Alpe d'Huez Summer Roundup


Alpe d'Huez is famous for the 21 hairpin bends up to the resort, and is often featured as a finish in the Tour de France. Whilst my summer has consisted mostly of road biking I've still managed to have time to ride across the valley on the 2Alpes glacier. The large amounts of snowfall this winter have ensured the glacier has had a good summer season.


Summer snowboarding is a strange experience. You need to get up early and make the 45 minute 'commute' to the glacier top of the mountain, the only area that stays covered in snow year round. At 7am the snow is solid and icy, this is when you ride the halfpipe. That shuts shortly after as it begins to soften and it loses its shape. Next its onto the jumps which now have nice soft slushy landings, but when it becomes to slushy to get enough speed to hit those you move across to the rail section. By lunchtime you're back in the gondola going down!


I also had the chance to help test the new PFD splitboard. Based off the same design as their Big Mountain Powder Plank, a few adjustments had to be made to help the splitboard have the same snappy and responsive nature. Can't wait to get it in the powder!


Winter is just around the corner. I've already started to get some early bookings in for the 2018/19 season already. Early bookings take advantage of a 10% discount! 

See you on the slopes!

Graupel keeps falling on my head


Whilst walking my dog Indy this afternoon, I noticed the snow change from fluffy crystals to small hail like snow. Looking a bit like Styrofoam balls they stuck to Indy's back and head. This type of precipitation is called Graupel.

Graupel is formed when the temperature in the clouds drops to around -40°C. Under the right atmospheric conditions snow crystals collide with super-cooled water droplets. The water then freezes around the snow crystal, forming the small balls you see on Indy's head. Hail is very hard and icy, whereas graupel is a soft and almost sticky kind of snow.

It is important to notice graupel as it can be a contributing factor to avalanches. The little balls stack up on the snow like a layer of marbles. When the weather turns back to snow this layer becomes buried in the snowpack. As you can imagine it then becomes very easy for the snow to slide off this 'layer of marbles'. Fortunately, graupel quickly begins to compact and loose its shape, stabilising in the snowpack after a couple of days. So just be aware and avoid any steep slopes for the next two days, the graupel is lurking!

Snow Forecast for this Weekend

Good news! There is snow forecast for this weekend in Alpe d'Huez. We are in November now, and it is the perfect time for the resort to start developing a base. Take a look at a detailed forecast for the whole European Alps here, or a more simplified version for Alpe d'Huez here.

I'll keep an eye on this storm and let you know what it brings...

New Snowboards

With winter just around the corner, whether trawling through last seasons equipment hunting for a bargain (here's a good start), or scoping out the new seasons gear, now is the time to be looking for your new board. Whilst essentially just a plank of wood with some metal edges on, I still manage to get very excited each year about new snowboards. Most of the time they are exactly the same as the year before, with a different graphic, however there are always some new shapes which stand out from the rest!

Keep reading to see whats on my wishlist for the 2017/18 winter season...

The K2 Simple Pleasures 


There has been a trend to shorter fatter boards over the last couple of years. The basic idea being to combine the surface area of a longer board into a shorter one, giving you increased float in powder whilst still being highly manoeuvrable.

For someone with larger feet I always ride a wide board. There's nothing worse than washing out from toe or heel drag when railing a hard carve. With a wider than average waist, this board will allow for the lowest of Euro Carves! 

On top of this the board has a directional shape, and camber underfoot for that snappy response between turns. Whilst not a freestyle board, there's no reason this couldn't be taken for a few laps in the park as well. If you're looking for a good fun all mountain board, with more of a preference for carving the piste or floating through the powder, this could be the board for you!

The K2 simple pleasures was also featured in the Whitelines top 100 products for this winter, check it out here.


Next up is the PFD Powder Plank

PFD Skis have been around for a few years now, producing bespoke bamboo skis. However, the owner and designer Rupert, clearly knows that snowboarding is where the fun is at and has been crafting a handmade snowboard! 


Although not yet for sale on the website, this first glimpse of the board looks awesome. The slight swallow tail and directional shape give us a clue for its desired use, it has been designed for charging deep powder!

Built from bamboo, this board will be lightweight, snappy, and responsive. And what's not to love about that topsheet? I can't wait to get my hands on one!