(1860m - 3330m)
Alpe d’Huez is a big league resort rivalling the best the Alps has to offer, it will appeal to many and should be at the top of any skiers list as a place to go. It offers everything you would expect from a world class resort, challenging off piste, genuine black runs, long cruisey blue and red runs and a beginners’ area above the village that is about as good as it gets. You’re thinking there must be some drawbacks – there is and it’s quite a major one. Most of Alpe d’Huez’s runs face south or south west and can be badly affected by the sun. Therefore it’s best to avoid any late season trips and keep your fingers crossed for early snowfall if you are going in December or early January.
- Extensive area
Resort at a glance
|Ski Range||1860m – 3330m|
For beginners and first timers there is a great nursery area and selection of green runs directly above the village. These runs are served by the 1st stage of the DMC gondola from Alpe d’Huez or the Romains chair lift situated at the edge of the village at Les Bergers.
Intermediate skiers have a huge expanse of terrain to cover. Be aware though that piste classification is not great and some runs marked blue could be red and vice versa. Intermediates will, however, be in their element in Alpe d’Huez and should first look to try the runs in the Signal sector. In this sector there are blue runs that lead back to the village and these would be a good starting point for timid intermediates. From here there are more blue and red runs that lead down to Villard-Reculas which are longer, and confident intermediates will love the longer more challenging red runs. There are also some great runs over at Signal de L’Homme, once again confident intermediates will enjoy the challenging red runs which are often quiet.
Taking the 2 stage DMC gondola also opens up some great intermediate terrain directly above the nursery slopes of Alpe d’Huez. Likewise jumping off after stage 1 of the Marmottes gondola opens up some great cruising options for intermediates and runs leading back into the village.
Intermediates should also head over to Vaujany by taking the Poutran 2 stage gondola to Oz en Oisans and from there the Alpette gondola. Here at L’Apette there are some lovely blue runs. Alternatively at L’Apette a cable car takes you up to Dome des Petites Rousses and some wonderful long red runs.
For experts continue on stage 2 of the Marmottes gondola to Clocher de Macle to access some steep black runs. For those requiring even more of a challenge, take the Cable Car at the top of DMC 2 up to Pic Blanc. Here there are a few short blue and red runs but the main attraction are several huge black runs including the Sarenne run which at 16km also happens to be the longest run in the Alps.
There is great scope for off piste in Alpe d’Huez but always ensure that you take a guide if you’re venturing away from the main off piste routes.
All things considered Alpe d’Huez is a wonderful resort with varied terrain that suits all abilities. Due to its size there’s so much skiing to enjoy and you’ll never tire of it. Just make sure that there’s plenty of snow before you book. If you have already booked just keep your fingers crossed that the sun does not burn off all that lovely snow.
Alpe d’Huez has a fairly lively night life with a wide range of bars and there really is something to suit everyone.
If you are looking for something nice and lively then the Sphere bar is popular, as are O’Sharkeys and Smithy’s Tavern - which serves enormous helpings of great Tex Mex food. Live music can be found at the Grotte du Yéti and also The Underground - which has a traditional Austrian style apres ski.
The Etalon and Freeeride cafes are quieter but both have a great atmosphere, don’t miss the Zoo bar, Igloo or the more expensive, but classy Sporting Bar.
There’s a great range of restaurants in Alpe d’Huez, many are good value, and high quality. Everything from tasty Indian to tempting French cuisine is on offer so all tastes are certainly catered for.
More traditional eateries include The Pomme de Pin and the Au P'tit Creux, there are delicious steaks on offer at the Lounge 21, great grills at the Edleweiss, and ribs at the Genepi. For Indian and Thai try the Chilli Powder and for a great value set menu check out Au Grenier.
Alpe d’Huez has quite a variety of things to do off the slopes. There is a fantastic spa at Au Chamois d’Or where you can pamper yourself, there is also a fully equipped sports centre with the usual activities and a large heated outdoor and indoor pool.
There are helicopter excursions that take you over to Les Deux Alps, visits to the ice cave, airboarding and snowbiking, along with ice driving - where you can drive cars or carts with studded ice tires for extra adrenalin!
Sticking with the snowy theme - there is also an ice rink, toboggan run, paragliding and a range of well marked walking trails to explore.
There are a few ski schools in Alpe d’Huez to choose from. The ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) is the local French ski school which offers boarding, cross country and competition lessons. Private lessons cost from €45 per hour and group lessons from €230 for 6 full days. They meet at either Grandes Rousses or Bergers.
There are also a couple of ski schools geared specially for the British market. British Masterclass is one such school - group lessons cost from €140 for 3 days with 2 hours tuition per day and private lessons are from €70 per hour. Their meeting point is at the Rond Point des Pistes, Restaurant le Lac Blanc.
The other British aimed ski school is Stance, they offer private coaching for 1 to 5 people. Private lessons (1 to 1) are from €120 for 2 hours and a full day is from €360 for 5 people so it’s a good alternative if you are looking for more personal tuition with your own holiday group. They meet at the Alpesports shop, Rond Point des Pistes.
Where to stay in Alpe d’Huez, France
Le Cristal De L'Alpe Apartments
Situated in the centre of Alpe d’Huez and only 5 minutes from the lifts, these traditionally styled apartments have fantastic facilities including a pool, sauna and steam rooms.
Chalet Hotel Les Cimes
Set in a sunny, south-facing position this comfortable hotel has fantastic views of the surrounding mountains.
L'Alpe d'huez La Sarenne
This all inclusive ski-in / ski-out hotel is ideally located and has several bars restaurants on site to cater for you after a day on the slopes, along with an indoor pool and sauna.
Chalet hotel Berangere
Set right next to the piste this Chalet hotel makes the most of the stunning views with balconied rooms and a sunny terrace, there is also an indoor pool, sauna and steam room too.
Hotel Pic Blanc
Located right next to the pistes, this charming hotel has stunning views, sumptuous food and an indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi.