Les Deux Alpes – European Resort of the Year

In November 2015, Les Deux Alpes in France was voted European Resort of the Year, at the World Snow Awards ceremony

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By Will Corder in Les Deux Alpes

Well, after a slow start across the Alps, the snow has arrived here in Les Deux Alpes we are now enjoying beautiful blue skies with perfect skiing conditions. So while you are searching for your winter ski holiday, it is worth remembering that in November 2015, Les Deux Alpes was voted European resort of the year at the World Snow Awards at the London Ski and Snowboard awards.

This award is a recognition of the fantastic variety and scale of skiing available in the resort. Although not as large as some of the interconnected resorts available across the Alps, the 220km of marked piste is more than enough for most holiday makers. If this is not enough, then included on your 6 day ski pass are 2 free days skiing in neighbouring resort Alpe d’huez, which can be reached either by a shuttle bus, or if you fancy doing it in style, but helicopter transfer.

One of the significant benefits of Les Deux alpes is the amount of easy skiing above 3000 meters, a domain that is usually reserved for the best skiers. Here even the newest of skiers get to experience that top of the world feeling and the best of the snow conditions. In the summer this area doubles as Europe’s largest skiable glacier and a world centre for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. During the winter the  Freestyle and terrain parks (slide zones) move down to more sheltered positions, dotted all over the resort and offer perfectly maintained kickers, rails, pipes, cross tracks and even an airbag to safely practice your jumps.

snowboard_lesDeuxAlpes
2alpes-snowpark.com

For the more adventurous, Les Deux Alpe backs onto La Grave, one of the last true ski wildernesses of the Alps, which offers north face skiing from 3600 meters on terrain which is left entirely for off piste and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. This area is only for expert skiers and snowboarders and it is advised that you only venture there with a guide and full avalanche kit such as transceivers, shovels and probes. For top quality ski guiding and free ride courses take a look at the British Alpine Ski School.

Since being taken over by the Compagnie des Alpes a few years ago, much has been spent on the resort infrastructure. Most noticeably are the vast amount of snow making facilities present to keep the resort running even on the leanest of snow years. During the early weeks of both the 2014/15 and this season, when snow was sparse through out the Alps, coach loads of tourists were being shipped in to Les Deux Alps, when other resorts had to remain closed.

Polar bear
The Polar Bear – Les Deux Alpes

Once your ski day is over, the party starts, first with the daily après ski piste party at the Pano Bar at 2600m, with live DJ sets from 15h – 17h. Then its down for more live music at one of the many popular bars in the resort such as the Polar Bear, or Smokie Joes who have live acres ski music and serve their own locally brewed beers. During the later evening Smithies Tavern is highly recommended before dancing into the small ours in L’Avalanche Club.

Not resting on the accolades bestowed in 2015, this year Les Deux Alpes has addressed it’s only former negative issue by building the Jandri 1 blue run, creating a much needed easy return to resort piste option. In addition in the coming years it has been decided that Les Dexu Alpes and Alpe d’hues will build a huge gondola system which will link the two resorts, resulting on one of the largest linked ski resorts in the world.

But for now, if you were keen to discover this world class resort and were looking accommodation option in the area here are a selection of options for you.

Catered of Self-catered chalet sleeps 14+
2 Bedroom (+ mezzanine) sleeps 7
2 Bedroom Chalet sleeps 5
Studio sleeps 2

Alternatively send us an enquiry to enquiries@bikelodging.com

Tour de France – Alpe d’Huez available hotels and accommodation

Bike Hotels Tour de France – Stage 20 Alpe d’Huez

Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez
Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez

So the Tour is well under way and making its way south. Next week sees some spectacular stages in the Pyrenees, before heading to the Alps for the third week culminating in the final mountain stage finish up the twenty one hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez. Such is the popularity of this stage, that spectators keen to reserve the best places on the famous climb have already claimed their place on the hill with the intent to stay there until the stage on the 25th July. By this time the numbers of cycling fans lining the route is the topic of much speculation, but some estimates are for up to 1 million, but more realistic figures are for around 400’000 people.

