Alpe d’Huez

A self-proclaimed "island in the sunshine", Alpe d'Huez boasts over 300 sunny days per year, as well as varied terrain, epic scenery, a high snowsure glacier, an excellent lift system, a bustling main resort and quieter lower villages, and skiing for all levels.

The Dauphin of the Oisans Valley, Alpe d’Huez is a purpose-built resort set at 1850m on a wide open flank of mainly south-facing mountainside about 60 kms to the east of Grenoble. An ugly duckling hastily constructed for the 1968 Winter Olympics, it may yet turn into a swan as more of its amorphous buildings are either demolished or reclad in sympathetic timber, and new attractive chalet suburbs are constructed on its flanks. For now, though, it’s a large bustling, sprawling resort, so if you want something smaller and quieter, try the lower villages to which it’s linked.

With about 80 lifts and 250km of pistes the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine is not quite as large as the biggest French ski areas, but it’s big enough for almost all 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.

And just by itself Alpe D’Huez has a lot to offer: varied terrain catering for all levels of skiers, beautiful scenery, an excellent lift system, a 3,300m snow-sure glacier, epic off-piste itineraries, a 13km long black run that has challenges for experts but which most confident intermediates can also manage, and a wide range of accommodation – from hotels and apartments in the centre of Alpe d’Huez to chalets in its suburbs. The lower villages are worth considering too. They each have their character: Villard Reculas has rustic charm; Oz-en-Oisans and Auris-en-Oisans offer purpose-built, family-friendly convenience; Vaujany is a good all-rounder; and Huez is good value.

But what sets Alpe D’Huez apart is the sunshine. The ‘Isle au Soleil’ allegedly has 300 sunny days per year, and its runs predominantly face South. The resort is sufficiently high and has enough artificial snow-making to make sure the pistes generally remain skiable from Christmas through to Easter but you have to expect some ice in the morning and slush in the afternoon. For many skiers, though, this is a price worth paying for the joy of skiing (and lunching) in the sunshine.

Ultimate-Ski partner works with several shops in the main resort and the surrounding villages and offers discounts of up to 60% if you book online in advance >.

Alpe D’Huez Strengths & Weaknesses

+ High sunny slopes
+ Big enough area
+ Amazing views
+ Efficient modern lifts
+ Good runs for all standards
+ Choice of the main resort or smaller lower villages.

– Slush and ice are common
– Sprawling, charmless main resort
– Experts depend on the top lifts which close in bad weather


Alpe d’Huez Resort Stats

Beginner: 40 %
Intermediate: 40 %
Advanced: 20 %
Number of ski lifts: 84

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Alpe d’Huez Resort Ratings

Ski Area star rating
Lift System star rating
Snowsure star rating
Beginner star rating
Intermediate star rating
Advanced star rating
Scenery star rating
Charm star rating
Apres Ski star rating
Other Activities star rating
Getting There star rating

Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 35

Alpe d’Huez Map

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