The winter is the autopilot for snowboarding. You get the powder and miles and miles of pistes as you build up your ski tracks stats and max speed, but there is a lot to be said for getting out in the summer to combine the awesomeness of snowboarding with the hot slushy sweetness of a summer glacier. Although I’ve headed to Tignes in the summer my top choice has always been Les Deux Alpes.
If you’re unsure of what a summer snowboard holiday could provide here are 5 reasons that will get you thinking about how cool it would be to head out.
1 — Waiting a year to get back on a mountain is way too long
Sure you can book a flight to somewhere in the southern hemisphere, but most boarders are on a budget. If you enjoy the mountains and love to put some real turns in, then waiting nearly a year to get back on the shred is a bit much. Sure we’re super lucky with the domes in the UK, but having some picture of the mountain on the wall does not compare to actually being out there. Plus if you want to perform well in the winter you’ll want want every opportunity to improve your skills. Nothing can make up for getting some decent time on a board.
2 — Epic weather & soft snow
If you want to progress in the park and you’re not as rubbery as a 8 year old, then you’re going to want it to be a little slushy. Sure the features may get a little chopped up over time, but you’ll be thankful that you landed in slush rather than bullet ice when trying those new tricks. With most days in the park being bluebird, you get to warm up on the basics on the lower slopes, whilst waiting for the park to soften. Once that occurs it’s game on.
Once the shred is done you benefit from a great summer weather in the resort with average temperatures in the mid 20’s. You can chill by the pool, stretch out those muscles to help rejuvenate or go for a lovely walk around town, or participate in the tons of activities that the resort has to offer.
3 — You get better quicker
Laps, laps and more laps. The key recipe for progression in snowboarding is lots of reps with someone who knows what they’re talking about to help tweak and perfect those moves. Once you’ve dialled a move you’ll want to build up the size of technicality of the features. This is where Les Deux Alpes (L2A) comes into its own.
The average park in L2A has around 20 jumps of various sizes, generally blocked into sections of 4. They go from 1–2m tables up to 25m pro level jumps. The jumps do not really change. They may get a bit slushy by the end of each day, but then they’ll get reshaped and be ready to ride again the next day.
You have a 1 minute lap, 3 minute wait at the lift, 2 minute ride up and then you drop in again. It’s not difficult to see how you can quickly go through the warm up stage and into solid progression in no time at all. When we run our coaching sessions we generally have clients safely and confidently going from the rookie (1–2m table) to small pro-line (10m table) within a week. Plus the containment of the park allows for different levels of rider to be coached at the same time on different sizes of features. I always hear (from people who haven’t been there) that L2A is really busy and has stupid lift queues. Unless you are looking to hit icy gates with the ski racers at 7:30am this has not been a problem for a few years now. Plus one of the major roads from Italy is still closed, so that has stopped a number of tourists heading over.
4 — Inspirational riders and international pros
You’re local snow centre will have some sick riders, but in general they’re pretty thin on the ground. When you watch decent riders on one level you can be amazed by their skills. On another, you can be inspired and learn from them. It’s so much easier to analyse and learn from decent riders, especially when theres a lot of them around.
The park is also well thought out, if you are riding with people of different abilities then, unless you are hitting the 20 meter jumps you can ride all together.
5 — Adventure holiday — Its not just about the riding
Even though you love snowboarding, you may want a little extra from your holiday especially if you’re exchanging it for a traditional summer holiday. L2A provides so much more than just the pistes. The town is social and relaxed with plenty of cool shops and cafes. The scenery is immense. L2A sits within a valley at 1600m altitude with one end overlooking an epic valley with views for miles. Going for an afternoon walk around the valley is amazing. Plus you have a ton of extra activities to keep your afternoons filled with fun.