This is a very important question, especially in Les Deux Alpes, as it can make or break your first day’s skiing.
Without writing a text book, if you read the following you should be fine on your first day!
Firstly, make sure you have the correct lift pass and a full resort lift map to consult if necessary.
If you have the opportunity, visit a ski school welcome talk or just pop into our office to chat to a professional. We will be happy to help you plan your first day itinerary. Look at a local weather report, gain local knowledge and risk factors. Check which lifts are open and closed before setting out for your first day – download the Deux Alpes App on your smartphone for up-to-date information.. Check your equipment and make sure you have found your ski legs on a simple lift in the village before heading anywhere!
As in all resorts, the colours of the marked runs are GREEN, BLUE, RED and BLACK and each run has a number and a name. Green runs are the easiest and are usually ideal for skiers that have done at least one week’s skiing. As you progress, you can move from green to blue, on to red and then black (the steepest).
In Les Deux Alpes, the runs you can see coming back down into the village from altitude are steep; in fact, for the most part they are black runs. If you are not an expert skier these should be avoided on your first day of skiing.
If you are an intermediate skier and above and the weather permits, head straight to the glacier at the very top of the mountain. Here the runs are wide and of an easy gradient, ideal for your first morning of skiing. On the glacier you will not need oxygen masks or crampons! The marked runs there are amazing for most levels of skier - mainly blue, so ideal for getting your skiing legs back. You can access the glacier in more ways than one, but the easiest and most direct route is to take both sections of the main resort cable car “JANDRI EXPRESS” all the way to the top (3200m). Once on the glacier keep going up further, either on the PUY SALIE “T Bar” or the underground train FUNICULAIRE (3421m). Once at the very top you can start your descent! On the glacier you can find one of the widest blue runs in the resort “SIGNAL 1”. The snow on this run is amazing all year round!
Once you have tried the glacier, making your way down on mainly blue runs, you will find yourself at “LA TOURA” (2600m). As well as finding the world famous “SNOW PARK” here, you will also find other blue runs, ideal for your first day’s skiing.
Descending further on blue runs takes you to “LES CRETES” (2100m). Here you will find a couple more green and blue runs, ideal for finishing up your first days skiing. As mentioned above, from 2100m down to village level most of the runs are very steep blacks. If in doubt take one of the many available lifts back into the village. The “VALENTINE” is one very steep black run that brings you back into the village. It is a great black run, but make sure you are ready otherwise it can be dramatic, especially at busy times. If you are unlucky enough to fall you could end up sliding the whole way.
Our advice is to leave the Valentine run until later in the week. If you are looking for a slightly easier option back into the resort you could choose the “VALLONS DU DIABLE” run. This is a new red run at the Venosc end of town: challenging but fun and offering amazing scenery. Easier again, the “JANDRI 1” blue run - brand new last winter - is the best way back to the resort for intermediate skiers. However, it is still pretty challenging for a blue run so for many skiers the best option is still to descend by ski lift.
(Les Cretes 2100m is also a great alternative to start your skiing on the first day if the glacier is shut or visibility is bad). It can be accessed by the White Eggs (Oeufs Blancs) gondola or by a couple of chairlifts from village level.
As you will see on your lift map, from Les Cretes 2100m, there is a green run marked “DEMOISELLES” which shows access back to the resort. In fact, this is only a summer road way, covered with snow in the winter. It is narrow with some drops over the edge and proves very difficult and not enjoyable for any level of skier. Definitely not recommended for beginners, it is best to avoid this run at all times, but especially at the end of the day.
For further resort information or tips, please do not hesitate to visit our in-resort office, located on the main street in Les Deux Alpes.