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Monday June 26, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Glacier resorts are open across the Alps as summer skiing is underway. PlanetSKI reports from Les2Alpes on all things summer.

I have been looking forward to this day since the beginning of May when my ski season of 2016/17 ended. 

Ahead of me is a morning of skiing and an afternoon of downhill mountain biking.  

For those of you unfamiliar with summer glacier skiing you need to get up early.

Very early.

Otherwise you comes across queues like this.

Popular spot!Popular spot!
















Because by mid to late morning the snow and ice turns to slush - especially at the moment with the heatwave across Europe.

We left the green landscape around the resort and it gradually changed as we went from 1,600m to 3,200m.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















And then I was at the top - minutes away from starting my summer ski season.



The glacier awaitsThe glacier awaits
















I'm back in my natural habitat. Cool

Yours truly in heavenYours truly in heaven
















Les2Alpes is one of my summer ski resorts of choice and I have been here several times before.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















Sadly it is not as good as it usually is at this time of year.  

There was poor snow last autumn - the first fall normally puts a cap over the surface of the glacier and once it freezes protects what is underneath.

Then there were generally poor levels of snow across last winter and much of the late season snow in April melted.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2 Alpes, France
















But in many ways it doesn't matter. 

Glacier skiing is about making a few turns, the novelty factor and simply being out on snow in the summer.

There is a party atmosphere out on the slopes around the fun park:

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















>Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France















Summer skiing

  • The glacier opens every day from 7 to 12.30pm
  • There are 111 hectares of slopes: 9 blue runs, 1 green run, 1 red run, a beginner area, freestyle area and a freeride area
  • The glacier is at 3,200m and is accessible from the resort via a 30minute ride with the Jandri Express cable car
  • 17 lifts are open in the summer (48 in the winter): 2 gondolas, 1 cable car, 2 chairlifts, 8 draglifts, 2 small lifts for beginners and 1 funicular
  • There is a restaurant on the glacier called LE 3200 which is open all summer
  • Skis, boards and boots can be hired in the resort
  • 50 ski and snowboard instructors work on the glacier in the summer
  • Tip Top Ski Coachingoffers GAP Program - BASI levels 1 and 2. 
  • Ski pass (the ski pass can also be used to access the Bike Park) Adult: €40.10 per day - €200.50 for 6 days Children (5 to 12 years old): €32.10 - €160.50 for 6 days  

Top of the glacier - 3,600mTop of the glacier - 3,600m
















This time there is the added attraction of the resort's inaugural Mountain Festival.

And up on the glacier itself a new luge track has been added this summer for added fun.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















At this time of year I often bump into friends and like minded people - this time it was Federico Querio from Italy.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France

















I last skied with Federico Queiro in La Grave a couple of winters ago.

What a day that was!

And the No1 British ski cross racer, Emily Sarsfield, was out training with other members of the GB squad. 

GB X team with Emily on the leftGB X team with Emily on the left














By utter co-incidence we were both staying in the same hotel. 

See this related PlanetSKI story with a video interview with Emily about what she is up to ahead of the Olympic season of 2017/18.

She is not the only athlete out here.

The weekend saw thousands out on the glacier - many are racers. 

From national teams to local clubs.    

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France
















And then of course it is worth being up on the glacier for some summer views of the Alps from 3,400m.

But the warm weather quickly took its toll.

On one T-bar there was a watery obstacle to overcome:

Others avoided it:   

And others enjoyed it:

There is no getting away from it that this glacier and all the others across the Alps, are melting at an alarming rate.

Some think the life of summer glacier skiing will is in terminal decline.

Sadly I am one of them.

My whole-hearted recommendation is try a spot of summer glacier skiing while you can.

It is an endangered pastime that will likely not be possible in the decades to come.

Once it is gone it is unlikely to be back anytime soon.

Later this summer on PlanetSKI I shall be speaking to the experts and looking at the impact of climate change on summer glacier skiing in the Alps, so keep an eye open for that news article.

In the meantime it is still possible.

And though you can't ski into afternoon there is an altogether agreeable alternative.

Yours truly on 2 wheelsYours truly on 2 wheels
















On yer bikeOn yer bike
















I will be recounting my downhill mountain bike experiences in my next blog. 

Have a great summer everyone! 

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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