Travelogue Portes du Soleil | Epique - Mountain Adventures

Freeride Portes du Soleil – Alice

A fantastic off-piste training (Nov 2017) in Hintertux left us wanting more! This time I wanted to get away with Epique a little longer, to a new destination. It became a freeride trip to Portes du Soleil (Jan 2018). With a fully loaded car (a small C1 is quickly full) I set out with my then unknown travel companion.

Every Epique trip I carpool to the destination. You always have to wait and see who you meet. You have to spend two ten hours together in my mini kart. But man, woman, young or old, it doesn’t matter. So far every trip has gone very smoothly and I get all my traveling companions to sing: the wrong party playlist. And with the first flakes of snow, the apres ski music starts to get in the mood

Once we arrived in France we were warmly welcomed by the owner of the hotel: Auke. What struck me immediately is that they recognized us and addressed us by our first names. And they kept that up all week. That shows good hospitality! So a warm welcome. And then get to know the group. Compared to the Tux trip (+45 people) this was a small group, about 16 people. But what a fun group! We’ve had some laughs with each other. Actually, I’m not very good at writing concise texts. Certainly not because I am very enthusiastic about the Port du Soleil trip, but I will try to give a short summary of my highlights:

Small group of ‘beginner’ off-piste skiers

Some days we almost had private lessons from our guide Roderik. That man can do something! With his enthusiasm he knows how to get me, and others, beyond boundaries. Never thought I would descend “the Wall”. One of the steepest black mogul slopes in the Alps. Also don’t ask how I got down (at least I was the fastest down), but hey I did iT.

Pushing boundaries

My week was full of that. Sometimes quite exciting, but it is so very satisfying when you have done something new – sometimes a bit too bumbling. Roderik was able to find undisturbed lines that were (somewhat) feasible for us everywhere. A profession in its own right if you ask me. Kudos to our guide!

Sun and SNOW!

Meters of snow. We were so lucky with the weather. A few days of sun and then a full bowl of powder bites (for the beginners group). Simply magical! Screaming with happiness as you leave a first trail through the fresh powder. Or however you say it in freeride jargon.

The hotel

I get a warm feeling when I think about it. And that’s not just because of my daily sauna visit or the cozy fireplace, the hotel has created a cozy living room atmosphere. And every evening the chef conjures up a delicious meal on the table. With good wines of course, you are in France after all. There was a long table every evening, very pleasant! And then watch yourself on film with your rosy head or attend a waxing and grinding clinic. And if you want to go to bed after an intensive day, no problem either. The atmosphere was so laid back!

The wine tasting

This deserves a special mention as a wine lover. This trip does not contain fliegerlied, polar bears and Williams mit birne (ok, in the car wollen wir die Eisbären sehen). On the other hand, you can taste delicious wines and cheeses for an evening. And the culinary level is higher than the Wienerschnitzel with fries. Now let me love both.

The end of the day

Gijs-Jan, chief guide, kept valuable information about all groups in his diary. At the end of the meal, the day ends (almost edifying, but anything but that….). Every day the ‘Jerry of the day’ was proclaimed (A Jerry is an individual who exhibits a true lack of understanding for their sport, or for life in general also).

If you had committed a huge blooper then you knew that you got a special mention: put your helmet on unsuspectingly backwards, forget the beeper at the hotel and have the whole group wait, causing a daily traffic jam with your fat 4W off-road vehicle because there are summer tires underneath (and effortlessly being overtaken by that noisy C1), ending up in a river with your board, and unfortunately I also got the honorable mention twice: descending the Wall in an acrobatic way and then falling out of the next ski lift full on my face. And the day I lost my car key in the restaurant on top of the mountain. Oops!

In short, very nice people, excellent guides, good hotel, meters of snow, untracked terrain, faceshots, treeskiing, sauna and liters of wine. A must for everyone!

And I have to keep driving that C1 for the time being because I’m seized by the Epique virus. I hope someone else wants to ride with me after reading this story

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