Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes

Overall Rating

Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes4/54
Les Deux Alpes4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Chamonix Hosted & Guided Ski & Snowboard Tours

Nearby Ski Resorts

Alpe d'Huez
La Grave

     Les Deux Alpes Ski Trail Map
  • Les 2 Alpes Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,300m - 3,568m (2,268m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8m+
  • Lifts (50)
    8 Cable cars/gondolas/funiculars
    16 Chairlifts
    Summer ski lifts - 12
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Winter
    Mid-Oct to end April
    9:00am to 5:00pm
    Summer
    Late June to early August
    7:00am to 12:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 200km
    Longest run - 16km
    Advanced - 17%
    Intermediate - 28%
    Beginner - 55%

    Summer Trails - 30km
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Adult - €43.50 to 54
    Child - €39 to 43
    Adult >72yr - Free
    Child u/5yr - Free
     Les Deux Alpes Summer Glacier Ski Trail Map
  • Les 2 Alpes Summer Trail Map

Les Deux Alpes - Reviews

Les Deux Alpes - Reviews

February Festival of Deep Pow

04/06/2020

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

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Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

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Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

February Festival of Deep Pow

04/06/2020

Our second visit to Les Deux Alpes in 2020 was during late February. The experience was so different to our January experience, we felt it deserved a separate review. (See our previous review below.) In returning though, we broke one of our cardinal French Alps skiing rules. The rule to NOT ski the large, popular ski resorts in France during French school holidays…… oops! But after hot weather down in the Pyrenees drove us north back into the Alps, 2 Alpes so happened to be on the way to our real target – the Haute Maurienne Vanoise (la Norma et al). The southern Alps can & do get vastly different weather to more northerly ski resorts, so we were drawn in to Les 2 Alpes by the promise of a BIG dump. We were not disappointed. And the bonus of seeing how a resort functions at its busiest times is always informative.

The first day back at the resort exposed us to the worst of French school holiday (peak season) skiing. With no fresh snow, an uncharacteristically leisurely start put us behind a seriously large horde of humanity. Lift lines at most of the village & mid-mountain lifts were horrific, particularly with the typically French version of ‘anti-social distancing’. However, as the wind increased, the sun disappeared & the temperature plummeted, the crowds dissipated to next to nothing. The pistes became deserted after lunch, re-igniting our belief that Les 2 Alpes is full of novice & beginner snow riders & when the conditions get tough, the majority head to the bar! (And what fine bars they do have here.)

The following day, most lifts were closed as the storm gathered momentum. The requisite down day was spent in the lovely cobbled laneways of Venosc. Day three dawned relatively calm and with 50cm+ of fresh snow above 2300m. First in line at the Diable chair (once bitten….), the difference in crowd size was stark. While the lower lifts from the village still carried a few people, above 2200m, where the visibility became less friendly, almost no one was skiing. After getting some fine first tracks in amongst the trees on the village frontside, we harvested untracked super deep powder in the La Fee & Thuit sectors til our hearts were utterly content. Ending the day with a few fine brews & then an impossibly good galette at Crepes a GoGo was the icing on a delicious Les Deux Alpes cake.

Comparisons between Les 2 Alpes & neighbouring Alpe d’Huez are unavoidable. Our observation is that even though both lack much in the way of below tree-line terrain, Les 2 Alpes is far & away the better off-piste ski area during a storm when the wind is blowing & the viz is low. As the viz improves, Alpe d’Huez is a beast in the freeride realm, begging to be tamed.

During our stay, an attempt at a fine dining lunch in the Michelin rated Le Diable au Coeur restaurant (near the top of the Diable chairlift at 2400m) were thwarted by only one thing – the lack of a reservation. Drats, foiled again! Shame because the menu looks delish & the prices are so good; they make the likes of Courchevel ski resort mountain restaurants look like a criminal exercise in extortion.

Worth noting that in the village, two fine diners of note are - Le P'tit Polyte (Michelin starred at Hotel Chalet Mounier); and the highly rated Le Raisin D Ours. Just get a reservation to avoid disappointment.

