James Bond slope in France

Downhill like 007:
Ski down this French resort’s own James Bond slope

Photo: Getty Images

Have you ever dreamt you were the world’s most famous spy as you fly down the ski runs on your winter holiday? Now you can follow in the boot steps of the man himself on a James Bond run in France. But it’s not the only location where the film character has left his tracks in the snow

The Peyragudes ski resort in the French Pyrenees gained worldwide fame in 1997 when it served as a backdrop for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. In the blockbuster, Peyragudes was unceremoniously transferred to the Himalayan region, but the real location in France has now opened a new route to mark the 20th anniversary of the movie’s release.

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Open-air cinema in the mountains

Thankfully you won’t need to repeat Pierce Brosnan’s antics on the peak when his escape from the bad guys was followed by a missile explosion. But winter sports fans can at least experience the same mountain atmosphere as the Hollywood star and his stuntmen. The new blue track has a length of 2.8 kilometres and ends exactly at the point where James Bond fled his pursuers on a jet runway, 367 vertical metres below the starting point. The ski venue plans a number of events dedicated to Her Majesty’s most celebrated spy during the winter season including an open-air cinema showing the Bond classic.

Ballet de canons sur Peyragudes #peyragudes

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Bond is a real ski freak

True Bond fans will know that the trip to the Pyrenees was not his only performance in the snow. In 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore explored the slopes in the Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz. Then in 1981, the same Bond actor took the action to the packed powder of Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo in For Your Eyes Only. However, there was a slight problem: initially Moore couldn’t ski. Professional skier-turned filmmaker Willy Bogner, who was responsible for the ski scenes in several Bond films, had the crew use a rescue sled to drag the lead actor along so they could capture close-ups.

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In 1999, Pierce Brosnan was back in the skis in The World is Not Enough, this time in the French resort of Chamonix while the most recent actor to fill the spy’s shoes, Daniel Craig, hit the slopes in Sölden, Austria for 2015’s Spectre.

Bond World 007

Filming of the espionage movie series has left its biggest impression in Schilthorn in Switzerland. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby’s Bond tussles with his adversaries in the panoramic restaurant Piz Gloria. Since 2013, visitors can follow in his footsteps high up in the Bernese Alps in “Bond World 007.” The exhibition gives a glimpse of what happened during shooting both in front of and behind the camera. Interactive displays allow guests to transform themselves into the suave secret agent, while there’s even a helicopter simulator using an original decommissioned Air Glaciers Alouette III. Visitors can also recreate the breakneck bobsleigh race filmed in the nearby Mürren track while they sit in an actual sled.

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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