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23rd April 2022 | Jane Peel, Les2Alpes, France

Last modified on April 24th, 2022

It’s a final spring fling on the slopes for PlanetSKI’s Chief Reporter.  A couple of days in the resort that has the highest skiing in France seems as good a place as any to end the season. NEW UPDATED

Winter in Les2Alpes starts early and ends late.

Its final day of the 2021-22 winter season will be 1st May.

Then it’s only a matter of weeks before it starts up again for glacier skiing and summer activities – re-opening on 28th May.

The skiing here goes up to 3,600 metres.

That’s higher than any of the other famous high altitude resorts in France, such as Tignes and Val Thorens.

So with little more than a week of ‘winter’ left it’s time to see what Les2Alpes has to offer at this time of year.

Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

It’s now our second day in resort.

Scroll down in this rolling blog to what we got up to on day one.

Day 2, Saturday 23rd April

What a difference a day makes.

As I report below, day one in Les2Alpes was the very best of spring skiing with sunshine and some high clouds, mild temperatures and little wind.

ErnaLow

Day two can only accurately be described as one of many seasons.

In just three hours on the mountain we experience almost every type of weather imaginable.

Rain, snow, low visibility, good visibility and some vicious winds….

Wrapped up against the elements – photo © PlanetSKI

… and just occasionally there is evidence of a yellow thing in the sky trying to pierce its way through the clouds.

The sun is up there – photo © PlanetSKI

The forecast for today was not great but as we set out at 9.30am it’s looking good as we head up the Diable chairlift from resort level.

A couple of hundred metres up snow begins to fall.

But as we go higher, we are buffeted by high winds.

They’re not kidding – photo © PlanetSKI.

Our plan to head up to the glacier in the hope of finding some freshies is abandoned.

We’ll probably be blown off our feet.

In any event, the gondola that would take us there is forced to close by the strong winds.

The good news is that the snow, though wet and sleety, is enough to soften the pistes that would otherwise be hard first thing in the morning.

With the fair-weather skiers and snowboarders giving it a miss, we enjoy some fabulous quiet slopes.

Quiet in Les2Alpes – photo © PlanetSKI

Run of the day is the red, Fée 4.

It has the best conditions and no one but our small group on it so we lap it several times.

Later, as the weather begins to deteriorate, we decide to call it a day.

Jane in the wet snow – photo © PlanetSKI

We risk skiing the heavy slush on the only piste open to the bottom, despite the warning signs.

Jandri 1, the only run down to the bottom – photo © PlanetSKI

Heavy slush down to Les2Alpes – photo © PlanetSKI

It’s been raining at this altitude and it’s taking its toll on the piste.

The patch of snow gets narrower and narrower as we head down.

By the bottom it’s barely more than two skis’ width.

Heavy slush down to Les2Alpes – photo © PlanetSKI

We spend the afternoon sightseeing in the rain.

An 8 minute gondola ride – whose ticket is included in the Les2Alpes lift pass – takes us down to the ancient and pretty village of Vénosc at 900 metres.

It is on the edge of the Ecrins National Park.

Gondola from Les2Alpes to Vénosc – photo © PlanetSKI

It’s one of two original villages from which the purpose built ski resort of Les2Alpes gets its name. 

The resort sits between the two alps or mountain pastures of the municipalities of Vénosc to the south and Mont de Lans to the north.

Vénosc, France – photo ©PlanetSKI

Venosc, France – photo ©PlanetSKI

Vénosc, France – photo © PlanetSKI

The steep, pedestrianised cobbled streets of Vénosc are home to many artisinal workshops.

Most are closed on our visit, no doubt as a result of the weather, the late season and the fact that there are few holidaymakers left in the area.

Vénosc, France – photo ©PlanetSKi

Vénosc, France – photo ©PlanetSKI

But it’s well worth a visit.

Back up at Les2Alpes, the rain continues to come down hard.

Until, as night falls, this happens …..

Snowing at 1,650m – photo ©PlanetSKI

It’s not much, but maybe winter isn’t finished in Les2Alpes just yet.

****

Day One, Friday 22nd April

It’s 9.30am and the temperature at 1,650m in resort is several degrees above freezing  as I head up the mountain.

Resort level, Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

And up.

All the way to the top.

Well, to 3,400m to be precise as the top drag lift is not open.

Looking up to the glacier at Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

There’s the mandatory stop for a photo opportunity at the Belvédère des Ecrins viewpoint.

Belvédère des Ecrins viewpoint, Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

Then it’s time to see how the snow is holding up.

It’s a little hard underfoot for the first couple of runs but it soon turns into that lovely grippy, cold snow we all love.

The weather is a mix of a few sunny spells and high cloud and the top runs remain in good shape.

Even below the glacier area it’s pleasant spring snow and not too slushy.

Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

We think about skiing top-to-bottom.

I’m told it’s around 11km long.

Even intermediate skiers can take on the challenge as it can be done wholly on blue runs.

But the snow is just too good above 2,000m so we decide to avoid heading back to the resort.

Decisions, decisions. Which way to go? – photo © PlanetSKI

Even though almost everyone here has probably come up high for the best snow, the pistes are quiet now the Easter holidays are over.

Jane enjoying the quiet pistes – photo © PlanetSKI

At 2pm,  it’s time for something different on skis.

Tandem paragliding is a new experience for me.

Harnessing up for tandem paragliding – photo © PlanetSKI

It’s a little disconcerting pointing my skis straight down a black run – especially one called The Devil.

But they’re not on the ground for long.

If you haven’t done it, I recommend it.

It feels as if you are travelling really slowly.

But we’re actually moving at 35kmh.

That’s me up there – photo © PlanetSKI

Perhaps that’s why I feel a little nauseous as we get to the end of the 10 minute flight.

The queasiness doesn’t last long.

Soon I’m polishing off a delicious late lunch of ravioli with local cheese and mushrooms.

While wearing a rather natty sun hat provided by the restaurant.

Not my usual attire on a ski trip, it must be said.

Late lunch – photo © PlanetSKI

Long, late lunches on sunny terraces are what spring skiing is all about.

A little light dessert – photo © PlanetSKI

It’s gone 4pm by the time we leave the restaurant and, with a food coma about to set in, I decide it’s wise not to risk the slush and I take the chairlift down.

It’s worth it for the view.

Taking the lazy route down – photo © PlanetSKI

They’ve kept a blue run open to resort level for those who choose to use it but there’s no snow either side of it.

The blue run to resort- photo © PlanetSKI

Around 60% of the resort’s 96 pistes remain open at this time of year so there’s still plenty of skiing to be had.

I have to say it’s far better than I anticipated for late April.

My first day draws to a close with a visit to the outdoor whirlpool at my hotel, the Chamois Lodge….

Outdoor whirlpool at the Chamois Lodge – photo © PlanetSKI

… followed by cocktails and tapas at Chez Nous 2.

Cocktails tapas at Chez Nous 2, Les2Alpes, France – photo © PlanetSKI

All in all, it’s been a great day in the mountains.

Check back here on PlanetSKI to see what day two has in store.

A good day in Les2Alpes – photo © PlanetSKI

LES2ALPES FACTS

  • 200km of slopes
  • 12 black runs, 20 red runs, 50 blue runs, 14 green runs
  • 1 freestyle area in La Toura
  • 70% of the ski area is above 2,000m
  • 2,300m of vertical descent without taking a lift
  • 44 lifts, including 5 free ones at the bottom

For more information, visit the Les2Alpes website .