Alpe D’Huez aka Powder Town

Alpe D’Huez is a resort based between 1250 / 3330meters. In the central French Western Alps, and forms part of the Isère region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.. and was year’s location for our 1st Snowboarding trip of 2018

It is that time of year again..

Alpe D’Huez is a resort based between 1250 / 3330meters. In the central French Western Alps, and forms part of the Isère region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.. and was year’s location for our 1st Snowboarding trip of 2018.

I’ll start off by saying, I really do love France so I’ve always wanted to hit the mountain in winter.. plus following our trip to Morzine last summer.. my mind was made up.

Morzine really convinced me to come back to France in the Winter

Now we had booked this trip before the MAMMOTH snowfall across Europe. We booked with Crystal Ski and got a great deal in the Bergers area of Alpe D’Huez, a board in board out location right next to the base lifts. Hotel Les Bergers was a decent Hotel, half board with excellent food. The location was the key point but I’d recommend staying here. We paid £800 each which included flights, transfer, lift pass and a half board hotel. Not too bad at all!

Link the image for a downloadable piste map link

Let’s talk about the Mountain.. It’s huge. No, it’s on an epic scale. Considering this is a local lift pass.. I’ve been to resorts with an Area Lift pass which are smaller!

  • 131 Pistes
  • 250km/155miles of Piste
  • Highest point 3330m
  • 41 Greens, 34 Blues, 40 Reds, 16 Blacks
  • 2 Snow Parks
  • 84 lifts (Gondola, Chair, Pomas, Cable Cars)
  • Cross Country Skiing (if that’s your thing) 50km

Obviously the first thing we did was go straight to the very top of Pic Blanc, 3330m.

Pic Blanc surrounded by snowy clouds 😍

The route down from Pic Blanc is via the famous Sarenne, a 16km Black Run. One of the world’s largest. Some would say it isn’t a true black as there are parts which become flat between cross overs but it’s pretty challenging as it can be icy and very narrow.

We hit as much of the mountain as we could. It’s near on impossible to cover every piste/untracked in 6 days but we tried. Mornings are best suited to the Signal de L’Homme over towards Auris en Oisans – grab the Alpauris chairlift. We had some much pow and some of the best of it was here.

Obviously we got to Alpe D’Huez in one of the worst snowfalls in the past 20 years. So most days were spent in low light, be prepared for such as some of the mountain when in the shade is difficult to ride. We opted for Oakley Prizm lenses which made things a lot easier..

Whiteouts were just blinding..

Best runs on the mountain?

  • Sarenne
  • Cassini
  • Chateau Noir
  • Combe Charbonnaire
  • Olympique (some excellent pow to be had through the pistes)
  • Col du Cluy
  • Les Vermettes
  • Pré Rond (Yep a blue with mega Pow because of it’s position on the mountain
  • Chamois (excellent under the gondola)

To be honest I could have listed all the Red and Black runs, the resort was decent all round!

We did have some bluebird days.. Only 1.. maybe 1 and a half. Due to the stormy weather.. but when you get this much snow.. It’s worth it..

Yes – that’s a football pitch and the snow is nearly up to the cross bar…

All in all I would come back to Alpe D’Huez. A vast resort, immense snow and beautiful views in every direction.


Some of my favourite shots from the week;


If your hitting the mountain here or have any questions about Alpe D’Huez please get in touch!

@darrens_visuals

As ever all my shots are with GoPro Hero 6 and a couple even shot with my Samsung S8.. epic camera for a Mobile Phone!

Up in the Clouds – The Alps

Mountains, Hiking, Biking, Cheese.. What more could you wish for?

The snowy mountains are where I love spending time the most I’d say. However, this is the first time I’ve been solely to the mountains in summer. Myself and Becci had the chance to head out to the French Alps and it seemed too good to miss out on..

We picked up flights into Geneva for £80 return per person, and luckily for us we were collected from the airport and ferried to the Alps by car. The route from Geneva to Morzine is pretty simple. The main route headed past some places I’ve already travelled to, Lake Geneva and the Telepheric Salavé which over looks Geneva, the views are beautiful.. Non stop mountains and blue sky’s..

The route into mountains

Morzine

We arrived in Morzine in around 1h30mins, the winding roads were not too favorable to a VW Caravelle! The trip could probably be done quicker in a smaller car..

We were staying with VIP SKI in a chalet on the Morzine main high street. The chalet was awesome, a massive place which slept 14-16 people, Chalet Alaska.

