IT IS not just the weather that brightens skiers’ days at Alpe D’Huez.

From the Alps’ longest black run, to a rocking electric music festival and stunning helicopter jaunts, France’s sunniest resort has it all.

Boasting an average of 300 days of sun per year, the ski and board venue – located between Grenoble and the Italian boarder – seamlessly accommodates high octanes adrenaline seekers and serene family holiday makers; partly because it is so vast.

Last year it laid fresh tracks by hosting the first Winter Tomorrowland Festival, which is set to return for the next three years. The event expects to host some 25,000 people for the March 2020 week-long dance extravaganza, following the success of its world-famous summer cousin.

The resort doubles as a mountain biker magnet in warmer weather, but – for skiers and boarders – winter is the attraction, especially the Saronne run, claimed as the longest black in the Alps, at around 18km.

From the very top of the resort, the often windy conditions are worsened by the temptation to hack down wide, sweeping pistes to make the most of both the superb snow and the panoramic views. Its well worth the long but quick and efficient lifts if you venture up here – but don’t be fooled by the sun and bring an extra layer on chillier days.

The weather is far from the only ray of sunshine at the resort, which is known for hosting part of the Tour de France and boasting the country’s first drag lift in the 1930s; as well as its vast domain (Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany and Villard Reculas are also included).

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Known for both its free skiing and, perhaps somewhat confusingly, abundance of runs for less experienced skiers, this really is a resort suitable for all abilities.

There can be reasonable queues for some lifts, but with so much terrain on offer it is not as if you are short on options.

Alongside the usual attractions at a ski resort, another branch of the Folie Douce is an afternoon well spent in stunning scenery, if party bars are your thing.

Sledging on tracks at the ‘Luge sur rail’ is a quirky thrill if you have 15 minutes to spare, though last’s seasons virtual reality option was somewhat nauseating - since it managed to take your vision on an entirely different ride to the rest of your body. Perhaps one to avoid if you’ve been reacquainting yourself with some apres ski the night before.

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Experience the Alps from a chopper

But possibly the ultimate highlight – and the only way to top the alpine scenery on the slopes – is a helicopter ride around the Alps.

An exhilarating quarter of an hour or so journey gives you a sense of how grand a mountain range is on your doorstep, as Alpe D’Huez disappears amid a sea of peaks and breath-taking 360 views of snow drenched peaks.

Back on the ground, we stayed in Ski France’s charming ski-in, ski-out Chalets de l’Altiport. Away from the resort’s main village - which has been criticised for lacking charm - the beautifully furnished chalets sleep up to 12 or 15 people and each feature either their own jacuzzi or sauna.

Billed as non-luxury, the Savoyarde-style accommodation is warm and homely, with more great views from your choice of balconies.

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Harrison and friends at La Folie Douce (

Though it is self-catered, there are a variety of options for cosy nights in or out - from a number of excellent European chefs dropping in to offer up far more than you can eat, to a ski masseur or a sled with the huskies. The tiramisu class is perhaps the least exciting option, but nonetheless quick and fun.

If you haven’t had enough food – a particularly unlikely scenario if you opt for the Spanish or Greek night in – there are a host of superb restaurants on the mountain. Upmarket Le Signal and Restaurant l’Altiport come highly recommended.

For an all-round experience, then, Alpe d’Huez offers whatever you want it to and more.


  • Accommodation: The Chalets de l’Altiport sleep up to 12 or 15 people. Before catering, a week in an 8-bedroom chalet, sleeping up to 15 people costs £4,270 (£284.60 per person) in February. To book and find out more about catering options, visit
  • Tomorrowland runs from March 14-21. Tickets start at €175.
  • Massages: Physio Ski offer a variety of options. The ‘Relaxing Massage’ option costs €58 for 30 minutes. Visit
  • Helicopter rides: SAF Alpe d’Huez offer various Panoramic Flight options in the resort, starting at €275 for an eight minute ride with five people. Visit:
  • Restaurants and entertainment: To book Le Signal 2108, visit and for Restaurant l’Altiport
  • For more information on La Folie Douce, visit
  • The Luge sur rail (Sledging on tracks) can be booked at the door, but more information and advance reservations from