23rd April 2022 | Jane Peel, Les2Alpes, France
It’s a final spring fling on the slopes for PlanetSKI’s Chief Reporter. A couple of days in the resort that has the highest skiing in France seems as good a place as any to end the season. NEW
Winter in Les2Alpes starts early and ends late.
Its final day of the 2021-22 winter season will be 1st May.
Then it’s only a matter of weeks before it starts up again for glacier skiing and summer activities – re-opening on 28th May.
The skiing here goes up to 3,600 metres.
That’s higher than any of the other famous high altitude resorts in France, such as Tignes and Val Thorens.
So with little more than a week of ‘winter’ left and the temperature at 1,650m in resort several degrees above freezing at 9.30am, I head up the mountain.
All the way to the top.
Well, to 3,400m to be precise as the top drag lift is not open.
There’s the mandatory stop for a photo opportunity at the Belvédère des Ecrins viewpoint.
Then it’s time to see how the snow is holding up.
It’s a little hard underfoot for the first couple of runs but it soon turns into that lovely grippy, cold snow we all love.
The weather is a mix of a few sunny spells and high cloud and the top runs remain in good shape.
Even below the glacier area it’s pleasant spring snow and not too slushy.
We think about skiing top-to-bottom.
I’m told it’s around 11km long.
Even intermediate skiers can take on the challenge as it can be done wholly on blue runs.
But the snow is just too good above 2,000m so we decide to avoid heading back to the resort.
Even though almost everyone here has probably come up high for the best snow, the pistes are quiet now the Easter holidays are over.
At 2pm, it’s time for something different on skis.
Tandem paragliding is a new experience for me.
It’s a little disconcerting pointing my skis straight down a black run – especially one called The Devil.
But they’re not on the ground for long.
If you haven’t done it, I recommend it.
It feels as if you are travelling really slowly.
But we’re actually moving at 35kmh.
Perhaps that’s why I feel a little nauseous as we get to the end of the 10 minute flight.
The queasiness doesn’t last long.
Soon I’m polishing off a delicious late lunch of ravioli with local cheese and mushrooms.
While wearing a rather natty sun hat provided by the restaurant.
Not my usual attire on a ski trip, it must be said.
Long, late lunches are what spring skiing is all about.
It’s gone 4pm by the time we leave the restaurant and, with a food coma about to set in, I decide it’s wise not to risk the slush and I take the chairlift down.
It’s worth it for the view.
They’ve kept a blue run open to resort level for those who choose to use it but there’s no snow either side of it.
Around 60% of the resort’s 96 pistes remain open at this time of year so there’s still plenty of skiing to be had.
I have to say it’s far better than I anticipated for late April.
My first day draws to a close with a visit to the outdoor whirlpool at my hotel, the Chamois Lodge….
… followed by cocktails and tapas at Chez Nous 2.
All in all, it’s been a great day in the mountains.
Check back here on PlanetSKI to see what day two has in store.
For more information, visit the Les2Alpes website.