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Alpe D'Huez Skiing

March 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 172

The nice thing about getting a Serre Chevalier ski season pass is that it includes a fair few days chucked in for free in nearby stations. There is Puy St Vincent, Galaxy, which takes in Montgeneve in France over the border into Oulx in Italy and offers some 400km of pistes and Alpe D'Huez.

This season I went with another season pass holder to check out Alpe D'Huez, some 55 km up the road from Serre Che towards Grenoble. In truth I still prefer Serre Che, probably because I know it so well, but there is a lot to recommend at least a day's visit to Alpe D'Huez, although it is such a spread out station that some sort of orientation course or familiarisation might be a good idea.

There are almost exactly the same lengths of piste as Serre Che, 250km, but they do seem a little narrower and because of the lift/ cable car configuration it doesn't feel as connected. Skis off for the cable-car, back on, then a short piste to a lift, then back down and into a bigger cable car having shed skis again - too much faff. Serre Che allows you to strap your skis on and keep them on until you want a vin chaud or at the end of the day. Perhaps that is a petty point, but I'll take it.

The complexes are a bit ugly, it has not much village charm, but that's aesthetics, so not going to push that one. On a plus side you do feel as if you're under a much larger sky than Serre Che, a vast expanse of azure hovers o'erhead and seems to go on in all directions - spectacular in a word, you feel part of the heavens and at 3000+m you are.

When we visited Alpe D'Huez, which calls itself the "island in the sun" on its piste-maps, the sun had been doing it's thing and the conditions went from icy at the top, to huge soft moguls and then to slush with big rocks coming through, giving fright for my skis, which weren't as seriously scratched up as I feared. Not going to list that as a positive or negative, it is what it is and conditions changing are to be expected. However the snow at the same time under the same sun in Serre Che is better, the north-facing slopes doing much to protect and extend the life of the snow.

Alpe D'Huez does boast the world's longest descent, 17km of piste, starts off as a black, a couple of mogul walls and then a tedious chunter back to the lifts. Nice to have done it, but won't buy the tee-shirt.

There is definitely more life in Alpe D'Huez than Serre Chevalier, lots of bars, lots of people - being so much closer to Grenoble it means loads of people can descend easily. I imagine it would be choker-block during holidays, the jostle at the cable-car turnstiles was vexing enough on a reasonably quiet day as it was.

I can see off-piste lovers would love Alpe D'Huez, there is tonnes to do, but probably for the experts only. There is very little tree skiing, if that's your thing, something which there is more of in Serre Che, being generally lower, but that's a matter of taste.

All in all I'd say I prefer Serre Che, but I will definitely be heading back to Alpe D'Huez to see if understanding brings a greater appreciation of a breathtaking high-altitude resort.

This article was written by Fergus Rainbow who is a regular blogger at Serre Chevalier's most fun web site, If you would like to stop the night at Alpe d'Huez or even take a full ski holiday there, the Alpe d'Huez hotel we most recommend is Hotel Le Chamois, which also features the famous Underground Bar where you can find live music and a great atmosphere.

Source: EzineArticles
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