Those lucky enough to be following the Tour with camper vans can benefit from the relaxed rules about camping on the side of the road. However those looking for last minutes beds in the region will struggle at this late stage.

Thanks fully Bike Lodging still have a couple of interesting available options within a short ride of the Alpe d’Huez climb as well as a couple of other stages earlier in the week.

La Danchere Lodge – A great value option in a charming hotel at the entrance to the Ecrins National Park. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens with a public bar, which are one of the nicest places to relax even during the busiest weeks in the region. Half-board prices are from €75 per night with a minimum stay of 4 nights.

La Danchere Lodge
La Danchere Lodge

We have a selection of other places available in the Bourg d’Oisans/Alpe d’Huez region, so do please get in contact for other options.

Bike Lodgingenquiries@bikelodging.com

Tunnel du Chambon closed. Revised opening dates, ferry and new road

8 July 2015 update to the Tunnel du Chambon and the impact on the Tour de France.

The latest on the Tunnel du Chambon is that work on the tunnel has totally stopped, since they expect the side of the mountain above to fall at any moment. Small sections of rock have already fallen and some people are camped up high on the far side of the reservoir hoping to witness the collapse of the mountain. Access to the path on the far side is strictly closed and the ferry service has been stopped due to the fear of waves that would be caused by the rockfall. Local residence below the dam have been warned to keep doors and windows closed in the event of warning sirens, in the unlikely event that a wave could flow over the dam and flood villages downstream. A helicopter service has been put in place available to locals trapped on the far side in the case of emergencies.

The area of unstable rock is about25 – 30 metres deep and 600k to 1 million cubic metres. Since April it had been moving between 5 to 10 cm per day. More recently it been moving at 12 cm to 15 cm per day.  Since 2nd July a  section of 100k cubic tonnes has been moving at 25 cm per day which is looking like the first area to slide..

As an impact of this road closure Stage 20 of the Tour de France on the 25th July between Modane and Alpe d’Huez no longer passes over the Col du Galibier, but via the Col de la Croix du Fer.

Tour du Plateau d'Emparis - Bike Oisans
Tour du Plateau d’Emparis – Bike Oisans

Many people booked into accommodation in La Grave or Briancon hoping to see the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez, have been asking about the possibility to bypass the tunnel my mountain path or track. As mentioned before, then path along the other side of the reservoir is closed and this is being strictly enforced by local police. The quickest road route is via the Col du Galibier and the Col de la Croix du Fer. However there is a very long, but beautiful option above the tunnel via the Plateau de Emparis. This track is unpaved, generally used by walkers and mountain bikers and will take a long time, but is spectacular. Details of this route can be found via the following link under Tour du Plateau d’Emparis – itineraire 4.

The closure of the Tunnel du Chambon in April, linking Bourg d’Oisans to the Col du Lautaret and beyond, has sparked widespread discussions amongst the locals and cyclists planning to visit the region, such as when will it reopen, are they building a new road and can cyclists use the ferry to bypass the tunnel?

Tunnel du Chambon
Tunnel du Chambon

On the 10th April the Tunnel du Chambon was deemed to have an extremely high chance of collapsing and was immediately closed, with initial reopening dates suggested for early July. More recent surveys have shown that up to 100 000 m2 or 250’000 tonnes of rock are shifting around 10cm everyday, threatening collapse the entire tunnel. As such the reopening of the tunnel is very much in doubt, but the authorities hope to have a solution in place prior to the opening of the ski season in December.

Chamnon alternative routeOne of the solutions put forward, is to build a reinforced structure within the existing tunnel. However the extent of the problem has forced the local authorities to sign off on a new road on the south side of the lake, which they hope to have built by the winter. Whether they intend to build and maintain two roads up the valley, or to concentrate their efforts on building one reliable route remains to be seen.

