Les Deux Alpes is known for affordable skiing, a lively après scene and short transfer time but what other high altitude thrills does the resort offer?

Its name ‘The two alps’ is derived from two ancient farming communities with high pastures which the resort stretches between. On piste, Les Deux Alpes offers over 300km of terrain for snowsports along with swathes of off piste to explore. The town itself isn’t the most beautiful, with a mishmash of brightly coloured bars and restaurants making up its strip. However, what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for with a can-do feel and attitude. The Ski Club's Sophie went to find more about what other activities are on offer...

Try the rubber ring jump

Close to the ticket office, you’ll find a massive curved metal jump with the steep drop-in. The jump is normally used for training freestyle competitors but during the winter it is also used for rubber ring sliding. Adrenaline junkies and adventurous groups can climb the stairs and launch themselves into the air without the fear of injury because the airbag is there to break the fall. It is impossible to control the direction of the ring so you may as well surrender to the freefall, let it take its course and enjoy the ride! The airtime is the scariest part. Rubber ringers are actually suspended in the air for two or three seconds before plunging into the airbag (possibly face first). So it’s not for the faint-hearted... and if you really want to up the ante, you can even go backwards. The jump will set you back a wallet-friendly €3 and is perfect for a family outing or after-ski session with friends. 

Go off piste with instructors

Les Deux Alpes has an incredible variety of off piste itineraries which are easily accessible from the pistes. I have a competent level of skiing but limited experience off piste so I was intrigued to find out what a day with an instructor would entail. We set out in snowy conditions and my main instruction was to keep my weight in the centre of the skis as opposed to the downhill ski. The snow was fresh and fluffy so falling wasn’t an issue. That was lucky because I fell a lot. It was simply a case of finding a good rhythm, which wasn’t as easy as I had hoped in three feet of fresh snow! If you can, try to avoid losing a ski in powder… we had to launch an epic hunt for a lost ski which had come loose when one of our party took a tumble. It’s also very important to tread carefully as there can be unmarked crevasses or rivers. Slope patrol do their best to keep obstacles marked but in heavy snow, dangers can be hidden. There are lots of fantastic off piste areas which are easily accessible in the resort, but if you are really seeking freeride heaven, La Grave is just over the mountain. Ski Club members can book on to Instructor Led Guiding sessions in L2A.  

 

Party hard at Rise festival

Now in its fifth year, Rise festival transforms the already lively resort into a buzzing haven for snowsports revellers. A huge stage in the main square hosts the opening and closing nights below a sea of twinkling lights. Up on the mountain, Pano bar is full to the brim every afternoon, decked out in flags and showered with confetti guns as the crowds dance away to the DJ perched in a little hut. Crowds of festival-goers dance on tables with a panoramic vista over Les Deux Alpes, the view that gives Pano bar its name. By night, there’s a huge variety of acts to see as the local sports centre hosts big names with a full stage set-up and light show. The festival has morphed from a 4-day event to a week-long extravaganza, with more and more venues and activities being added each year. Rise consistently brings 3,000 people to the resort so it has provided a huge boost to tourism over the years, and it’s not set to slow down. For only €259 for a six-day lift pass and festival ticket, coordinating your ski trip with this high altitude party week might be the all-in après experience you’ve been looking for.

Soar through the skies

Straightlining down the mountain might not seem like your idea of a relaxing activity, but that’s exactly what your instructions will be if you go paragliding. Once you are hooked up to the harness, your instructor will ski downhill directly behind you for a hundred metres or so before your skis leave the ground and the piste flies into the distance. Floating through the air, you will then see the resort from a completely different perspective as you sail above the mountains, taking in their majesty. It truly is magical to float in the wintery air watching the skiers and snowboarders scuttle from piste-to-piste like ants, and an experience like no other. Although the weather wasn’t completely calm when I took to the skies, it was suitable for a flight and I am grateful to Air Ailes Parapente for making the flight possible!  

Sample the local delicacies

You’ll find lots of dining options around L2A to suit any budget. Tribeca is a family-run pizzeria conveniently located opposite The People Hostel. They offer a huge selection of toppings alongside other classic dishes like steak. Like many in-resort eateries, the décor features skiing memorabilia such as intricate light fixtures made of skis and ski boots doubling as plant pots. The venue is a cosy and looks out onto the snowy street so its great for people watching. Another venue not shy of decorations is Chamois Lodge in the centre of town. The owner of Chamois used to work in the Le P'tit Polyte at Chalet Mournier and he was the reason it was given its Michelin star. Now he has opened his own restaurant which caters for people staying in the hotel and it is also open to the public. You’ll find a mixture of dishes including duck, seafood and regional wines. There are a variety of cocktails upstairs and you’ll see trophy chamois heads everywhere, each customised in their own specific style.

For piste-side fuel, stop by Le Diable for a hearty lunch with views over the mountains. De-frost your fingers and toes next to a roaring fire surrounded by chairs and sheepskin rugs and hang any frosty equipment using a basket of pegs. Save the hassle of clumping around in ski boots by leaving them to dry and popping on a pair of slippers provided in a basket. 

Les Deux Alpes is a high altitude resort with a glacier which means you can guarantee skiing whenever you visit. However, it offers so much more to travellers keen to immersive themselves in the culture of the region and seek out new exciting experiences. Find out more in our resort page here.