Space – what distinguishes skiing in the French Alps from skiing elsewhere in Europe.

And it’s not just about the normally large plant size. The thing also is that they often drive in huge snow fields above the forest line, so unobstructed in the form of narrow breaks and often muddy. It has beautiful panoramic views – culminating in some places with views of the highest peak on the continent, the majestic and towering Mont Blanc.

To that frequent sun, she should add a bite of baguette with front cheese and a glass of red wine.

Even this way

Three valleys So intertwined with the elevators that it is theoretically possible to ride prepared roads for about 600 km without loosening the skis – allowing you to advertise the place The largest ski area in the world. Moreover: up to 85 percent. The trails are set at more than 1,800 meters above sea level, which – regardless of the quality of the snow – enhances the impression and provides wonderful views of the surrounding Savoy Alps.

Of course, huge swaths of land await fans off the piste there – they can draw their “lines” on over 10,500 hectares (!) Of powder (some are otherwise secured by avalanches). And only this detail gives an idea of ​​the core of the center and the size of its potentials.

This is also evidenced by the fact that accommodations can be found there either in a valley at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level or at an altitude of 2,300 meters above sea level. If you choose the quiet town of Bridges-les-Bains for the base, then you can reach the slopes (in the center is part of the area, because Meribel) is not a problem thanks to the fast gondola, and at the same time, after skiing, you can use the thermal baths of the good city. Other impressions await him in the Val Turin, that is, 2300 meters above sea level. Here, he moves to the slope directly from his room, near the moon, and is impressed with the power of the Becklett glacier and the three thousand inhabitants of the two oceans – especially Sim de Caron. Then he tries to fall asleep – something some people struggle with, as it is the highest winter station in Europe. However, both options have their charms – I know because I have checked it many times.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced the charm of staying in Courchevel – another of the seven listed stops in the Three Valleys. I just heard that it is easy to meet people from the front pages of the newspapers there – both those who talk about famous actors, singers and crowned presidents, as well as those who are more serious, because they deal with world business and politics and you have to pay dearly for a night in such a neighborhood. Luckily, there are VIPs who not only have fun but ski, too, so there’s a chance you also see them on the slopes of the entire Three Valleys.

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It is also famous for its greatness for its proximity (also Savoyard) Kelly spaceThat is, separated by a rim, but connected by fast lifts, ramps over Tignes and Val d’Isere. Including two glaciers: Grande Motte (by the way one of the most interesting rivers in the Alps, because unlike most of them is steep) and isolated Pissaillas, located at the opposite end of the region (in summer, cyclists race on the Tour de France on the trail At his feet).

Here, too, and most importantly, you usually ride above the jungle line – on enormous open suns (although there are slightly fewer routes than the three valleys, because 300 km, Espace Kelly excels in terms of free possibilities). And from many places, you can also see Mont Blanc!

I’ve been lucky and have enjoyed a couple of consecutive seasons sliding down these slopes perfectly in the company of guides who know them well (Marek Tarnowski and Zislao Adamik worked there as coaches every winter, starting in … the 1960s) – and in my own order, the place is definitely a podium of the best stops.

Espace Killy is also a great ski tradition. The first elevator was built there nearly a hundred years ago. Jean-Claude Kelly grew up in Val d’Isere and then Bravely won, the greatest French Alps in history. Later, moreover, he identified the ways of youth. One of the gates on the steep cliff above Val d’Isere Rocher de Bellevarde can be enjoyed to this day, because in fact … two rocks lie next to each other. These cliffs were, among other things, the arena of alpine struggles at the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games and the 2009 World Cup, and to this day, these games are held year after year for the hills, giants and World Cup giants.

Espace Killy’s landscapes were the set of movies – including. The adventures of James Bond in the movie “Killer View” or the great comedy “Taxi 3”.

While Val d’Isere is near a classical station, Tignes in the high mountains was built almost from scratch. Yes, there was a settlement of sheep herders in the area, but in 1952 it had to make way for a large reservoir of a man-made dam – directly above it were built large residential houses for skiers, of which only a few old houses remained. The construction of this type of sports and tourist complexes in the heart of the mountains was popular in France in the sixties and seventies of the last century. According to some – especially those who saw their iconic example, the La Plagne station – they were jagged blocks of apartments that offend the environment, beauty and common sense. Fortunately, the trend has changed in recent decades: the largest stations are also trying to undergo an architectural transformation, so gradually (for example by covering concrete walls with wood) it acquires an alpine character.

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More sensitive people can spend the night in one of the traditional settlements below. For example, from slopes Alp de Oise – From the leading glacier resorts (due to the hidden calm behind the Sarenne Glacier mountain range), you can use accommodation in the Oz En Oisans climate settlement.

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However, another space provides another major place for the Dolphin Alps, that is Les 2 Alp.

It’s not about the Alpine station itself – it is also quite large (the prepared roads themselves take 398 hectares) and not only deserving of attention due to the glaciers of Girons and the Mont de Lans (otherwise the largest glacier area available for skiing in Europe) – it covered 120 hectares, of which today are about 90 hectares).

But the real treasure lies behind the Pic de La Meije mountain range, which rises above Les 2 Alpes, nearly 4,000 meters above sea level. There it spreads Great land for real and better skiing: Fields of always pristine powder, sometimes interspersed with rock canyons more or less dangerous, and in the end (that is, after covering nearly two thousand meters of difference in levels) capped by forests.

to me Intense – one of The most important free sites in the world. The gigantic area of ​​the canyon is served by only one gondola (weather permitting, you can also get there from the Les 2 Alpes side, as it is pulled by some kind of snow plow / tractor). There are no equipped slopes, such as snow groomers or snowmakers. There are no signs and patrols of rescuers. There are a lot of dangers: avalanches, cracks, lapses, possible sudden changes in the weather, etc., but also the beauty of the mountains or nature, plus the challenge and the multitude of variables in the descent – so it’s an adventure, aside from a dose of understandable respect, happiness. Unlimited I have been there once in my life and I will never forget this trip.

A last but not least note: Nowadays, space skiing, which means less chance of getting stuck in crowded places, also means increased epidemiological safety.

The author, Krzysztof Burnetko, runs the blog “In the snow and the snow” on Polityka and is also the editor of Ski Magazyn.

Article created in collaboration with Traveltrex