Thursday, March 1, 2012

Skiing around Grenoble.

Skiing in the Alps is something I have not experienced before in my life even though I'm a European gal.  I must say that the resorts around here are far superior than Whistler (sorry Whistlerites!) in size, price and # of pubs/restaurants on the slopes.   Grenoble is the hot spot of of all sorts of skiing including ski  touring, alpine skiing, cross country skiing and nordic skiing with three mountain ranges in the vicinity packed with resort after resort as close as 45 minutes from home.  I've bought my first pair of downhill skis this fall since it's totally affordable (60 euros for decent used skis!!) and I must say that my skiing this season has considerably improved compared to my average skiing abilities of the past.  I am nowhere near being a good skier even right now, but I feel like I am more comfortable skiing as a result of all the hours spent on the slopes this year.  So far, I've been skiing at one Austrian resort-  Sankt Johann in Tirol - and several French resorts including La Plagne (Savoy), and all those near Grenoble: Chamrousse, Lans en Vercors, Villard de Lans, le Sept Laux.

My favourite by far was La Plagne because of all the fresh powder we just had upon arrival and all the sweet off-route skiing in the alpine valleys, on the plains and in the forest.  I had my first attempt at real powder skiing with Tommy and we had a blast.  Tommy and I were trying to come up with some comparisons to the amazing snow quality and he called it "the milkshake of fun".

La Plagne ski resort
Tommy shredding some pow!

My classic cross country skis :)
Chamrousse is more of a kid geared resort, as it is small and has many easy-ish routes, so it is very nice for families.  Tommy and Anna have ski school at Chamrousse each Wednesday because on those days, regular school is closed.  While the kids have their lessons, I do some x-country skiing.  One time I went up with the kids for a day when ski school was canceled.  Tommy was skiing a bit too fast, so while I was busy waiting for Anna, he disappeared.  We waited to see if he turns up, but no luck...turns out he remembered my cell phone number which he's seen only once, he went to our car and asked a man in fluent French to call me - so we found each other again...but it cost me my ski poles which someone stole while I went to get Tommy...!!

Hoar ice crystals like diamonds.  These things tend to cause avalanches - but no fear when they're on the flat cross country skiing routes :)

Lans en Vercors is located on "our side" meaning it is in the mountain range where we live,  it's only about 45 mins from our house, and probably the cheapest in the area.  The low price is most likely due to the fact that the resort does not have any chairlifts and is solely using platter lifts (Poma lift).  It's a small resort but decent enough to get good skiing in for one day.

Villard de Lans is also located on "our side" and is a bit further than Lans en Vercors.  It is larger, a bit more expensive and more visited, nevertheless it is very nice and they have 1L of beer for 8 euros which is an awesome deal in France.

Le Sept Laux is not very junior friendly, but has lots of sweet rides for intermediate and extreme skiers.  Lots of steep faces, free riding, and a nice snowpark.  Prices are decent. 

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