Thanks to the fact that Alpe d'Huez ski resort is situated on a southward facing hillside, yields approximately 300 sunny days a year. Thus the nickname "Island in the Sun".
With its high elevation, its glaciers and the countless amount of snowmaking machines, the skiing season in Alpe d’Huez lasts five months with enough snow to cover its vast terrain.
One of the oldest ski resort in France, Alpe d’Huez skiing history dates back to 1911.
Already known as a popular fashionable ski holiday destination, Alpe d’Huez ski resort attracted more attention when it hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics’ bobsleigh events.
The 1968 events gave enough attention and gave a lot of self-confidence within the municipality.
In the view of many, the 1968 events was an indirect factor which has made Alpe d'Huez was able to improve its skiing infrastructure to the level where it is today.
Skiable Terrain at Alpe d’Huez
Alpe d’Huez combined ski resort, includes with five neighboring smaller ski resorts to create one of France’s largest ski resort.
The combined ski resort is also referred to “Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski Area”.
The Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski Area has over 80 efficient lifts and over 250 km of skiing slopes with several long winding trails that connect the different skiing districts.
The main village is located at Alpe d’Huez and offers the largest beginner and nursery ski areas. Located north of the resort is Oz-En-Oisans and Vaujany, home of France’s largest hydroelectric power station.
North-west facing is Villard Reculas and Huez-En-Oisans and south at the foot of Signal l’dHomme is the Auris-en-Oisans forest area.
Alpe d'Huez combined ski area, covers 10,000-hectare skiable terrain. Much of the skiing in Alpe d’Huez ski resort occurs in and just above the treeline.
For many ski-tourists, cruising through the trees is just the thing the are looking for.
As such, there is normally plenty of space for more sporty skiing just above the tree line terrain with wide open powder fields, technical chutes, tight gullies and, off-course, cliff drops.
With its perfect mix of different slopes, Alpe d’Huez has something for everyone. Its modern and swift lift system makes skiing at the resort a breeze.
Although an intermediate’s haven, Alpe d’Huez has an abundance of green slopes for beginners to enjoy and multiple long and challenging runs for the adventurous experts.
Alpe d’Huez Beginners’ Area
The beginners’ skiable area at Alpe d’Heuz covers approximately one third of the entire terrain.
The two largest learning area at the resort is located at the Les Bergers and DMC area near the base of the Alpe d’Huez.
These nursery ski areas have several gentle wide-open pistes serviced by four free lifts for beginners.
Most of the green slopes are located above the village and can be reached by taking the Troncon Gondola or the Romains chairlift.
The Marmottes (2300m) offers some long slopes for beginners and some easy blue slopes for confident novices, but for more beginner trails, Les Jeux (2100m) has several interlinking greens that lead down to the village.
There are small nursery ski areas at Oz-en-Oisans and Villard Reculas and more beginner areas at the Auris and Vaujany district.
For ski lessons, Alpe dHeuz has two skiing and snowboarding schools and children programs facilitated by professional English speaking Instructors (French for the most part, but also Brits, Americans and on occasion even Aussies).
Alpe d’Huez Intermediate Skiable Area
Alpe d’Huez has endless routes to keep intermediate skiers busy for days. The red marked Olympique located at the Marmottes is wide and steep, perfect for a morning run before the afternoon rush begins.
Signal (2100m) has several red short slopes that lead back to DMC base area. The north-west facing Petit Princes piste opens up to more intermediate trails at the Villard Reculas (1500m).
For more challenging intermediate slopes, numerous interlinking red and blues can be found at the resort’s southern part district.
Auris En Oisans (1600m) is home to the steepest red runs at Alpe d’Huez. Fontfroide, one of Signal L’Homme’s (2180m) longest trails leads to Maronne Forest (1450m) where tree-riders can enjoy the only un-groomed gladed terrain in the resort.
A cluster of enjoyable carving reds with fantastic views can be found at the Rousses bubble. The Bartavelles slope connecting the Dome Des Rousses (2,700m) and Oz En Osians (1350m) is a long steep trail usually empty and perfect for ski races.
From the end of the trail, skiers can take the L’Alpette and ride several short blues and reds leading to Montfrais (1650m) like Travers, Chalets, and Ecureuils.
Alpe d’Huez Skiable Area for Advanced & Expert Skiers
Alpe d’Huez has over 50 km of extreme and thigh-burning slopes for expert skiers. La Sarenne, the resort’s longest piste starts at Pic Blanc glacier (3330m) and runs 2,200 meters through the Gorges de Sarenne down to the valley.
Also known as the ‘Champagne Run,’ the 16-km trail is quite steep and have areas filled with moguls, but the leg-burning trail rewards the fearless skiers with the spectacular and panoramic views of the French Alps.
Some of the best expert and off-piste skiing and snowboarding slopes are located near the top of Pic Blanc.
One of the most notorious piste in the French Alps called ‘Le Tunnel’ has a long horizontal passage cutting through the rock face and emerges to an almost vertical slope filled with moguls, perfect for daredevils and thrill-seeking experts.
A few pleasurable blacks can be found at the Clocher de Macle (2,800 m) including the thrilling and sometimes un-groomed Combe Charbonniere piste that receives waist-deep snow after a snowfall.
The steep La-Fuma at Auris has the steepest drag lift in the resort and offers a chance to see some trees.