Non-skier things to do in Les 2 Alpes
When your family and friends want to go skiing, but it really isn't your cup of tea, don't panic. You don't have to ski or snowboard to enjoy a memorable holiday in a ski resort.
Whilst Les Deux Alpes is a great place to come skiing, there are many activities here to suit a non-skier of all ages and tastes.
Here are some great ideas for you:
- Buy a pedestrian pass and jump on a lift
- Go to après-ski along with everyone else
- Ride a skidoo, horse drawn sleigh or huskies
- Book a tandem flight
- Go snowshoeing or ski-touring
- Go to the sports centre
- Visit a spa for some relaxation
- Book a restaurant for lunch
- Visit a museum or see a film
- Learn nordic skiing - you might just like it!
Snow fun without the skis
Buy a pedestrian pass
Enjoy the mountains as a non-skier by buying a pedestrian lift pass. It provides access to many activities, including the lifts up to the glacier, down to Venosc and Mont de Lans, and to many mountain restaurants. Over half of the mountain restaurants can be reached on foot by ski lift, so it's entirely possible to meet up with your family and friends for some fine dining. An energetic option is to take the half hour walk up the Vallée Blanche slopes to the Kanata restaurant, to enjoy an inviting open fire and farmhouse atmosphere. There is a signposted pedestrian route, but good hiking boots or snowshoes are still a must.
The panoramic views from the Deux Alpes glacier are truly spectacular, and the good news is that you can get there without skis by taking the Jandri Express as a pedestrian to 3,200m. Look over to Mont Blanc on your left as you arrive, before turning right to head for the lift marked Ascenseur Funiculaire. This will take you to the underground funicular railway and the viewpoint at 3,400m. The viewing platform is equipped with a telescope, and the names of the visible mountains are marked. The Skywalk is a bridge above the void, not for those with a fear of heights. Follow the track from the viewing platform to reach it. Don’t forget to visit the ice caves at 3,200m on the way back down. The entrance is on your right as you head back to the Jandri.
The unspoilt alpine village of Venosc is easily accessed by gondola. When you get there, follow the winding cobbled streets up the hillside and wander past artisanal shops and the odd traditional restaurant to take in the atmosphere of the Alps of a different era. At the other end of Deux Alpes, a two-man chairlift takes you to the village of Mont de Lans. The market here is open every Wednesday morning selling traditional local produce. On market days there is a free bus from Les Deux Alpes Information Point near Bus Stop 1, and you can make the most of the trip with a visit to the museum afterwards.
Always dress for the weather - layers are the key, sunglasses and sun cream are vital even on a cloudy day. Stick to the trails, respect the environment and be aware of changing conditions.
Après-ski with everyone else
You don't have to ski to enjoy "après-ski". Meet up with the rest of your group in a local bar and share stories from your day over a beer. Or head to the local ice skating rink for a fun evening set beneath the snow-clad Alps. Located beside the main square, some days it is reserved for Ice Gliders, basically dodgem cars on ice - another fun activity you don’t need skis for. Alternatively, grab a sled and head to one of the three toboggan runs located at the foot of the slopes, where access is free.
Drive a dog sled or skidoo
Whether on a sedate sledge drawn by horses, a faster one pulled by huskies, or riding your own skidoo, there is an excursion choice to suit all levels of adrenaline. Horse-drawn sledge rides depart from the Parking de la Passerelle, the huskies are based at La Moliere, and skidoo trips run in the evening from beside the Lutins ski lift. Electric fat-bike trips are also available.
Book a tandem flight
Take to the skies for a bird's eye view of the mountains with a tandem paragliding flight, or book yourself onto a helicopter tour.
Snowshoeing and ski-touring
You can really get away from it all and disappear into nature on some snowshoes (raquettes). Book a snowshoe excursion with an activity company to see a side of the mountains that most skiers will never see. Full-day, half-day and night-time options are available to take you into the heart of the Oisans – from the highest peaks to the wildest valleys. Equipment and transport are usually included, check when you book.
If you've decided the days of skiing up the mountain all-day, every-day, are well behind you, those with previous skiing / snowboarding experience could try ski touring. There are three marked ski touring routes in resort, and it's a great way to work up a sweat, earning your burger whilst the rest of the world takes the lifts. Hire a guide and pull on some skins for an adventure away from the madding crowd.
Not just a ski resort
Les 2 Alpes is so much more than a ski resort. In fact, you can really have a great time here without setting foot on a lift.
Go for a swim
The town boasts two swimming pools – an outdoor one in the centre and another in the Espace 1800 sports centre. The outdoor pool is at the foot of the slopes, so you can watch people skiing down at the end of the afternoon. The latter also offers squash courts and a gym, while both have a sauna and jacuzzi. The Amphibia sports hall has courts marked for badminton, basketball and football along with a small bouldering wall. So don't forget to pack your gym kit and a swimsuit (speedo-style only boys).
Book a treatment at the spa
Or if all of that sounds far too active and you really just want to pamper yourself and read your book, or stare at the view, there are numerous spas and treatment rooms you can enjoy. Many hotels have luxury spas which are open to non-guests, the two public pools have relaxation areas and spa treatments, and mobile massage companies will arrange to visit you at your chalet or apartment.
Book a table
And when you feel hungry, enjoy some slap up French cuisine with a glass of fine local wine - you deserve it. Many local restaurants have well priced lunchtime set menus offering the same cuisine as their main menus, but often with considerable discounts. Some offer wine tasting sessions also.
Visit a museum or go see a film
The Oisans region is full of museums devoted to local history and culture. Down in Mont de Lans, the Musée Chasal Lento is a five-minute drive from Les Deux Alpes. The museum is free to enter and has exhibits describing everyday life in the region from Roman times right up to the construction of the ski lifts. Or drop into the local cinema, grab a box of popcorn and catch up on the latest releases - look for VOST or VO (version originale) for English language films.
Skiing, but not skiing
Still looking for something to occupy your time? There's always cross-country skiing to try. An extremely popular mountain sport, known as 'ski de fond' in France, there are cross-country tracks available in Les 2 Alpes at the bottom of the Vallée Blanche chairlift. They are suitable for skating style only, but they're free to use and you can hire the gear locally and cheaply. The best area for cross-country skiing is in the nearby picturesque village of Villar d'Arene, you can hire equipment and arrange lessons locally, and the views are to die for!
As you can see there is more than enough to keep you occupied here during a no-ski skiing holiday. So unpack all those books you planned on reading, you simply won't have time.
2 Alpes, Les 2 Alpes