Alpe d’Huez is blessed with over 300 sunny days per year. It is a wonderful area for beginners, offers terrain for all levels, boasts a high snowsure glacier, has an excellent lift system, a nice sized town with some lovely little satellite villages.
Alpe d’Huez is a purpose-built ski resort set at 1850m in the Alps, 60 kms east of Grenoble. The resort was formed so as to play host to the 1968 Winter Olympics (host city Grenoble). Whilst the original buildings were built in a rather unsympathetic tone, many recent building additions have reversed that trend with some lovely, timber clad, high spec residences and chalets arising both in the centre and its surrounds.
The ski area has 80 lifts and offers 250kms of pistes. Whilst it is not the area enjoyed by those visiting the larger areas in Europe, it is certainly big enough for most skiers for a week, particularly if they take advantage of the opportunity offered by the lift pass to have a day in Les Deux Alpes as well. Although the two resorts are not (yet) linked by lift, there are buses and even a helicopter service between them.
The scenery is simply breath-taking, you can see a third of the county on a clear day at the top of Pic Blanc. As well as a great variety of pistes, Alpe d’Huez offers some wonderful off-piste itineraries including a 13km long black run that has challenges for experts but which most confident intermediates can also manage.
The range of accommodation is vast, from hotels and apartments in the centre of Alpe d’Huez to chalets in its suburbs.
1125m – 3330m
December – April
Hotel Les Grandes RoussesFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis...
Royal Ours BlancFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation...
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Alpe d’Huez is one of the best resorts for learnings as numerous base lifts connect easy slopes, some of which are free. There are also ski tranquille zones (slow ski zones) for slower skiers on gently sloping runs. For those that have already made some progress, the beginner ski pass 1ere Glisse is recommended. Especially surrounding the large village of Alpe d’Huez, many easy slopes are easily accessible.
Alpe d’Huez really is simply perfect for intermediate skiers. There are runs all over the mountain that will test them without any of them being too steep. Unlike some French resorts, many of the runs in Alpe d’Huez are long, meaning that skiers get lots of turns in between lifts, exactly what intermediate skiers relish so as to progress. The Signal l’Homme area in particular has some long reds with the added bonus that the runs here are often quiet – a huge factor in terms of enjoyment on the slopes!
Alpe d’Huez has plenty of long and challenging blacks and decent reds so for those in search of long, thigh-burning pistes and bumpy mogul fields will not be disappointed. The black Tunnel run beneath the Pic Blanc cable is one them, the pitch is of standard black steepness but can be very hard in the mornings due to late afternoon sun, and super-mogully in the afternoons, so it is not for the faint-hearted. Fearless intermediates can enjoy the Sarenne, a really long black run from the top of Alpe d’Huez, there are two ways that you can approach this spectacular run. Elsewhere another cluster black pistes worth a mention include the runs off the Marmottes II gondola from the Clocher de Macle, Balcons a steep and quiet run, Clocher de Macle is slightly easier but often busier and then there is the long Combe Charbonniere which requires a fairly long traverse at the start.
Beginner snowboarders will benefit from the multiple nursery slopes, although they should be aware of the large number of drag lifts which may prove challenging to boarders who are just starting out. For freeride snowboarders, Alpe d’Huez is an off-piste paradise. It is well worth a visit to the open powder field of Le Grand Sablat and Cheminees du Macles couloirs. There is also a giant terrain park which is suitable for park enthusiasts.
Come to Tomorrowland in March
The ultra-famous Belgian festival Tomorrowland, which attracts thousands of music fans, comes to Alpe d’Huez this winter. For a week in March, this alpine resort will turn into Ibiza on the snow thanks to the first-rate DJs that will grace Tomorrowland Winter Festival’s stage including Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Afrojack or Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, to name but a few. No need to ski for this one!
Over the past few years, Alpe d’Huez’s profile has been on a fast upward curve and this is reflected not only in the new five-star hotels in resort but also in the shopping now available here. The commercial centre at Les Bergers, by the Marmottes lift station, is home to several high-end winterwear boutiques and casual street clothing shops. Meanwhile, up in the main street and around the ice rink, there are plenty of fashionable boutiques like Superdry, Napapijri, O’Neill, Levis, Fred Perry, JOTT and Schott.
Take in a bit of culture
Every Thursday night throughout the winter season, the local church, located next to the leisure centre, hosts a classical music concert with artists from all over the world. Prices are 10 euros per person and the concerts get underway at 18:15. For those interested in Alpe d’Huez’s heritage, the museum regularly holds locally themed exhibitions with history and geology very much to the fore. The region’s rich history really means they have plenty to choose from.
Local lift operator SATA also provides twice-weekly guided tours up to the summit of the Pic Blanc. The views from here are truly epic and, on a clear day, you see for literally miles and miles including as far as Mont Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’ to the west. These tours start from the DMC lift station at the top end of town and you will need to purchase a day ‘pedestrian’ lift pass to gain access up to 3300 metres.
Visit the leisure centre
The huge leisure centre really offers something for everyone, young and old, skier and non-skier. Indoor activities include a climbing wall, swimming, a gym, group indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, fitness classes, table tennis, crazy golf, squash, tennis, boules and a cinema, I think I’ve listed them all!
Try the Alpine Coaster
Opened in 2017, the Alpine Coaster has proved a huge success. Located in Les Bergers quartier, next to the Marmottes lift, the coaster comprises a 700m high-speed, adrenaline-fuelled course. It boasts a virtual reality option to further enhance the thrill, taking you through four seasons in one ride. Reaching speeds of up to 40kph, the action is certainly fast and furious. The coaster is open seven days a week throughout the season, with extended opening hours in the peak month of February.