The view from Chalet Alaska over to the Super Morzine Gondola

Châtel Mountain Range (Pré la Joux, 74390 Châtel, France) 

We headed out past Montriond, up into the mountains towards Châtel, through Les Lindarets.. The goat village.. Yes Goat Village.. We headed deeper into the mountains, up the chair lifts towards Châtel. At the top of the chairlifts we saw the Zipline which ran a couple of 100 meters above the ground below.. We queued up for our flight suit and prepped for the zipline..

Me, Becci and Sarah at the Zipline

Be prepared for a queue.. We waited around 40 minutes to get on to the zipline, but we did head up here just before midday so a peak time..

Becci suspended, ready to Zip..

I watched Sarah and Becci zip off.. And I must admit.. The fear kicked in. I’d always been scared of heights but I’ve got over that slowly over the years.. So this was sort of a conquer my fear moment!

Zipping over the Mountains

The experience was amazing. I’ve never done anything else like it. The speed, height.. An amazing view. It was well worth the €35!! Visit Fantasticable for more info…

Absolutely stunning views from the second zipline

Head over to my Instagram to see some zipline videos..

Lac de Montriond (Voie Communale N°2 de la Glière au Pont du Tannay du Chemin N°228, 74110 Montriond) 

Nestled between mountains

Lac de Montriond is a real beauty and it has lots to do. Kayaks, paddleboarding, swimming.. It’s a pretty clean lake so well worth venturing out on..

Becci cruising the Lake
Paddling at a lake surrounded by Mountains is just epic

This was by far the most beautiful place we have ever paddleboarded. The setting is almost unreal. Hiring paddleboards cost us €15 each per hour, so not bad at all.

DJI Spark Pano shot over Lac de Montriond

Cascade de Nyon (Chemin sous le Rocher, 74110 Morzine, France) 

The ‘Tour’ trail gives some beautiful views

The Cascade de Nyon was on Becci’s list.. I had no idea it existed but, as usually, she was right. The walk from Morzine took us around 20 minutes. Follow the ‘Tour’ trail until you reach the waterfall..

The waterfall as seen from the DJI Spark

Becci and I grappled with rocks and rushing waters to get up close to the waterfall.. Be aware.. The water.. Is BALTIC, and the rocks are slippery..

Pointe de Nyon (Chabalis Mountain Range) 

Grab the Gondola next to the Cascade de Nyon, then the chairlift to the right. This will take you up to the Pointe De Nyon. There’s a little hike in store for you at the top though so wear decent footwear…

The half way point of the hike, views down to Morzine and the surrounding mountains are unbelievable
The Summit – with views over to a cloudy Mont Blanc. This is also one of my favourite photos from our trip.. 

After a 15-20 minute hike you’ll reach the summit at 2019m, Pointe de Nyon. On a clear day the Pointe boasts views of Mont Blanc on a clear day.. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy but the view was still epic. You get a 360° view of the whole area and it’s honestly one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen to date..

Downhill MTB Morzine to Les Gets

The Morzine / Les Gets MTB Map

I managed to haggle a hire to a downhill bike with a local shop in Morzine. 1/2 a day for around €50 including all protection (helmet, body armor etc).. Be aware, to ride the gondolas and chairlifts with a bike you’ll need a different pass.. I opted for a 5 hour pass at €22 – this covered Morzine, Les Gets and Mont Chéry.

It’s fair to say that this is a difficult sport.. I’ve never done it so I had no idea what to expect.. The closest I go to MTB is road cycling!

Lyra was traded for full body Armour..

The runs are ranged, much like snowboarding..  I hit some ‘family runs’ which were far from family friendly!! I headed out from Morzine, across the mountain to Les Gets, looking to get up to the Top of Mont Chéry..

 

The above video was headed down into Les Gets.. I continued through the runs until I reached the town, and the Gondola up to Mont Chéry. The views from the summit of Mont Chéry were amazing. Mont Blanc was clearly visible in the distance.. My first real view of that mountain, and a moment to remember..

Mont Blanc standing out of the Mountain Range ahead
DJI Spark grabbing some Aerial shots of my ride

I’d recommend beginners take a guide with them for a tour. Most shops offer this service, and they’ll even teach you how to ride certain terrain..

There is tons for you to do here.. We even did a bit of Luge.. Not just for kids!

There’s lots of places offering parapenting also.. Something I would have done if we hadn’t hiked to over 2000m! I recommend this destination to anyone, especially those who think the mountains are just for snow.. I think me and Becci will head back for some more mountains adventures!

Here’s the cut from our trip:

 

All shots taken with GoPro Hero 5 and where noted, the DJI Spark Drone