Visitors travelling to the resort of Alpe d'Huez by independent means have a number of options available to them:
Air. The most popular
route to the ski resort is by air. Several budget and charter airlines fly to the
three closest airports of Grenoble, Chambery and Lyon.
The transfer times are as follows although these can vary considerably depending on traffic and more importantly the
Grenoble 2hrs - 2.30hrs, Chambery 2hrs - 2.30hrs, Lyon 2.30hrs - 3hrs.
Rail. Although not on the overnight snowtrain route
it is possible to travel via Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Grenoble changing at Lille.
Journey time 8 hours.
Coach. There is a 3 times weekly service from London Victoria to
Grenoble operated by Eurolines. Departs 6.30PM. Arrives 10.15AM.
Self Drive. To drive from the channel coast of France to Grenoble takes
approximately 9 to 10 hours via the French motorway system. Toll charges are
in the region of £40.
On the Piste
The central bowl of Alpe d'Huez naturally divides into zones catering for different abilities.
The resort is an excellent place for beginners to learn as the large number of green pistes testify.
These currently stand at 38 and occupy the shallow bowl situated immediately above the resort centre.
There are a number of chairlifts serving this area such as Romans, Fontbelle, and Lac Blanc.
The west of the bowl (looking up to the left from the resort) is dominated by the Signal 2115 station with
a mixture of straight red and blue runs. Night skiing take place on the Signal piste itself as well as hang gliding and paragliding.
To the north (looking straight up from the resort) the terrain steepens and above 2100m
the runs are predominately a mixture of blue and red graded pistes.
Access to this area from the western end of the resort is via the Troncon I and II gondolas.
The Marmotte I gondola takes Les Bergers visitors up to the Plat des Marmottes. These stations are at 2700m and 2300m respectively.
Good runs for intermediates include the Couloir and Vachettes blues (although the former can become somewhat of a motorway) and the Chamois red which has just a short steepish narrow section. For a small charge an ice cave can be visited at 2700m. This was created by two high altitude guides and hosts a different ice sculpture every year.
Above the 2300m and 2700m stations the pistes on the south facing slopes below Pic Blanc top station are mainly categorised black. These include the infamous Tunnel, so named because it passes though a tunnel before dropping away steeply and Sarrene which at 18.75km (1.82km vertical drop) is the longest black run in Europe.
As these pistes are concentrated at altitude, bad weather can wreak havoc to the number of harder slopes open in the domain. Note that less confident skiers can take the Marmotte III cable car to the 3060m station and ski the blues and red just off the glacier before returning by the same means. This is useful if the snow low down is poor. It's also possible to join Sarrene at the end of one of these blues so avoiding the relatively steep top section.
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