Encompassing altitudes between 1,250 – 3,330 metres, Alpe d’Huez is part of the magnificent Grandes Rousses Massif region in the French Alps. With its varied terrain, it is renowned as one of the best resorts in the Alps for beginner skiers, and its excellent slopes are complemented by consistent snow conditions and superb facilities.
Comprising eight small resorts – Huez Village, Outarts, Jeux, Cognet, Eclose Est, Eclose Ouest, Viell Alpe and Bergers – and encompassing 249 kms of slopes, Alpe d’Huez provides a well-connected, diverse ski area, ideal for newbies to get their first snow legs and build confidence.
You don’t have to look too hard to understand why this high-altitude region is so popular for first-time skiers.
The Best Slopes
There’s nothing worse than trying to learn to ski or snowboard and feeling like target practice for more experienced or show-off skiers zooming past at 100 miles an hour. That’s not a problem you’ll find here.
Excellent Nursery Slopes
For absolute beginners, the huge area of nursery slopes at Les Bergers is the ideal place to venture onto the white stuff for the very first time. Rif Nel and Les Jeux are
situated very close to the main accommodation area, and these designated low-speed zones comprise a number of wide, sunny slopes that undulate back down to the resort.
In the neighbouring resorts of Vaujany and Auris en Oisans, the beginner slopes are right on the doorstep, connected by beginner-friendly draglifts.
Confidence Building Blues and Reds
Once beginners master the basics, it’s just a short ( and easy to navigate) chair lift or ski bus connection to the higher slopes of the popular Marmotte Bubble. The slopes from La Folie Douce lead back down to the centre of Les Bergers and there’s a choice of very pleasant blues (or reds for the quick learners!) to get home.
Superb Facilities for Learners
Alpe d’Huez is geared up to make life as easy as possible for beginners, with a choice of excellent ski schools and a designated beginners’ lift pass.
‘First Ski’ Lift Pass
The First Ski lift pass is not only great news for the budget, it also means learners can get used to a variety of different terrains. The pass allows access to all the chair and drag lifts throughout the resorts of Alpe d’Huez, with the exception of the Marmottes and Alpauris chair lifts.
A Choice of Ski Schools
While some might want to go it alone, skiing is definitely a sport where a little help goes a long way. There are a number of well-recommended, accredited ski schools throughout the area, offering instruction for all ages and skill levels.
Stance Snow offers a range of private and small group lessons in skiing, telemarking and snowboarding for beginners.
EasySki offers fun, friendly private and group lessons at the Magic Marmotte Park for beginner (children or adult) skiers looking to master the basics or improve existing skills.
Masterclass Ski School has its own unique teaching techniques from its professional, British-speaking instructors, with tailor-made masterclasses for beginners.
ESF Alpe d’Huez Ski School is part of the renowned Ecole du Ski Français, which has a huge presence in the French Alps. With an unrivalled range of private and group lessons, and a superb knowledge of the local area, they ensure the perfect fit for the beginner skier.
Great Fun On and Off Skis
Even though it’s fun, learning to ski can be hard work, so having plenty of other activities to enjoy is an important factor on a beginners’ ski break. Alpe d’Huez certainly doesn’t disappoint in this department.
For those looking to wind down completely, the outdoor cinema provides a magical experience, with two screenings a night. There’s an early show for the younger ones at 6pm and another at 9.30pm.
There’s an excellent sports centre in the resort – the Palais des Sports – which offers all sorts of games (including mini-golf), sports, climbing facilities and an indoor pool with aqua palming and aqua aerobics.
The Olympic-sized outdoor ice rink is popular with the younger set and offers a more sedate way to conquer a winter sport, while the fantastic outdoor heated pool is the perfect way to soothe those aching muscles you didn’t even know existed before strapping on a set of skis.
- The Palais des Sports is open daily from 9.30am until 8.00pm.
- Use of the sports centre facilities is free with a Visalp lift pass (some activities are extra).
- Use of the ice rink and outdoor pool is free.
How to Get to Alpe d’Huez
The quickest way of getting to Alpe d’Huez is to fly into the airport at Grenoble, from where it’s around two hours by road to the resort. You can also choose to fly into a number of other airports including Chambery, Lyon (both just over two hours away), and Geneva, which is around three hours from the resort. Shuttle Direct offers both shared and private door-to-door services to and from the resort.
A number of carriers offer regular scheduled services to these airports from the UK, with extended options and plenty of budget-priced tickets to cater for the busy ski season. You can pre-book your airport transfers with Shuttle Direct online, and if you’re travelling with your own ski equipment, as long as you tell us at the time of booking we will carry it free of charge.
Where to Stay:
Le Castillan – The perfect ski-in, ski-out hotel for learner skiers, Le Castillan is right in the heart of the resort, within easy access of the nursery slopes. With an onsite wellness centre and games room, and within walking distance of the pool and ice rink, everything’s at your fingertips in this traditional chalet-style hotel.
Chalet Melusine – Situated right next door to a ski school and just 100m from the lifts, Chalet Melusine offers the perfect self-catering accommodation for a first-timer ski holiday. Including a fully-equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi, there’s even the luxury of your own hot tub to iron out the kinks in tired muscles at the end of the day.
Pierre and Vacances Les Bergers – Step out of your accommodation and you’re just 100 metres from the lifts to the nursery slopes at the fabulous Pierre and Vacances Les Bergers. Along with a kitchen, balcony, heated pool, saunas and a relaxing room, the hotel even offers a shopping delivery service so you can save all your energy for your ski lessons.
About Shuttle Direct:
As one of the most trusted airport transfer companies in Europe, Shuttle Direct has a wealth of experience servicing winter transfers to and from destinations all over the Austrian, Italian and French Alps.
You can make a booking online before you leave home to ensure you lock in the fastest and most efficient transfers from Grenoble, Lyon, Chambery or Geneva. With shared and private services to suit all group sizes and budgets, as long as you advise in advance, your winter sports equipment will be included in the cost of your transfer.
Shuttle Direct’s friendly, expert team provide the most affordable and efficient airport transfer service available.