Alpe d'Huez is one of France's biggest and best-known Alpine ski resorts, ranking alongside other top French resorts such as Val d'Isère for extent and variety of slopes. Alpe d’Huez lies on a sunny plateau, with amazing slopes in all directions reaching to the far corners of this ski area and neighbouring villages of Auris, Villard Reculas, Oz en Oisans and Vaujany. The slopes go down to 1100m and up to 3330m, while its glacier ensures snow cover is sufficient for a long season that stretches from early December to late April.
This vibrant ski resort is justly popular with young and fun-loving groups as well as with families, and truly does cater very well for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
Alpe d'Huez is the biggest ski area in France's Isere departement, comprised of a large modern resort surrounded by five smaller villages linked into the core ski domain, collectively known as the Grandes Rousses. Overall, this is a big ski domain that is ideal for beginners and great for novices, yet challenging and interesting enough for good intermediates and those of advanced abilities. Combine this with the favourable weather record, and Alpe d'Huez shines as one of the top all-round resorts in the Alps.
Alpe d’Huez is home to some of the most extensive nursery slopes in the Alps. The two main beginner areas, at the Bergers end of the village and on the slopes served by the first stage of the DMC, are accessed by a choice of drag-lifts, chairlifts and a chondola – a hybrid gondola/chair – as well as the DMC gondola. The two areas are linked by easy piste, and dozen green runs offer a variety of beginner terrain to progress to that few other resorts can match.
Wide gentle slopes just above the Alpe d’Huez Village are the learning grounds for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Catch the Troncon Gondola to the first station to access the Respect trail for a fun long ride down to the base area. Once confidence grows turn right from the first gondola station onto the winding Retour Bergers trail.
Confident intermediates have a great choice of runs all over the area. In good snow conditions the variety of runs is difficult to beat. Every section has some challenging red runs to test the adventurous intermediates, but if you prefer gentle cruisers then head to above Vaujany where you will find an excellent selection.
More advanced & expert skiers are also well catered for with lots of long and challenging pistes as well as vast amounts of off-piste, from fairly tame to seriously adventurous - always ski with a guide when skiing off-piste for the first time.
The ski area is divided into four sectors each have their own distinct character, all well linked to one another:
The uppermost and largest sector -Pic Blanc- is a glacial realm of rock and ice, with the area's most exposed and challenging black runs, including the epic 16 km summit-to-valley Sarenne run. It is one of the longest advanced runs in the world taking well over one hour to complete. The ungroomed extremely steep and fast Tunnel, Les Chocards and Breche trails lead down the Pic Blanc face. For deep powder cut down the Combe Charbonniere run from the Marmottess II Gondola second station.
The Auris sector is quite extensive and could compete on its own with some smaller regional ski stations. An integrally complete satellite ski area that provides the full gamut of pistes for all abilities.
The core Alpe d'Huez sector is characterised by enjoyable mid-altitude cruises, which flow into the motorway-wide gentle superpistes that are designated as beginners' zones, running down to the town's two big base access areas.
The Signal sector covers a distinct hill overlooking the upper residential area of Alpe d'Huez, directly accessible from town and linked to Villard-Reculas. These good cruising slopes include the resort's floodlit night-skiing and competition pistes.
The Vaujany/Oz sector provides long sheltered trails, great for competent novices and good intermediates, down to the lowest-altitude valley villages. This sector also contains the further satellite area of Montfrais at 1650m, a compact cluster of lifts and pistes that acts as the core ski area for the village of Vaujany.
Alpe d’Huez accessible via flights into Grenoble, Marseille and Nice plus Cuneo & Turin in Italy. The nearest airport is Grenoble (99km).
TGV Paris (Gare de Lyon) - Grenoble (3 hours) with daily bus connections by Autocars VFD to Alpe d'Huez (approx. 1hr30mins).
For more information on Alpe d’Huez please visit the official website of Alpe d’Huez
Written by skiweather on Saturday November 3, 2018« La Rosière: a good-value alternative to the mega-resorts of the Tarentaise