DC created the epic DC Area 43 in Meribel-Mottaret France five years ago, and it’s evolved each year to become arguably one of the finest terrain parks in France, if not Europe.
Located in the heart of the Three Valleys mega-zone of interlinked resorts, you can be sure that if it dumps or you fancy some speed runs, side hits or any other non-park related shenanigans you’ll have more than you could ever possibly explore accessible from virtually your doorstep. But we’re specifically spotlighting the park facilities in DC’s Area 43 here, because you’d be hard pressed to find a better offering in the land of la baguette.
DC AREA 43
Five years on and the park has gone from strength to strength, attested to by the fact that last season more than a million people with freestyle on their mind made their pilgrimage to this hit-laden Mecca.
To begin to try to detail all the features that the shaping crew have created for you would take way more space than even the internet can handle – there are over 90,000 square metres of features (including over 250m of rails and boxes alone) littered over four regular areas that have been designed to cater for every rider’s needs.
Firstly there’s a legit, 22-foot superpipe for you to live your Shaun White fantasies/nightmares in. With its XXL trannies it’s actually safer to ride than it looks, so make sure you get in the stunt ditch and start carving them walls; before you know it you’ll be above the lip. Next is the Boardercross, where you can get low on the berms and banks in between sucking up whoops and sending it off the kickers.
For your more conventional terrain park needs, depending on your level and/or what you’re feeling like on the day, there is a Beginner/Intermediate area for dialling in the basics or simply having a fun-old minishred cruise, and then there is also the Expert zone for when you want to try your hand at some cutting edge stunts on legit-sized obstacles.
Finally there is a special DC area that gets loaded with special original features when the DC team roll through Area 43 for photoshoots or events. These pros live the charmed life, and in addition to being able to shred the epic park they get to crash in the pimp daddy DC Chalet.
THE NUTS & BOLTS
To ensure the Area 43 is always in the best possible shape, DC have recruited the creme de la creme of park shapers: Benjamin Ravanel (who was the dude responsible for the X Games Tignes pipe) and longtime French park-crafting supremo Nicolas Marduel. These two dudes and their crew have a fleet of man-toys at their disposal to create their masterpiece, including two dedicated snow groomers, one mechanical shovel, and of course the Zaugg Pipe Monster 22’ - the only machine capable of cutting the infamous 22-foot superpipe.
The park is accessed via the Plattieres gondolas 1 and 2, the first one will take you up from the Meribel-Mottaret village (the higher of the two villages in the valley) before you get on Plattieres 2, which is what you use to lap the park with. The lap’s a quick one - to get up the gondola takes a mere 9 minutes, and bearing in mind the fact that the DC Area 43 is a pretty damned long park you’ll probably be glad to have that 10-odd minute break to catch your breath, let your thighs recover and guzzle a bunch of water.
We mentioned the DC Area 43 is long… in fact the park is actually over 1 kilometer long, so get your thighs in shape! And being that it’s nestled at 2,400m (and surrounded by around 20 snow making machines) you can feel pretty confident that the conditions will be good all winter long, and that the hits will be groomed to perfection to help you progress your freestyling skills.
Though there aren't any contest scheduled in at the time of writing, you can be sure that the whole of DC's Euro team and a bunch of their flow riders will regularly be dropping into Area 43 throughout the winter. Either to shoot, film or just simply lap the goodtimes.
March 13-20 2016 will be when the DC HIT & RUN will hit Area 43, where you can be sure all of DC's Global team, the Euro team, flow riders and laggers will be ripping the park to pieces, so if you want to watch the likes of Torstein Horgmo, Justin Fronius, Mons Roisland, Sebbe de Buck and the rest of the crew throw down live, and try to blag some stickers of course, then do your best to coincide your trip to Meribel-Mottaret with these dates.