Skiing at Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps
Skiing in the Alps is truly a bucket list item. The Alps have amazing skiing, incredible ski resorts, and the views are absolutely stunning!
I had the opportunity to go in December with the UCL Snow Sports club through NUCO travel. Luckily, that meant everything was discounted and arranged for me. However, I still learned a thing or two about skiing at Alpe d'Huez and I am here to pass on my knowledge.
Where to go
Tip: If you are looking for cheaper options in the Alps, I've heard Slovenia is great!
When to go
Tip: The snow might not be as good, but the slopes (called 'pistes' here in Europe) tend to be less crowded in mid-December.
How to get there
Alex, on the other hand, flew from London to Grenoble, France (on Easy Jet for £46.98, including a checked bag), and then took Ben's Bus from Grenoble Airport to Alpe d'Huez (£31.80 and about 1.5 hours).
Tip: Book airline tickets well in advance. Flying in Europe is cheap but the price goes up a ton in the holiday months.
Where to stay
Tip: Resturants are expensive on the top of a mountain. Try stopping at a grocery store on your way to the resort, or shop at one of the resort grocery stores (although they are a bit more expensive) to cook your own meals and save some cash.
Get your gear
Alex and I also rented a ski jacket, pants, and gloves from Crevasse Clothing (they also threw in a free pair of ski socks for £75 total).
Now, that sounds like a lot of layers, but you are also going to want to wear something under your jacket and pants, like long johns, or yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I also recommend bringing about one pair of ski socks per day of skiing. Scarfs can be a bit annoying while skiing, so a buff or face mask is much better. Lastly, you can bring clothes for going out to bars, but let's be honest, you're just gonna wear a pair of jeans and your ski jacket.
Tip: Make sure to bring a pair of boots that are snow proof, and I don't mean for skiing, but for all the times you will be walking in the snow after your ski day has ended. It's a must.
What to do
If you are new to skiing, like Alex, you can take ski lessons. Most resorts have multiple providers, so do a little research to find out who is the most reasonably priced and has good reviews. If you aren't a beginner but haven't skied in a while, most ski schools also offer refresher courses or lessons to help you advance to the next level. Alex used ESF ski school.
|Just taking in the view after a bail haha|
If you aren't a skier (honestly, why would you pay for an expensive trip to the Alps if you don't plan on skiing) or maybe you just don't want to ski six days in a row, most ski resorts also have pools, saunas, bars, and cafes for cozying up next to the fire with a good book. Alpe d'Huez also has a sports center, ice skating rink, music festivals, and more (I swear I saw a small roller coaster and ax throwing). And of course, there is aprés.
Aprés is drinks after skiing. They usually start around 3/4 p.m. and they are located at bars up the mountain, so you either take the ski lift up and down or ski in and out (tipsy skiing was new to me this trip).
Tip: Don't forget your ski pass - it's necessary to get on the lifts. And carry a slope/piste map with you at all times so you don't get lost in the mountain.
Alright, you are officially ready to ski in the French Alps!
Have you been skiing in the Alps? Which resorts do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!