Alpe d'Huez Ski Resort

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Pic Blanc, Alpe d
Pic Blanc, Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine ski resort, France.
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez ski resort village at 1850m is sprawling but more orderly than its neighbour at Les 2 Alpes
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez, & particularly the Oz-Vaujany sector, has amazing off-piste si terrain for all abilities
A massive range of lifts & trails for novices & beginners line the Alpe d
A massive range of lifts & trails for novices & beginners line the Alpe d'Huez. village slopes
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez ski resort, France.
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine has two smaller sectors including the brilliant Oz-Vaujany
Terrain in the Auris Sector of the Alpe d
Terrain in the Auris Sector of the Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine ski resort
Auris en Oisans village Skiset services with Les 2 Alpes clearly visible across the valley
Auris en Oisans village Skiset services with Les 2 Alpes clearly visible across the valley
High alpine zone from Pic Blanc has an upper elevation of 3,330m
High alpine zone from Pic Blanc has an upper elevation of 3,330m
fabulous lunches are available at La Grange near Alpette in the Oz-Vaujany sector of Alpe d
fabulous lunches are available at La Grange near Alpette in the Oz-Vaujany sector of Alpe d'Huez ski resort
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez is one of the best learn-to-ski areas in the Alps
The famous Sarenne & Le Tunnel provide advanced piste trails up to 16km long at Alpe d
The famous Sarenne & Le Tunnel provide advanced piste trails up to 16km long at Alpe d'Huez.
Modern ski lifts near the main village are perfect for novices & include combi chair/gondola lifts
Modern ski lifts near the main village are perfect for novices & include combi chair/gondola lifts
From novice slopes near the village to couloirs off the Dome des Rousses, Alpe d
From novice slopes near the village to couloirs off the Dome des Rousses, Alpe d'Huez has something for everyone
Lodging options are diverse in the ordered alpine village of Alpe d
Lodging options are diverse in the ordered alpine village of Alpe d'Huez
Go traditional in the village of Huez - lift & trail connected to the resort
Go traditional in the village of Huez - lift & trail connected to the resort
Auris en Oisans village at 1600m offers a quieter alternative to other villages in the Grand Domaine
Auris en Oisans village at 1600m offers a quieter alternative to other villages in the Grand Domaine
Tiny Maronne is quieter still......
Tiny Maronne is quieter still......
There is a vast array of freeride terrain to explore at Alpe d
There is a vast array of freeride terrain to explore at Alpe d'Huez
Alpe d
Alpe d'Huez ski resort

Alpe d'Huez Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Alpe d'Huez

Alpe d'Huez3.5/52
Alpe d'Huez3.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Nearby Ski Resorts

La Grave
Les 2 Alpes

     Alpe d’Huez Ski Trail Map
  • Alpe d’Huez Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,125m – 3,330m (2,205m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8m+
  • Lifts (63)
    22 Cable cars/gondolas/funiculars
    19 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    December to end April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 250km
    Longest run – 17km
    Advanced - 20%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Beginner - 30%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Grand Domaine
    Adult - €44 to 55
    Child - €36 to 45
    Child u/5yr – Free
    Dynamically priced online!

    Oz - Vaujany sector only
    Adult - €38
    Child - €28.50
    Child u/5yr – Free

    Auris en Oisans sector only
    Adult - €37
    Child - €22
    Child u/5yr – Free
     Oz Vaujany Trail Map
  • Oz Vaujany Sector Map
     Auris en Oisans Sector Ski Trail Map
  • Auris en Oisans Sector Map

Alpe d'Huez Ski Resort France

The Alpe d'Huez ski resort is a Grand Domaine in the southern French Alps near Grenoble, offering limitless skiing across gargantuan & diverse terrain. The diversity extends to the resort’s many villages, which range from modern monstrosities to quaint, ancient hamlets plus everything in between.

Alpe d'Huez has everything for the adventurous skier or snowboarder including over 10,000ha of freeride terrain, 2,200m of skiable vertical, a glacier & 250km of piste trails. It is known locally for the superb expert freeride terrain in the Oz-Vaujany sector on a powder day (we can vouch for it!), but equally should be recognised for the near perfect alpine offerings for novices & beginners. The terrain near the main village offers some of the best learn-to-ski slopes & facilities in the world. Forgot to mention that the longest run is over 16km long & it is for advanced skiers! Those statistics put it in rarefied air indeed!

Pros & Cons for Alpe d’Huez Ski Resort

Pros

  • Massive, diverse ski area with an extraordinary 2,205m of skiable vertical.
  • Reliable snow cover through most of the season.
  • Amazing off-piste freeride terrain for everyone.
  • Super long on-piste trails for all skiers & snowboarders (including advanced).
  • Amongst the best learn-to-ski (& progression) lifts & terrain in the world.
  • Reasonably priced & superb quality on-mountain restaurants (away from the central sector).
  • With a La Folie Douce in the resort, you know its gonna have some fun après ski action.
  • Wide range of ski villages to choose from, most with ski-in ski-out accommodation.
  • Affordable lift pass price, plus cheaper options for smaller sectors within the grand Domaine.
  • Easy access & ample free car parking for day trippers from the valley.

