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Panoramic alpine views, flamboyant dancing, stunning sunshine, high mountain peaks, vibrant coloured flavoured rum, world class skiing, scrumptious fondues, late nights and a humongous list of activities off the piste, is just a small taste of what to expect on a ski holiday in Alpe d’Huez. Alpe d’Huez is one of our most popular ski holiday destinations. This outstanding resort is great for families, groups, young, old and beginners through to advanced skier and snowboarders. This all-round-resort boasts 250km of ski runs, 2 snow parks and 50km of cross country trails. The height of the resort and ski area means snow should be good throughout the season and is a popular choice for late season holidays. I was fortunate enough to return to this awesome resort in March 2015 for Snowboxx festival. With so much to do in resort, here are your 10 must-dos in Alpe d’Huez.
Last season the famous French après chain extended into Alpe d’Huez, to what may be my favourite location of all. Try to imagine dancers dressed in black feather wings, men in leather high heels, champagne showered down from an elevated DJ booth and a saxophonist prancing around on the bar as you purchase drinks. It’s like something out of a Baz Luhman film and an excellent way to way to get the party going. Après may have only started at 2, but by 2:15 there are already people dancing on the tables and making the most of their short time in this spectacular cosmos. In addition to the epic party that the Folie never fails to deliver, you go weak at the knees staring at the stunning views off the dance floor balcony.
Top left and bottom photo: Gregory Ke Photographie
Appropriately labelled as ‘The Best Fondue in the World,’ La Fondue En Folie was of course our first choice for dinner on the chalet staff’s night off. How good was it? Well, how often do you get to the bottom of a cheese fondue... Never? We polished off it all. And the meat fondue too. Plus we were still infatuated enough with cheese the next day to stomach a round of Croque Monsieurs at lunch. There is an extensive menu filled with various meat and cheese fondue options. The restaurant size is modest so booking early in the week is recommended.
La Fondue En Folie: When the tables are full, food is placed in hangers above!
Alpe d’huez is a glacial resort that offers high altitude skiing and some of the longest descents in the Alps. The 3330m Pic Blanc glacier summit is the start of the longest black run in Europe, Sarenne that has a 2220m descent over the 16 km piste. As a high ski resort, snow conditions are great throughout the winter season and there is even skiing on the glacier during the summer months. Yes the skiing is fantastic up on the glacier, but what really took my breath away was the astounding vista. There are panoramic mountain views as far as the eye can see and the ocean of clouds make you feel like you are on top of the world.
Views from the peak of Pic Blanc
When you think of the perfect mountain eatery, what do you imagine? Large sun-soaked terrace overlooking the ski slopes, an extensive selection of your favourite alpine foods, and a large chilled beer in your hand? All the boxes get ticked at this lunch stop. Perfectly located at the first DMC stop, near the snow park and the green pistes, it is easy meet point and accessible for everyone, non-skiers and beginners included. The hefty menu has all the alpine favourites of cheese and meat combinations including croque monsieurs, tartiflette, burgers, pizzas and salads. The calzone and montagne croque monsieur (raclette cheese) were our top picks after an active morning ski.
The fantastic large sun terrace
Les Cimes is a great value hotel for this fantastic resort. The large accommodation is brilliantly situated less than 100m from the slopes, taking you to the Grande Sure chairlift and straight up to fantastic Signal pistes. Perfect if you are keen to get out on the slopes first thing. The south facing positioning means the sun terrace gets the sun in the afternoon and the front bedrooms have an incredible view of the alpine landscape.
