Choosing a ski resort in France can be tricky. There are just so many top class resorts across the French Alps – but I ended up choosing an epic deal in Les Deux Alpes.
I’d heard all about Les Deux Alpes, so I was stoked to go and check it out. I was also doubly stoked as this was going to be my first visit to the mountains since Covid, which was obviously very exciting.
So, how did I find the snowboarding on this French Alpine playground?
Well, lets dig in and find out whether it’s worth taking a trip to Les Deux Alpes this winter season!
Quick note: There are a few affiliate links in this article, which means I earn a small commission and you get a great deal at no extra cost 😉
Les Deux Alpes stats
- Ski area: 200 kms
- Highest point: 3600 metres
- Resort height: 1600 metres
- Longest run: 12-16kms
- Easy 110 kms / intermediate 56 kms / advanced 34 kms
One of the big draws of Les Deux Alpes is the glacier skiing at Mont de Lans. From 3600 metres to 3200 metres, the glacier offers incredible snow sure terrain and can also be skied in the summer. Fun fact: it’s the largest skiable glacier in Europe.
Les 2 Alpes is also home to an excellent snow park, and is well known for her great apres. Sounds amazing, right? Lets get the details.
Where is Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes is in the Isere region of the French Alps. It’s about 68 kms from Grenoble, 178 kms from Lyon and 210 kms from Geneva, by car. There are also pretty quick autoroutes which take you to Grenoble, which is the nearest big town. You then whizz along the valley on a relatively fast road before you start the twisty zig-zag ascent to Les Deux Alpes.
The town of Les Deux Alpes itself sits on a kind of plateau at between 1800 and 1650 metres. Nestled between two mountains, probably hence the name.
The mountain to the south is called Valle Blanche, and is a relatively simple three lift mountain topping out at 2100 metres.
But it’s the northern side, and the ride up to over 3600 metres where things get interesting.
Getting onto the mountain in Les Deux Alpes
I was staying at the Hotel Jam Session, which is a budget hotel right on the edge of the mountain. For all intents and purposes it was ski-in/ski-out, with the first run starting just up a small embankment behind the hotel.
There was also a 4 person lift a minutes walk up the hill, but I wanted to get onto the retro Les Oeufs Blanc lifts to get started on my exploration of L2A.
Now… The old gondola Les Oeufs Blancs are kinda quaint retro/vintage 2 person gondolas that whizz you up onto the first main station on the mountain. And in the morning, this is the quiet option. In fact, practically nobody uses this because…
Most people queue for the Jandri Express and then hop onto Jandri Express II which will take you right up onto the glacier. From here, you can do the epic run back down to the bottom – which I’ll come to shortly.
Anyways. Here I am, getting my snowboard legs on my first run of the trip from the first station back to town. I often like to do this to get my bearings on the first day so I don’t get caught out on the return to base later in the day.
In fact the return run down the mountain is relatively wide and wasn’t too busy even at the end of the day – although, being south facing slopes, it can get quite slushy.
Anyways, I spent some time getting my snow legs back on around the Cretes sector, which is the first area on top of the mountain, before venturing deeper into the ski area.
Epic runs from the glacier
Lets not mess about here. One of the best things – no – definitely the best thing is that epic run from the top of the glacier at Les Deux Alpes either back to town or down into the valley as part of the Pierre Gosse run.
Oh. My. Word!
I don’t know how many times I did the run from top to bottom, but that will never get old.
For starters it’s as fast as you want it to be. Want to bomb it down? Yeah, no sweat. It’s nice and wide with a choice of mostly red runs which are not overly challenging.
Coming down the glacier is fast, to be honest. There is a slight lip you need to cross to get past the drag lifts and onto the rest of the mountain, but the speed picks up again.
As a snowboarder, you will need to get some momentum going because there are a few sections where the terrain flattens out – all of it around the Jandri 4 sector.
Not a problem if you’ve got some speed behind you, but you do tend to spot the odd snowboarder sheepishly walking along.
But once you’re flying then, whooo… Yeah, its a ton of fun.
One of the best things about this run is that there are also many ways to do it. From the glacier you can go left or right, take a different route, and follow the Jandri 4 or Glacier 1 or 3 routes to mix it up.
There are also a lot of chances to do a bunch of side hits, kickers on the way down and even some limited off-piste (of the on-piste variety).
Talking of the glacier, Les Deux Alpes is actually one of the French ski resorts that is open all year round, thanks to the glacier. Yes, you can enjoy summer skiing in L2A.
Read more about when does ski season start.
What is the terrain like in Les Deux Alpes?
The run from the glacier to the town varies from speedy glacier descent to wide and open runs, to a more twisty route along the mountain back down to town. Most of the terrain is pretty fast, with a few sections mostly at the top of the mountain, as I mentioned, where it is a bit flat for snowboarders.
If you’re a skier, you’ll fly down all of it, no sweat.
As a snowboarder, make sure you have your speed legs on coming off the glacier. For the most part after this, it’s plain sailing.
I mentioned the Pierre Gosse run. That was an undeniably epic run, which segues off into a fast descent down into the valley, with a lift taking you back to the glacier after.
