France is home to some of the finest ski resorts in the world. However, if you find yourself getting bored of the pistes and are looking for somewhere to practise your freestyle, you might want to investigate the country’s snow parks. Here’s our pick of the best snow parks in Europe.
Avoriaz is home to the first giant ecological snow park in Europe, The Stash. With three slopes matched to three levels of difficulty, the park suits riders of all abilities. Runs wind through tree-lined slopes of Lindarets forest. The ungroomed snow is perfect for trying out wide turns. The numerous hidden log and tree trunk obstacles scattered along the three slopes make it a snow playground that takes some beating. Baby boarders can join in the fun on the Lil’Stash – a mini version of the park which winds down the edge of the Procolou run.
Also located in Avoriaz is the expert’s favourite, Arare snow park. This snow park has challenging kicker and rail lines, not to mention an airbag jump and banked slalom course. Its north-facing location means it generally keeps its shape well, though later in the season is when it’s at its best. A variety of snowboarding events are held here each year, such as the Nixon Jib Fest and the O’Neill Pro Freestyle.
Sponsored by Swatch, this snow park in Tignes is kitted out with their ‘Shoot My Ride’ video system. This uses a series of strategically placed cameras to record your run through the snow park. You can then view the footage in the Cool Swatch Zone at the finish area near the Big Bertha Airbag, and share it with your friends. Jumps here typically range from around 10-30 feet, meaning that beginners and intermediates can join in the fun too, whilst the airbag jump allows you to practise new tricks in safety.
Les Deux Alpes has the largest snow park in Europe. This is a mecca for freestylers, and has something to suit a range of abilities. From the gentle parc de l’Envers beginner area to the Olympic superpipe designed by Sylvain Garabos. The park follows a slope-style course with kickers, rails, two quarter-pipes and an S-rail at the finish. Newbies are well catered for with a beginner’s area, which includes rollers, hoops, tables and a line of boxes. The 120m long halfpipe complies with international competition standards whilst the Big Air Zone provides access to a kicker with a 25m tabletop. The Axe Pipe also has a multifunctional table, along with an up-rail which leads to one of the quarter pipes. With such a well-developed snow playground, it’s no wonder that the popular annual freestyling ‘Uni Camp’ contest is held here each year.
The Mille8 in Les Arcs brings a whole new concept of snow park to the Alps. Mille8 is focused on encouraging beginners and families to develop their technical skills. It provides somewhere for new skiers to find their feet before joining the faster pace of the advanced slopes. The park features a range of gentle jumps and kickers for novice freestylers to get to grips with. Sophisticated cameras film your tricks with a large screen at the bottom for you to view and download the film. Mille8 comprises of more than just a few jumps. A state-of-the-art swimming centre and a children’s play area in the snow can all be found here. Along with a couple of tranquil green runs too. What a brilliant idea!
If you’re interested to find out more about Ski Solutions’ snowboarding holidays and the best snow parks in Europe call to speak to our experts.