The self-titled “feel-good ski area” of SuperDévoluy, ski station of the same name and neighbouring resort of La Joue du Loup all lie approximately 100km to the south of Grenoble. Spread between the altitudes of 1500m and 2500m, the region enjoys reliable snow conditions throughout the season.
The area’s feel-good-factor can be, in no small part, attributed to its excellent infrastructure: the 53 ski runs are linked seamlessly by a network of 25 lifts, allowing holidaymakers to discover the full 100km of slopes without once having to take of their skis.
These facilities are complimented by 35km of cross-country routes, one of which takes skiers to a height of 2500m, from which they can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks.
3 designated practice areas, near both of the ski stations, provide the ideal way for beginners to gain experience in a safe and relaxed environment. Once ready to move on to the next stage, new skiers can then enjoy the breathtaking alpine scenery from one of the many blue-graded runs above SuperDévoluy and La Joue du Loup.
|Length of ski slopes||100km|
|Number of ski slopes||53|
The focal point of the ski area, for beginners and advanced skiers alike, is the summit of Le Pierra. Le Pierra is both the highest point in the ski area, and the hub of many of the lifts and runs. The undulating terrain of both flanks of the mountain provides an exciting blend of sunny mountainside and shadowy hollows. Soon-to-be professionals will find the most challenging runs directly underneath the summit, including black-rated runs like “Le Mur”, as well as various powder-snow zones. A further highlight for off-piste fans is the area underneath Pic de Bure at the southernmost end of the whole ski area.
Boarders and Freestylers from SuperDévoluy and La Joue du Loup converge each day on the “Mushroom’s Park”, situated at 2000m. This snow park covers an area of 2 hectares, and includes a “boardercross” run, as well as 2 “slopestyle” courses for beginners and experts; complete with kickers, rails, tables and boxes. Those looking for a real adrenalin rush can try their skills on the jumps, where they can have a go at whatever tricks and stunts they choose, safe in the knowledge that the so-called “BigAirBag”, a giant air cushion, will be there to ensure a soft landing. There is also a second “BigAirBag” to be found at the bottom of the runs in SuperDévoluy. Both of these sites require that all snow-acrobats-to-be wear helmets.
Cross-country skiers in SuperDévoluy will also find themselves spoilt for choice, with 15 different routes encompassing all levels of experience and covering a total of 35km. The various routes all begin in Superdévoluy, La Joue du Loup or Col du Festre. Beginners should be sure not to overlook the “Plateau de Boucherac” on the edge of Superdévoluy, or indeed the 6km high-altitude route “Le Circuit du Pré de Renard” at 1850m, which is also ideal for those new to the sport. At the other end of the scale, the “Traversée du Dévoluy” represents a challenge for even the most experienced, and as the longest of all the routes requires a good level of fitness.
There’s no shortage of outdoor action away from the ski runs in SuperDévoluy either. For example, smaller skiers and families can make use of the toboggan runs, or try “Snake Gliss”, whereby several sledgers link up to form a chain before heading down the mountain as one, through an adventurous set of curves. Some of the best ways to discover the fantastic landscape surrounding the ski area include a trek on the 30km of snowshoe routes or a dog sled ride.
Holidaymakers who crave a bit more speed could also consider zipping across the snow on a snow scooter, being pulled along on skis by horses (known as “skijoring”) or trying some “snow kiting”, where the skier is pulled along by a specially designed kite.
Top Tip: Visitors looking to make a particularly unusual excursion should head for Plateau de Bure at 2550. This is home to an observatory constructed by the “Institut de radioastronomie millimétrique” (IRAM), an international research institute for radio astronomy. The high altitude means that it is easier for radio waves of between 1mm and 3mm in length to pass through the earth’s atmosphere and be picked up on the surface of one of the 5 15m-diameter parabolic receivers, which together form a sight that could easily have been taken straight out of a sci-fi novel.