Ski resorts by train

Alpe d'Huez - village

The resort has a lofty feel about it, perched as it is at 1,860-metres (6,102-ft) on a huge ledge high above Bourg d’Oisans. On sunny days, which most are hereabouts, it basks in the warmth for most of the day. It is purpose-built, but has a lot more atmosphere than many high altitude ski stations.

It helps that there are distinct areas – the quarters of Cognet, Vieil Alpe, Jeux, Eclose, Passeaux, Bergers and the lower Huez Village – with new buildings in a much more sympathetic chalet style. Much development is going on in Les Bergers ‘suburb’. Lifts radiate from both the main village and over in Les Bergers, and the whole is linked by free ski-bus – so the only critical decision is whether or not you feel it’s essential that you stay in the heart of things or not.

The main drag is Avenue des Jeux, which is where you find the chief concentration of shops, bars and restaurants as well as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and ice rink.

But the skiing area is a true ‘ski circus’ and embraces a number of other villages, wonderful for those who are happy in an altogether quieter environment. We like Villard-Reculas, originally a tiny old farming hamlet with an ancient church and now just a fast chairlift ride from the main ski area.

Oz-en-Oisans is a little purpose-built resort in its own right, with its own nursery slopes and two telecabines up to the main skiing. It has a skating rink, bars, restaurants and shops, including a supermarket.

Auris-en-Oisans is also purpose-built, but attractively so with chalet-style timber-faced buildings, above the ancient village of Auris.

Vaujany is developing into a sizeable village and in the pedestrianised centre, built in traditional style, there are shops, bars and restaurants, as well as sports centre with pool and waterslides. From Vaujany a two-stage cable car takes you right up to the centre of the main Alpe d’Huez skiing, while a telecabine accesses the intermediate terrain at Montfrais. The infrastructure at Vaujany is already substantial and there is constant development here.



In the main village of Alpe d’Huez the selection of hotels is impressive for a purpose-built resort – about 20, mostly two or three star but now with three four-stars, the Au Chamois d’Or (0033 476 803 132) the Pic Blanc (0033 4 76 11 42 42) and the recently opened Alpenrose (0033 4 27 04 28 04), a welcome addition with good facilities including a gym and a hammam. Most of the hotels are now in attractive chalet style, heavily-timbered and balconied – apart from Le Dome (0033 4 76 80 32 11), which looks like a giant liquorice all-sort.

For the resort itself to match its skiing and underline its case to join the ranks of the international superstar ski destinations, one would hope some more designer four-star or even five-star accommodation might be on the horizon.

In Villard-Reculas there are self-catering apartments and chalets, which can be booked through the English-run agency La Source (01707 655 988) as well as a two-star hotel, the Beaux Monts (0033 4 76 80 43 14).

Oz has a good selection of apartments, as well as two hotels. Auris-en-Oisans has a hotel, the Beau Site (0033 04 76 80 06 39) – and down in the old village the Auberge de la Foret (0033 4 76 80 06 01) is popular with some British skiers who return there year after year.

In Vaujany there is a handful of hotels, one run by the British ski company Ski Peak, and a rapidly expanding selection of apartments. There are also quite a number of catered chalets.

Ski/snowboard equipment hire

There is a huge choice of ski shops and which one you pick will depend pretty well entirely on where in Alpe d’Huez or the other villages you are staying. Each quarter of Alpe d’Huez has at least three rental shops and they are vying with each other for custom, which is good for the client.

If you want to take advantage of SkiSet’s online ordering service, so your gear will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive, check out their website – they operate at AB Sports in the centre, Henri Sports at Eclose and Les Bergers, Man Sports at Les Bergers and Quikstore Alpiski at Les Bergers.

Non-ski activities

Alpe d’Huez is particularly well set up for fun non-ski activities – take your choice from dog-sledding, either driving a sled yourself or sitting back as a passenger; ski joering, where you’re pulled along on skis by a horse, a great thrill;  snowshoe excursions, including night-time torchlit walks; trips up the mountain in a piste-basher; snowmobile excursions (probably environmentally questionable but fabulously exciting!); a trip to the Ice Cave at 2,700-metres with a constantly changing exhibition of ice sculptures; and of course non-skiers can take the cable car up to the summit of Pic Blanc for one of the most stunning panoramas in the Alps. There’s also an ice-driving school, go-karting on ice, paragliding, helicopter sightseeing flights – actual heli-skiing is not allowed, but you can be picked up at the end of some off-piste routes and brought back to base by helicopter if you fancy splashing out on the luxury. You can tackle the indoor climbing wall, try your hand at curling on the outdoor ice-rink, or sign up for a game of tennis or squash at the sport centre.


The municipal crèche, Les Intrepides, takes children from three months to four years, and is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Meals and snacks are provided. Make sure you have your child’s health records with you – they won’t be accepted without. The ESF prides itself on being very child-friendly, with well-organised kindergarten arrangements. And the tourist office is happy to help arrange babysitters.

Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine piste map

Ski area
Village Altitude
Ski Altitude
Green Runs
Blue Runs
Red Runs
Black Runs
Total Runs 135
Terrain Park
Cabin Lifts
Chair Lifts
Drag Lifts
Total Lifts 75