My weekend trip to La Bresse in the Vosges was a great success. Driving down on Friday night we were held up for an hour or so on the A26 just north of Rheims by snow and snow ploughs but other than that the journey in both directions was smooth and painless. On Sunday we left La Bresse-Hohneck at 3:00pm and were back in London by 10:00pm, frequent driver changes and an iPod set to shuffle made the journey a breeze.
I was quite impressed with the ski domain of La Bresse-Hohneck. It was very busy as it was a French half term weekend but apart from a few 15-20 minute lift queues at around 2:00pm, just after lunch, it did not seem too crowded. The resort infrastructure seems to be well organised and although it has more than its fair share of long drags there is clearly plenty of investment going on with a nice new four man chair complete with magic carpet. They also have 7 km of floodlit pistes for dawn skiing from 6:00am and night skiing until 10:00pm at weekends. Lift passes were a modest €21/day.
Given that there is only about 450m of vertical skiing I had expected the terrain to be very limited but in fact it was a lot more extensive than I had imagined (220 hectares apparently) with some excellent runs, albeit not quite of Alpine length. For a weekend it was enough to keep us happy.
There is a respectable park with about three medium sized kickers, a couple of large table tops and two rails, all well maintained and served by a convenient drag lift. There is also a pipe but the shape of it is not quite right as there is no real vert section and the few riders I saw tackling it were having difficulty staying in it as the tranny was sending them straight out.
We were lucky with the conditions with snow flurries on Saturday and 5-10 cm of fresh snow overnight followed by sunshine on Sunday. Everything was open bar the resort's one black run, "Le Noir", which still looked quite skiable despite some bare patches.
For a weekend trip driving from London on a Friday afternoon and returning Sunday evening at a total cost of about £180 each between two of us (Eurotunnel, petrol, tolls, hotels, food, drink and lift pass), it was a great success. I will definitely try and do this again but I suspect that given the low (900m) altitude of the resort the season may be quite short.