Skiing and snowboarding have their own enduring charm: the solitude of the slopes combined with the rush of carving fresh powder, all against the kind of backdrop you wouldn’t expect to see outside of a postcard… It’s no mystery that these sports attract millions of tourists to the Alps.
No mattter how much you love the slopes, however, there’s nothing wrong with diversifying a little. Whether it’s part of a holiday dedicated to the discovery of new pursuits or just a day or two in amongst a classic skiing trip, anyone in the region of Serre Chevalier would do well to try their hand at snowkiting in the world famous Col du Lautaret.
Col du Lautaret
This mountain pass carves a dramatic route linking Briancon and Grenoble, and the road lies a respectable 2,000 metres above sea level. It’s known to ski enthusiasts due to its location, and cycling fanatics will also be familiar with the pass due to its prominence in the Tour de France. Col du Lautaret has been crossed more than 40 times over the past 70 years of the race, and is frequently linked directly to the famous Briancon.
It only takes a glance at the broad, sweeping valley, flanked by the craggy mountains to spark an urge to explore Col du Lautaret. What’s more, its elevation, combined with the roominess of the pass, makes it ideal for tearing around on a snowboard.
Snowkiting is a unique and thrilling sport. The rider stands atop a snowboard or a pair of skis, unfurls a kite and uses the kite as a sail, riding the wind and using it to speed over the surface of the pass. You’ll need to learn to read the wind and to balance on the board against the pull of the kite, and learning this new skillset can be a fantastic way to break up your skiing or snowboarding holiday. Additionally, it can make a nice escape from the pistes at crowded times of year: the wind can power you horizontally and even uphill, so you won’t need to queue for the lifts. You might even find that the skills you hone in your snowkiting adventures will help you break a plateau in your skiing or snowboarding progression.
Whether you make it a major part of your holiday or you just want to add a touch of variety, snowkiting is a fabulous, thrilling and enriching experience.
How to Get to Serre Chevalier
A Turin airport bus or taxi is hands-down the most easy and convenient way to get started, but you could also drive yourself. It’s a little over two hours along the A32/A70, and you’ll have to cross the border into France. Don’t forget that you’ll have to pay a toll along the way.
Unfortunately, there are no public transport links between the airport and Serre Chevalier.
Where to Stay
Apartment Les Voutes – Les Voutes is an excellent budget choice, offering quality surroundings and magnificent Alpine vistas.
Hôtel La Balme Alphand – those who enjoy the atmosphere of a chalet but would like a more contemporary influence are recommended to try Hôtel La Balme Alphand. The accommodation and service are both wonderful, and the hotel bar, decorated with lumber, provides a nice focus for social activities.
Apartment Près des Forts – the high end Près des Forts redefines luxury apartment living. As well as being comfortable and inviting, it has everything you could need to entertain others in your group, including a barbecue.