A powder day at Les Deux Alpes is as fun as anywhere in the world. We had as many face-shots here in one day as any time in Japan, North America or other parts of Europe. Just goes to prove that everywhere is good on its day & in this, fortune favoured the brave - brave enough to risk the French school holiday crowds! On the pistes, enough terrain exists to please all visitors including advanced snow sliders. The lift pass is great value, accommodation is reasonably affordable near the slopes plus the bars & restaurants can be as entertaining or sombre as you want. What’s not to like?

You can see our thoughts on the pros & cons on the Les 2 Alpes overview page and also see our European ski resort ratings regarding how we score it compared to other skiing areas.

Ticks All The Boxes

Dom
04/06/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    4

Ticks All The Boxes

Dom
04/06/2020
The resort has a lot of variety at an affordable price. I love the fact Les Deux Alpes is a Winter and Summer resort with plenty of activities for all ages. Plus easy access to La Grave and Alpe D’Huez - even easier once Alpe d’ Huez and Les Deux Alpes connect together by gondola in a couple years time.

The season just passed was mediocre for snowfall and then made short due to the virus. But we had a few days off piste where we found the terrain being surprisingly very good and not busy such as Verbier on a powder day. It is never going to be completely safe but we felt comfortable covering large areas off piste without any obvious avalanche risks.

Les Deux Alpes apres ski scene has a variety of bars from crazy table dancing eg Umbrella and Panobar to more chilled sociable bars eg Le Diable au Coeur (michelin star) or Le Sherpa. I would say the clientele is more down to earth compared to the more flashy/posey type of people you will spot at La Folie Douce in Alpe D’Huez.

Les Deux Alpes = Fun

03/06/2020

Smiling Assassin

Powder Connoisseur
Powder Connoisseur

Smiling Assassin

Powder Connoisseur
Powder Connoisseur
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    3

Les Deux Alpes = Fun

03/06/2020
Good snow, lines & terrain options. Get in early after a storm:-)

Crowded when the sun is out during school holidays. Best crepes:-)

Plaudits Dominate Brickbats

02/06/2020

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Plaudits Dominate Brickbats

02/06/2020

Of the major ski resorts that we planned to visit, in what we refer to as the southern Alps, Les 2 Alpes looked the least promising. Despite its huge skiable vertical, high elevation & mass of terrain, the stats include nearly 60% novice/beginner trails, which whatever way one looks at it, doesn’t enthuse anyone of intermediate ability & above. But how misguided is that? Quite misguided it turns out. What we found was indeed large swathes of low-pitch groomers from mid-mountain upwards, but it is what was in between & along the edges that gives 2 Alpes a huge tick & plaudits from us.

Unlike the complex terrain of neighbouring Alpe d’Huez, skiing the off-piste at Les Deux Alpes was comparatively easy. Easy to navigate, easy to avoid crowds, easy to find fresh snow, easy to find a steep pitch, easy to get back to lift & easy to NOT die in an avalanche. As a short-term visitor to a new ski resort, that is exactly what a powder hound is seeking. One glance up the resort’s frontside above the village will be enough to recognise that some wonderful skiing & snowboarding is about to be had.

From the top of the resort (3,568m – amongst the highest in the Alps), lovers of wide perfect pistes will cream their undies cruising all the way back to 2 Alpe village & beyond. The main trail from top to bottom is placid, but a delicious 16km long. The mid-mountain section is amongst the widest groomed piste we have ever had the dubious pleasure of sliding on. Despite the village section being too flat, persist the whole way down to Mont de Lans – if nothing else just to say you skied over 2,200m vertical in one go. Not too many places in the world you can do that.

Directly above the village with a westerly aspect, the 2 Alpes frontside is an off-piste heaven on a powder day. Such a contrast to neighbouring Alpe d’Huez (where the village 'frontside' is novice friendly flat). Across the entire length of the village, terrain is a perfect pitch for luscious turns on around 700m (Diable) to 450m (Crétes) vertical depending where you start. At least three chairs & a dodgy old gondola will get you back up to a decent height avoiding the ride of the ‘touristy’ Jandri Express. The terrain becomes an easier pitch the further skiers’ right one goes toward Alpe 1800 village.