Cons

  • Snow quality varies markedly from top to bottom (to be expected though!).
  • Central sector of the Grand Domaine is quite busy, most of the time. The cable cars to the summits are the most obviously impacted by skier numbers.
  • Main novice/learn-to-ski area is above tree line & vulnerable to extreme weather.
  • Several intermediate trails are more traversing & road like, rather than piste.
  • Long, flat linking trails (i.e. lower Sarenne) are not pleasant for snowboarders.
  • Public transport to the resort is difficult & driving up can be challenging in icy conditions.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • The best off-piste terrain is not as easily ‘accessible’ or obvious compared to other ski areas (like neighbouring Les 2 Alpes). Exploration is key, experience is useful & a guide may be necessary (if the first two are not in your DNA).
  • Ski resort villages are many & varied in price, style, location & accessibility.
  • Accommodation can be relatively expensive on the mountain & books out quickly for high season.

Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

Alpe d'Huez ski resort is not just for experts seeking an extreme powder experience or super long piste trails. The ski area is perfect for novice & beginner skiers & snowboarders. The lifts & terrain near the main village offers some best learn-to-ski facilities in the world. With over 250km of on-piste trails, it should suffice to say there is something for everyone, & unusually, a lot more for advanced riders than most ski areas. Some of the intermediate runs feel a touch too ‘traversing & road-like’ rather than piste, but with 50% (125km) of the Grand Domaine's trails rated as red, perhaps the observation is uncharitable!

See the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine ski trail map here.

From Pic Blanc summit, the piste trail options include the long, long Sarenne & legendary Tunnel advanced runs. Acting like a honeypot, attracting every snow-slider regardless of ability to their extended pistes, they are fun to do early but not often. Skiing the 16km Sarenne can be challenging from mid-morning if crowds are thick. Snowboarders should be advised of the probable walk requirement at the lower end of the run.

The freeride off-piste terrain, particularly for experts, is off the charts at Alpe d’Huez. Not nearly as obvious or approachable as Les 2 Alpes, the many permutations from Pic Blanc (3330m elevation), Dôme Des Rousses (2800m) or the backside of Signal (2100m) are mind-bending. It is hard to find entry points & routes but having tasted a few, it leaves you wanting to come back for more. And that is a good thing. Get a guide to simplify the more difficult freeride terrain – you will know what we are talking about when you see it! Some classic 2000m skiable vertical backcountry descents include the Grand Sablat Glacier from Pic Blanc down to the village of Clavans-en-Haut-Oisans. Transport is needed to get back to your accommodation - it takes around 45min by road back to L'Alpe d'Huez. Some mountain guides offer day-tours with a helicopter ride return!

On a powder day the smaller ski sector of Auris en Oisans (& Maronne) on the north-aspect Signal de l’Homme is worthy of attention. Steeps off the sunny backside into Auris & nicely pitched alpine meadows plus some trees into Maronne are perfect for poor visibility outings. As with quiet Oz-Vaujany sector, piste trails in the sector are quiet & varied enough for all abilities.

Unlike some French ski resorts, there are no old banged-up gondolas at Alpe d’Huez (OK there is one, but it doesn’t serve any ski terrain). There are however numerous old banger chairs across the entire domain – some of which are quite important for getting around efficiently! In such a thoroughly modern ski resort, chairs from the 70s & 80s are out of place. The cable cars heading up to the summits can get extremely crowded & have long lift lines if one times their run poorly. We say it often, & it applies in all resorts (large & small) - start early to get the most out of the verticality in this amazing ski area. A new gondola below the Eau d'Olle dam connects the valley to the ski resort at Oz station, improving access for day-trippers.

Local Lift Pass Sectors

The Grand Domaine at Alpe d’Huez is divided into two smaller sectors at either end of the resort which have their own cheaper lift passes, providing options for those wanting a more affordable ski holiday, but with the option to ski a huge area. To the north, the Oz-Vaujany sector has 53km of slopes & 1670m of skiable vertical (including some super freeride terrain) for a lift pass rate up to €16.50/day cheaper than the Grand Domaine.

See the Oz-Vaujany sector ski trail map here.

At the southern end of Alpe d’Huez, across the yawning gap spanned by the Alpauris chair (definitely one of the weirder chairlift rides in the world), the Auris en Oisans sector includes the north-aspect Signal de l’Homme & Maronne. Smaller than the Oz-Vaujany sector, Auris nonetheless has great terrain for all abilities on 730m of skiable vertical for a lift pass rate up to €17.50/day cheaper than the Grand Domaine.

See the Auris en Oisans sector ski trail map here.

of interest to some will be the 6-day lift pass that includes a one day pass valid at nearby La Grave. Just work out how you are going to get there before committing to it!

Where is Alpe d’Huez France?

The Alpe d’Huez ski resort is in the Isère department of the Auvergne Rhone Alps region, southeast France. The closest major city & transport hub is Grenoble, 65km by road to the west. Closest international airports are Lyon St Exupery (LYS) (150km, 2hr by road) & Geneva (GVA) (212km, 2½hr by road on a good day!). The smaller, regional airport at Chambéry (CMF) provides weekend flights from the UK, Netherlands & Russia, but its limited flight schedule is not useful for many international travellers.