A weeks stay on half board chalet catering basis starts from £503 pp which includes accommodation, transfers and flights. A six day lift pass costs £189 per adult (aged 13-64) when pre-booked through us and Ski and boot hire costs from £105 per adult when pre-booked. View more information and ski deals at Chalet Hotel Les Cimes
Top - the amazing views at sunset from the front rooms. Below - the hotel exterior and large breakfast selection
Head to the Underground Bar for a brilliant night you will probably end up not remembering! The super friendly staff create a welcoming and fun atmosphere that is a favourite amongst the seasonaires in resort. If you are like me and prefer a cider over a beer, well great news, they have it on tap here! Most nights the owners band plays live music so expect to keep dancing into the small hours. Our other favourite night venues in Alpe d'Huez included Sphere bar, L'Etalon Rum bar and Igloo bar
Lots of different flavours of homemade rum at the pirate themed Etalon bar
As much as I loved being at the peak of the glacier, my favourite ski runs were on the other side of the mountain at Signal and the ski runs down to Oz and Vaujany. If you are a fan of long ski runs then this is the side of the ski area is for you. Get first lifts up to Signal and enjoy the stunning, wide, corduroy pistes down to the TSD Le Villarais chairlift. This area is normally quiet first thing as the crowds head to the main ski lifts around the green slopes. For more lengthy slopes you can take the runs from 2100 at the first DMC stop or from 2050 at L’Alpette down to Oz en Oisians at 1350 or Montfrais, towards Vaujany, at 1650m.
Top of Signal
This wondrous festival turned Alpe d’Huez into a spectacular wonderland for an entire week. The popular ski resort is already known for its varied and vibrant nightlife, but Snowboxx came into town and took the party to the next level. At every moment of the day you had the opportunity to join in with the festivities, from a waterslide competition or disco dodgeball in the day; to Meat Horse Disco at Folie Douce for après on the mountain or an afternoon terrace party back in the town; to evening events including tropical tea parties, pool parties or joining the headliners 2 Many DJS, Eton Messy and Jungle at huge open air gigs. The possibilities were endless, but you were guaranteed to have an awesome time wherever you ended up. The festival crowd was fantastic fun; there was always a sea of fancy dress and smiles to get you in the mood to party, even if you are still brushing off the hangover from the night before. Snowboxx has now sold out for 3 years in a row, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the ski crowds in 2016.
Snowboxx festival 2015. Top - Fun at Folie Douce. Bottom - 2ManyDJs
Discover an unforgettable experience whilst on holiday in Alpe d’Huez and conquer the legendary 16km Sarenne by moonlight. This brilliant evening takes place every Wednesday which fits in perfectly with chalet staff night off. After taking up the last cable car at 4.30 pm to the peak of Pic Blanc you watch the sun set over the breath-taking panoramic view at 3330m whilst sipping on a vin chaud or hot chocolate. When nightfall’s the group is joined by qualified ski instructors and ski patrollers as you ski down the 16km piste by moonlight (and supplied headlights). The run takes about an hour to ski down and once you have reached the bottom you are rewarded with a 3 course mountain dinner at the Auberge de la Combe Haute. After a cheese filled evening you ski back to the village and a shuttle service is provided from 10:15pm to transport you back to resort. The excursion is subject to good snow cover and weather conditions. You must be a good skier or snowboarder to take part and you are advised to book early. Cost is approx 73 Euros. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
Panoramic views at the top of Sarenne
With every 6 day lift pass you can benefit from 1 entry to the swimming pool, ice rink and the sports centre. So after a day on the slopes you can head to the outdoor pool for a relaxing afternoon or if you fancy just a half day on the mountain, you can head into town for lunch and a skate on the ice rink, all for free! This is what’s great about Alpe d’Huez, it’s so much more than just a ski resort. There are plenty of ‘off-piste’ activities to keep any children or adults occupied if their ski legs are feeling tired.
View ski holidays in Alpe d'Huez
For more information on Alpe d’Huez Grande Domaine Ski please visit www.alpedhuez-granddomaine-ski.fr
For more information on Snowboxx visit www.snowboxx.com
In the past few weeks snow conditions this season have completely turned around. It may have been a slow start to the ski season after the warm December temperatures, but since mid-January things have been looking up. There has been a series of huge snow dumps teamed with a string of sunny days occurring over the last few weeks, dramatically building up the snow bases of ski resorts across Europe.
