What a gem Les Deux Alpes (2Alpes) is in our opinion! Is it one of France’s best kept secrets? High altitude, glacier skiing (summer and autumn skiing takes place here every year), beautiful sunshine, a fabulous array of funs, and pretty much something to keep everyone happy all week long (foodies amongst you – it just happens to have one of the best Michelin Star restaurants in the alps for ambience and dining). The perfect mixed ability, family ski holiday, Christmas, New Year, Half Term and Easer ski holiday - whatever! It really does have something for everyone!
Les 2Alpes is already, in our opinion, one of Europe’s great ski resorts, but if all goes to plan, in 2022 / 23 a new gondola will make it even better when it links itself with Alps d’Huez across the valley (assuming construction is completed as planned). 230km of runs is comprehensive as it is, but the two together will combine to take the skiable piste domain to well over 400km of pistes. But don’t think that means you should wait for the link to be completed as this will merely be just the icing on the cake on what is already the perfect chalet ski holiday destination for family ski holidays and most of our other clients too.
A purpose-built ski and snowboard resort, it may not be the prettiest (the recent developments are fast correcting this - we quite like it as it now has an art decor quarter alongside a traditional alpine, thriving centre), but as comes with the purpose-built label, few chalets and apartments are more than two or three hundred metres from the nearest lift and piste (most less).
It also offers some of the highest skiing in the Alps at 3,600m, with much of the skiing and snowboarding 2,000m and above. New chair lifts have also added to the pleasant experience, alleviating a great deal of the previous bottlenecks that prevailed in the past.
SKIING LES DEUX ALPES
The high altitude snowboarding and skiing in around Les 2Alpes offers some of the best snow conditions in the Alps. Superb for beginners, probably even better for intermediates, and good for most advanced, if not all expert skiers in any party (an ex-junior in our party just loved the variety piste and off-piste skiing between the pistes), all in all, we think it has something for nearly everyone.
Superb nursery slopes at the bottom of the slope ensure a fabulous ski area to start your ski and snowboard career. And whilst the green and blue runs above can become a little busy at the home time, they generally provide a great area to gain confidence and progress. Les Deux Alpes is made for learning to ski in our opinion. Snowboarders starting off may find the drags a little more challenging at the bottom but there is also a covered travellator higher up for all (2,000m) that’s accessible by Gondola too.
What can we say, this has to be one of the best intermediate ski resorts we have skied and snowboarded in. Wide blues and reds, whether cruising, carving, attacking the fall line, whatever takes your fancy, you are going to have such a great time in 2Alpes. The skiing and snowboarding above 2,000m is just one big playground and general confidence boosting with few drop-offs to worry about. And why not start at the top of the Mont de Lans glacier and ski home at the end of the day, taking the blue, red or a mix if you prefer, throwing in the black at the end should your legs allow it.
Advanced Skiing and Snowboarding
What we particularly liked about Les Deux Alpes was the mix of challenging opportunities. The blacks are challenging enough for all but the most ardent expert, and conditions permitting, the skiing off to the sides and between the pistes (you should only ski or snowboard off the piste marked area if you are competent to do so and appropriately equipped). As for the black runs, the moguls over the back towards La Fee (Thuit Cretes) were just magical!
Truly expert, experienced skiers and snowboarders may find the piste skiing more limited. There is some great off-piste to explore nevertheless with a guide, but the nature of some of the potential falls, and snow conditions mean that such is best undertaken with an appropriately qualified mountain guide.FAMILY SKIING 2ALPES
Having skied (and snowboarded) this with two teenage children, we can vouch for its credentials here! It has something for everyone, great snow conditions, a good lift system (huge investment planned to make it even better), and something for all abilities. It is also a very friendly ski resort too. Pushing and jostling is not the done thing here, which makes a decidedly pleasant change to some of the other resorts.
The layout of the resort also means that it is ideal in mixed ability parties to meet up during the day at your favourite restaurants. Blues often laying parallel to reds for example.
Off the slopes, the town has plenty to do and again it has a friendly charm and whilst it isn’t traffic free, a generally safe feel to it.
LES DEUX ALPES TOWN
The town has grown rapidly in recent years and whilst some of the purpose-built apartments of its early years still exist, these are rapidly been replaced by far more aesthetically pleasing designs, particular around the main centre at the top end of town.
3km long, if you are just for the skiing and snowboarding, wherever you are will be fine as access to and from the slopes is very good with limited distances in most cases. If however the town in the day and/or night is important to you, the top end of town is where it is at and most aesthetically pleasing too. The main gondolas and the super-fast Diablo chair are also closer to this area.
There are lots of bars and restaurants (see below), mingled with some well-stocked mountain shops to peruse. The town also boasts a municipal swimming pool and sports centre for those that still have the energy to burn at the end of the day or on a snowy afternoon.
Eating Out in Town
There are numerous bars and restaurants and the quality is excellent. Yes, you can have pizza, burgers and chips, but also some great French dishes, as well as the mountain classics (tartiflette, fondue, raclette, et al). As Francophiles who probably love our food too much, we were pleasantly surprised how good the standard was, perhaps influenced by the large proportion of discerning French clients that come back year on year.
And if some of the finest food in the Alps is your kind of thing, book a table at One Star Michelin Etoile (Star) restaurant the Le P'tit Polyte, a restaurant that has been passed down the generations for decades. Not only fine dining but in the perfect Alpine ambience too!
EATING OUT ON THE MOUNTAIN
The mountain restaurants, again we are guessing because it is loved by the French, are of very good quality, although it lacks the tucked away restaurants of charm that some other resorts enjoy. This said, three that offers good lunchtime dining include
Lively without be wild would be how we would describe Les Deux Alpes apres-ski. Off the slopes head to the main centre where the fun begins.