The days are getting longer, temperatures rising. The time has come to switch puffers for shades, and fill the iPod’s with classic summer hits. The summer is all about slush sprays and fun park laps, but with the limited choice of white mountains we have in the summer, where should we go? Like last year we got invited by the fine Italians of Facciosnao, so we got ourselves to Les Deux Alpes.
Luckily most people have figured out by now that Les Deux Alpes is a pretty common place to ride in the summer. The shapers showed what they had in store for us not to long ago. However, most people that have been here before know that the park is very loosely based on the actual plan. It seems like the shapers spit a massive freestyle when putting the obstacles down. Sometimes this means that there is a weird flow to the park, but it also makes it possible to do some creative lines.
We saw the plans this year and got stoked, but we don’t trust these sneaky frenchmen anymore, so we decided to stop by ourselves and thoroughly test the playground.
The Les Deux Alpes glacier is up there at 3600 meters. This means very cold nights, and sunny days. The lifts open around 7pm, when the snow can be super hard for racers to get their carve on, and pipe jocks will enjoy nice icy walls. Around 9 the snow will be be perfect and then get slushier, like it should be in the summer!
The lifts are supposed to close 12.30 to preserve the glacier, but usually they keep running untill 13.00. After that there is plenty of time to hike some features.
A downfall can be the liftlines, the main park T-bar lift breaks down occasionally and the waiting line can get pretty hectic. Luckily the pipes and advanced area of the park got their own lifts now. If you are still not into the waiting game, you can continue down and grab the racer lift, or even take the underground train to the top to the glacier. Plenty of possibilities!
People that have never been to Les Deux Alpes should know one thing though. Due to the nightlife, you will most likely experience the glacier in a semi-conscious state of mind, and it seems like the shapers got that figured out. On sunday we tested out how hangover-proof this park really is. You will not find any real hardcore features, almost everything is shaped to ease into your tricks and go bigger step by step. The jib area is stuffed with boxes in all shapes and sizes, put into one long run of seven features per run to get you plenty of hits to practise your tricks on.
The top features are a a-frame and kinked flat-down box, followed by a banked flatbox, downboxes and two downrails.
Veroniqi Hanssen is a girl that prefers speed and ollies and gaps and puts it all together on the first roller of the park. On the second roller you will find an A-frame, downrail and this banked flatbox that Nikola Petruserbia booms into.
When we say ‘stuffed with boxes’, we do really mean boxes. In fact there are only two rails in the entire park. Two downrails right after eachother, the second a little longer than the first. Monday we tested how these more advanced features worked out for the sober minds. It didn’t take us long to decide that these two downrails where probably the funnest features to hit in the jib area.
In the end the best thing is that you can flow through the park and just hit anything that’s on your way, whether it’s a picnic table, downrail, kinkbox or wall: it’s all there for you to get jiggy with it.
After the first part of the Jibzone, you role straight into a picnic table, rainbow box and tubes, a butterbox and the famous z-rail, followed by two more flatboxes and a side-approach downbox.
On to the jumps, again the shapers did a good job with easing into the big booters. Right next to the jib area you can find the babyjump zone. Five rollers with each two kickers on em, about five meter tables. Then there is a medium line and the big jumps.
Here you can find a few piles of snow to catch some air on. This advanced zone has it’s own lift, but that gets pretty much occupied by racers. We were actually able to snap a little action shot of the second biggest jump. They don’t get hit that often because in general the snow can get pretty slushy and slow. However, if you show up at the right time of day they are super fun!
When you have stomped all your doublecorks you basically ride right into the chillzone. All day long you get lured in by Dj’s playing fresh tunes, the smell of grilled meat and the sight of some chairs after all that hard workout.
Then when you continue to the lift you will pass the pipes. Again there is a small pipe and a megapipe, I don’t know what you want us to say, we grew up indoor and suck at riding pipe, so it’s kind of hard to judge. The small pipe was fun to pop some little grabs out of and stuff though. A big plus is that the halfpipe area has it’s own tow-rope lift, so all you aspiring olympic contestants are able to do non-stop training as long as the lifts run.
All down this is the view of the pipe, doesn’t it look dandy? That’s pretty much as far as the park goes. It’s perfect for doing fun runs and go bigger one step at a time, practising tricks and stuff. However, the more advanced riders that want to get real tech will probably miss the more advanced features.
All in all we where super stoked about the park, and will be back later this summer to enjoy more sunny park laps.
Finally we want to give a massive thanks to the people at Facciosnao for their hospitality. Later this summer we will definitely drop by there again to enjoy the best pasta’s ever and enjoy some fine liquor at the bar. With a miniramp and a big terrace outside, a bar and dinner area inside, a pool table, spa area and plenty of appartments, Facciosnao will keep you chilled 24/7. If you are still looking for a place to camp, I suggest you check em out as well!