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015
Revised route for La Marmotte 2015

The consequences of this for cycling tourism is that the only road leading from Le Bourg d’Oisans towards La Grave, Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier and Briancon is essentially cut off. This has already lead to the rerouteing of La Marmotte Granfondo and almost certainly the  penultimate stage of the Tour de France from due to race from Modean to Alpe d’Huez over La Galibier on the 25th July. La Marmotte will now return to the Alpe d’Huez valley via the Col du Mollard and the Col de la Croix de Fer. The Tour de France is very likely to follow suit.

Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon
Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon

One of the most talked about topics amongst locals and cyclists planning a trip to the region, is the possibility of using a ferry to bypass the tunnel and get to up to the Col du Galibier. The ferry has been provided for locals stranded on the La Grave side of the tunnel to access shops and schools in Bourg d’Oisans and Grenoble. However I recently spoke to Kevin from Cycling Ascents in Bourg who, last week with some of his cycling clients, successfully used the ferry without a problem and achieved one of the most magical climbs of the Col du Galibier, thanks to almost zero traffic. However he went on to add that yesterday (21st June) his guests were turned away and told that “that due to the risk of a rockfall into the reservoir they weren’t taking anyone with bikes – only locals on business.

So officially, for the moment, the ferry is not an option for cyclists. However pressure from business owners in La Grave, at the Col du Lautaret and the Col du Galibier, that are experiencing a catastrophic effect to their trade from the closure, may force some changes here in the future.

With all this in mind, the Oisans region still has more than enough routes to keep every cyclists satisfied. Including amongst many others, routes to the following places. Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer, Alpe d’Huez and the Sarenne valley, Les Deux Alpes, Col de La Morte, Col d’Ornon and La Berarde.

double size 432x278mm masterBike Lodging is based in Le Bourg d’Oisans and helps cyclists find and book bike friendly accommodation such as that of Cycling Ascents. We still have options for La Marmotte, the final week of the Tour de France and for the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

Tour de France changes to Alpe d’Huez stage 20 – Tunnel du Chambon

As expected, the route for stage 20 of the 2015 Tour de France from Modane to Alpe d’Huez has now officially been changed due to the closure to the Tunnel du Chambon. Rather than passing over the Col du Glandon, it will now climb the Col de la Croix de Fer. Details on the official Tour de France website.

Revised route profile for the Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 from Modane to Alpe d'HUez
Revised route profile for the Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 from Modane to Alpe d’HUez
Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez
Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Lodging still have some accommodation available close to the Alpe d’Huez during this week, such as the Chalet Chardon in Venosc which sleeps 5 people for €800 for a week self-catering. We also have a 3 bedroom apartment in central Bourg d’Oisans for €1100. For details contact enquiries@bikelodging.com.

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015 to use Les Lancets de Montvernier

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015
Revised route for La Marmotte 2015

Here is the official revised route map and profile for next months Marmotte cycling event. Following the forced closure to the Tunnel du Chambon for emergency repairs, authorities have had to change the course of the 2015 Marmotte. What is interesting about this years route, is that similar to the 2015 Tour de France and the 2015 Etape du Tour they will now also incorporate the short but impressive set of 18 back to back hairpin bend Lacets de Montvernier(switchbacks) of the Lacets de Montvernier. Les Lancets (French for loop or hairpin), dates back to the 1930’s and is just 4km long, with an averaging gradient of around 8%. The majority of switchbacks are concentrated to within a 2.5km stretch, resulting in a corner every 150m. Although being climbed for both the Tour de France, the Etapt du Tour and now La Marmotte, descending this road quickly is seen as a hugely technical challenge and requires great breaking and cornering skills.

Revised profile for La Marmotte 2015
Revised profile for La Marmotte 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Mont Ventoux Bike Hotel Malaucene

Hotel Malaucenne - Mont Ventoux
Hotel Malaucenne – Mont Ventoux

Introducing one of our most popular hotels in the Mont Ventoux region. The hotel sits right in the heart of Mauaucene at the start of the climb to Mont Ventoux. It’s so close, that from the hotels breakfast terrace, you can watch other cyclists set off on their climb up this famous mountain.

