skiing in the juras
ess than five hours ago we were stepping onto a plane in Dublin, now we are stepping off a mountain cable car in France. Below us a sea of thick pine forest tumbles into the valley and above us white-topped peaks puff out their chests; a lone pair of skiers is the only sign of life. Serene doesn’t cover it. But then, that’s the Jura mountains all over – a world apart from the fast-paced city of Geneva just 15 minutes away. This is a peaceful region on the French-Swiss border, encompassing vast stretches of wilderness (Jura means “forest”), which make it a haven for walkers, mountain bikers and skiers. Despite having three ski areas – Lélex-Crozet, where we are, Mijoux-La Faucille and Menthières – with 50km of lift-served runs and 140km of cross-country trails, the Monts Jura resort is relatively undiscovered by the hordes of skiers who descend upon the Alps every year. For my husband, Christian, and I looking for a long weekend’s ski jaunt, it is ideal. It may not have the altitude of some of the big boy resorts (it reaches 1,680m, half the height of Les Arcs), but what the Jura lacks in height it more than makes up for with views; as we board the chairlift Previous pages, up to Monthoisey, the summit of Faucille and Menthières). From the serenity of the the Lélex-Crozet ski area, the views Monthoisey, we head down Le Jura Mountains. across the valley to Lake Geneva, Rhodos (piste I), a long, winding ing This page, above, and beyond to the mighty Mont red bordered by a snowpark breathtaking views. Right, Blanc, are breathtaking. On a clear halfway down. Tempted as I day, and viewed from the right place, Nicola sets out. am to hit one of the kickers – or you can even see the Matterhorn. jumps – with a 360, I figure I But it is time to put the camera should probably wait until I am away; we have some skiing to do. properly warmed up (and get Lélex-Crozet is the largest of have actually learnt to do a planning the ski areas, with 15 lifts and 360 – beginners, that’s a The Mont Jura tourism 26 pistes of every colour. mid-air complete turn, website has info on all the local Though, with the majority by the way). ski resorts, including piste maps and being cruisy reds and blues, As we follow the it’s best suited to beginner run down through weather forecasts. It also has listings and intermediate skiers, the trees, it dawns of accommodation, restaurants, rather than riders looking on me that although shops, and plenty of great for adrenaline-triggering it hasn’t snowed in après-ski activities. blacks and challenging over a week, the slopes monts-jura.com. off-piste (as are Mijoux-La are in pristine condition.