SkiBike Tour 2012-13 - Praz de Lys & Sommand

Posted: Sunday, 17 February 2013 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

After his day of rest, Paul was ready for some gentle ski cruising, I suggested Praz de Lys, just 30 minutes from our base camp at Cluses with a good selection of easy and pleasant runs. The perfect place for a lazy Sunday.

We explored just about every available trail, we particularly noted that the map makes some of the pistes on the edge of the station look quite small and insignificant. But in many ways these are hidden gems; long, fast rolling, runs with hardly a soul on them and no queues at the lifts. On one such section, we had a near miss. On an empty slope that must have been a kilometre long and a good 30 metres wide, the chances of two people crashing must be infinitesimally small, but put two Kinnons on the same slope and guess what happened next? Somehow we just avoided each other, but there was quite a clack as I skied over the tails of Paul's skis.

In the afternoon Paul wanted to relax a little so we split up and I switched over to the skibike. I had already established with the lift operators that skibikes are still accepted at Praz de Lys. But when I showed up the liftie mentioned something about feet, I think he was suggesting that skibike riding without footskis was dangerous, but ultimately, it was my choice.

Praz de Lys - the perfect place for a lazy Sunday.

I knew from the morning's skiing that some of the pistes were hard and icy, fine for skiing but hellish (for me) on a skibike, so I opted to do as much off piste riding as possible. The most satisfying to be found was in the bowl under the Haute Fleury chair lift.
Exiting the chairlift to the right you can choose between red and black graded runs, I had just managed the red by skis earlier in the day, but it was pretty hard and icy. So I opted to avoid the piste and head into the plentiful, soft snow off piste. The first section is much steeper when you're on it than it appears during the ascent. So for my own safety I made some long traverses then stopped, lifted up the skibike to face the new direction, plonked it down and started again. No points for style, but a good survival technique. There were some rocky patches which all other tracks had avoided, so I picked a route around them, on the lower side you could see the reason why.

Exiting the chairlift you can choose between red and black runs

Further down the terrain was much more gentle and it was simply a case off getting your weight well behind the saddle, flexing the legs a little, pulling up on the handlebars and letting the skibike go. Once you reach a critical speed the front ski rises through to the top of the snow and you surf along making gentle arcs in the direction you choose.

What a late afternoon delight.

Praz de Lys - late afternoon delight.