Les Deux Alpes
|Les Deux Alpes|
|Nearest city||Grenoble - 71 km (44 mi)|
|Vertical||2,300 m (7,546 ft)|
|Top elevation||3,600 m (11,811 ft)|
|Base elevation||1,300 m (4,265 ft)|
|Skiable area||4.3 km2 (1,063 acres)
of marked pistes
- 21 green
- 47 blue
- 19 red
- 13 black
|Lift system||51 total
- 1 funicular
- 3 cable cars
- 3 gondolas
- 23 chairlifts
- 21 surface lifts
Les Deux Alpes (also Les 2 Alpes or Les 2 Alpes 3600) is a ski resort in the French Isère département. The village sits at 1,650 m (5,413 ft) and lifts run to 3,600 m (11,811 ft). It has the largest skiable glacier in Europe and is France's second oldest ski resort behind Chamonix, where the largest mountain in western Europe is located, Mont Blanc. It has the longest, normally open full on-piste vertical available in the world. It is a 71 km (44 mi) drive southeast of Grenoble.
The "two Alps" in the name do not refer to the two facing mountain-sides that comprise the resort, but rather to two adjacent areas of the original mountain pasture on the north-south plateau on which the resort was built. These pasture areas (or 'alps') are part of the two villages of Mont-de-Lans and Vénosc that lie in the deep valleys, respectively, to the north and south.
Access to the resort is by road from the north - no road connects the resort to Vénosc down the steep slope to the south, but a gondola connects the two, and there is a footpath passable in summer.
Les Deux Alpes offers approximately 220 km (137 mi) of pisted runs and 2,300 m (7,546 ft) of vertical drop. In terms of pistes the resort has been termed "upside-down", as the lower slopes down to the resort are steeper and more challenging than the higher ski areas, including the wide and forgiving glacier runs. Less advanced skiers either take a gondola down to the resort or follow a lengthy, gentle but narrow, track on the path of the access road. In winter 2015/2016 a new run will make an intermediate route to the resort available, an effort involving the movement of over 550,000 cubic meters of earth. A wide area at the very bottom by the town is given over to nursery slopes. In total there are 100 marked runs spread across the resort however, in addition, it is said to have as much off piste as groomed piste.
Les Deux Alpes also boasts one of the most extensive and revered snowparks in Europe, with a halfpipe, multiple kickers, two boardercross courses and many grinding rails. The snowpark is re-modelled with new features added each season.
The lift system has a combined up hill capacity of 66,000 people per hour. In total there are 51 lifts serving the resort. At peak times lift queues can be very long, and it can take over an hour to travel from the village to the top of the glacier, which is sometimes closed due to blizzards, high winds, avalanche risks, or a combination of both.
The resort of La Grave can be accessed from the very top lift at the Dome de la Lauze by either walking or at certain times by ski-tow behind a Snowcat. It is only recommended for advanced skiers under supervision of a qualified guide.
A part of the Grande Galaxie area of un-linked ski resorts including Alpe d'Huez, La Grave, Puy Saint Vincent and Vaujany which offer limited sharing of ski-passes. A six-day ski pass includes two days in Alpe d'Huez and one in Serre Chevalier. Ski passes in the resort can now be used hands free.
The glacier enables year-round skiing (although the lifts are only open from mid-June to the end of August in Summer and December to end of April in Winter with some dates in October too). A funicular railway tunnelled under the ice transports skiers and, in summer, tourists to 3,450 m (11,319 ft), from where panoramic views can be seen of the surroundings, including Mont Blanc, some 100 km (62 mi) distant, L'Alpe d'Huez and the Plateau de Vercors above Grenoble.
In summer, Les Deux Alpes becomes a popular venue for downhill and freeride mountain biking, with access to the glacier via the Jandri Express gondola lift. This opens up a vertical mile of trails down to the resort and an even bigger drop to the Barrage du Chambon. Les Deux Alpes has featured in several Tour De France stages and is associated with a Marco Pantani memorial event annually. Some mountain bikers take the 15 km unpaved road, which leads from Les Deux Alpes all the way up to the ski resort, thereby being the highest mountain road in the Alps. The altitude difference of 1550 m, several very steep passages, as well as the coarse gravel on the road make this a very demanding trip. Les Deux Alpes also has the largest skiable glacier in Europe. Summer skiing in Les 2 Alpes takes place between 2,800 m (9,186 ft) and 3,600 m (11,811 ft) on the Girose and Mont de Lans glaciers above the resort. The summer ski area is open between June and September. 110 ha (272 acres) of ski area is there for ski enthusiasts. Les Deux Alpes is one of the few remaining resorts where you can ski in the summer.
- "The world's biggest lift-served verticals". onthesnow.co.uk. 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
- Les Deux Alpes. "Ski Les Deux-Alpes: resort guide". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- "Lift Capacity". Ifyouski.com. 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- "Bicycling mountain roads and passes". www.passzwang.de. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- "Summer Ski, Skiing and Snowboarding on snow glacier in France with". Summerski.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
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