Downhill skiing & snowboarding
Lift-assisted downhill skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities in Les 2 Alpes. So much so that we could write several guides dedicated to them... and, in fact, we have! Take a look at our Ski Areas, Pistes and Parks Guide where you'll not only find a lot of information on the Les 2 Alpes ski area but also links to many other articles: Ski Lifts Guide, Best Pistes Guide, Snowparks Guide, Beginner Ski Areas Guide, Advanced Ski Areas Guide, Off-Piste Ski Areas Guide, Ski Itineraries Guide and even a guide on the best places to go skiing when the weather is bad.
If you thought skiing was reserved only for winter, think again! In Les 2 Alpes you can head out skiing on the glacier throughout the summer months. Located on the Girose and Mantel glaciers, there are 11 runs open in summer, so you can enjoy a morning of skiing and then an afternoon of hiking. Learn more about summer skiing in Les 2 Alpes.
However, lift-assisted downhill skiing and snowboarding aren't the only things you can do in Les 2 Alpes while having a pair of skis or a board strapped to your feet.
Ski touring & split boarding
Les 2 Alpes is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a backcountry route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group. There are 3 marked ski touring routes in resort: one close to Les Vallons du Diable, one starting from the Super Venoc chairlift and another one starting from the Vallée Blanche chairlift. The mountain guides also organise evening touring sessions for beginners. For those more experienced, some of the most popular ski touring areas in Les 2 Alpes are the mountains of Les Cerces, the Ecrins National Park and Le Queyras.
There are cross-country tracks available in Les 2 Alpes. You can access them at the bottom of the Vallee Blanche chairlift; they are only suitable for skating style as they are shared with walkers so do not have classic tracks in place. The good news is they are free! However, they are not prepared as well as dedicated cross-country tracks so are not suitable for novices. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons.
The best cross-country skiing in the area is a half-hour drive away, in the picturesque village of Villar d’Arene. Situated on the edge of the national park, with a variety of well-maintained tracks and views to die for. There is a 3km, 7km and 10km loop to explore you can get day tickets. Equipment hire and instruction are available in the village. There is also a ‘refuge’ by the car park and you can get a great lunch here by the wood-burning stove.
Heliskiing & heliboarding
Heli-skiing is not permitted in France but there are a couple of companies in Les 2 Alpes offering panoramic helicopter rides that include heliskiing. They pick you up in resort and take you over the border into Italy or Switzerland from where you will ski down accompanied by a mountain guide. It is expensive, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
Ski joering hails from Scandinavia, indeed the word ski joering itself means ski driving in Norwegian. In France, the preferred style is to use a rider-less horse which is controlled by the skier. A rig with reigns is connected to the horse’s bridle and the skier is towed along behind the horse on skis, holding onto the rig. The skier steers with vocal commands and by pulling on lines connected to the horse's bit. It is a sport that is suitable for all ages and rides can be tailored to suit any standard of skier, from a gentle hack to a gallop through the snow.
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached to the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).