Comparative match between Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez, the two main ski resorts of the Oisans massif.
At the junction of the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps, Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez are two emblematic ski resorts of the Oisans mountain range, in Isère. They represent destinations coveted as much by the inhabitants of the Grenoble region as by foreigners in search of great skiing.
Be careful; this comparison is deliberately focused on practical criteria: ease of access and parking in the ski resort, services/shops, childcare, après-ski, all useful and practical information that will allow you, in the end, to help you choose between Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez.
Les 2 Alpes at night
General presentation of the 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
Known internationally for its high altitude ski area (the largest glacier ski area in Europe) and its snowpark, Les 2 Alpes is a ski resort where you can ski in winter and summer. Installed on a plateau at 1600 m altitude, it has the particularity of being configured along a 2 km avenue where shops and properties intermingle. This functional ski-in-ski-out resort, the location of the accommodation ensures direct access to the tracks and lifts.
Nestled on a south-facing plateau on the Massif des Grandes Rousses, at 1,860 m above sea level, Alpe d’Huez has been growing since 1936. Nicknamed “The Sun Island” for its generous sunshine (Alpe d’Huez weather is certainly one of its strongest points), it is a winter destination of international renown. Also famous for the quality of its ski area (Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski area), its highest point (the Pic Blanc, 3330 m altitude) offers a magnificent panorama, ranked 3 stars in the Michelin Guide.
Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine
Access and Parking in Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
Distances of only 30 km separate both ski resorts, Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes are in the same geographical area and therefore have identical access, except for the last few kilometres. Easily accessible thanks to the French motorway network, they are 1 hour from Grenoble, 2 hours from Lyon, 2h30 from Geneva and 3 hours from Marseille.
By car, once you arrive in Grenoble, follow the direction of Sisteron / Gap by the A480 motorway until the exit N ° 8 “Vizille – Stations of the Oisans” which joins the RD1091 until the Bourg d’Oisans. Then climb the 21 mythical turns that lead to Alpe d’Huez. For Les 2 Alpes, continue on the D1091 towards Briançon and Chambon dam, turn right on the D213.
By rail, the nearest train station is Grenoble. From Paris, there is a 2h55 fast train. Then, bus connections take you to both resorts.
For those who want to save time and come by plane, several destinations are possible: the airport of Grenoble (about 100 km), that of Chambéry (125 km), Lyon (150 km) and Geneva (220 km).
In Les 2 Alpes, free shuttles serve the various points of the resort (two different lines), from 8h to 19h every day and Saturday until 23h. They are even equipped with the geolocation system so that you know the waiting time at each stop. On the parking side, all the car parks of the resort are free, except for some 20 places in the centre of the resort.
There is no problem to park at the Alpe d’Huez as many car parks are scattered throughout the resort. Paid covered car parks (about 10 € / day and 60 € per week) but also nine free outdoor car parks, provided you have a blue zone disc (available in all public places as well as in all the shops of the resort). Some places, near shops, are also in the blue zone and limited to 1h30 stays. The resort does not forget the motorhomes since it has a parking area, with a water point and disposal area, 65 places (10 € / day + 0.44 € tourist tax). To circulate in the resort without a car, free shuttles operate day and night: 4 circuits per day + 1 circuit per night.
Note that the resort of Alpe d’Huez has a heliport.
Comparison of the ski areas between Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
Located between 1300 and 3600 m, the ski area of Les 2 Alpes is organised over 410 ha spread over 90 pistes, mostly blue, served by 55 lifts. A freestyler at heart, the resort has been developing for fifteen years a quality snowpark, which has become a European reference. The freestylers come to train all summer on varied modules and very well maintained spots. Open to new winter sports, the area also has a boardercross zone, slide zones, freestyle initiation zones (on the Toura Lac Noir piste), a Big Air Bag installed on the bottom of the slopes, not forgetting a Kids’ Club. Park specially designed for children on the ridges, at 2100 m altitude.
The ski area of Alpe d’Huez stretches to the neighbouring village resorts (Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany, Villard-Reculas, La Garde and Freney) to create a domain of exceptional variety: Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine ski area. Designed for all types of skiers, the 250 km of slopes, 135 pistes (42 green, 37 blue, 39 red and 17 black) and 80 lifts form a progressive area thanks to the natural topography of the site. Two mythical tracks are to be discovered: the “Sarenne”, 16 km long (longest in the world) and the track of the “Tunnel” which crosses the mountain. For the freestylers, two snowparks await (one beginner and one expert) as well as a giant airbag and a ski cross track. Freeride enthusiasts will find many off-piste routes. Alpe d’Huez also thinks about Nordic activities with 50 km of cross-country ski trails and 35 km of pedestrian tracks.
