SUMMER 2020 RESORT OPENING DATES [MTB from June 27 to August 30] [SUMMER SKI from June 27]

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Learn to ski off-piste

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Off-piste skiing appeals to an increasing number of people every year. But be careful, it’s not something that can be done ‘just like that’. Jean-Pierre Bazet, from Les 2 Alpes Mountain Guides Office has got a few useful Freeriding tips for you.


Jean-Pierre Bazet


- Is the resort of Les 2 Alpes a good location for Freeride skiing?

The resort of Les 2 Alpes is home to one of the largest off-piste playgrounds in France! You’ll be hard pushed to find many other places boasting Freeride areas with a vertical drop of more than 2,300 metres. Generally speaking, these areas are pretty technical. The easier off-piste locations are on the south facing slopes, with descents onto the village of Saint-Christophe en Oisans. Les Travers and the Mantel lakes, which are closer to the resort, are more easily accessible.

- What advice would you give someone who wanted to give it a go?

The most important thing is to have the correct equipment. You must not go off-piste without the strict minimum; a rucksack, AVD (Avalanche Victim Detector), shovel, probe, first aid kit and a means of contacting the ski rescue patrol. Make sure you are fully prepared before you set off: find out about the snow, route and weather conditions in advance (a topo guide is available: L’Alpe d’Huez, Les 2 Alpes, La Grave, by François Ginet and Fabrice Villaret, Editions Vamos). It’s also important to be physically and mentally prepared: off-piste skiing requires a very high level of technique, good muscular strength and a clear understanding of each of your group members and their ability (group leader, level of fitness and technique…).

- Can you tell us a little about Freeride Attitude?

Freeride Attitude is a free activity organised and supervised by the Tourist Office and Les 2 Alpes Mountain Guides Office . The aim is to make skiers aware of the risks related to off-piste skiing and to give them a few tips to help them enjoy it safely. We explain how to recognise different types of snow so that they have a better knowledge of the snow mantel’s diversity, as well as the topography. We also explain how to use the equipment (the AVD in particular) and give them a better understanding of the mountain environment. Freeride Attitude takes place every Tuesday (until 7th April) and participants can sign up at the Tourist Office.

- What off-piste sessions does the Mountain Guides Office offer?

In Les 2 Alpes, we take skiers to the Vallons de la Meije, the vallon de la Selle, Les Travers, la Voute, Chirouze, Chalances…We also organise private and group sessions all over the region for up to 8 people, as well as trips further afield.

- Have you got a final word of advice for any budding freeriders out there?

Yes. Don’t just blindly follow the tracks in front of you! They may take you to highly technical areas that you’re not expecting, such as couloirs or rocky ledges... Tracks made by speed-riders are risky – don’t forget they’ve got a sail behind them! If you haven’t got one you’re not going to fly over those rocky ledges!

Photos : Les 2 Alpes Mountain Guides Office and Sébastien Perrier