Skiing in Alpe d'Huez ski resort
The reputation of being one of Europe's sunniest ski resort is a fact. Situated on a southern faced hillside, Alpe d'Huez catches most of the sun right from dusk til dawn
Alpe d’Huez means is France’s fifth largest ski area with 250 kilometers of diverse skiing.
One of the longest ski runs in all of Europe, "La Sarenne", takes one from the top the resort at the "Pic Blanc" in 3300 meters altitude, and all the way to the bottom in Enversin d'Oz at 1135 meters.
Multiple opportunities for reasonable and quality accommodation combined with a vibrant nightlife and superb skiing has treated Alpe d'Huez ski resort well in terms of an increased number of guests over the last couple of years.
As a recognition of all the investments the municipality has put into the ski resort, Alpe d'Huez was awarded in 2019 as the "Best European Ski Resort" for the second time by EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence).
Ski Information for Alpe d’Huez
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’HuezAlpe 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’ AreaThe 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 AreaAlpe 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 SkiersAlpe 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.
Afterski & Nightlife in Alpe d’Huez
La Folie DouceOpened in December 2013, La Folie Douce located on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez is the newest option for skiers looking for après. The new bar and restaurant is located at the Plat des Marmottes area and is easily accessible by taking the Marmotte 1 chairlift.
Closing at 5 pm, the DJs at the bar play classical club music early in the afternoon and attracts a crowd who loves extreme and wild partying.
The Freeride CaféThe Freeride Café is popular among locals and international skiers for its unique slide that guests can use to go to the bathroom without taking their ski boots off! This unique feature adds to the bar’s famous fun theme where drinks prices keep changing every minute and a half. The bar has a long list of shots, cocktails and beer, a pool table, and a massive screen that displays different sports to keep everyone entertained.
The Sphere BarLocated close to the Le Cristal de l’Alpe apartments, the Sphere Bar is the perfect après party spot in Alpe d’Huez. With plenty of options for delectable drinks and cocktails skiers looking for drinks in the evening will be spoilt for choice.
L’IglooL’Igloo is one of the wildest nightclubs in Alpe d’Huez. Located under the Smithy’s Tavern in the old part of town, the L’Igloo has plenty of room to fit après ski partygoers. The bar is pretty expensive, so at the end of a lively night, you might feel that your pockets are light or maybe completely empty. Despite the expensive bar, the nightclub is a favorite spot for après ski.
Smithy’s TavernSmithy’s Tavern is a local bar that has a great reputation among local European skiers.
The bar is usually bustling as its one of the liveliest places for après ski. Smithy’s Tavern features live bands and DJ performances and offers the most affordable menu in the resort. The Tavern has an extensive collection of beers, shots, and cocktails at affordable prices.
The Underground BarThe Underground bar is another favorite spot for skiers to get some quality après ski. English owners run the bar and have a London based theme.
The ceilings and walls are decorated with snowboards and skis, and food and drinks are not expensive.
The Underground Bar is a great place to hang out, meet new people, and enjoy delicious food and drinks before heading to the L’Igloo nightclub for some wild dancing and partying.
Activities in Alpe d’Huez
Sports CenterThe sports center at Alpe d’Huez has different activities for the entire family. Apart from skiing, the sports center has different water sports and swimming pools. At the sports center, guests have access to: Aquabiking, Aquarobics, Aquapalming, Archery/ pneumatic ball launcher, Badminton, Basketball, Climbing wall, Bouldering, Cardio training center, Jorky Ball, Indoor swimming pool, Parcours Aventure - in’vertigo, Tennis, Table tennis and last but not least, guests are able to join a Mini golf course.
Aerial Activities at the ResortWhat sets apart the Alpe d’Huez from other ski resorts is its extensive list of aerial adventure offered even in winter.
Adrenaline junkies can choose from paragliding, helicopter rides and gyrocopter or microlight trips over the resort’s snowy mountains.
The prices for each ride and tour type are different. A single gyrocopter ride will cost €65 for fifteen minutes while a 20-minute paragliding flight costs around €90. The tickets become pricey as the flight duration increases.
Ski joëringAlpe d’Huez has a unique activity that other resorts don’t offer. Ski joëring is a Scandinavian winter sport perfect for those who love skiing and horse sledding. Guided by professional instructors, guests wearing their skis can enjoy being pulled along the snowy tracks by a horse, a pony or a dog wearing a harness.
Dog Sled RideDog sled ride is a favorite among children as the dogs are not just beautiful and energetic, but also, it is a fun way to explore the natural beauty of the resort.
This Nordic adventure is sure to keep the children happy for hours as the pack of spirited and friendly huskies rushes through the Rif Nil. Visitors can opt for any route including the Brandes and the Poutran. Reservation before the ride is mandatory.
SnowshoeingSnowshoeing in the Alpe d’Huez is a great chance for visitors to explore the different areas of the resort. People of all fitness level will have a blast exploring the surrounding areas on snowshoes with an expert guide. Plenty of routes for snowshoeing are available at the resort including some exciting nigh walks.
Ice Staking and Curling RinkThe public outdoor ice skating rink at the Alpe d’Huez promises a fun day for skiers, non-skiers and families.
It also features figure skating shows in the evening and offers training and courses for children and adults. A fun human curling section is also available to visitors who want to try their luck at this newest winter craze.
Ice DrivingAlpe d’Huez has ice driving activity that is popular among thrill seekers. Visitors at the resort can hire a car with an experienced driver for an adventurous ride or they have an option to enroll in a training session and learn how to drive on ice for the first time. A snow buggy is available for rent too for guests looking for a more exciting ride along the professionally-built tracks.
Grenoble-Isere Airport Km