Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Cool Ski Experience That's off the Hoof ; PAUL HARRISON Enjoys the Slopes of Les Orres, but Also Tries His Hand at an Activity with Some Added Horsepower

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Cool Ski Experience That's off the Hoof ; PAUL HARRISON Enjoys the Slopes of Les Orres, but Also Tries His Hand at an Activity with Some Added Horsepower

Article excerpt

SKIING can be an uncertain sport at the best of times.

Variable snow conditions, changeable weather, other skiers, debatable ability. And that's before you introduce a horse into the equation.

I am wearing skis and a helmet - but holding onto a rope attached to a horse. Welcome to the world of horse joiring.

We - me and fellow writer Mary joined by the same length of rope - get going at the second time of asking, sliding down a forest track, our speed and direction dictated by the horse (name unknown) ridden by Eveline.

It's not quite water skiing, more tug-of-war on ice as I try and control my skis without sliding into Mary a few feet ahead.

All too soon it's over as Mary takes a fall on a steep upward section and we are left to trudge back to the start.

Horse joiring is one of a number of off-piste activities offered in Les Orres. There is snowshoeing and Le Snake Gliss - 50-plus toboggans linked on a downhill ski run.

But Les Orres' bestknown off-snow attraction is the Orrian Express - a kind of mini roller-coaster on a monorail high above the ground.

It starts gently enough as you're pulled up 710m through the forests while you sit back and enjoy the view. At the top you're let loose to spin and spiral down - fun for all ages.

Les Orres in the southern Alps - flights are usually to Turin followed by a three-hour transfer - is a small resort split into two smaller villages.

Down below is 1650, a well-established resort with many bars and restaurants.

Higher up is 1800, built just six years ago, meaning all the hotels and chalets still have a new feel about them.

The slopes are also split into two. The runs on the lower level link 1650 and 1800 and allow the beginners to find their ski legs.

Wide open green runs and a couple of easy reds funnel back into both resorts; the slopes are well signposted so it's easy to get back to either Orres.

There is a decent red run back to 1800 from the main Preclaux lift, while a longer green run to the right heads into 1650 and allows you to build up a little more speed.

Many of the runs are narrow and tree-lined - a feature of Les Orres is the large area of forest on the lower slopes. …

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