If country roads really will take us home, then they are leading to Les Deux Alpes. L2A has a special place in our hearts here at AfterJam, having been the result of many a good time - we’re heading there this summer to host a freestyle camp and general sunshine snow break this July. If you want to see what happened the last time we ventured here during the summer months, disgust yourselves via the video below.
The base of the resort is situated between two skiable mountains, with the town situated at a level of 1650 metres, but a large gondola (the Jandri) takes you up to the main ski area on the glacier at 3200 metres. This is a long way from its simple beginnings as a single rope tow that shredded itself in 30 minutes way back in 1934! There are beginner runs down the base with more up to date drag lifts but these only tend to be used once there is enough snow pack down to town, for the rest of the time and to get any distance you will be heading up said Jandri lift or Les Oeufs Blanc (the white eggs) which are just next to the Jandri lift in the centre of town, or The Diable chairlift at the extremity of the resort. The egg lift is affectionately known amongst a few as the love eggs due to their small size and slow ascent time, use your imagination. The other hill is the Valley Blanche sector. There needs to be a good dump of snow before they open the lifts but, when they do, get the crew over there as you tend to have the slopes to yourselves and the opportunity to have a tonne of good shredding.
L2A has over 220km of pistes which wind through an area of 425 hectares. There are 47 lifts and a funicular on the glacier giving you the best access to the 96 pistes. L2A also boasts an eye-watering 2200metres long piste, starting at the top of the glacier and ending up at the town. Definitely one for the hardcore skiers and snowboarders, or to settle the who buys the first-round question by having a balls to the wall race all the way down to Umbrella après bar, which we will be covering later on!
Like we said, we are holding our new summer freestyle camp in Les Deux Alpes in July, “BuT tHeRe Is No SnOw In JuLy!!”, wrong. Les Deux Alpes has the unique ability to offer summer shredding due to it’s pretty large glacier which start at 3200 metres above sea level! During the summer season the park crew are out every day pulling out all the stops to ensure the 2Alpes park attracts some of the best riders from around the world that are keen for a sunny slide. They also attract ski and race teams that are looking to get some off-season training before the new tour starts. The awesome thing is that you can spend the day riding in the sun and then go and get lean by the lake or in the skate park with some beers before hitting the town!
Deux Alpes has a vibrant and exciting nightlife with a great selection of bars up and down the resort. Whether you are looking for a quiet pint after a long day or starting off with a game of rage cage before a big ol’ night out, there is something for everyone throughout all hours of darkness until the sun starts to rise.
A go to seasonaire favourite is the famed Smithy’s. This bar proves that if you want to bin off the UK to open a bar in the Alps you can absolutely smash it with the right drive and guts. The massive building is fully decked out with wood giving it a super cool chalet vibe that makes you feel right at home as soon as you walk through the door. With a long ass bar down the length of the main room and another smaller bar upstairs it never takes long for you to get a drink when it’s busy. During the afternoon hours when it’s quiet you can head to Smithy’s for some chilled après beers or a naughty game of rage cage if you have a hinkering for a drinkering and want to get the night off to a ‘good’ start. Having their own DJ’s and live music throughout the week the vibe is always high and the floor is bouncing!
If you feel like continuing with the wooden chalet vibes but introducing multiple types of flavoured vodka then it’s time to head left up the street to Polar Bear, you can’t really miss it, there are two big Polar Bear statues out the front and some hella cool wooden features inside this cosy place. Jukeboxx, Winsdor and Saloon (previously Smokey Joes) are also definitely worth a mention in this segment and you’d rue not giving these a visit at some point during a trip.
There are two main club venues in Deux Alpes. First off, next to Smithy's, you’d never want to get caught in one - it’s L’Avalanche. Run by everyone’s favourite suit, this late-night venue has seen the likes of Haai, George Gates and Cirque du Soul grace it’s decks. The dual dancing poles looking over the main dance floor are guaranteed to either cause entertainment or disgust… completely depends on the night. An interesting development, for those that know the resort well, what used to be Mini Bar (which used to pump out the filthy DnB) is becoming a cheeky beer garden extension for Smithy's to do some naughty BBQs and chargrills in!
The second is Bresilian, a wicked little venue further down the road and round the corner, one that pops till the early hours of the morn and can throw up a real funky night! A favourite amongst the student groups when they’re in resort so you’ll definitely spot a few getting weird in here on the regular.
