Featuring a slew of sports over four days with competitions, big names and a world record attempt, the Deux Alpes Outdoor Festival promises to kick start the summer season in style.
The event is new for this summer, so it will be interesting to see how it lives up to expectations. Judging by the press release, it will be an action filled weekend with something for every lover of mountain sports. The most audacious sounding plan is an attempt on the slackline distance world record, with a slackline running two kilometres between the Crêtes and Vallée Blanche areas.
The main sports featuring in the weekend are mountain biking (downhill and enduro), running (trail and obstacle, skiing and snowboarding, paragliding and of course slackline. There will also be golf, rock climbing, yoga, Zumba and picnics at altitude. Each of the main sports has its own series of events, from initiation sessions to competitions and there are several high profile ambassadors to promote their own sports.
The mountain bikers have three days of riding, incorporating the VTT Opening Party of previous years on the Friday, followed by enduro and downhill competitions over the weekend and a 6am climb to 3200m to watch the sunrise over breakfast.
On the snow there will be parallel slaloms for the skiers and slopestyle for the snowboarders. Down in the village, the Rue des Vikings will play host to a roller-ski slalom competition, which could see some skin left on the tarmac.
Runners have three trail races to choose from, from the short and very steep Lactique Hot Trail (1.5km, 500m vertical up and down), to the 35km Summit Trail (2750m ascent). In between is the Trail de la Fée at 15km/1000m. The Saturday will also see the new Course de Oeuf (obstacle race) featuring 30 obstacles over 11km, with shorter distances for 14-16 year olds and 12-14 year olds.
Paragliding is the one sport of the event which is reserved for professionals with a ‘Pre-World-Cup’ taking place over four days. There will be 80 to 100 pilots flying at once, so this should be a spectacle worth seeing.
The slackline world record attempt might be a highlight, but the whole spectrum of slacklining will be represented, including highlines, waterlines, slack racing and a jumpline demonstration. There will be the opportunity to learn to slackline and those with some experience can try out the different disciplines.
The start of the summer season tends to be the quietest period, despite having the best snow on the glacier. In previous years, the Cranworx mountain bike festival brought people to resort early on in July, but last year felt a bit flat with no really big event to get things going. It looks like the tourist office and lift company have made a big effort to start things with a bang. It is good to see them trying to widen the appeal of the resort by highlighting more of the many activities we have to offer here in the summer.
If you have been thinking about trying summer skiing or lift assisted mountain biking, then this is a great excuse to come to Les Deux Alpes and have a go at both in a festival atmosphere, with plenty of other activities to choose from as well. For more information and booking details go to http://summer.les2alpes.com/en/2-alpes-outdoor-festival.