Sitting atop white clouds of snow at a respectable 1860m lies the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, also known as l’ile au soleil, or the island in the sun, the nickname the resort has been given thanks to the 300 sunny days it receives on average per year. But what about the snow? Well worry not, as this beautiful site was specially chosen to host a purpose-built ski resort because it offers the ultimate winter sport combination of snowy nights and sunny days. The 245km of pistes extend across a terrain that tops out at a mighty 3330m on the Pic Blanc glacier, guaranteeing a snow-sure ski holiday, even if you may have to get up a little earlier for the spring skiing.
Alpe d’Huez ski resort is a fantastic all-rounder with something for everyone; there are runs both on and off the piste to suit every taste and ability level, making it perfect for family ski holidays and mixed ability ski groups, while the fun and friendly atmosphere in the town centre appeals to all. Spread out over four separate quarters, Alpe d’Huez accommodation ranges from basic to luxurious but most offers good access to the pistes.
One of the best things for those looking to ski Alpe d’Huez is the range of extra activities you can try with your Ski+ lift pass. Swim, ice-skate, sledge, visit a museum, chill out at the relaxation centre or play ping-pong in one of the most comprehensive sports centres of any ski resort all for free (one visit per pass, some equipment hire not included). What’s more, you can even hop on the shuttles between the different sectors so it’s easy to make the most of it all from any Alpe d’Huez chalet. Die-hard skiers can maximise their time on the slopes with a spot of night-skiing, practicing their turns in the Signal Slalom Stadium or once a month, tackling the 16km Sarenne run by the light of the moon (weather dependant). You can even take a day trip over to sister resort Les Deux Alpes to put a few more kilometres under your skis (just buy the bus ticket, or better yet, take a helicopter!). Adrenaline junkies won’t want to miss the huge ice-driving circuit and even culture vultures can amuse themselves with Alpe d’Huez’s architectural highlight – the local church’s surreal organ in the shape of a giant hand. Now that’s what we call an all-round resort!
Anyone with an aversion to sleeping whilst skiing will also not be disappointed with the choice of nightlife on offer near their Alpe d’Huez accommodation. Dispersed throughout the village are an assortment of English, French and Scandinavian bars and we all know that makes for some very late nights. Choose from hanging with the locals in Freeride Cafe or Last Bar, jumping around to live music in your ski boots at Underground or spotting French celebs in the upmarket, cabaret style Sporting Bar. For those who don’t like to slip slide too far between their bars, the central hub of Smithy’s, Zoo bar, Tropicana and Igloo club should not disappoint.