The first thing that comes to mind with the name Alpe d’Huez, is ‘sunshine.’
Three hundred days a year, the sun shines down on the beautiful slopes of this resort, offering skiers the chance to ride the line between the frozen and the hot, in that perfect zone of comfort.
Couple that with the longest run in the world, at 16km in length, and there’s numerous reasons to make Alpe d’Huez your next ski holiday destination!
About half way between Lyon and the Turin, an hour’s ride from the airport in Grenoble gets you to the resort. Alpe d’Huez is considered a year-round ‘Lifestyle Resort,’ because it remains open all year, not just for token activities here and there during the summer, but with a full offering of fun and activities suited to whichever season is at hand. For the skier, this means that facilities are up and running all year long, service staff are longer-term, in general, and the place feels less like it was zapped into existence for a few months, then spirited away… it’s a solid, well run holiday destination.
There are several excellent hotels on the slopes and farther afield. The Au Chamois D’or is a great choice, as are the Daria I Nor and Les Grandes Rousses – ski-in, ski-out, and relax in comfort and luxury while you rest up for more. There are some handy-yet-economical options too, like Le Caribou, Le Dome, and Eliova – Le Chaix. Whatever your preference, and in line with your budget, you should find something to your liking right on the mountain.
The village of Huez is just a few kilometres away, and offers all of the charm and amenities you would expect from a little alpine town – that’s right beside a major resort. Some shops, a few bars, a hotel and, best of all, a cable car that connects the community to the resort itself. It’s an easy trip to a quaint little town, worth a wander around.
Despite the family feel of the advertising, and the wealth of activities for all ages at the resort, the fact remains that 16% of the runs are rated as Expert. This is a sizable offering for a resort, and means that it draws serious skiers to take on the challenge of Cassini, Cristaux, Sarenne, and others. It’s a high-altitude resort, yielding good snow conditions from the beginning of December to late April, with the added perk of copious sunshine all season long – so if you’re here to ski, you won’t be disappointed.
The other 80% of the runs are spread fairly evenly between the green, blue, and red runs, which means skiers at any level will have lots of choice, and the freedom to take on more challenging runs without having to make any great leaps ahead in difficulty levels.
There is a wide choice of other activities and pastimes at the resort too, on slope as well as off, so a varied group can always split up for the activities of everyone’s choice, then meet up again for some skiing, or to step into the rush of après ski fun and excitement.
You can start your evening fun right on the slopes, with La Folie Douce Restaurant and Bar. Sit on the terrace, soak in the last rays of the sun, feel the energy rise as DJs and dancing starts as early as half two in the afternoon. It closes with the lifts though, so you’ll need to follow the party to another spot after that.
A solid choice is La Taburle Bar and Restaurant. It also features a large outdoor terrace – facing south, as all great things do at Huez – and you can ski back down to your rooms after the party, if you’re able, as it sits alongside a blue run to the centre.
For something a bit more ‘pubbish,’ but in the alpine style, the O’Bar will sooth you with tapas and the atmospheric crackling of a big log fire, letting the memories of the day’s exploits sink into your bones while great food and drink sink into your stomach. Quiet enough for conversation and stories, but still lively and fun, this is a great option for an early evening chat session before the dance floors of the louder establishments. The Sphere bar is good for this too, though a bit louder when the bands are on. It’s English-run and offers live music several nights a week alongside its – you guessed it – south facing terrace!
That’s far from an exhaustive list, but it gives you some places to start. No-doubt the evening will have its own plans for you, and you can follow the fun where it leads.
If food is what you’re after, try Smithy’s Tavern, Restaurant Edelweiss, or sample some local French cuisine at La Crémaillère L’alpe D’Huez.
As do ski most resorts, Alpe d’Huez offers more than just skiing. You can hike, snowshoe, ice skate, ride horses, sled swim, work out, and participate in all kinds of winter activities. There is a choice of spas and recreational facilities too.