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Les Deux Alpes in December 2019 – What weather to expect & what to do

Opening parties, music festivals and on-slope events

Featured in: | Ian Huyton, Les 2 Alpes Reporter | Published
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This winter, Les Deux Alpes opens its doors to skiers on Saturday, November 30th. Conditions are looking good with plenty of snow on the mountains and in the town. Two big new ski lifts are in place – the eight-seater chairlift on Les Crêtes is ready to go and the Pierre-Grosse high-speed gondola will provide an alternative route to the glacier.

Early season skiing is a great way to beat the crowds. December before the Christmas holidays is one of the quietest times of the year. You can expect cold, crisp weather and short queues. Off the slopes, there will be plenty of entertainment in the form of opening parties and the annual Rise Festival.

We’ll cover the first three weeks of the season here. Watch out for our forthcoming article on the Christmas and New Year festivities in Les Deux Alpes

December snow & weather conditions in Les Deux Alpes

One downside of December skiing is that snow conditions can sometimes be poor. Happily, this year we already have plenty of snow right down to the town and more is forecast over the next few days. December is usually the coldest month of the winter season, so the snow we have should stick around whatever happens over the next month. The glacier skiing at over 3000 metres guarantees good snow but can be extremely cold, so be sure to pack lots of warm layers.

December days are short and night falls quickly after the lifts close. One of my highlights is standing at the top of a run in the late afternoon sunshine, before descending into the dusk below. A few minutes later, you can be drinking mulled wine by an open fire as it grows dark outside.

Weather in Les 2 Alpes

What to do in Les 2 Alpes in December

Les Deux Alpes has a huge range of activities to try out, both on and off the snow. You can ride a horse-drawn sleigh, snowmobile or husky sled. There are swimming pools, gyms, spas and an ice rink. Two lifts down from the village allow you to explore the local heritage through artisanal shops and a local history museum.

On the slopes, the weekly events include learning how the glacier funicular works on Tuesdays and Fridays, opening the pistes with the ski patrol on Wednesdays and riding in a piste basher on Thursdays. There is a world-class freestyle park, two avalanche transceiver practice parks, an ice cave, and some great mountain restaurants to explore.

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December events in Les Deux Alpes

Now in its sixth year, Rise Festival (December 14th-21st) is becoming something of a fixture on the Deux Alpes calendar. Previous years have hosted some big names, such as Craig David, Clean Bandit, Sigma, Annie Mac and more. The main events take place on a stage in the town square and in the indoor Rise Arena. The festival is about more than the main venues though, bars around town and on the mountain will be getting involved and there will be a full programme of snowy activities as well. This year’s lineup includes Chase & Status, Solardo, Michael Bibi, Horse Meat Disco, Distinkt and the return of The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club.

Events in Les 2 Alpes

Early December is when the resort’s bars and venues re-open for the winter. This is a chance for new staff to meet each other and get into the swing of things before the holidays. It is also a friendly competition as to who can throw the best party. Often news spreads by word-of-mouth, so the best way to find the parties is to ask a friendly barperson or resort worker.

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Cementing Les Deux Alpes’ growing reputation as a top class, snow-sure resort, the annual avalanche rescue dog training course is accompanied this year by a six-week portion of the French ski patrollers training course. For the fourteenth year, the national association for the study of snow and avalanches – A.N.E.N.A. – brings together mountain professionals and their dogs from across France, Spain and Andorra. The two-week avalanche rescue training course runs from December 2nd. The training usually takes place on the glacier, so early season visitors will have a good chance of seeing the dogs and their masters out practicing.

Already in resort, DSFF – the French ski areas’ training association, is mid-way through delivering six weeks of ski patroller instruction which will finish in mid-December. Visitors might witness the spectacle of multiple simulated casualties being stretchered down the pistes. Don’t be alarmed, this is all part of the training. On completion of their qualifications, these new ski patrollers will be keeping people safe at ski resorts all over France.

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Read more from our reporter Ian on his website.

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Whether you want to get the first tracks of the new winter or enjoy some parties and live DJ sets, December is a great time to ski in Les Deux Alpes. Perhaps the biggest bonus is getting back home to tell your envious friends that you’ve already been on the slopes and it isn’t even Christmas yet.

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