The Guide

'Drop Inn' to a Half Pipe

Always touted as a great resort for skiers, our friends on one plank are sometimes forgotten. So we caught up with Lewis Coutier-Jones current British Snowboard Halfpipe Champion and Courchevel resident to get the lowdown on snowboarding in resort.

Where do you spend your days on the slopes?

Depends on the snow, boarding is a bit more condition-dependent than skiing. I take a playful approach to my boarding so you’ll find me in the snow parks or looking for side hits on the pistes.

Come on, share a bit more! Which are the best spots for your style of riding?

The DC Area 43 park in Méribel is awesome. There are features for all levels, right from beginner up to expert. The black line of kickers start with a 12m transition on the first to 20m on the last, which makes for a load of airtime. There is a competition halfpipe and it’s a great place for pro spotting.

What’s it like dropping into a competition halfpipe?

Nervous, exciting, thrilling; so many emotions going through your head before your drop. Then music on (I always select my favourite tune of the moment), get pumped by that and then go with it. A massive feeling of weightlessness comes over me as I fly through the pipe. Then its relief, a punch of the air, a YES, a claim that says I am happy, I have done the run I wanted. Then it’s back to the top to do it again! Bigger and better!

And what about the parks in Courchevel?

There’s the Family Park under the Verdons bubble in 1850. It’s actually a really good rail park, with some progressive features and The Drop Inn’s very own rails. It’s also great as I can lap it on the Biollay chair lift and mix it up with a few laps on the piste hitting all my favourite side hits.

What’s the Drop Inn?

It’s a bar in Courchevel Le Praz and I live above it!

Which is your run home?

My favourite run back to resort is Plan Fontaine or PFT as we’ve nicknamed it. It’s a green but you need to be a good boarder as you have to keep your speed up, and it finishes down the red Murettes. It’s a 2km race home, a good fun ride with lots of side hits. Some days we may even just lap this!

Then it’s into the Drop Inn to share the days antics over a drink.

Lewis’ Top Tips

  • Beginners, grab a lesson in a snow dome before you come out. It will pay dividends and help you cover more ground.
  • The end of the season is the best time for snowboarders: sunshine, slush and park laps.
  • Have a snowboard lesson in resort with the RTM boys – www.rtmsnowboarding.com
  • Make sure you know which way your board rides (this is for style points!)
  • Set your stance, where you feel relaxed and comfortable, don’t obsess, and give yourself time to get used to it.
  • Scoot along with your free foot behind you as opposed to in front of you. It is much more stable and looks cooler!
  • Have a play on a slackline to boost your balance
  • Finish your day at the Drop Inn, where everyone meets to catch up.

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