Review of Alpe d'Huez

6th February 2008 by David Greening 

I am a bit of a fan of Alpe d’Huez, having just returned from my second visit there in two years, each time for the last week of January. This year the snow was great, last year it was a bit thin and slushy but much better than in many lower resorts at that time.

Whilst it is not the most glitzy resort, there is little that Alpe d’Huez does not have to offer with easy transfers from Grenoble and Chambery. It is approached up the 26 hairpins that are a regular feature of the King of the Mountain stages of the Tour de France.

There is good skiing for all abilities, easy blues and greens at resort levels, a good interconnected skiing area of blues and reds and some challenging, if not legendary blacks (I would recommend the Sarenne, la Fare and Col de Cluy, also try the Tunnel once for the novelty, although in my opinion it is a bit like hard work for little return). It is possible to plan some quite big drops without getting on a lift.

The mountain bars and restaurants are well placed. We particularly enjoyed the atmosphere and food at L’Alpette.

In town Smithys (bar) and Lounge 21 (restaurant) were good and had plenty of atmosphere. Lilly’s did not have quite the vibe of last year.

Other members of our party raved about the Stance ski school that has recently been set up. One of our party hadn’t skied for 30 years and the others were off piste newbies, and all of them were very impressed with the communication skills of Sebastien and Oliver.

We stayed in Chalet Eleonore through Thomson/Crystal, which offered very good value and was virtually ski in ski out for an intermediate. They have three other chalets in the same block.

We were on a boys’ week - however I am sure that Alpe d’Huez would work equally well for families, given its easy low down ski area and the range of extra facilities including swimming pool and ice skating rink.

If I had any critique, it would be how crowded the main runs back to town are. However these are avoidable for most of the day.

To conclude, if you are looking for easy transfers, pretty snowsure skiing Alpe d’Huez should maintain your interest for at least a week, whatever your ability.

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