Alpe d'Huez and Les 2 Alpes – Skiing Affordability Realised!

On hearing my first ski trip of the season would be to Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes my feelings were mixed. On the one hand it meant seeing two resorts and a whole range of chalets that I did not know much about, on the other hand, would they live up to the demanding standards set by the Three Valleys and Espace Killy regions?

Setting off from London before the sun had even risen was a shock to the system but it meant landing in Lyon and picking up the hire car with most of the day still to go. We were soon on our way to Alpe d’Huez with the skills of DJ Starrs (aka Matt!) entertaining us along the valley and up the mountain. Amid cries of "ALPA DA OOOZE" we pulled into the resort shrouded in cloud and thanks to my superior map reading skills (Holly? Matt?), arrived at our accommodation, l’Escapade.

With its hot tub, sauna and ski in/out boxes ticked, this is the pick of the properties in resort. Recently refurbished and an easy stroll to the centre this was a great base. The chalets in Alpe d’Huez offer something for everyone, the Altiport is area great for families being ski in ski out and many of the properties have hot tubs or saunas. The area around the DMC cable car in the brand new Village development houses the very best properties in resort – great examples of affordable luxury.

Our ski-in ski-out base in Alpe d'Huez, the Escapade

On the hill Alpe d’Huez again has something to offer everyone. Les Bergers area just above the resort centre is made up of wide blues and greens so absolutely ideal for beginners and intermediates. With a glacier offering plenty of challenges, including the longest black run in Europe and one of the most infamous (Le Tunnel) there is plenty on offer to the better skiers.

Again fantastic value for money was found – a 3 course lunch with wine and coffee at a mere €12.50 in the charming village of Vaujany. It didn’t seem right to come all the way to the Alps and not sample the après ski so we felt it necessary to complete our resort research with a survey of the local nightlife! We were not to be disappointed. There was plenty of choice and everything from The Underground (live acoustic music), O’Sharkey’s (seasonnaire bedlam!), Pacific, and Smithy’s to name just a few.

After a heavy night, including dancing on tables (this work trip was proving to de quite demanding) our checklist in Alpe d’Huez was complete. So, we loaded up the ‘Family Wagon’and made the simple journey to Les Deux Alpes for chapter two of our Southern Alps adventure. Arriving in resort we were greeted at Hotel Le Cret and instantly made to feel at home. The welcoming nature of Emma and Roberto, the lovely couple that run it, really helped us to form a positive outlook for our stay. Ideally located a short walk from the Place de Venosc and the main cable car the hotel is in its first season under new ownership and is much the better for it. With the service and catering in the Hotel Le Cret being first rate and a price tag to rival some of the best budget holidays this represents outstanding value.

With the resort set up along a strip, the properties at the end around the main square are the pick of the bunch. Not unlike Alpe d’Huez there are properties to suit all tastes from the budget friendly options (the Alice) through to more luxurious options (Chamois Volant and Chartreuse). The ski area caters for slightly more specialised tastes, with the off piste mecca of La Grave over the back of the mountain and an excellent snow park. The freestylers and free riders among you will not be disappointed. The on piste ‘hooners’ may be left needing more terrain and can embark on the away days to Serre Chevalier and Alpe d’Huez organised in resort. Where the resort really excels is in its party atmosphere with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. Those wanting to push until the early hours will certainly not be disappointed!

My short stay in Les Deux Alpes introduced me to the advantages of the resort (partying, affordability and surprisingly, family friendly) undoubtedly helped by the outgoing and affable nature of the owners and staff in Hotel Le Cret. As our final day dawned we were greeted by a blizzard and so set off early to negotiate the roads. After some expert driving in very difficult conditions (driving snow, wind, inability to see out of the windscreen (!) and cars piling off the road all around us) Holly got us to our final destination of Lyon Airport where we waved goodbye to the trusty hire car. We touched down in London to be greeted by just as much snow as we had left in the Alps! My time in two of the best known Southern Alps ski resorts showed me there is ski life outside of the Tarentaise and it comes without the exclusive price tag.

Whether you are travelling on a budget, or looking for something a bit more special why not try somewhere different next time? You might be pleasantly surprised, I certainly was.

Tell us where you want to go,
and let us find your perfect holiday!