© Monica Dalmasso
We’ve been cruising the blues to find itineraries perfect for intermediate skiing.
Les Deux Alpes is often called an upside-down resort, with the wide open blue pistes found right at the top of the mountain. There's a good variety of blue slopes lower down as well, so this tour will take you around the whole resort in a day, with stops for coffee, lunch and a cheeky vin chaud along the way.
There are other ways to explore the mountains, but this is one of our favourite days out, which we're sure you will enjoy. Just be sure to try it early in your time here, as we know you'll want to do it again before you go.
So let's start at the Diable chairlift heading straight to the top of the Crêtes area. You could take the Jandri Express but that has bigger queues in busy weeks.
From the top of the Diable take the Bellecombes 1 green piste to the Bellecombes chairlift. On a clear day, you will get your first views of Mont Blanc from the top of this lift. Turn left at the top and go towards the La Toura mid-station on the snappily named ‘Access La Toura’ piste. Ignore Bellecombes 2 and Bellecombes 3 if you're a blue run skier – both are marked blue but are bordering on red-run steepness. At the mid-station, take the Jandri Express 2 to the glacier.
At the top, take a moment to admire the views... and then turn right and go up the Puy Salié T-bars. If you are not a fan of T-bars, you can take the underground Funniculaire instead.
It's worth taking a detour to the Belvedere des Ecrins – a suspended walkway that juts out over the abyss of the Selle Valley. There is also a viewing platform with a telescope behind the Funiculaire station. Next, carry on uphill via the Col and Lauze T-bars to reach the very top of the ski area at nearly 3,600m.
On top of the world
Now it's time for the ski down.
Take the Lauze piste and keep up some speed at the bottom for the long flat to Puy Salié 1. This skirts the edge of the glacier skiing area to return to the top of the Jandri Express. If you're ready for a coffee or hot chocolate break, there's a little spot here to enjoy a breather whilst on top of the world.
After coffee, take the north-facing Signal 1 piste. This often has the best snow in the resort, along with great views over the Plateau d’Emparis opposite. Be careful on the final section to the Signal chairlift – it looks like you need to schuss but you don’t. Slow down at the warning signs to avoid accidents.
At the top of the chairlift, take the road straight ahead of you to the Glacier 1 piste. Follow this to a fork, then bear left to take Glacier 2. This leads onto the busier Jandri 4 piste where you should stay left to avoid the first steeper section. After a second steeper section, head left onto the bottom of the Toura 2 piste which leads into the Toura bowl.
If you want a detour, take the Toura or Lac Noir chairlift and ski the Lac Noir 1 and 2 pistes. Both are very pleasant, uncrowded blues, if a little on the short side. Just beyond the chairlifts, there is a great place for a large pizza on a sunny terrace. However, it is likely to be too early for lunch on this tour, so we will continue past the restaurant and through the tunnel to the Jandri 3 blue piste.
There is a slight variation on this route for confident blue run skiers, who can take Fée 1 on the right. This is a long, scenic run with alternating sections of very steep and very flat. Continue past the Fée chairlift and take the Thuit-Crêtes chairlift to rejoin our route at Les Crêtes.
Cruising to lunch
For the regular route, stay on the Jandri 3 until you see the Sautet chairlift. Do not take this lift, instead look for a dogleg on the right that lets you avoid a difficult section. Take care below this as many runs converge into a flat section – keep an eye out for other skiers in all directions.
Pass the Bellecombes chairlift and follow the Jandri 2 green run to Les Crêtes. Then stay on the green run to reach the Crêtes chairlift.
Take the Crêtes blue or green run then look for the Jandri 1 piste on the left. This run is the best way down but still difficult for a blue. If you're only just managing to ski blues, the Oeufs Blancs (White Eggs) gondola is a better way down.
Ignore Jandri 1bis and stay on the main Jandri 1 piste until just before it turns steeply left for the last hundred metres. At this point, stay high and cross above the top of the Lutins button lift to reach a gentle green road. When this opens out into the Champamé beginner slope, cross over and look out for the entrance to ‘Access Vallée Blanche’ that is hidden between spruce trees. Take this pleasant green that wanders between chalets and apartment blocks. You will pass a bar on the right – a good place to stop for another coffee or begin your après ski, and then continue to the Côte chairlift.
We're about to cross over to the Vallée Blanche side of the resort, where the blue runs are quite steep. If your legs are feeling tired, you can skip this part by taking the Petite Aiguille chairlift and Demoiselles green run to the centre of town.
Or if not, take the Vallée Blanche 1 piste and the Vallée Blanche chairlift. If you want to spend a bit longer on this side of the mountain, Super Venosc 1 followed by Vallée Blanche 3 makes a nice loop from top to bottom of the Vallée Blanche chairlift.
When you're ready to head home, the Vallée Blanche 1 and Côte pistes will lead you to the Petite Aiguille chairlift and the green run to the bottom of the Jandri Express.
With the blue run tour finished, it is time for some après ski and there are two good choices nearby if you're in the mood for dancing there are DJ bars on the snow front, or if you prefer something calmer, head across the square to the main street where there are plenty of friendly bars to suit all tastes.