French summer glaciers
Les Deux Alps
Les Deux Alpes is among Europe’s largest ski resorts. The summer terrain spreads out on two glaciers?—?the Mont de Lans and the Girose. There are 17 lifts (mainly T-bars) operating, including a speedy underground funicular. Early season the Signal piste is open, which is great for beginners or a warm up shred before the park.
Les Deux Alpes features one of the best and biggest freestyle fun parks in Europe! With beginner, intermediate and advanced areas, you’ll find kickers and spines of different sizes plus all kinds of rails: s-rails, kink-rails, rainbow rails, mailboxes; and of course two large half-pipes!
The main pistes are open between 8-12.15pm with the park lifts open until 1.00pm with access from the centre of town via the Jandri cable car. In the past the lift queues were crazy, but times have changed. You’ll wait not longer than a minute or two to grab a fresh lift to the top of the snow park. Look to head up around 8.15am to miss the early morning race skiers queues for the Jandri and the icy conditions.
Although riders come to Les Deux Alpes for the glacier, the afternoon activities make for a great experience. These include Top Gun style volleyball, white water rafting, adventure park climbing, luge and devil karts. You have the option to chill by the pool, beachside lake or get stuck into something more energetic. The season begins late June until the end of August.
Maverix Snow Ltd
Maverix have been running week long freestyle camps in Les Deux Alpes since 2008. They offer two weeks of camps occurring late June through to mid July. You can expect the highest level of coaching and personal attention as they limit the campers to 8 per week and everyone stays in a specially selected chalet that can offer both private and shared room options.
In addition they partner with DOUK snowboards, so all campers can demo next seasons boards and select a brand new and FREE DOUK board of their choice ready for when they get home. They also run various courses and private coaching in the UK snow centres all year round. Visit www.maverix.org for more information.
Tignes is one of the major snowboard resorts in France, and has long been hosting national and international events. Tignes lies at 2,100m, and is without doubt, the best summer snowboard destination in France and a match for any of the top glacier resorts of Austria and Switzerland.
Access to the glacier area is from 20th June to 30th August and is accessed by taking the underground funicular train located at Val Claret. In the summer, the glacier is home to an area of 130 hectares, 20km of pistes with 750m of vertical. A day lift pass will set you back 31euros and a 6-day pass 154 euros.
The Snowpark in the summer is being geared more towards the beginner & intermediate freestyler, and features a number of kickers and boxes. The halfpipe is no longer there in the summer.
The area is open from June 20th until 30th August
Summer Camp Snocool is now in its eighth year and offers freestyle coaching along with many other balance based sports. There are filmed sessions everyday with viewing at night. There’s a Burton test centre and an occasional visit from a big name French Pro rider. Prices range from 220 euros for instruction only to 599 euros for a week long package, accommodation is in the great Dragon lodge. www.snocool.com
Globalfreestyleski run week long camps from 23rd June until 11th August with prices from 355 euros, www.globalfreestyleski.com
Val d’Isère went against the grain and reopened for summer snowboarding a few years ago on the Pissaillas Glacier.
The resort installed a number of snow cannons for the 2006 season high up on the glacier, and have now re-introduced summer boarding. Its not the easiest glacier to get to, you’ll need to drive to the glacier from town or take a bus from Le Fornet.
Its open from June 27th to July 26th, 2008 and a day pass costs 25 euros