What: les Deux Alpes
Location: A resort in the French Alpes, made up of villages Vénosc and Mont-de-Lans, joined by a 2km strip of bars, hotels and shops
How: Grenoble is the nearest airport; transfer time 2.5 hours
Why go: Breathtaking scenery, some of the best après ski in France, good for families and beginners
When: Offers a long season of skiing, even in the summer
If you’re looking for a holiday with glamour, kick-ass cocktails, top-notch cuisine, that’s actually good for your figure, forget the habitual summer holiday and head to somewhere that is definitely cool this year.
With bright blue skies, powder snow and great savings on ski deals, there’s never been a better time to book that last-minute ski holiday. According to Monarch Airlines, the popularity of winter sport holidays is on the rise, as more people are choosing to visit snowy terrains than ever before.
Just back from a skiing holiday to Les Deux Alpes with Crystal Ski, I can see why. Le Deux Alpes is a resort de force set in the French Alpes just over two hours from Grenoble. Even the bus journey to the resort is breathtaking.
Arriving at a town knee deep in snow is simply delightful. Daily snow ploughing ensures that the roads are clear and make for a seamless transition to the hotel, although wearing heels wasn’t my best move.
When it comes to skiing, our hotel, L’Oree des Pistes, couldn’t be a better base; literally two minutes walk from the main gondola, the Jandri Express and opposite the hotel’s boot room. You can literally roll out of bed and ski out to the main lift.
Le Deux Alpes, with its 222km of piste and 55 lifts, boasts to having one of the finest terrain parks in Europe. It is set to become one of the most exciting destinations in Europe when it links with Alpe d’Huez in 2018, creating a giant three-resort area.
Le Deux Alpes is unusual; its inverted shape means that some of the most difficult runs are at the bottom, while the top is largely blue; this is great for beginners, who can ski higher and on much more terrain than in a conventional resort.
We booked private lessons with the European Ski and Snowboard School, which is run by British ex-pat Jeremy Edwards. We had lessons with his son Simon, who was fantastic and really improved our technique, while challenging our off-piste skills and jumping ability.
After a hard day on the slopes, après ski is always a well-deserved treat, and Le Deux Alpes doesn’t disappoint. We ended most days reclining in deck chairs in the terrace of Pano Bar, or in La Diable au Coeur sipping a glass of fizz or three, before skiing down.
The resort itself offers a lively entertainment highway of bars like Smokey Jo’s and Polar bear, where you can listen to live music in front of a roaring fire.
The resort boasts some gorgeous restaurants
Opting for full board at our hotel L’Oree de Piste, we had a good selection of French goodies for dinner, from fresh salad to charcuterie and a number of meat, fish and vegetarian options; the cheese board was particularly tasty, and the unlimited carafes of wine were even tastier.
Buffets are not for every one; the resort boasts some gorgeous restaurants; local residents recommended Le Raisen D’Ours, for traditional French cuisine, and Le Cellier for their fondue and mixed grill.
Should you desire a break from the slopes, the ice rink and the open-air swimming pool are free with your ski pass; the jacuzzi, hammam and sauna are great for aching limbs. If that doesn’t limber you up, Crystal Ski offers access to on-site physios at competitive rates.
Our Crystal ski rep, Will, was attentive and could organise anything you wanted, from parapenting off a mountain to day trips to Serre Chevalier and skidoo rides.
Shopping is a good way to flex a different muscle, and the resort has an excellent selection of shops. Worth a visit was the La Mayolaine Chocolatier; go for the amazing gingerbread truffles and raspberry nougat alone.
Le Deux Alpes is a fantastic resort and it’s only going to get better.
Le Deux Alpes is a fantastic resort and it’s only going to get better. Give me bracing exercise, snowy mountains, hot chocolate and faux fur, over sand, sea and sunburn any day.
Need to know
Sara travelled with Crystal Ski Holidays to Les Deux Alpes and prices for a week’s stay at the Hotel L’Oree des Pistes are from £504 per person (based on two sharing), including flights from Gatwick and transfers. Direct flights available from all major UK airports. Two-hour private lessons with the European Ski and Snowboard School are €100 for two people, ski group lessons for six days are €168. Equipment was hired from Brun Sports for €60. Visit: www.crystalski.co.uk/ski-resorts/france-ski-holidays/les-deux-alpes/hotel-loree-des-pistes/
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By Sara Dawson, Travel blogger and web editor of www.maiden-voyage.com