L’Alpe d’Huez is a ski resort in the French Alps that can be proud of over 300 sunny days a year.
Until the 1968 Winter Olympics, the L’Alpe d’Huez ski area (1,860 metres) was an undiscovered village in Grenoble. Today, it is popular all year round, and due to the growing number of skiers, an alpine airport has been built.
You will experience here a slightly more casual life, a slower life rhythm, the charm of the province, inns with local-specific cuisine, and locals with a mountain dialect of the neighbouring places. Nearby Hez Village, Auris-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas, Oz en Oisans, and Vaujany are connected by a network of trails and cable cars.
Slopes and cable car system
There are 67 cable cars in the cable car system. North of L’Alpe d’Huez is one of the largest cable car systems in this area. The lowest cable cars are in the Signal and Plat des Marmottes ski resorts, between which there are terrains for children. But this is only the first level of cable cars followed by a more elaborate cable car system – at 2,700 meters you can stop at Lac Blanc and Clocher de Macle. The gondola from Lac Blanca goes up to the “third floor”, to the peak of Pic Blanca (3,330 metres), from where two spectacular descents start.
The first is the Sarenne that leads across the eponymous glacier. It is the longest trail in L’Alpe d’Huez and the longest black trail in the world. It is 16 kilometres long and the height difference is about 1,810 metres. The second descent is the Tunnel, named after the tunnel that was drilled in the hill to get another, extremely difficult 3-kilometer-long trail.
South of L’Alpe d’Huez, there is a small ski resort Signal de l’Homme (2,176 metres). Cable cars from Auris en Oisans, Oz en Oisans, and Villard Reculasa lead to it, connecting with the entire cable car system. In addition to that same connection, Vaujany also has its own, smaller cable car system. The first height to which this cable car arrives is Montfrais (1,650 metres), but skiers usually continue to the 2,050-meter high L’Alpette.
Trail difficulty levels
Since medium to high-level difficulty trails predominate, of which as many as 17 are black, this ski resort is mostly chosen by families. Additional amenities include the width of the trails, which can be reached fairly quickly, four fun ski trails, a snow park, and two areas for beginners. Itineraries tailored to every skiing wish of those who like long ski tours and steep slopes are also offered on-site.
The offer of other sports activities
Those who decide to go on one of the cross-country ski trails should definitely protect themselves from the sun because the most beautiful trails pass along the ridge of the Petites Rouses hill. The offer of other sports is very good as well. There are countless sports opportunities in the sports complex Palais des sports, i.e. in the sports palace of this ski resort. You can enjoy aqua biking, aqua aerobics, badminton, basketball, golf, fitness, bodybuilding, jorkyball, indoor climbing, tennis, table tennis, and various other sports and sports activities.
It is said that there is always something happening in the Alpe d’Huez. In addition to walking, sledding on the railway, ski joering, air sports, indoor activities, and wellness treatments, various interesting events are organized for visitors. Some of them are the Alpe d’Huez Cup, Ski Mojo, Snow Dragon Masters, Ski Shows, Les Cristaux, but also a cinema and music events, and the Comic Book Festival.
What to visit?
Ethnographic Museum reveals all about the customs and traditions of this region, where silver was once mined. Almost everyone who climbs up to Pic Blanco visits a cave in the glacier, where various thematic exhibitions are held every year and where artists make masterpieces of ice sculptures. You can also visit the observatory, where on clear nights you can enjoy the view of the clear sky.
If you decide to walk or ski in deep snow, by no means go without a guide because the trails are located high in the mountains.
Don’t miss the sunset on the Sarenna where you can arrive by taking the last cable car. Tours are organized accompanied by instructors who, in addition to a beautiful panoramic picture from the top of the ski resort, also offer the enjoyment of delicious mountain gastronomy.
The ski resort is nice, not too big, and just appropriate enough to enjoy yourself in March when the weather is better but with still enough snow around. The only problem on the way to the ski resort may be the mountain road that crosses the pass, so on Saturdays, it can be crowded. Although this ski resort is smaller and more affordable, it is definitely worth a visit.