Val d'Allos/Espace Lumière, FR: 02/09/18

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Jamesdeluxe Jamesdeluxe
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Val d'Allos/Espace Lumière, FR: 02/09/18

This TR is a fair amount of travelogue but that's part of the Europe experience -- getting to a destination and the surrounding activities are as important as the skiing, especially in this part of the Alps with so much history tied to it being in the sunny and rugged south of France. For my final stop on this trip, I headed northwest from Valberg to the Val d'Allos or Allos Valley -- only 18 miles as the crow flies, but an almost two-hour drive, which takes you through stunning landscapes:




You start out going through scenic Daluis Gorge, something that wouldn't look out of place in southern Utah with its red-rock topography popular for kayaking, hiking, and rappelling. Between the twisting two-lane road and the blinding mid-morning sun, I wasn't able to take any convincing pix, so here are a couple from Wikipedia Commons:





A half hour later, the road starts gaining elevation and passes by a few more 1,000-year-old cliffside villages. As you can imagine, each one has a unique story.





A group of five-year-olds learning nordic skiing as part of a class outing -- why don't we do that here?





Lunch at a local restaurant with the requisite fresh bread and house pooch, a Great Pyrenees sheep dog. I'd never heard of this breed but it's apparently well-known amongst dog lovers:







There, I met local Eric, who gave me a quick tour of Peyresq, a cliffside village a couple minutes away:











Earlier at the restaurant, I tried this fantastic local beer and learned that the brewery was just outside town and gave tours, so I headed over to Brasserie Cordoeil. Something I'd noticed over the previous few days was that younger French people/millennials weren't all necessarily wine lovers or experts and that many were passionate craft beer drinkers.

For some reason, I always expect breweries to be dark, musty, wooden places, but this place looked and felt more like a laboratory: very high-tech and unbelievably clean -- you could literally eat off the floor. Founder Boris Pougnet did a great job explaining the nuts and bolts of how he created his tasty brews. He's an engineer by trade, which you could tell by the precision in his explanations (photos by Eric Olive).









Followed by the obligatory tasting of the product:





The next day, I arrived at the largest ski area on this trip, Val d"Allos, which covers 220km/136 miles of marked trails and large amounts of offpiste that you wouldn't guess from the map:



On Day 1, I skied at Seignus (SAYN YEWSS), which could easily be connected to the main Val d'Allos circuit, but they left it separate as a local's area, very similar to how Pico is to Killington. 3,000 verts of consistent double-blue/single-black pitch.







It's known mainly as a high-speed cruising type of ski area but there were plenty of well-preserved leftovers -- the skier in most of these photos is local Anasthasia, who did a great job showing me around the slopes:





Only one drag lift, on the skier's right:



The signature run is a top-to-bottom trail on the far skier's left -- you're supposed to try to clean the whole thing without stopping but I needed a break about halfway down:









A late lunch at the mid-mountain restaurant closed out my introduction to this region with the larger circuit planned for the following day:





JasonWx JasonWx
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

Just wow!!!!

Looks like more then just a ski holiday, looks like the year round outdoor activities are endless. Is there a high season for the region in terms of crowds?
"Peace and Love"
JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

I really need to start taking longer ski trips to interesting places.  It’s so cool how you not only sample the skiing goods, but also interact with the surrounding communities, taking full advantage of the culture and atmosphere.  Well done!
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
Jamesdeluxe Jamesdeluxe
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

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JasonWx wrote
Is there a high season for the region in terms of crowds?
For skiing, it's the French school holidays from the second week of Feb to early March and during the summer, August, when the entire country goes on vacation.

JTG4eva! wrote
I really need to start taking longer ski trips to interesting places.  It’s so cool how you not only sample the skiing goods, but also interact with the surrounding communities, taking full advantage of the culture and atmosphere. Well done!
Thanks! When you say "longer trips," you mean more than three or four days? Many people think that my seven- or eight-day trips to the Alps are too short and that ten days is a minimum.

I still do trips where it's virtually all skiing but yeah, much better when you can hang out with locals and learn background on the region. For a country the size of Texas, France has an amazing amount of variety: Alps/Pyrenees (not the same thing culturally or topographically), the dry southern California-ish inland south, ocean/beaches on the Mediterranean and Atlantic, New England-ish climate in Brittany, wine country, etc.

JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

I mean more than two or three days!  I really need to get the wife and kids to go with me, and spend longer.  Of course if I wait for that to happen........

Would be nice to be able to do more than ski/eat/crash though.

Next trip is two days in Zermatt, one day skiing, one day in town.  Side trip on our visit to see our daughter who is studying in the Netherlands this semester.
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
JasonWx JasonWx
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

JTG...I would ski 2 days...You don't need a full day for the town...A evening stroll after dinner is enough..
Still want to send pics..



James is there a summer mountain biking scene?
"Peace and Love"
Jamesdeluxe Jamesdeluxe
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

JasonWx wrote
James is there a summer mountain biking scene?
Huge. Just like everywhere else, ski regions are going all out to attract summer crowds/revenue and every single ski area I visited offered extensive lift-served/x-c mtb with big infrastructure investments. You saw the previous TR with the village offering rental electric mtb.

Never been to Zermatt but I agree with Jason: two ski days.
JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

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JasonWx wrote
JTG...I would ski 2 days...You don't need a full day for the town...A evening stroll after dinner is enough..
Well, that’s the good thing about NOT traveling with my wife on ski vacations, if it was just me I would ski two days!  Maybe I can work the second day in, but I’ll have to be delicate about it....
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
bumps bumps
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

JTG4eva! wrote
Maybe I can work the second day in, but I’ll have to be delicate about it....
Get her a halfday spa treatment in Zurich. Best money you'll ever spend.

Never guessed that the south of France looked like that!

takeahike46er takeahike46er
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Re: Val d'Allos/Seignus, FR: 02/09/18

In reply to this post by Jamesdeluxe
As always, thank you for taking the time to put together these trip reports. They no doubt will come in handy when I'm some day able to explore the Alps. Cheers!
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