Everyday life in Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
With around 2000 permanent residents, the resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes are similar to small active towns that have all the shops and services needed to live year-round in complete tranquillity: medical services, (doctors, physiotherapist, dentist, …), administrative service (post office), banking service (numerous banks), … All these services are uniformly distributed over both resorts.
“Après ski” offer in Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
As much in Alpe d’Huez as in Les 2 Alpes, après-ski activities abound. Careful, do not be trapped in a high altitude bar when the slopes close!
Very sporty, the resort of Alpe d’Huez offers a wide range of sports activities thanks to its many infrastructures as well as many opportunities to relax thanks to the spas and beauty institutes scattered around the resort. To simplify your life, the Premium Card (from 6 euros/day) offers unlimited access to more than 30 sports and fun activities: admission to the Palais des Sports, the outdoor pool, the ice rink, 50% discount on weekly classical music concerts and more.
As sporty as the Alpe d’Huez, Les 2 Alpes has many facilities to indulge in varied sports activities and to relax after a day on the pistes. The Amphibia sports centre, the Espace 1800 Forme et Bien-être or the Croisette swimming pool are popular places frequented after skiing. Renowned for its active nightlife, Les 2 Alpes has plenty of bars, pubs and clubs to enjoy your stay until the end of the night.
Welcoming children to the 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
Anxious to welcome families, the resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes are labelled Famille Plus thanks to their many infrastructures, activities and events dedicated to children of all ages.
For the past few years in Les 2 Alpes, all the family infrastructures are in the heart of the resort: nursery, daycare and leisure centre welcome children from 6 months to 12 years old. To discover the pleasures of skiing, the ESF Snow Gardens, Evolution 2 and ESI offer introductory courses up to more advanced levels. From the age of one, you can have the first sensations of gliding thanks to baby snow. This exclusive gliding device consists of a snowboard, a handlebar, a saddle and a handle driven by a third party. Of course, many activities, and not least original are offered: tobogganing area, ice grotto, ice glider, mini snowmobile, treasure hunt, children’s boom and even a week-long festival, the Junior Foliz.
In Alpe d’Huez, some 40 local business partners are part of the Famille Plus label. Families can find hotels, restaurants, residences, activities and infrastructures dedicated to them. The “Children’s Chalet”, for example, is a unique “ski + daycare” structure supervised by ESF instructors, for children from the age of 2.5 years. For children from 3 months to 4 years old, the nursery daycare centre “Les Intrepides” welcomes them every day. An exclusive service “Alpe Cartable Buissonnier” offers school activities, education and fun for children 6 to 11 years from a half-day to a week, supervised by a teacher. For fun, the classic ice rink (discovery) and swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) are complemented by wild activities: adventure trail, X Fly Park with giant zip line, vertical labyrinth, jump free fall (4 to 8 m from the ground) At the bottom of the slopes, two protected areas are available to beginners, and four ski lifts are available for free. Alpe d’Huez cycling is certainly one of the strong points of the resort with also the famous mountain stage of the Tour du France in July. The Alpe d’Huez triathlon is also famous.
Conclusion of the comparison between Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez
Sports, family and festive atmosphere, both these ski resorts play the card of versatility. With their many similarities, they attract a very diverse clientele ranging from the family with young children to the young party animal to the sports skier in search of beautiful slopes. Freestyle fans will, however, have a clear preference for Les 2 Alpes and its quality snowpark.
What is the best property market between Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez?
The price per sqm for Les 2 Alpes new-build properties is around 6,000€/sqm when it can reach 12,000€/sqm in Alpe d’Huez so to put simply Alpe d’Huez has a more high-end reputation hence the higher prices. Both resorts should be linked by 2021 (18 minutes) to create a massive ski area to rival 3 Valleys. Now, if you think that the 3 valleys are between 15,000-30,000€/sqm for new-build properties in Courchevel/Meribel, then it certainly leaves room for price increases, either in Les 2 Alpes or in Alpe d’Huez. Les 2 Alpes has had a reputation more for partying with young seasonal snowboarders but this is due to change with more being done for families. Also, the architecture of new-build projects like Le Hameau and La Restanque will certainly do much to improve the ski resort aesthetics. In Alpe d’Huez we have several projects due to be launched, in mainly the Eclose and Bergers areas of the resort. More than 350M€ is being invested in new shuttle links, ski lifts etc to give the resort a new feel so wether it is Les 2 Alpes or Alpe d’Huez we feel that both offer excellent investment potential.