The slope at Nœux-les-Mines is 74 metres high (and 114 metres above sea level), attracting over 30,000 skiers per year. The successful regeneration of this old mining site has seen its popularity snowball. 

At the top of the slope you feel as if you had wings. Everybody who has gone to the top of slag heap 42 has retained an indelible memory of the experience. The 360° view is literally breathtaking. From up top you can see the hills of Flanders, thirty kilometres away. Since 1996 the northern slope (lying on 220,000m² of extracted chalk) has had an immaculate synthetic covering coupled with a misting system.

The only site of its kind in Europe

The Loisinord  artificial slope at Nœux-les-Mines is 320 metres long and the only one of its kind in Europe. It is a curiosity, attracting 30,000 people year after year. Families come to get in training for their winter holidays, as do groups of friends and snowboarders who are fed up with waiting for the thrill of the mountains, not to mention novices who have never set foot on a ski slope in all their life. "The slag heaps have always been used for leisure," observes Thierry Tassez, Artois Comm deputy manager in charge of equipment and facilities in the region. “Lots of people in the mining area used to go out and slide down the schist slopes sitting on the lid of a laundry boiler (something every household used to have)."

Nowadays it's no longer a matter of sitting on a makeshift sled but of putting on a pair of proper skis and experiencing the real thing. The site has been designed with that in mind, and there is a half pipe (a U-shaped structure for acrobatics), two jumps, and a mogul field. It was inaugurated in 2006 by Edgar Grospiron in person, the gold medal winner in Albertville who is not about to forget the experience. Five years later Antoine Dénériaz, who won a medal at the Turin Olympics, also visited the slope.

The ski slope at Nœux

The people of Nœux are proud of their pedigree and soon accepted their new status as a ski resort, taking proper pride in their slope. The ski stadium certainly looks the business. With its two slopes and equipment worthy of a major Alpine resort (500 pairs of skis, 200 snowboards, helmets, and boots for hire), its two lifts, floodlighting, and chalet, all you need is a glass of mulled wine and you would think you were in La Clusaz. And from the outset the Haute-Savoie resort has in fact lent its support to this project, building up friendly relations with its somewhat unusual cousin in the Nord. It has even given it an authentic cable car as a token of its affection.

 

The watersports centre

A watersports centre for summer activities has been set up just a short way away from the ski slope. The man-made lake at Noeux-les-Mines is home to waterskiing, windsurfing, pedalos, and canoeing, and is an ideal spot for families thanks to its picnic areas and children's play areas set around the lake.

Practical information

Loisinord ski stadium, avenue du Lac – 62290 Noeux-les-Mines Tel.: +33 (0)3 21 26 84 84.

Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 2 PM to 7 PM, and Wednesdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM.

Rates (including hire of boots, skis/snowboard, and poles): 1 hour (€8.45) / 2 hours (€15.84).