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Get a piste of the action in the Alps

France, Isere, Les Deux Alpes ski resort in the heart of the Oisans massif (Alamy Stock Photo)
France, Isere, Les Deux Alpes ski resort in the heart of the Oisans massif (Alamy Stock Photo)

Nestled two hours’ drive from Geneva this classic Alpine resort has something for everyone regardless of their skiing level of competence.

I had the luck to spend four days there recently and managed to cram in a pretty impressive array of activities.

With a glacier situated at the 3,600m peak you are guaranteed snow all year round – indeed Les Deux Alpes is one of the few resorts in the Alps to offer a summer ski season as well as the more traditional winter one.

There’s no less than 425 hectares of green, blue, red and black runs and recently completed was a 10 million euro project to open up a whole new range of piste skiing all the way down to the resort itself.

This means an average beginner, after a week’s tuition, will be able to ski all the way from the resort summit on a gentle blue run back down to base – an almost unique feature in the Alps.

I chose to ski with a guide from the European Ski School as it had been a couple of years since anyone had looked at my technique.

Two hours and a couple of simple tips later, I was skiing with more grace and elegance than ever before. Money well spent!

(Alamy Stock Photo)
(Alamy Stock Photo)

Away from the slopes the resort boasts après-ski that will work whether you want to bop until the early hours with folk in their 20s or sip a sedate cocktail with folk three times that age.

I varied my activities from a luxurious spa massage session to heading out to the lively bars which keep the party going until you should know better than to be there.

If you want to try other Alpine activities in Les Deux Alpes, you’re in luck.

Feeling brave I strapped into a paraglider with my skis on to do a tandem ride.

An experience to add to your wishlist as it takes you hundreds of feet over the slopes.

What a feeling as I carelessly rode the thermals under the expert guidance of the instructor.

Ok, “carelessly” is perhaps a bit strong, especially at the start, but once you feel the sensation of the soaring lift, there’s something really magical about it.

For those wishing to stay more firmly on terra firma why not explore the mountain trails on an electric mountain bike tour?

Normally bikes and I are not too happy a mix, but these ingenious devices have a motor attached inside which you can use to ease your way up the hills, meaning you don’t have to get in too much of a sweat to enjoy the panoramic views.

And if that sounds like too much of a cop-out then look out for some of the staged running events which involve running from a cable car station over a 10, 15 or 20 km route back to the resort at night –running spikes and head torches are a must!

Other activities throughout the year include the Rise Music Festival held in early December along with plenty of Christmas
and New Year themed events.

Food options are varied and range from classic Alpine fare – think fondue, raclette and anything else you can smother in cheese – to fine dining (Restaurant Alisier) and modern French cuisine (Restaurant Le Rouge et le Noir is open 24 hours).

During the day you can also grab a classic long lunch in one of the many slope restaurants (Chalet de la Fée and Le Diable au Cœur) or just grab a sandwich or crêpe if you want to maximise your time on skis and save your euros.

With plans under way to develop a cable-car link to the adjacent resort of Alpe d’Huez, this will create one of the world’s largest snow sports area so keep your eyes peeled for this in years to come.

Les Deux Alpes has worked hard to position itself as one of the premier resorts in the Alps and with the sheer quantity and quality of slopes, fun après-ski and wide-range of other activities it’s not hard to see why it remains so popular.

I stayed in Hotel Chalet des Champions which offered simple hotel accommodation (think pine, pine and more pine) with a hearty breakfast which set you up for the full day ahead – see chaletdeschampions.com. Rooms from 110 euros for a single with breakfast.

All in all, as your report card hopefully used to say, Les Deux Alpes is a “good all-rounder”.


10 reasons to visit Les Deux Alpes

1. From the first tracks to the last snowflake, Les Deux Alpes guarantees skiing practically all year round.
2. It’s home to the longest ski run in the world – 2,300 metres of vertical drop.
3. Freestyle is part of its DNA and it’s made the discipline accessible to everyone, including families.
4. It’s a fantastic freeride resort with 800 acres of off-piste areas.5. First Tracks gives you a great opportunity to ski the slopes before the lifts officially open each Wednesday.
6. The weekly Freeride Attitude workshops have been running for 16 years, where professionals offer crucial advice.
7. Free slopes for beginners are available at the base of the village.
8. Les Deux Alpes is easily accessible from Grenoble, Lyon, Chambéry and Geneva Airports.
9. Les Deux Alpes has 66 restaurants with cuisine as diverse as it is refined. There are also 22 bars in the resort.
10. The resort offers many non-skiing activities such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing and helicopter flights.


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