On top of the world! in Alpe d’Huez
Alpe d’Huez is popular with English holidaymakers and native French skiers and snowboarders thanks to its sustained levels of sunshine (often quoted as over 360 days annually). It has a modern feel, and is sprawled across a wide area, with 250 pistes across 230 km. It boasts the longest piste area in the Alps, almost that of Tignes and Val d’Isère combined.
Alpe d’Huez has one of the largest nursery areas in Europe, as a result it is one of the prime venues for beginners to learn to ski and snowboard for the very first time. Expect to be spoilt for choice when it comes to beginner slopes. This resort is by no means a one trick pony, with a diverse array of different slopes which cater for different levels, making it the ideal venue for group ski holidays. Small groups of advanced snowboarders and skiers may prefer the under-classified slopes of Val d’Isère more however, due to the wide variety of what would be considered black runs anywhere else in Europe. The majority of the slopes are south-facing meaning lots of exposure to the sun. Some slopes can see closure near the end of the season due to this, but with such a vast array of slopes to choose from, this is hardly an issue.
Families and kids
The resort does an excellent job catering for families and young kids thanks to Alpe d’Huez Ski school. It also has child care options, meaning its possible to book your children (2.5yrs or older) into a nursery for a morning or evening session, or a full day. Kids aged 4+ can be booked into the Snow Garden at Les Grandes Rousses for child friendly ski lessons in safe surroundings.
Specialist family ski holiday companies offer family-friendly ski accommodation in Alpe d’huez and can advise on any specific queries you might have regarding kids clubs, ski schools which are group and child friendly as well as English speaking!
Mixed ability groups
Group abilities can be very diverse, and this is where Alpe d’Huez shines. The variety of pistes and other options makes it a prime choice to cater for the needs of everyone.
The nursery slopes and two ski schools of Alpe d’Huez cater well to beginners, one of which caters especially to providing lessons in English. The array of intermediate slopes is a great common ground where beginners and advanced skiers can ski together.
The experienced members of the group shouldn’t get bored with two terrain parks nearby, meaning lots of opportunities to catch some air and pull some tricks. Nighttime skiing is possible on many slopes, including the floodlit Sarenne slope, which is the longest black run in Europe.
Events in Alpe d’Huez
Alpe d’Huez is an active venue throughout the whole year. It is a stage in the Tour de France bike race in summer, and hosts the Glacier downhill biking event in April. In December you can enjoy the spectacular Ice driving competition (The Andros Trophy) which draws large crowds.
The ice caves at Alpe d’Huez are a sight to behold! Photo:Flickr
If you wish to take a break from the slopes, there are a variety of other activities suitable for groups. Examples include paragliding, helicopter trips (including heli-skiing), and quad biking. There is a snow-mobile circuit located near Restaurant Chantebise which is popular with adults and kid, or if you prefer something a bit more off road, excursions are also a possibility.
The Alpe d’Huez ice caves see visitors during the season, with ice sculptures made to fit different themes each year. These can be reached via the Les Grandes Rousses gondola.
Getting to Alpe d’Huez
Alpe d’Huez is located 1 hour and 30mins from Grenoble Airport, and 2 hours from Chambery Airport. Transfers run regularly during the season, but groups will see big savings by hiring transportation in most cases except for stays of 2 weeks or longer. Shared Shuttles are common during peak season and are significantly cheaper than private transfers.