of sheep! It follows therefore that the riding is similar too, quite a few of the tracks are a little mundane and plain, but not all. A fair bit of effort has been put into making quite a few the tracks a bit more feature rich than its neighbour with more technical sections and generally they are good fun. The track down to Venosc is particularly good, with dusty corner after dusty corner and with a few more trees starting to grow (trees really do make riding better).
There are 7 lifts on the mountain, but again, they really just serve the one hillside or bring you back up from Venosc, but it does make access to the tracks a quick and painless affair. A day, or possibly two can again be spent here easily. If you’re into your snowsports then you can get tickets that cover both activities and you can really make the most of a good few days here, snowboard in the morning, ride in the afternoon.
Day Pass: €21.50
Written by: Paul Thomas @ www.riders-retreat.co.uk
Additional photos by: Richard Coleman