The hotel 18th century former silk farm has been lovingly converted into the beautiful hotel you see today. Each of the nineteen rooms has an en-suite bath or shower room and toilet. They are all individually designed with vintage furniture and items sourced from local favourite second hand dealers. The hotel most recent additions for 2015 are two modern and stylish self-catering lodges both sleeping up to 4 people, built in the expansive grounds.

The 12’000 meters gardens are sheltered from the outside world by ancient stone walls, with plenty of shaded seating beneath well established trees. There are plenty or secluded and private areas to relax and a large swimming pool to cool off in after a hot day.

Mont Ventoux

Not only does the hotel sit at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France’s most famous stages, but the region is blessed by the variety of cycling and mountain biking for all levels for all levels. Unlike some locations in the high Alps and Pyrenees, where every day on the bike is a mammoth day in the saddle,  this region has the benefit of a vast variety of cycling and mountain biking. Aside form the obvious three challenging climbs up the Mont Ventoux, there are also more gentle days trips such as passing through vast selection of fantastic wineries, the Massif des Dentelles, beautiful medieval villages such as Le Barroux and Crillon le Brave and the stunning river valley of Le Toulourene.

Louis Saint Joire and Florence, the French ‘parton’ speak perfect English and thoroughly welcomes cyclists to his hotel. They have a great knowledge of cycling and are usually on hand to offer advice for the perfect days ride.

For information about this or any other properties in the area, do please contact us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

 

Tour de France rooms available due to cancellation

Allemont Hotel
Allemont Hotel

Due to a recent cancellation, two twin or double rooms have become available at

one of our most popular hotels in Allemont. This hotel sits in the perfect position for the final three Alps stages of this summers Tour de France.

Stage 18 on Thursday 23rd July from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 186.5km passes over the Col de La Morte and then through in front of the hotel in Allemont before heading over the Col du Glandon and down into the Maurienne valley.

Stage 19 on Friday 24th July from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire 138km passes over the Col de la Croix du Fer a good day ride form the hotel.

Stage 20 on Saturday 25th July starts in Modane and ends up the famous 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez. The start of the Alpe d’Huez climb is just 10km from the Hotel.

The rooms are priced at €70 per person per night, with a minimum of seven night booking. This includes breakfast, afternoon (return from ride) pasta buffet and a three course evening meal.

For details of this hotel or any others in the area, then contact us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

Tour de France – Available accommodation Alpe d’Huez

Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015

We still have plenty of available accommodation options for the 2015 Tour de France close to the Alpe d’Huez. Stages 18, 19 and 20 all come within a days ride of our properties in the Oisans region. Stage 18 from Gap to Saint Jean Maurienne, comes through Allemont, close to Vaujany and Le Bourg d’Oisans. Stage 19 predominantly in the Maurienne Valley, also the route for this years Tour du Etapt,  will pass over the Col de la Croix de Fer. And assuming that the Tunnel du Chambon is fixed and reopened by then, Stage 18 starts in Modane, heads over the Col du Galibier and finishes up the 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez.

Here is a selection of our properties which still have availability for this Tour de France week.

La Danchere Lodge
La Danchere Lodge

La Danchere Lodge – A great value option in a charming hotel at the entrance to the Ecrins National Park. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens with a public bar, which are one of the nicest places to relax in the area after a big ride.

Vaujany Catered Chalet – Located in one of the most desirable and picturesque villages linked to the Alpe d’Huez lift system, this modern and stylish chalet, with hot tub and games room is popular with both cyclists and mountain bikers.

