Claire from the Ski Collection team headed to Les 2 Alpes for a ski trip with her family and friends.
When you’re skiing with such a mixed group, choosing the right resort can make or break the trip. In my group, we had everything from non-skiers to black run lovers, aged from 3 up to 69! The resort choice really was paramount to make this ski trip work! We opted for Les 2 Alpes, which is located in Isère, France’s third biggest mountain destination.
Travel: Getting to the French Alps
We drove to the Alps in two cars. We left straight from the school run to get the Eurotunnel which we had pre-booked with a free FlexiPlus upgrade. We drove from the south coast to Folkestone with ease, and on arrival we took the opportunity to have a break in the FlexiPlus lounge before boarding. Those who were experiencing it for the first time were suitably impressed. It’s clean, has a good selection of snacks, was incredibly welcoming and they had entertainment for the kids too!
When we were ready, we boarded the next train and started our holiday! If the kids weren’t already excited enough, being on a train underground with the car definitely notched it up a level….
We opted for an overnight stay to break the journey up and to ensure we didn't arrive in resort too early in the morning. Our hotel car park was full of other overnighters heading to the Alps – lots of skis, snowboards and roof boxes on display! Two of our party decided to fly to the Alps so they went from Manchester to Lyon and hired a car to join us at the resort, which was an easy journey for them.
We love driving to the French Alps. There are lots of places to stop and explore should you wish, and the kids’ excitement increases with each snow-capped mountain spotted. As you get closer to resort and the ascent starts, the windows open and the kids’ excitement level goes up yet again!
Insider travel tip: Grenoble Alpes Isère Airport is in an ideal location with superb transport links in the Isère area including Les 2 Alpes. Direct transfers to the main resorts can have you donning your skis in as little as two hours from touch down! You can take a direct private transfer (pre-bookable with Ski Collection) or hire a car from Grenoble (which we can also pre-book). Flights can be booked independently (we don't book these) through major airlines such as easyJet, Jet2, British Airways etc - our 'flying' page has more details.
We recommend you get a Liber-t tag, it's an automatic toll payer, before you go. You order online and only pay in the months you use it. It allows you to whizz through the tolls (many without stopping!) - we recommend this to everyone! Also, stock up on petrol in the villages just off the main roads, it’s a lot cheaper. Service station food is as poor and as overpriced as it is in the UK so do take some with you or stop in the villages or supermarkets, and don't forget your doggy bag from the FlexiPlus lounge!
The Resort: Les 2 Alpes
Every single member of our party loved Les 2 Alpes. I think what really sold it was how compact it is. Everything is within easy walking distance, but if you'd rather not (especially when carrying skis etc!), there’s a free shuttle bus running every 15 minutes which does a circuit of the resort. We hopped on and off it throughout our stay – it was particularly useful in getting the kids to ski school in the morning or when going out for dinner.
Les 2 Alpes has earned FAMILLE PLUS recognition from the French Ministry of Tourism for improving resort services and facilities for families, and from our experience, it’s very much deserved. There is so much for the kids to do including a free outdoor heated swimming pool and ice-skating (it's included in the cost of your lift pass), entertainment, sledging areas, five free lifts in the beginners area (which my five-year-old first time skier loved), fabulous ski schools and lots of little extras the kids really appreciated.
The ski schools were great. We booked with European Ski School (ESS) and the girls, aged 8 and 9, who could already ski, levelled up both in their confidence and in their ability. My 5-year-old, first time skier, was a little aprehensive but by the end of the week he really did not want to go home!
That being said, this resort works equally as well for the party people. There’s plenty of bars and lots of people enjoying the après ski! There’s a real party vibe here when the lifts close and everyone heads down, as all runs lead back to the same valley, with bars and restaurants within easy access of the slopes.
The children were welcomed and well catered for in every bar and restaurant we visited.
Skiing in Les 2 Alpes
We visited Les 2 Alpes early season, at Christmas, and we chose it for its high-altitude ski area - one of the highest in Europe. It boasts an excellent snow record and an amazing 225km of snow-sure ski slopes. The above average sunshine conditions and excellent ski opportunities for all standards made Les 2 Alpes a perfect ski resort choice for everyone.
Insider Tip: Look for ski holiday and ski extra discounts on our site and you'll find great deals for luxury accommodation. I also recommend staying here for late/early season skiing - just as we did – as Les 2 Alpes is one of the most snow sure resorts in Europe! If you can't find accommodation which meets your requirements, call us on 023 9289 0960 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - in office hours, use the chat box on our website and you'll be connected to one of our team (not a bot!).
We loved that the beginners’ areas are not confined to village level; this has the bonus of meaning no-one need miss out on the spectacular views and the experience of skiing high up amongst the peaks!
My first time skier loved jumping on and off the button lifts at the bottom of the resort, and when he made it from top to bottom of the nursery slopes with some beautiful little turns, his face was a joy!
