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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

Alpe d´Huez

Alpe d´Huez

Huez - Rhone Alps, France

Snowboard, Ski

Alpe d’Huez is located on the south side of the Grandes Rousses Massif, south of Grenoble in the French Alps. It’s high altitude and extensive snowmaking facilities offer perfect conditions and excellent snow quality for most of the season. It became more popular after hosting the bobsleigh events of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. The resort has more than five decades of history and the first chairlift in the world was installed there in 1936. The resort has paid attention to technology since the beginning and the main gondolas and chairs are fast and pretty efficient. The network of 84 lifts has seven different access points around the resort so you won’t have to face a gruelling long walk home at the end of the day.

With a top elevation of 3.300 metres on Pic Blanc and a vertical descent of around 2.200 metres, Alpe d’Huez offers 250 kilometres of pistes, although some believe that this number is slightly exaggerated. It offers pistes for all levels and a wide variety of terrain as well as some serious off piste routes, but it’s famous for the epic 16 kilometre long black, the Sarenne. Being the longest in the world, it takes staggering endurance to complete it non-stop, but provides some breath-taking views from the top including Mont Blanc and Mont Cervin. From there, you’ll get to see what’s in store for you with a nerve wracking descent at the start and a steep mogul field that’s bound to get your adrenaline racing. It can also be skied in moonlight but this guided excursion is only available once a month. The steep black under the Pic Blanc cable car has a tricky start, exiting from the tunnel, and it tends to be hard in the mornings as it gets the afternoon sun. 

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Most of the off piste routes start from the top of the Pic Blanc Glacier, passing through steep gullies and ending up on the Sarenne, there are many more that go from the other side of the ridge but it’s recommended to take a guide with you as you can end up in places where you’ll need a helicopter to get back. An interesting route is the La Combe du Loup (Valley of the Wolf), you’ll have clear views of La Grave (France’s off piste mecca which you can connect to from Alpe d’Huez), steep, wide, powdery bowls and some natural halfpipes to have fun with. Cheminees couloirs is steeper and quite narrow and the Pic de la Pyramide has quite an intimidating drop over the cornice but is gentler once you’re over. There are also the options of going to neighbouring Oz where there are more off piste areas, but make sure you find out where the avalanche zones are.

The resort offers two excellent quality snowparks. The larger one is between the DMC and the Lac Blanc lifts. The lines are colour coded depending on your level but it’s the main playground for the experts. Each line has a multitude of boxes and rails and four kickers. There is also a Big Air bag and a boardercross course. The smaller snowpark is more for beginners and has a few kickers and boxes. It’s located by the Montfrais lift and can be accessed easily from the blue Myrtilles piste.

Conditions

The resort usually opens in the first week of December and closes around the end of April (condition depending). The optimal time is from January to March when it boasts excellent wintery conditions, with the strong sun becoming a bit of a problem towards the end of the season, although the snowmaking facilities help out with this.
Characteristics
  • Runs
    133
  • SnowPark
    2
  • Summit
    10.827 ft
  • Lifts
    81
  • Base
    6.069,6 ft
  • Vertical Drop
    4.757,2 ft
  • Terrain
    840 Ha
  • Longest Run
    9.9419 Mi

Difficulty level of the pistes

Suggested Spots
  • 52 km from Alpe d´Huez Meribel - Rhone Alps, France
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  • 82 km from Alpe d´Huez Val d’Isère - Gare Centrale - Rhone Alps, France
  • 112 km from Alpe d´Huez Chamonix - Mont-Blanc - Rhone Alps, France