Alpe d’Huez is a popular resort and is accessible from both Lyon (2hrs) and Grenoble (75 mins) airports and Grenoble station. It lies in the Grandes Rousses Massif domain, linking with the satellite villages of Auris-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany and Huez, all of which are connected by lift and/or road. The slopes are mainly south facing, so they catch plenty of the sun – averaging 300 days a year – yet because of its height, Alpe d’Huez gets more than its fair share of snow every season, ensuring that you can still ski here when other resorts are struggling.
Alpe d’Huez is split into 3 sections. Quartier des Jeux is the main central area, with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as an ice-rink and swimming pool. Quartier des Vieil Alpe is the oldest part, retaining many of its original buildings. Lastly there is Quartier des Bergers, which is the newest part, consisting mainly self-catered apartments and hotel options, as well as places to eat, drink and shop. Moving further up from here towards the Altiport, you will also find a few larger self catered and catered chalet options.
Alpe d’Huez has lifts spread over 7 different locations, so wherever you are, you won’t be too far from a ski lift and being quite a high resort, it is more snow certain than many of its French counterparts. With many easy green runs, is an excellent place for beginners and any young ones with you, so they should be all able to learn to ski in great conditions. The easiest skiing is above the village and Les Bergers and there are plenty of wide open runs underneath the DMC gondola, many for ‘beginners only’ so you can learn without too much hassle or too many people around to bother you. Those, a little more confident on the slopes, can try some of the blue runs coming down from the mountain back into Alpe d’Huez. There is a really impressive selection of runs for intermediates with over half the ski area ranked either blue or red. Children are well looked after too.
Advanced skiers will have a terrific time too. The black Tunnel run that streams down from the Pic Blanc summit is pretty steep, while the Sarenne from the same peak isn’t quite as steep, but is the longest black run in France at 16km. The steep La Fuma down to Le Chatelard Maronne is superb. Off the piste, there are endless options – and you should consider hiring a guide if you really want to get the best out of the terrain and more so if lots of powder, you can try a day in La Grave, also included for a day on the ski pass, as well as Serre Chevalier and Les 2 Alpes.
Alpe d’Huez is a great resort for snowboarders, with plenty of on and off piste and with minimal flat runs. There are still a few flat spots to negotiate but nothing that would faze most snowboarders. The huge park at the top section of the Grandes Rousses gondola will keep snow park thrill seekers satisfied and beginners should check out the easier park above Vaujany. There are a few good ski schools in Alpe d’Huez too and we are happy to recommend Easyski.
Once the lifts start to wind down for the day, the area comes to life with some great bars and some live music. Smithy’s has drinks promotions and healthy portions of Tex-Mex to match, with great burgers. If you can’t bear to miss an important event whilst in France, then The Sports Bar is the best spot to watch sports. L’igloo is the place to go if you want to party late into the night.
Alpe d’Huez has all of the usual culinary delights you’d expect in the mountains. To sample some traditional French food, head to Au P’tit Creux or for Tex-Mex, Smithy’s Tavern is the place to go. L’Origan is a popular pizzeria, located opposite the ice rink and Le Sporting, above the Spar offers a great menu, if you want more traditional French fayre. Le Caribou also offers some excellent dining options in the older part of Alpe d’Huez and we like the Eidelweiss too. Lily Muldoons offers more traditional Irish treats like Guinness and beef pie.
Off the slopes, there is a real mix of energetic activities as well as more relaxing options! Alpe d’Huez offers a heated outdoor swimming pool, free to use with your ski pass. For the adventurous, there is snowmobiling and paragliding as well as an ice driving school and Husky sledding as options. There are also 250km of well-marked walking trails for non-skiers. For some of the most stunning views, take a helicopter across to Les Deux Alpes for an exciting day trip and though we mainly offer airport transfers by road, it is possible to come into Alpe d’Huez by helicopter!
Alpe d’Huez – 250km
Green runs: 42
Blue runs: 37
Red runs: 39
Black runs: 17
Ski lifts: 84
Longest run: 16km