If you are looking for snow-sure ski resorts in France, Les 2 Alpes is one of the ones to consider. With the ever-changing climate, you want to ensure that your ski holiday is not ruined by bad snow conditions.
How is the skiing in Les Deux Alpes?
Les Deux Alpes has about 220km of ski runs with a vertical drop of 2300m. With a variety of easy cruising blues, technical reds, tricky blacks and a lot of off piste skiing available, you can spend a week and not get bored skiing the same runs.
We skied at Les 2 Alpes in early December and were very lucky with the snow as they just had a couple of weeks of snowfall. We arrived at the village to be greeted by 5 feet tall snow drifts along the roads and icy slippery pavements.
Our first morning was foggy, visibility hampered by drifting snowflakes. As it was still early season, not all the lifts were in operation, so there were long queues for the ones that were. Our fabulous multi-lingual ski guide, Ginaluca, took us on the least busy route, which did not involve going straight to the top to avoid altitude sickness.
We took a chair lift and 2 cable cars to get to the top, above the clouds. As we got out, the sky had cleared and all you can see is the panoramic snow-covered mountains against a brilliant blue sky and the glistening, brilliant white snow. If you are a skiing junkie, you will know what a thrill this is.
With almost perfect ski conditions, we made the most of the first morning finding out ski legs on a few blues and reds until it was time for lunch.
Our group was quite evenly matched and Gianluca did more guiding than teaching. He did try to help me get rid of some bad ski habits that I have picked up over the years.
You can book a ski guide or instructor from the French ski school ESF and it is worth it just to skip the queues on the lifts.
New ski lifts and better connections
Since 2020, there has been a lot of changes to the ski lifts and infrastructure when the SATA lift company took over. The Vallée Blanche chairlift has been replaced by a télémix which take skiers to 2,100m. The Super Venosc gondola has also been updated.
The Diable chairlift has been replaced by a superfast 6-seat chairlift and this is the lift that takes you up to 2,410m in about 5 minutes. With this extra capacity, the queues were quite short. We did not have to wait for more than a few minutes to get on.
There will be a faster cable car replacing the current Jandry Express. This will take you from the village to the top in 15 minutes instead of the 40 minutes with the current old one.
Good news for beginners, not all the easy blue slopes are at the bottom. At the very top, you have a choice of cruisy blue runs, some red runs and off piste choices too.
Snowparks can be found a bit further down in Vallee Blanche and there is a mix of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes.
You can check which lifts and runs are open on the official site here.
Places to eat in Les Deux Alpes – on and off the slopes
There are mountain huts galore on the slopes and a fabulous choice of bars and restaurants around the resort. Here is a selection to try, where they serve great local cuisine like tartiflette (melting oozy Reblochon with potatoes and bacon) to fancy pasta dishes.
Restaurant Le Diable au cœur (Ugo Mounier) This is a very stylish Alpine restaurant on the slopes that serve a bistro manu that features local Oisan products. The food is hearty and delicious and best of all, it is accessible to non-skiers too.
Restaurant Le Côte Brune is the restaurant in a very popular hotel, at the bottom of the slopes and very convenient for the ski lifts too. They serve a variety of alpine dishes with a regularly changing menu on their blackboard. It’s obviously a local favourite as the ski instructors seem to have a regular table here. For apres ski, their distinctive Umbrella bar is a very popular hub. It is busy in the summer too. The adjoining hotel and spa have been renovated and exude alpine charm with wood cabin decor, open fires, fur throws, the lot.
Bar tapas “Chez nous 2″ is an unlikely tapas bar, run by two sisters, Ophélie and Sophiem from the pays Basque, southwest of France. They are very popular for cocktails, local beers and a fab selection of bar snacks and tapas.
Restaurant Le Raisin d’Ours is a well established restaurant in Les Deux Alpes. There is a very comprehensive menu of local French favourites. Start off with a charcuterie board of local cured meats and cheeses. Be warned that the main courses are really massive.
For fine dining, try Chalet Mounier or something more casual, Crepes a Gogo housed in the oldest building on the main stretch.