We love going to places that still have fresh turns (in albeit tracked powder) 5 days after the previous snowfall. And to find it easily in a major ski area is even better. And that the intervening 5-days included a full weekend of pillaging speaks volumes. Says there are relatively low numbers pillaging the powder at Les Deux Alpes. Thought the shaded north-aspect terrain (no surprise there!) into Pierre Grosse, La Fee or Thuit was the pick of it. Under the Pierre Grosse gondola is a big, challenging looking zone, which is actually alot mellower than it first appears. The skiable vertical (on or off-piste) is a lazy 1000m! We had the unexpected privilege of riding this brand-new gondola on its opening day, and what a lovely journey up it is. Scope the entry & routes to the best freeride terrain from the crystal-clear windows of the gondola on the way up. Get a guide if unsure but if snow conditions are stable, the basic routes should hold few fears.

We loved our January visit to Les 2 Alpes, but every ski resort will have a brickbat paragraph. It is more like an advisory, but here it is. Go up to the top of the resort (Dôme de la Lauze) via the funicular once to say you did it, enjoy the view, slide down the mellow piste, then never go there again (unless heading to La Grave or some other off-piste glacier intrigue). Likewise, the ice grotto at Glacier (3200m). If you have been to the ones on Titlis at Engelberg or on Allalin at Saas Fee, definitely do not waste your €5.50 going in there. The sculptures & lightning are poor by comparison. If you have never been in a glacier ice grotto & think you might never get a chance to see one ever again, then by all means go in. Just keep your expectations low, and then organize a visit to Engelberg or Saas Fee to see the real deal!

For us, lunch is worthwhile distraction at Les 2 Alpes, and it can only be at one place on the mountain. The Smokehouse at the Pano Bar (just below the mid-mountain Jandri Express 1 top station) serves gorgeous, affordable smoked meats (we had beef brisket) with vegetables (legumes) and salad (without frites if you like – yay). After lunch, the Pano Bar turns into the hill’s best après session. The ski down is on easy blues and greens or black if you like a post après challenge. The Valentin is the safest of the blacks. Leave the Diable for the sober!

To be fair to the mountain, there are several other excellent eateries on the hill. Cheap eats (from a shack on the side) or restaurant dining at La Fee restaurant is all good. Lovers of Michelin rated fine dining on a mountain, can indulge themselves at Le Diable au Coeur near the top of the Diable chair. While you are there, if the sun is out & the snow is no longer worthy, try tandem parasailing back down to the village. One can just walk up and jump on, no bookings required. Whilst it is no Zermatt or Chamonix parasailing descent, the experience is still a fabulous one. The skis on, slide down the hill start, is the most sphincter-puckering part of the process!

At the end of the day, a variety of après ski venues are slopeside at the village. Slopeside near the Oeufs Blancs gondola base, we enjoyed the Bivouac. It does cheap happy hour 50cl bieres from 1600hr.Tables with fires in the middle are always a treat! Then move down to Crepes à GoGo. A spectacular interior is coupled with fantastic service, biere & crepes of all descriptions.

Certainly not the prettiest French resort village but by no means the ugliest, Les 2 Alpes has loads of affordable accommodation in a muddle of styles, a full range of shops services & entertainment, plus numerous excellent bars. Hot tip on a great little bar is La Rhumerie. Rum done differently for all tastes in a cool bar in the centre of town, open til late. Not so cool, but ok for some dance action is La Grotte du Yeti bar/club. It does après & then nightclub til late (or early depending on your perspective). A host of alternatives exist throughout the village.

We stayed off the mountain for a few nights near Venosc at the wonderful Ecrins Lodge. A better home away from home in a quirky French Alps hamlet you will never find. If not staying in the 2 Alpes village day-tripping up via Venosc is super easy. The Venosc gondola starts early (7ish) and the top station is only a 5min stroll to the Diable chairlift which whisks one up to 2400m in no time. The village of Venosc is the polar opposite of 2 Alpes village. Rustic & traditional, it is now an artist’s enclave with bespoke products everywhere plus a few great cafes, bars & restaurants thrown in for good measure. Lunch at Restaurant Le Dolilou is a real treat & a wander through Venosc a lovely way to spend a down-day or evening.

A visit to the southern Alps that combines skiing at Les 2 Alpes, Alpe d’Huez & La Grave covers some of skiing’s finest experiences. Put them on your list of “Places I Need to Ski Before I Am Too Feeble”! At Les 2 Alpes, the plaudits dominate the brickbats by a fair old margin.