Overview of Les Deux Alpes and La Grave
The area of Les Deux Alpes and La Grave in the Isère department of the French Alps is a story of two halves. Les Deux Alpes is a popular resort with ample facilities for families; the reliable snowfall means it is open for most of the year. It is connected off-piste with the much smaller resort of La Grave, where thrill-seekers get their kicks out of the wild, unpisted mountain with no formal avalanche control.
In 2018, a 180-pylon gondola will link Le Deux Alpes and La Grave with neighbouring Alpe d’Huez, which may turn this popular area into a place to rival even the swankiest of ski resorts.
THE SKI RESORTS COMPRISING THE AREA
Les Deux Alpes
Overview of Ski Resort
Les Deux Alpes is a lively resort with good skiing for people of all standards. The combination of good-value accommodation and an infamous après ski scene makes it popular with young British skiers and snowboarders.
- Snow Reliability
- Off Piste
- Après Ski
The pistes of Les Deux Alpes seem to have a lot going for them, with excellent snow cover year-round, long runs and a great terrain park. However, although officially it has 222km of pistes, it feels a lot shorter. Snowboarders of all standards will feel at home here, with lines of varying difficulty and a halfpipe, superpipe, and boarder/skicross course.
Le Deux Alpes has a strangely-shaped mountain with difficult runs at the bottom and easy blues at the top. This is good for beginners, who get to see more terrain than usual and can take advantage of the stunning views. Experts who want a challenge can hire a guide and hike or snow cat to the shoulder of the glacier for some hair-raising runs off-piste between Les Deux Alpes and La Grave.
With 55 lifts in the resort, there is easy access to the main mountain; the Jandri Express gondola that takes you all the way up to the foot of the glacier.
Facilities for families are particularly good, with a baby and childcare centre that caters to three different age brackets, plus the chance to try out lots of family-friendly activities off the slopes: these include bowling, dog sledding and sleigh rides, tobogganing, ice skating, and indoor swimming.
Le Deux Alpes is renowned for its lively après scene, with pubs, bars and clubs available for party animals on any budget. The narrow 2km “strip” through the village is alive with bars and restaurants.
The south-facing terrace of Le Pano bar regularly hosts outdoor DJ sets and serves half price beers between 3pm and 4pm. Action later on in the night happens in some 30 bars including resort institution Avalanche Club, which holds themed nights and competitions that are bound to get you in that après spirit.
Because the resort was predominantly built up in the 1960s and ’70s, Les Deux Alpes does not have a proliferation of charming traditional eateries. Instead it mostly offers self-service restaurants that can be found close to lift stations.
Overview of Ski Resort
The small, 500-bed resort of La Grave is certainly not a destination for beginners or families: it boasts some of the most challenging lift-served terrain in the world. It is highly recommended that you go out with a guide, but many experienced skiers go it alone on this entirely off-piste mountain.
Usually La Grave has good snow conditions and is relatively crowd-free, but bad weather results in complete closure.
- Adventurous Intermediates
The main slopes offer no specific or patrolled pistes, but there are 2 marked itineraries: the Chancel route and the Vallons de la Meije. This is definitely not a resort for families or beginners; it is legendary among expert skiers, and adventurous intermediates may enjoy the chance to test themselves here. Be aware that the dangers of this wild mountain are significant – it is important to get expert guidance to prevent serious accidents out in the inhospitable terrain.
There are no special facilities for snowboarders, but it offers some excellent powder for advanced freeriders.
La Grave has a slow two-stage ‘pulse’ gondola which finishes at 3,200m, and a piste machine that tows you further. More regular slopes in Les Deux Alpes can be reached by car on the road or skied via off-piste terrain.
Although the small village of La Grave is charming, there is little else to do off the slopes.
There are a few venues which will welcome you in off the mountain, including the Castillan and Pierre Farabo, from which you can follow on to the bars of the Skiers Lodge and Bois des Fees. If you want a wild night to top off your wild ride on the slopes, it may be best to head to Les Deux Alpes to experience its vibrant après scene.
How to Get There
The most convenient airport for both Les Deux Alpes and La Grave is Grenoble (GNB), which is regularly served by Ryanair, easyJet and Transavia. Lyon (LYS), with flights from a number of UK cities, and Chambery (CMF), with direct flights from Gatwick, Stanstead and Birmingham, are also good options.
You can reach your resort quickly, easily and affordably with airport transfers by Shuttle Direct. They will make sure that you are safely delivered to your destination along with all your ski equipment, which they will transport for free.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is a trusted and experienced provider of transfers from your airport or train station to Les Deux Alpes and La Grave.
Their extensive area of operation across Austria, Italy and the French Alps makes them an easy choice for ski transfers this winter. They even offer to carry your ski equipment for free – just let them know in advance to take the hassle out of travelling with sports kit.
With transfer options from Geneva (GVA), Chambery (CMF), Grenoble (GNB) and Lyon (LYS), Shuttle Direct offers shuttle services in the French Alps for all group sizes and budgets.