If you could do glacier to Pierre Gosse in any other resort, it would be one of the best runs.
In Les Deux Alpes, it’s just another of the epic runs you can do.
Is Les Deux Alpes family friendly?
One of the great things about Les Deux Alpes is that there are different levels, depending how far up the mountain you go. In the resort, at the base station, you’ll find all the ski schools and the learner slopes, which all look well run and accessible. Head up onto the mountain and the first area you come to is a nice wide area for learners to practice their turns and enjoy actual skiing or snowboarding.
And then again, head further into the mountain for a deeper challenge.
Even up on the glacier, the terrain is pretty accessible to novices and beginners, with nice wide runs, stunning views and obviously guaranteed natural snow.
I thought Les Deux Alpes looked very family friendly, and I would happily bring my crew here to enjoy the terrain, scenery and great town atmosphere.
To add to this, I did notice a few playgrounds in the town that would be suitable for the kids. Read our list of the best family friendly French resorts.
What did I think of Les Deux Alpes?
As you might have gathered, I had a shit ton of fun. I’m a kinda sketchy snowboarder, I prefer to just cruise and practice my turns, pop some simple jumps etc. But by day two I was bombing past skiers, hitting little jumps and basically having the time of my life.
I was like an eager kid at the end of every run, back up the lift… Do it again. And again…
It helped that I was on my own so I could pretty much do what I wanted.
Honestly, if I could, I would head back to L2A every season.
Where to eat and drink in Les 2 Alpes
There are several good bars on mountain, where you can grab a drink or a snack with an incredible panoramic view. One of the best ones is just across from the funicular, next to the glacier, La Refuge de Glacier at 3200 m. Of course, this isn’t a cheap option, but is lovely when you want to make the most of the terrain.
The Pano Bar is also a popular stop on the mountain, as is the smaller bar next to La Cretes lift, which serves cheap snacks, beers etc.
On most days, I made the trip back to base and would dine in town as there is lots of options which aren’t mountain prices. I ate at La Sherpa one day, and had an excellent veggie tartiflette as part of the prix fixe menu. And on another day I grabbed a bite from a pizza shack in the town, which was a bargain.
Generally speaking, you’re not trapped by the mountain restaurant prices, so it’s pretty easy to eat and drink for a decent price.
What’s the vibe/apres like?
There are several on-mountain bars which definitely get bumping from lunch time. One of them, the Pano Bar is at the intersection between the Jandri lifts and was vibing pretty hard from around midday
There is another bar down on Cretes, on the run back to town, which also seemed to get lively at the end of the day.
At the bottom of the mountain, back in resort, Umbrella Bar is where it’s at for post ski apres.
Back in town, there is very much a buzzing vibe well into the evening. Let’s go have a look…
Getting to grips with Les Deux Alpes
The town of Les Deux Alpes stretches along this valley plateau for around 2 kms, with the main street, Avenue de la Muzelle, basically being the main artery. From here, you can see the main gondolas and lifts whizzing skiers up onto the mountain.
There are clusters of hotels and apartment blocks everywhere, with most of them looking quite modern. This isn’t a chocolate box resort by any means, but very much a buzzing ski-tropolis with teeming groups of youngsters on the lookout for apres ski drinks, or families resting up on the terraces with pizzas and tartiflette.
Getting around the resort is simple. You basically walk along the main road until you get where you want to. But there is also a shuttle bus/navette that whizzes people to the main areas.
I was staying kinda far up the hill in the Hotel Jam Session – an almost ski-in/ski-out hotel. The area here was kind of it’s own little ecosphere, with a couple of little shops, cafes, plenty of ski rental places and even the odd bar.
Read my full review of Hotel Jam Session.
I’m gonna say that I quite liked the vibe in Les Deux Alpes. It wasn’t too rowdy, it wasn’t too boring. It seemed to tread the right kind of middle ground between vibrant enough but chill if you want.
I didn’t actually party in the centre of town as I made a couple of buddies in the hotel and just drank there. But it definitely offers apres ski opportunities aplenty.
Rental ski or snowboard equipment in Les Deux Alpes
As you might expect, there are several places to rent skis and snowboard equipment in Les Deux Alpes, and as the resort is quite long, there are shops dotted around different sections. There are big ski and snowboard rentals at the bases of all the big lifts, including a huge SkiSet and Intersport in the middle of town by the Jandri/Oeuf Blanc lifts.
If you’re looking for the best prices on the best equipment, it’s usually best to book equipment in advance online.
I always find that SkiSet offer consistently the best prices vs the competition, with some great discounts when booked in advance.
Use our link and get up to 50% off your SkiSet booking in Les Deux Alpes.
Booking your visit
Les Deux Alpes is open year round for glacier skiing, but it’s also one of the early open ski resorts in this high part of the Alps. So yes, you can usually start skiing or snowboareding Les Deux Alpes as early as November or December.
If my Les Deux Alpes review has inspired to head to this epic resort, there are several great options for holiday providers.
If you want the full package with flights, transfers and all the ski passes, make sure to check out SkiWorld. They offer great deals on fully comprehensive ski packages from the UK, with some lovely catered chalets in some of the best locations in Les Deux Alpes.