Go ice skating
Normally only reserved for Christmas festivities in the UK, in Alpe d’Huez we are lucky enough to have an ice rink that’s open all year round. Situated right in the middle of town, on the main street, it’s open every day into the evening. Skates are available to hire at the rink. The ice rink also holds weekly ‘curling initiation’ sessions and is home to the local ice hockey team, who have regular home games here throughout the winter season. The ice hockey games are free to watch but wrap up as it gets bitingly cold in the evenings at the rink.
Over the past few years, several high-end spas have arrived in resort. Many are located in the larger hotels in resort, like the super-swish spa inside the Chamois d’Or Hotel at the DMC lift station. Pretty much every treatment you can think of is available in resort, with something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Whilst you may think you are like Scott reaching the Antartic with a couple of tennis rackets lashed to your feet, it really is a great way to spend a day here and take in the natural beauty that is all around. There are miles and miles of almost endless walks that await you and your ‘raquettes’, and it’s very easy to do. You can simply hire the kit from pretty much any ski hire shop in resort or you can buy the kit if you fancy, prices start at around 75 euros for the ‘raquettes’ and you will need a couple of poles to assist you as well. The area around the fort is particularly popular for snowshoe walking, as is the Sarenne Gorge area up behind the Altiport. If you prefer a guided snowshoe walk, this too is available, with prices starting at 23 euros.
Let the Husky or ski-doo take the strain
The scenery around Alpe d’Huez is truly stunning, and you can take it all in without breaking a sweat. Every day, ski-doo tours are run by Espace Motoneige from the Les Bergers commercial area at the bottom end of town (by the Marmottes 1 lift station). Prices range from 80 euros up to 260 euros depending on the length of trip you choose. Evening meals are included in some of the evening tours and are generally taken up at high altitude restaurants, which provide a wonderful view over the resort. For a more old-school trip around the slopes, why not try a traditional Husky-sled ride, operating from the top end of the Altiport at the end of the trail to the Sarenne gorge, the rides take place every afternoon.
View the live snow report for Alpe d’Huez here
‘Famille Plus’ Label
Alpe d’Huez is part of the ‘Famille Plus’ scheme. This is an officially recognised label which is given to resorts and destinations that go out of their way to cater to families and children. Under the label, resorts promise to provide activities, entertainment and prices to suit all ages. Look for the label throughout the resort, at shops and restaurants, and you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome and the best deals and services for families and children. Grenoble Isere airport is only around one hour and 15 minutes away by coach, while both Lyon and Chambery are only around two hours away.
Great Hotels and Accommodation
The choice of hotels in Alpe d’Huez is constantly improving, with new establishments opening every year. This constant flow of new accommodation forces the hand of older hotels to up their game, and this has seen pretty much every hotel in resort renovated over the past few years. So, no matter which hotel you choose, you are assured of top quality accommodation. Book Accommodation
Alpe d’Huez offers a great free bus service every day throughout the winter season. A fleet of largely eco-friendly electric buses operates around resort from 07:30 right through until midnight. By day, a series of routes (named after fruit; apple, strawberry, lemon, etc.) run regularly around resort and bus stops are located pretty much every 200 metres, mainly outside the big hotels, linking the whole of resort together. These run until around 19:00, when they are replaced by a single night bus route that runs in a big loop from the Altiport all the way down to the old village of Huez. All the main places of interest and lift stations are served by this fabulous free shuttle service.
Great ski schools
No matter how old you are, the tuition available in Alpe d’Huez is truly brilliant. The biggest of all the ski schools, ESF (the guys in bright red) offers great lessons for little ones. Over recent years, ESF has developed more of a ‘creche’-like facility down at the Les Bergers area, complete with little magic carpet lifts and fun slaloms.
Family-friendly bars & restaurants
Most restaurants around resort have a children’s menu and families are always made welcome. But perhaps the most popular with the kids is Smithy’s Tavern, in the middle of resort, which has a great Tex-Mex-style menu and boasts a good range of child-friendly meals. Monday nights at Smithy’s is burger night, a genuine winner with all the family.
Firework displays, ski shows & torchlight descents
Torchlight descents and firework displays are always a highlight on the calendar in Alpe d’Huez and a real hit with families, young and old. Held at New Year and throughout the busy month of February, these really aren’t to be missed.
Loads to do away from the slopes
In addition to the great leisure centre, Alpe d’Huez prides itself on a whole host of activities away from the slopes. These include husky rides, ski doo rides, helicopter and plane flights, ice skating, classical music concerts, outdoor heated swimming and the alpine coaster attraction, to name but a few.
Hotel Les Grandes Rousses
Royal Ours Blanc
Hotel Pic Blanc
Hotel Le Dome
Hotel Petit Prince
Grenoble Airport – 105km / approx 1 hour 30 mins
Chambery Airport – 118 km / approx 1 hour 40 mins
Lyon Airport – 172 km / approx 2 hours 20 mins
Travelling to Alpe d’Huez takes between 8 and 10 hours from Calais depending on the road conditions and your attitude to speed.
BALAD’AULPS BUS – Le Balad’Aulps is a shuttle bus which serves all the Vallee d’Aulps villages during the winter and summer season. A perfect way to visit the areas around Avoriaz.
If you like to travel by train, the best option is to take the Eurostar to Paris, and then change to the direct TGV to Grenoble. This will require a taxi ride in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. From Grenoble you can take the bus up to Alpe d’Huez, which takes just over an hour.