The two biggest ski resorts in the Alpes-Maritimes launch new ways to conquer the slopes: The Yooner, the Airboard and the Isol’Air.
Often criticised for being too conventional, things have changed in Isola 2000 and Auron, the largest ski resorts in the southern French Alps. This year there’s plenty of fun slope-style activities designed for maximum bang for your adrenalin buck. Here’s three of the best:
Some people say it’s like tobogganing, others think it’s like carting on the snow. This strange contraption, a bit like a spatula strapped to a ski, is proving more and more popular in the French Alps. “People love Yooning” said Mohamed Anzagh, head of sports in Isola 2000.
Inspired by a device used by school children in the 1900s in the Maritime Alps, the yooner is easy to master. You’ll be having great fun even on your first run. In terms of the feeling you get, it’s similar to skiing, but because you’re closer to the ground the sensation of speed is more intense. That just makes you want to give it a go! And, nothing could be easier to organise. Meet at 9:30am at the top of the Pelevos cable car in Isola 2000. Or, on Friday, from 11am meet on the Chastellares plateau in Auron.
If you’re fond of the classic old wooden slay, you may be disappointed when you see this inflatable plastic model. But those who love an adrenalin rush will be delighted. The Airboard, on which you lie down head first, leaves Grandad’s sledge stuck in the powder. “It’s awesome” enthuses 15 year old Antoine after a few goes, “It’s easy to control and the sensation of speed is amazing”. To give it a go, you’ll need to head to Auron, to the Riou piste about 5pm. If you don’t ski, it’s possible to combine a day’s snowshoeing with Airboarding afterwards.
No more fear before attempting a jump. Forget about feeling like you’re going to injure yourself. Thanks to the new Isol’Air in Isola 2000, you can safely attempt ridiculous freestyle moves on skis or on your snowboard. The Isol’Air is nothing more than an enormous cushion of air, like that used to break a stuntman’s fall. Except in this instance it’s catching you after your big air moments. “You get rid of the risk but you keep the buzz”, says Stéphane who set up the project in Isola.