For bars and nightlife, there are quite a few bars and pubs scattered around the the village. Apres ski is quite lively and during the Rise festival, everywhere was buzzing.
Other non-snow related activities in Les Deux Alpes
There are several spas in town that is great for soothing those ski weary muscles. We went to the SPA Chamois Lodge along the main drag. The spa has 2 big hot tubs, one outdoor, sauna and steam room. Spend an hour here after a day on the slopes and you’d feel all set to tackle the black runs again the next day.
The Rise Music Festival on the slopes
The Rise Festival is is a week-long festival on the slopes with a whole host of famous DJs and bands.
You can book very reasonably priced packages for the festival which include accommodation, festival pass, ski or gear hire and lift passes too. You can book individually or for a group. When you get there, download the festival app to get details of all the acts and what’s on at the festival.
Prices start at about £319 for a week if you book early. That’s a real bargain.
Get more information and book tickets here : https://www.rise-festival.com/
How to get there
The best airport to fly to is Grenoble, with regular flights throughout the ski season. There are regular transfers from Grenoble to Les 2 Alpes or you can drive, which takes about 2 hours. About 120km.
Alternatively, you can fly to Geneva (220km) but it is a much longer transfer. By taxi, it will take about 4 hours and costs about €500.
Driving the Les Deux Alpes from Grenoble
→ Take the motorway to Grenoble: exit Briançon, Vizille Exit N°8.
→ Then take the RD1091 towards Briançon via Le Bourg d’Oisans.
→ At the Chambon dam, turn right and go up by the D213.
From Briançon / Italy:
→ Take the RD1091 towards Grenoble.
→ At the Chambon dam, turn left and go up by the D213.
Fast trains from Paris to Grenoble via TGV and the station is 70km from Les 2 Alpes, about 1 1/2 hours drive.
Where to stay in Les 2 Alpes
There is a range of accommodations available in the resort, from apartments to a whole range of hotels. We stayed at the Basecamp Lodge which is one of the newer hostels. Although it is a hostel, it is more like a hotel with the amenities. Besides dorm rooms, they have family rooms and regular double rooms too. My spacious double room has a bed, TV, desk and shower room.
The new refurbishment last year makes this seem more like a hotel than a hostel. There is a restaurant in the hotel which has an unexpectedly wide selection of dishes and they cater for vegans and vegetarians too.
Hotel Chalet Mounier
This is a charming luxury hotel that has been run by the same family for several generations. It started life as a farmhouse Inn in 1879. Today it caters to a discerning traveller with their fine dining options and spa.
Hôtel Côte Brune
Located right by the main chair lifts and cable car in the middle of town, this family run alpine boutique hotel and spa is perfectly located. With their own fabulous restaurant (see above) and a spa, it’s the perfect ski hotel. In the summer, they are favourite for biking holiday makers.
Common questions about Les Deux Alpes
Is Les Deux Alpes snow sure?
In the higher altitude and near the glacier, there will be snow even in early season. The resort also runs snow making machines to top up when there has not been recent snowfall.
Can you ski in Les 2 Alpes in summer?
Les Deux Alpes has the largest high altitude ski area in Europe. You can ski on the glacier in the summer but this is constantly being reviewed due to the conditions in the glacier.
Is Les Deux Alpes a high resort?
Yes, the highest ski area is 3200ms.
Is Les Deux Alpes good for partying?
It is one of the best ski resorts in France for apres-ski. Also during the week of the Rise Festival, the town comes alive with music and activities through the town.
Where do you fly into for Les Deux Alpes?
The nearest airport is Grenoble and then it is a 2 hour transfer.
Where is the best place to ski in France?
Depends on how many days you plan to ski for. Resorts on the French Alps are very accessible via Geneva airport. There are regular transfers to all the main resorts. The resorts cater to big groups, families and even single visitors and they have ski runs that will suit all levels.
Is Les Deux Alpes small?
Les Deux Alpes is one of the largest ski resorts in the Southern French Alpes.