20. December 2012: For updates on this post please visit: http://www.circumnavigator.dk/2012/10/25/alpe-dhuez/
Driving on the road up to Alpe d’Huez you pass through 21 hairpin bends. In each of the bends there is a plate with the name of one of the Tour de France winners on the legendary mountain. But Alpe d’Huez is not only for Tour de France bikers. During winter it is a very good ski resort, both for beginners and advanced skiers.
Skiing at Alpe d’Huez
In January 2012 my brother and niece invited me to join them on their annual skiing holiday. They are both very good and fast skiers, whereas I myself is more relaxed about the skiing. I can, if I really want to, go downhill on a black piste, but I definitely prefer a blue or red piste. Even though the need for speed is in my blood, can’t deny that, I guess I’m more for the relaxed downhill skiing where I also take the time to enjoy the scenery around me. Just the sight of the magnificent mountains around me, is something very special – I grew up in a country where the highest point is only 170 meters above sea level.
The Alpe d’Huez with surrounding towns has a total of 250 km pistes so there are plenty of different pistes to explore. I think it great to get up fairly early in the morning and go the furthest out you can in the area and then use the following hours working your way back – going down one slope and up in a lift, down another slope and up in another lift etc. In Alpe d’Huez, I recommend to take the trip out to Montfrais and then return to the foot of Signal going through the villages of Vaujany and Oz en Oisans. Fantastic skiing and scenery.
Another must do in Alpe d’Huez is the La Sarenne run, but I advise only to do it if you are an experienced skier. The first part is really steep. A very easy but beautiful piste, and perfect for the final day run, is the one going down to the village Huez from Alpe d’Huez. Please click Alpe d’Huez for all information about the resort and a detailed map of the pistes.
Another great thing about holidaying in France is of course the food. We stayed in a hotel with breakfast and dinner included and even though the kitchen was run by Danes, the food was inspired from the french kitchen, so absolutely lovely. If you want to source your own french specialities, I can recommend to visit some of the delicacy shops in Alpe d’Huez. Both the sausages and the sweets are absolutely delicious.
For lunch on the mountain, I recommend a pizza at the little cosy Chalet du Lac Besson reached by the piste Boulevard de Lac. The food there is excellent and on top the view from the terrasse is fantastic.
Other activities in Alpe d’Huez
In Alpe d’Huez there is also an outdoor swimming pool and a skating ring. Unfortunately I didn’t find the time for any of these activities, but it looked great. I did try out the after skiing but being a little bit “germanophile”, I must admit that I prefer the after skiing in the german speaking Austria. In Alpe d’Huez there are several bars to choose from and also good party vibes late in the evening, but the Austrian after skiing starts much earlier in the afternoon and is full power compared to the French.
All together I consider Alpe d’Huez a complete skiing resort. I had a great week there with my family and did some amazing skiing. It is said that there are 300 days with sunshine in Alpe d’Huez. The first days we had bright sunshine from a blue ski – the last couple of days very heavy snow fall, but it also has it’s charm to experience snow fall of minimum 50 cm within 24 hours. Though not really the best skiing weather. My last day in Alpe d’Huez, I went up and down one time only – doing otherwise for me wouldn’t be safe.
Did you try out some great ski resorts? And why were they just perfect for you? Please let me know for inspiration to my next skiing holiday.