Last Saturday, January 17, I went snowboarding with Lauren, an assistant from Canada, at Les Deux Alpes. Les Deux Alpes is the second oldest ski resort in France and is southeast of Grenoble. It’s a beautiful station and I don’t think I’d ever been to a ski resort that didn’t have any trees on its slopes.
It was very, very cold. There also hadn’t been much recent snow, so it was rather icy. I accidentally slid into a small valley of ice on our first run. I’m still not very good at turning quickly on the narrow, crowded runs. However, I can tell I’m getting better and didn’t have any spectacular falls like usual. I mainly lost my edge when trying to turn fast on the ice. Les Deux Alpes is kind of strange in that there are really scary black runs near the bottom and you have to go up higher to find the easier green and blue runs. In theory, it should be no problem to get up to the top. There are 51 lifts at Les Deux Alpes. However, all of these lifts seemed to be in the same place. I was able to count nine visible lifts while on one. It was ridiculous. The map for Les Deux Alpes is also rather useless. There are no markers for runs, so it’s easy to end up on a different slope then you thought you were. This happened a few times when a blue slope we were going down was suddenly red (there were poles on the side of the trail showing the color). I tried to ignore these and carefully S-turned down the 90 degree angles.
Due to the conditions, the crowds were light and we never had to wait in a line. Les Deux Alpes has a cool lift system where you get a card that lets you through a turnstile. You don’t even have to take it out of your jacket, so it must have a chip or something inside. This is unlike the usual stickers you get connected to your zipper.
The most amazing part of Les Deux Alpes was the glacier you can reach by funicular, kind of a metro with one stop. It’s the largest skiable glacier in Europe and is open year round. It was more like ice skating that snowboarding, but absolutely beautiful. I think I helpfully pointed out how beautiful everything was at least once an hour to Lauren (who is snowboarding in this picture).
After several hours of snowboarding, we took a lift down to the village and got drinks at a cafe before catching the bus back to Valence. You can see how it looked to descend the mountain in this picture. Later that night we had dinner at our friend Julia’s apartment, which included two delicious quiches, one with olive and one with eggplant, and salad. I was too exhausted to go out afterward and went to sleep before midnight. A rarity for me.