Ballsy, young boarders launch themselves at Les 2 Alpes’ challenging off-piste, world-class snowpark and energetic party scene. That said, Les 2 Alpes has plenty to offer all: The high and varied slopes are largely north-facing, so hold the snow well, and afford excellent views. There is also a snow-sure glacier for all abilities.
Beginners will find wide, gentle nursery slopes beside the village and a good choice of ski schools while intermediates enjoy fast cruising on high red runs. More advanced skiers will eat up the powder-filled off-piste. The lively, modern town is stretched along a 2km strip lined with bars, shops, and accommodation for all budgets. A free shuttle bus links all parts of this large resort every 15mins. A six-day ski pass includes access to unpisted La Grave, Alpe d’Huez, and Serre chevalier.
For a big resort, the ski area is smaller than you might think (134km). But the variable terrain does offer something for all levels and its high, largely north-facing slopes, hold the snow well. There is also the snow-sure Glacier du Mont de Lans, served by an underground funicular and drags, with its long, easy runs and awesome views.
Beginners: Beginners have plenty of space to get started on the wide, gentle nursery slopes next to the village and seven of the nursery lifts are free of charge. Above the nursery area is the ridge of Les Cretes which also has gentle runs along it. It’s also worth venturing up to the Glacier du Mont de Lans, served by an underground funicular, with its long, easy runs and great views.
Intermediates: Head high for the best snowsure cruising terrain. For long runs on which to practise turns, the glacier is the place to go and has some pretty awesome views. From the top of the glacier, take the world’s biggest on-piste vertical descent (2,270m) down to Mont-de-Lans. There’s also some good, fast cruising between the glacier and Toura.
Advanced/experts: Some of the best, steepest blacks in Les 2 Alpes include the run down the Bellecombes chair and the shorter black served by the Super Diable chair. Another option is to take a snowcat tow over to the challenging, unpisted slopes of La Grave (covered by a six-day Les 2 Alpes pass). Off-piste is the main attraction for confident skiers.
Off-piste: There’s some great off-piste to choose from in Les 2 Alpes. Some of the best include Grand Couloir Chutes, Clot de Chalance, La Dome Glacier, and La Grave. The Grand Couloir Chutes is made up of three short, steep chutes that are accessible from the Bellecombes chair. The Clot de Chalance is more of an open bowl where you can take any route down to Les Gours piste and is accessed via the Signal lift (Chalance is prone to avalanches). La Dome Glacier from 3400m is a long, off-piste run with a 400m vertical which takes you down to the Signal chair. La Grave is a thrilling, unpisted and untamed ski area (accessed on the Les 2 Alpes ski pass) which is great for advanced skiers or powder fans but not suitable for beginners.
Snowparks: Les 2 Alpes’ snowpark ‘Freestyle Land’ is located in the Toura area at 2,600m. The well-maintained park has a kids’ mini park, a beginner area, and a slope-style line with rails, hips, boxes, tables, a big air jump. There’s also a half-pipe, boardercross and chill-out area.
The village is large and queues for the gondolas in the morning can be serious. So best to skip a sit-down breakfast, and instead grab a coffee and croissant on your way to the lifts. If you’re staying at the south end of the village, another good tip is to take the Diable chair in the morning instead of the Jandri gondola, as it’s less prone to queues.
In high winds the top lifts are often closure, creating a backlog of skiers queuing for the lower lifts – if this is the case, a good option is to use your six-day ski pass to head over to Alpe d’Huez, Serre Che or Montgenevre/Sestriere over on the Franco-Italian border. Alternatively, for a break from the slopes, your Les 2 Alpes six-day ski pass also gives free access to the skating rink and swimming pool in the village.
Poirot Fabien (89 Avenue de la Muzelle; +33(0)476-8076-02) is open for breakfast every day and is great for a snack-on-the-go. Takeaway tea, coffee and breakfast pastries
Crepes a Gogo (118 Avenue de la Muzelle; +33(0)4-76-79-29-61) French creperie with an extensive menu of sweet and savoury pancakes. An ideal breakfast stop to load up on carbs before a day on the mountain.
Casanova Fabienne (75 Avenue de la Muzelle; +33(0)4-7680-5210) is open from 11am and is the place to go for traditional alpine fare: fondue, raclette, tartiflette, pierrade. Be sure to order something off the special pancake menu: buckwheat and sweet pancakes.
Diable au Coeur (+33 (0)476 799950) on the mountain, at the top of the Diable lift (2,400m), serves up traditional food and awesome views from the sun terrace. You can even enjoy a drink from the outdoor hot tub. Specialities include roasted marrowbone and mushroom cream, pike quenelle with crayfish, grilled chicken with truffle and mushroom cheese fondue.
Dode Aurelie (17 rue des Vikings, Hotel les Melezes; +33 (0)4 76 80 50 50) open daily from 12-3pm. Mountainside restaurant with sun terrace based on lower slopes next to the Viking ski lift. Brasserie style food with homemade desserts. Average €17 main course and dessert.
Drouffe David (70 Avenue de la Muzelle; +33 (0)4 76 79 06 44) is a restaurant and shop serving local products: local cheeses, cooked meats, wine. Eat-in or takeaway menu is mountain cuisine: fondues, raclettes, reblochonnade. Great quick option if looking for a tasty takeaway to take back to the apartment.
Restaurant & Bar La Grange (11 rue des Sagnes; +33(0)4-7680-5075) is located in the centre of town and serves great home-cooked dishes in a warm, family-friendly setting. Mid-range eatery ideal for family dining.
Smokey Joes (9 rue des Sagnes +33(0)4 76 79 2897) is a lively bar specialising in Tex Mex. Also features live music and sports action on the big screen. The best option for those looking for a tasty bite while soaking up the après-ski scene.
Mounier Alban (2 rue de la Chapelle, Hotel Chalet Mounier; +33 (0)4 76 80 56 90). Creative and refined cuisine made with regional products. A more expensive option costing €61-90 for the a la carte menu. Be sure to round-off the meal with the cheeseboard.
Les 2 Alpes has lots of lively bars to choose from. Some of the most popular include the Polar Bear Pub with just enough room for a boogie, Smokey Joes which has live music, and The Red Frog with its big-screen TV. Other favourites include O’Brians, open until 5am, Smithy’s Tavern and Mini Bar. Warm up with a shooter or cocktail at happy hour from 4-7pm at most of the bars in town. The Avalanche is the busiest nightclub.