The February half term was a perfect week for a ski holiday with up to 60 cm of snowfall on the half term transfer weekend then beautiful blue skies for most of the week after. View current snow conditions in our latest snow reports. As the busiest ski week of the season came to a close, it was reported in the long range forecasts that we were in for one of the biggest snow storms of the season over the next 9 days, including up to 231 cm of snowfall in just a few days. The Alps may not have received the 2m foreseen but 120 cm in Soldeu, 98 cm in Cervinia, 82 cm in Grindelwald and 66 cm in Avoriaz was very welcomed by the post-half term skiers and snowboarders. Snow bases and snow conditions are currently superb for the start of March. Particularly Austrian resorts are looking significantly healthy for this time of year (compared to last year):
Lower pistes cm / top pistes cm
Skiing in March is one of the most best times of the year, as temperatures start to warm up you can enjoy the fantastic ski conditions in the morning, then by the afternoon you can embrace the après atmosphere on a sun terrace on a mountain top bar. With the current great snow depths in many resorts across Europe, a ski holiday in March will be excellent. With even more snow storms on the horizon over the next 9 days, there will be no shortage of snow for the rest of the season. The snow conditions we have at present are the best so far this season and with Easter week just 4 weeks away it’s looking like there will be plenty of snow to enjoy this year. After Easter falling so late in April last year, this wasn’t a great time for a ski holiday. With Easter Sunday falling on the 5th April this year, many families will be heading out to ski resorts for the first week of April to spend the Easter holidays in the snow.
With temperatures rising towards the end of the ski season, your save bet is to aim for high resorts. It is always difficult to predict the snow conditions at the end of season so be sure to choose a ski resort with high altitude to secure the best snow conditions. You want enough snow to build a snow bunny don’t you?
Best resorts for end of season skiing
View Last Minute Ski Offers and Easter Holiday Ski Deals
If you’re looking to kill a few calories but are unwilling to sign your soul away for an unused year at your local jazzy gym, why not consider the outdoor life and some truly awesome winter sports to get in shape the fun way. Of course the temptation of all that heavenly indulgent mountain food on a ski or snowboarding holiday (Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue..) might have you concerned about piling it on, but fear not as food = fuel and that’s exactly what you’ll be burning tonnes of each day spent on the slopes.
Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.
When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.
Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…
Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).
The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.
Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays 2015.
Thousands of lucky British children will be going skiing for the first time at half term. For their parents it will be a brilliant break – but only if they plan it properly. To help them, the UK’s biggest ski holiday agent, Igluski.com, invited its clients to come up with tips for families making their debut on the slopes. Here are the best of them:
1. Don’t waste money on expensive ski clothes for your children; they’ll outgrow them by next year. Borrow what you can and also scour the charity shops. 2. Sew name tags on all your children’s ski wear. There’s then a chance they’ll come back from ski school and other outings wearing their own clothes. 3. If you need a pushchair, take one with large wheels. Then it won’t get stuck in the snow. 4. Pack sun block sticks not sprays. Then you won’t have to take your gloves off when you want to rub it on. 5. Don’t pack any best clothes. They’re wasted in a ski resort. Use the space for extra gloves and hats. 6. If you need a baby bottle warmer take your own. Then you won’t have to queue to share the only one in the chalet. 7. Imagine the mess a broken bottle of Calpol would make in your luggage. So take sachets instead. 8. If your child needs disposable nappies, find room for a pack of your usual brand in your luggage – they will be much more expensive in resort, if available at all. 9. Don’t forget slippers 10. If there’s a coach transfer to the resort, sit as near to the front as you can. There’s then less chance of a windy road making your children sick. 11. Write you mobile number on a child’s hand or arm if they’re going to ski school on their own. 12. Don’t be tempted to go to watch your children in ski school. It could distract and upset them. 13. Invest in a set of walkie talkies. Then if you get separated on the slopes you can call each other. 14. Three rigid rules for all the family – never ski without a helmet, never ski alone and never ski after drinking alcohol. 15. Take snacks and entertainment for the plane and coach transfer to resort. As half term is one of the busiest weeks of the season, delays are likely. View our last minute Half Term Ski Holidays
Including 7 Nts at Hotel Airelles B&B Club Hotel in Les Deux Alpes from £734 pp
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"I was so impressed with the way Laura handled my initial call that as soon as I got home I decided to forget all of the other agents and companies and call her straight back and book the holiday. Thank you again Iglu for being so user friendly and more importantly thank you to Laura for being such an asset to your company and the sales profession."