Main Snowpark in Alpe d'Huez
Chances are if you are a beginner you will spend most of your time in the park above Alpe d’Huez village, as this park is larger, in a more central location, surrounded by beginner friendly slopes and easily accessed by the DMC it carries a lot of traffic. Ski schools often have parts of their lesson here and other beginners can be found having their first experiences of park skiing. Because of this, there are more hazards in this park and the majority of them are focused around the blue beginner line. Do not be embarrassed or afraid to fall over when learning the basics, but make sure you don't put anyone else in danger when you are in the park.
Entering the park there is a sign indicating the four approximate difficulty levels from right to left – beginner (green), easy (blue), intermediate (red) and expert (black). Each route through the park has 3-4 boxes or rails and 4 kickers (jumps).
The beginner line starts with a flat or ‘butter’ box. It sits flush with the snow so you can ski on without having to jump, and has a small drop of a couple of inches at the other end. Two more boxes follow each slightly narrower than the last. Following the boxes there are 4 kickers which are usually less than a foot high but this can vary slightly. Many people do not ‘jump’ the jumps and enjoying simply skiing over them to get an idea of the height and sensation that the ramps produce. It is actually a good idea to ride past any feature you have not attempted before to get an idea of the size and shape of it. Once you know what to expect, try a little jump but remember to take off with your weight low and centred, also to lean forward to land flat on your skis.
In the middle of the snowpark, the red line starts with a long box about a foot high – a significant step up from the green line but wide enough to provide some support and stability. Another similar box follows then there are two rails – similar to the blue line each feature is longer and slightly higher off the ground than the last. Again, 4 jumps each about 1.5 feet high follow. The black or expert route has 3 rails which are 2-3ft high and vary in shape with kinks and bends to keep more experienced riders entertained. There are also kickers large on this line.
On the whole, the easier side of the snowpark is down the right, with the harder line being down the left.
The fastest way to make laps of the park is by taking the DMC to the first station and riding diagonally to skiers’ left after exiting the lift (you can’t miss the giant snowpark sign). An alternative to the DMC gondola is the ‘Les Jeux 6 man chair lift’ which also has gondola cars approximately every 10 chairs or so, this really moves the queue super quick.