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It’s no secret that Mont Ventoux is one of the most storied mountains of the Tour de France. The “Giant of Provence” was where, in 1967, British rider Tom Simpson died of “fatigue, dehydration and possibly from taking amphetamines,” according to the Tour. In 2016, Chris Froome dropped his broken bicycle and started running up Mont Ventoux in a mad dash to hold on to the yellow jersey.
This year on July 7, during Stage 11, there is undoubtedly some drama in store for riders on the Tour de France as they will climb and descend Mont Ventoux—not once, but twice—in the same day.
Related (From VeloNews): Running up Mont Ventoux – Looking back at one of the most memorable Tour de France moments
While Mont Ventoux is an iconic destination for cyclists, skiers can find their own adventures there. There are two ski areas on the mountain, including Mont Serein—also known as Mont Ventoux Nord—and Mont Ventoux Sud. Both ski areas are relatively small compared to the massive resorts of the French Alps. Thanks to very affordable day tickets, however, skiers would be in for a treat if they are in the region and the winds don’t force the lifts to close.
Both ski areas are located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the town of Bédoin, and a two-hour drive from the cities of Marseille and Montpellier. Neither of these ski areas are major tourist hubs, but skiers looking for unique experiences in places that are not exactly skiing hotspots might want to check out Mont Ventoux someday—if only to experience some regional cuisine and wine while there.
Mont Serein Ski Station
Mont Ventoux is commonly referred to as “the Windy Mountain,” so it’s no surprise that the ski area on the mountain’s north side only has eight surface lifts. The most recent of these lifts were installed in the early 1970s, so visitors should prepare for a rustic experience. But, between the farms, vineyards, and generally relaxed way of life that permeates the region, it makes sense that the ski areas should be this way as well.
Mont Serein features a total of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of ski trails, half of which are classified as intermediate. The total vertical drop at the ski area is about 400 meters (1,312 feet). The most recently reported day price for a lift ticket at Mont Serena is 17.30 Euro ($24 USD).
Mont Ventoux Sud Ski Station
There are two surface lifts on Mont Ventoux’s southeast shoulder. They rise from Le Chalet Reynard to where the trees grow sparse due to elevation and wind. These two surface lifts form Mont Ventoux Sud ski station.
With 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) of trails that are mostly rated as beginner and 210 meters (688 feet) of vertical drop, Mont Ventoux Sud isn’t considered large by any standards. But with a day-pass price of only 12 Euros ($14 USD), it would be a very neat experience to spend a morning skiing the slopes of “The Bald Mountain” before exploring more amazing Provence history and wine.
Check out Where the Tour Was (in the rain): Expect to See Some Summer Skiing During the Tour de France Coverage of Stage 9