I loved the long cruisy blue runs (which were perfect for practising technique), from the glacier down the Jhandri 5 and 4, or the Glacier 1 runs. The children loved these runs too. Jhandri 1 is a lot more challenging, and when the conditions aren’t so great, it was tricky for the intermediates amongst us. We also loved taking the Diable up to the Tête Moute to visit the fun Freestyle land, from where we enjoyed the more challenging Bellecombe runs. The blues down to resort level are trickier than those up higher - something to be aware of if you have early intermediates in your group. I did see quite a few skiers give up! You can view the full piste map on our resort page (under helpful links).
Intermediates can ski virtually top-to-bottom on long cruisy blues, which the little ones in our group loved. I can't stress enough how much the kids adored skiing here, it really is a fun ski area for intermediates, but there are enough options to keep the whole group happy.
La Fée valley is perhaps the best area to enjoy red and black pistes. Access the area from La Toura, you can then take the Fée 4 and 5 red runs, or the steep Fée 6 black back to the La Fée chair. There are some nice red runs from top to bottom alongside some challenging blacks. The off-piste is extensive (with 5 different domains) and there is a good selection of serious routes! If you have the experience, kit and a guide, the off-piste in adjoining La Grave is also quite extraordinary. It quickly got added to the bucket lists of the more advanced skiers amongst us.
Snowboarders, it’s really friendly for you, too. The resort has terrain for all levels and one of the best snow parks in Europe. Most pistes are big and wide. The one snowboarder in our group says you’ll enjoy the width of the Jhandri and there’s a lot of variation of steepness on the blues too. I did see quite a few boarders take their boards off and walk the long sweeping green back to resort. It's narrow, can be a bit icy and flat in places.
Insider tip: Often overlooked, the Vallée Blanche, at the lower end of the resort main avenue and the foot of the Pied-Moutet mountainside, is worth a visit. It seems like a lot of people never ski this area as it was really quiet. There are some beautiful views back over the valley and onto the stunning Ecrins National Park. Note though, the blue runs are challenging compared to most!
Did you know….
It’s been talked about for years but it now seems it’s happening! Les 2 Alpes is being linked to Alpe d’Huez over the next few years which will create a giant three-resort area (Les 2 Alpes is already linked to La Grave)! It’s targeted for completion in 2021, creating one of the biggest linked ski areas in the world. That’s going to be pretty epic! Make sure you're signed up to our newsletter and we will keep you posted with developments.
Les 2 Alpes has the largest skiable glacier in Europe and it rises to 3,600 metres! It's open to foot passengers, and there's plenty to do up there (with or without skis!). The view is obviously amazing and the Ice Caves take you into the heart of the glacier! Access is easy; take the Jandri Express from the centre of town right up to 3200m, and then hop on the funicular. You can even ski here in summer - call us if you'd like to find out more.
There's a Skywalk at the top of the glacier, a cantilevered walkway that lets you look right down into the Vallon de la Selle, almost 2000 metres below. A must-do experience, although my five-year-old may beg to differ! The Skywalk is free.
Les 2 Alpes is France's second oldest ski resort behind Chamonix. Les 2 Alpes opened in 1939 with one primitive rope-tow, which sadly fell down within 15 minutes of the opening ceremony! Things have moved on now though, there’s 50+ lifts and plans to upgrade and add to them.
Les 2 Alpes also boasts one of the most extensive and revered snowparks in Europe, with a halfpipe, multiple kickers, two boardercross courses and many grinding rails. The snowpark is re-modelled with new features added each season so it's sure to keep you entertained.
Your 6-day Glacier Experience lift pass allows access to the Grande Galaxie areas of un-linked ski resorts including two days in Alpe d'Huez, La Grave, Puy Saint Vincent and Vaujany and one day in Serre Chevalier! Bonus! It also allows free entrance (one per day) to the ice rink and swimming pool but you do have to pay to hire the ice skates.
The resort is easy to access. The nearest airport is Grenoble (1h40 drive, 110km), the nearest station is also in Grenoble itself (1h15 drive, 70km), and regular buses run from the station to the resort. Our party flew to Lyon and drove for about 2 hours 20 minutes to resort. It’s also easy to drive to from Calais if you're self-driving (approx 8.5 hours or 580 miles). This is our favourite way to access the Alps!
Check out this taster video...
Where to stay: Goleon Val Ecrin
Goleon Val Ecrin is located in the quiet Petit Plan area, 50m from the green 'Petite Aiguille' slope leading to the Petite Aiguille and Côte chairlift. The free ski bus stop right next to the residence. The accommodation is comfortable and a firm favourite with our clients.
Want to stay somewhere else in the resort? View options on our sister site, Peak Retreats, or call us on 023 9289 0960 and we can help you find the perfect accommodation.