© Alpe d'Huez @Caratech
It’s a first in France. It’s a mind-blowing journey. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have. It’s a 4-season alpine coaster with virtual reality! No idea what that means? To be honest, we didn’t exactly know what to expect, either. You can actually see the alpine coaster from the Bergers area as it’s right next to the slopes, and I had already wondered about it when I first arrived at Alpe d'Huez. From the outside, it looks like a regular little roller coaster. But as soon as I tried the virtual reality goggles on, I understood just what was so cool about this experience! DEFINITELY a must-try if you’re at Alpe d’Huez.
We arrived at the ticket office and got our receipts, which we presented to the assistant at the coaster. We were a little confused as to why we had a voucher for two journeys each, but there’s a very good reason, which I realised as soon as I donned the virtual-reality goggles. The goggles instantly transport you to another world – it’s the weirdest feeling to stick your hand out in front of you and not be able to see it! I can imagine it would be freakishly dangerous to unleash two people out into a luge track without either of them being able to see. So one person drives, and the other person dons the goggles, and then you come back and switch places.
When I put on the goggles, I burst out giggling. I was no longer at Alpe d’Huez – I was in the middle of a farm, surrounded by animals! And it only got wackier from there. The course is a kilometre long and the ride lasts around 5 minutes, during which the fantasyland that you see in the goggles matches itself perfectly to the swoops and curves of the real-life alpine coaster. At the end the driver gets to control the speed – of course, we both chose to go as fast as humanly possible! Right on cue, as I zoomed to a stop at the end and the assistant took off my glasses, I breathed a slow “Whoaaaaaa.......!!!!!” I won’t completely spoil the surprise, but here’s a taster:
The alpine coaster has definite appeal for kids, but we cannot recommend this highly enough for adults, too. It’s a welcome break from the ski day and super easy to reach from the slopes, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever done before! Alpe d'Huez is a world-class ski resort in every other respect as well, from the Pic Blanc with its Michelin-starred view, to La Sarenne, longest continuous ski piste in the world. If you need more reasons to visit Alpe d'Huez, check out our top ten >
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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