The Powderhounds usually recommend taking the train & bus from the airports to any ski resort, but in a post COVID-19 world or if travelling in larger groups, a private transfer from Geneva, Lyon or Grenoble may be the most efficient mode of travel if one doesn’t have a rental car.

Search & book all private transfers to Alpe d'Huez or other resort village here.

Anyone wanting to POW (Protect Our Winters) can take the quick (around 2hr) train trip from the airports to Grenoble & then continue the journey via bus or private transfers. Buses travel to Alpe d'Huez via the major valley town of Bourg d'Oisans. Search & book train tickets to Grenoble here. Buy bus tickets from the drivers.

Driving your rental car up to the main village at L’Alpe d’Huez can be a challenge in poor weather. The road from Grenoble, in addition to being choked with traffic on weekends, can also be surprisingly busy during the morning & evening work commute on weekdays. Further along through the narrow Romanche River valley (before Le Bourg d’Oisans), is particularly vulnerable to weekend traffic jams. Coming from the east via Serre Chevalier requires an ascent of the Col du Lautaret before La Grave. The 2058m elevation pass is prone to road closures during poor weather. Day trippers, once in the resort, have some stellar car-parking facilities, particularly in L’Alpe d’Huez village at Bergers & the Vaujany village directly across from the ski lifts. Vaujany was once the easiest of the resort base areas to get to by car, but it has now been surpassed by the new integrated car park & gondola lift to Oz en Oz en Oisans from the valley just below the Eau d'Olle dam - simples!

Alpe d’Huez Accommodation

The Alpe d’Huez ski resort comprises seven main villages all ranging in size & altitude, plus numerous nearby hamlets. All seven villages have direct lift & piste trail access to & from the ski resort, with many accommodation providers offering ski-in ski-out convenience.

Search & book all Alpe d’Huez ski accommodation here.

From north to south the first village of Vaujany is perched on the side of a valley at 1250m elevation and is connected by lifts & pistes to Oz En Oisans (1350m). On the main resort access road, first are the more traditional villages of Villard Reculas (1500m) & Huez (1500m); then finally the sprawling, but ordered, modern behemoth of L’Alpe d'Huez (1860m). Further south across a deep defile, the small peaceful hamlet of Maronne (1450m) & resort style village of Auris En Oisans (1600m) round out the options.

If all else fails & you are after well priced accommodation in a central location, the main valley town of Le Bourg d'Oisans provides several options plus a range of local services not available in many of the higher villages. Bourg d'Oisans is convenient for skiing Les 2 Alpes & La Grave as well as Alpe d'Huez. Due to the confusing & often unreliable local buses, staying here is best for those with their own transport to drive up the valley to the new integrated car park & gondola below the Eau d'Olle dam . That said, there are bus services up to Alpe d'Huez throughout the day in winter, plus a free shuttle to Vaujany.

See the Alpe d’Huez Accommodation Information page for detailed info on the best places to stay in the Grand Domaine.

Ski Rentals, Lessons, Guiding & Services

Our partners at Skiset have multiple equipment rental locations (most directly near the lifts) situated in the four main villages of the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine - Alpe d’Huez village (10 options), Auris en Oisans (1 option), Oz en Oisans (2 options) & Vaujany (1 option). Receive a discount when you search & book via our Alpe d'Huez Ski & Snowboard Rental page.

If looking to head into the complex off-piste & unsure about your abilities; off-piste ski lessons & guiding can make all the difference. Or perhaps you want to do the Grand Sablat Glacier descent & want to come back in a helicopter! See our Alpe d’Huez Ski Lessons & Guiding page for more information & booking.

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Nearby Ski Resorts

Several super nearby ski resorts provide the full gamut of snow sliding experiences & include the massive Les Deux Alpes, iconic freeride mecca La Grave & larch forest tree-skiing treasure Serre Chevalier. There are plans to connect Alpe d'Huez (the Auris d'Oisans side) to Les 2 Alpes via a modern gondola in 2023. Looking at the distance firsthand, it seems a fantasy, but who knows? Mega resorts morphing into super-sized mega resorts seems to be 'du jour' across the globe.

Review

The Powderhounds skied Alpe d’Huez in 2020. We were impressed with its terrain diversity, particularly the gnarly off-piste in Oz-Vaujany. It is huge in every way & equally good for everyone form novice to powder seeking expert. Read the review via the links in the left column (or top of page if on a mobile).

See how Alpe d'Huez compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Alpe d'Huez

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

La Grave-Sestriere Powder Skiing Safari France-Italy
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days | 3+ Resorts
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Skiing between the French & Italian alps over the southern alpine glaciers, this exceptional tour begins in La Grave, France, passes through Serre Chevalier & ends in Sestriere, Italy. Great off-piste combination of high alpine & tree skiing, plus beautiful villages & accommodation.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy, min group of 7 on an 8 day trip.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 3,230
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Alpe d'Huez here
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