Le Trappeur does awesome traditional mountain food, we’re talking cheese for days. Le Raisin d’Ours is another mountain food spot worth checking out. If it’s a burger that tickles your fancy though The Spot can almost boast the best in resort. The ‘build your own’ options are incredible, they also do a build your own breakfast if you have that special something that you need to cure a hangover. The spot is also a great place to go for a civilised drink with their chilled out vibe and background beats, it makes for a nice change. The Soul Kitchen is a great for veggies, which, if you swing that way, you’ll know is pretty hard to come by in France. Weirdly Brasillian does surprisingly good Thai food, didn't see that coming. For pizza lovers Vetrata is the place to head, or Chez Angelo despite being possibly the smallest restaurant in L2A, does some great pizza. We’d recommend just getting it to take away if you’re picking Chez Angelo though.
However, 100% our favourite place to grab a bite to eat in resort is Le Takeaway. This lovely little establishment located on the main road is home to some incredible burgers, crêpes, and way more. To top this off... it also has the cheapest beer in resort! Honestly, we head here after every session we've had up the mountain and enjoy lounging on their deck for a couple of hours at least, so much so that we've actually now got a 10% discount on food and drinks that we've been lucky enough to pass onto everyone attending our freestyle camp in July!
Obviously it’s pretty sweet that you can go from the top the bottom in one long hit, but you can also stay on the glacier and lap the t-bar, or head down from the upper Jandri towards the park and Pano over some amazing natural rollers and steep straights, and anything in between! But another favourite is Pierre Grosse 2. A hidden away black run that’s basically a safe off piste, the snow is consistently good and there are some nice booters along the way.
In the summer, the park rests up the glacier at 3600m and has gained the reputation of being one of the best summer freestyle destinations in the world. The glacier (in summer) has a beginners area with two lines of three kickers and one of some nice intro boxes. There is then a kicker/tabletops area with up to four lines of three or four features as well as a more advanced area of boxes and rails. Two pipes of advanced and intermediate standard finishes the area off.
And winter? It moves back down the hill to 2600m and becomes Freestyle Land. There’s something for all levels. For beginners the family cross (boardercross) and the easy park run are next to each other.
For intermediates the progress park is where to head. With a slopestyle format it has a mixture of kickers, rails and a quarter pipe.
Want to go bigger? Park Avenue is the one. With an urban theme there are more box and rail features, as well as a wall ride. The slopestyle is a line of four table tops where the kickers and rails are built. The big air which sits next to the slopestyle is huge and not for the faint hearted.
L2A plays host the mighty Rise Festival in normally the second week of December. Spanning the week, with an outdoor main stage and converting the sports hall into an enormous venue, you’re extremely hard pushed to find bigger DJs bringing serious heat on a weeklong basis. The party isn’t confined to the bottom of the hill. Pano Bar is the main après venue just across from the first stop on the Jandri. With a strong team of resident DJs as well as international power houses such as Redlight, Craig Charles, and the Artful Dodger to mention but a few - it always goes off. The main park runs competitions throughout the year such as a large hip comp in February and the SnowJam which is held in April, expect sun, big sends and a big ol’ sound system blasting out some of your favourite riding tunes! After the SnowJam they organise a big open-air party for all the riders and spectators alike! In March the SnowZone Electro gets down, more music and skiing. This summer we’ll be taking over the glacier with our highly anticipated freestyle week and will have a solid week of throwing down interspersed with some lit events. Check out the link here for more info on that tastiness:
We’ve covered the snowpark side of summer fairly well we think, but if it isn’t engrained already – it’s pretty damn mega. This only scrapes the surface of what L2A is about during the summer season though. The glacier up top shuts at about 2pm (ish – depends on the day-to-day snow conditions), after this closes the party doesn’t stop. There are a ridiculous amount of activities to keep you going down in the town and on the mountain. Mountain biking is offered all day long, and it’s a sweet location for it, we’re going to keep it real with you though; it’s no Morzine. Saying that, it does come close and it offers a hell of a lot – a big array of beginner and pro trails to keep you exploring all week. Included in all lift pass purchases is access to big selection of activities including; tennis, golf, luging, mountain biking, swimming, to name but a few! You are honestly hard pushed to find a vibe like you do in L2A in the summer, everyone in town is on the same chill wave and are just after having some fun and enjoying what seems to be the best of a winter holiday and a summer holiday rolled into one. Who doesn’t love a good bit of t-shirt skiing followed by some backflips into the lake half an hour later?!
Your friendly neighbourhood resort guide team Ed & Kiri, with some help from L2A local and AJ Ambassador Ella, checking out! Peace.