Venosc Chalet - Hot tub, Sauna, Home cinema, games room
Venosc Chalet – Hot tub

Chalet Cycling Venosc – Exclusive chalet at an affordable price. 5 bedroom chalet with stunning views across the Ecrins National park, within walking distance of the picturesque hamlet of Venosc. It is run by a couple with great knowledge of the area including a professional chef. Bedrooms are very modern and stylish, all with en-suite bathrooms as are all the communal rooms in the chalet. It features a large well stocked and secure bike storage shed, hot tub, sauna, games room, cinema room, wood burning stove, UK Sky TV and free wifi through out.

Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet
Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet

Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet – A brand new chalet (2013) built and decorated to a very high standard is located in the picturesque hamlet of La Danchere at the entrance to the Ecrins National Park.

If you require any information about these or any other properties in this region or other popular cycling regions, dont hesitate to get in contact.

Places still available for the 2015 Marmotte

La Marmotte Granfondo 2015
La Marmotte Granfondo 2015

This summer on the 4th July, the La Marmotte Granfondo Cyclosportive will once again start in the picturesque and popular cycling town of Le Bourg d’Oisan. At between 7 and 8am, over 7000 cyclists will start the race which heads in a clockwise direction over the legendary cols of the Glandon (1918m),the Telegraphe (1570m), le Galibier (2642m), le Lautaret (2057m), and finishing with the famous 21 hairpins of the Alpe d’Huez (1880m) The route is 174km long and has 5000 meters of climbing.

Typically the event sells out for individual competitors within 24 hours of registration opening in November. Some places are still available for those taking part in the Grand Trophee, where you must ride 4 or more of the sister events.

Hotel Cassini
Hotel Cassini

However some bike specialist properties pre book places for their clients and may still have places. One of these is Hotel Cassini in Freney de Oisans, located part way up the climb from Le Bourg d’Oisans in the direction of the Briancon, the Col du Lautaret and the Col du Glandon.

The hotel has 10 lovely en-suite bedrooms and the Dutch owners offer bed and breakfast or half-board catering. Free wifi is available throughout and the beautiful gardens have mountain and river views.

Currently the hotel owners still have a few Marmotte cycling packages left, which include entrance to the event. Places are limited so if you are looking to do this event, but cannot get a start number, then get in contact as soon as possible.

La Marmotte 2015
La Marmotte 2015

For more information about this or any other properties do please get in contact with us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

Pyrenees trip day 2 – Bagneres de Bigorre

Cycling accommodation in the heart of the Pyrenees

This morning I had the pleasure to meet Tim and Di from Canada who settled in the area about 5 years ago to create their cycling accommodation business. Having spend time in the Alps they chose a location just a couple of kilometers from the popular tourist town of Lourdes at the entrance to the Valley des Gaves, and the route to the more popular side of the Col du Tourmalet. However this location also provides easy access to four other cycling valleys, offering numerous circular routes over famous Tour de France Col/mountain passes. It is also surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of Yorkshire Dales style rolling farmland and hills.

Beautiful gardens with swimming pool

The property itself is located in a very quiet hamlet facing south with views over the major peaks, but just a couple of kilometres from Lourdes and all the amenities of a popular major tourist town. The owners have a selection of city bikes, which they lend to clients who fancy popping into town for a drink or dinner, but don’t want to take their own precious road bikes.

Although you wouldn’t know it from their quiet position, Lourdes attracts millions of visitors every year,  meaning it has great communications, such as a duel carriageway all the way from the Autoroute/motorway and an international airport, with regular RyanAir flights from the UK. Clients catching the early morning flight from the UK can be at the property by 10am and on their bikes that morning. Tarbes Lourdes Pyrenees Airport

Secure bike storage with workshop

Tim and Di have created a little cycling paradise, with huge beautifully renovated and decorated rooms. Their bike storage and work shop is fully equipped with every tool you could need and plenty of inside space to work on your bikes, should the weather be unkind. Plus of course a fridge full of beers for your après ride drink. Parking is private and off road within their huge closed off courtyard. They also have lovely relaxed gardens behind the property with a good sized swimming pool.

To top it all off, Tim and Di are both keen cyclists with fantastic knowledge of the region.

Cycling accommodation near Lourdes and Col du Tourmalet