Wide view of skiers approaching ski lifts, with Les 2 Alpes ski village and mountains

Les 2 Alpes

Oisans & Ecrins Massifs, French Alps

Les 2 Alpes is in the Isère region, south-east of Grenoble and accessible via budget flights into Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille and Nice, plus Cuneo and Turin.

The ski area is linked to the ungroomed terrain of La Grave and within the next few years should be linked by gondola lift to l’Alpe d’Huez (which is clearly visible just across the valley).

Overview of ski area and mountains above Les Deux Alpes

The Ski Area

Skiing began here in 1939 on the west side of the valley, now the Vallée Blanche sector. Although relatively compact, it’s well worth discovering, particularly when most skiers are heading in the other direction to the glacier. There are a few steeps here and there, a choice of bar/restaurants and you can put together quite a long cruise down to the chairlifts of Les 2 Alpes 1800, across the valley above Mont-de-Lans.

Ride from here up to Demoiselles, a useful connecting piste, and you have lots of options on the much larger eastern side. Dropping into the long front-de-neige are lots of short groomed pistes, whose drag-lifts also haul skiers up to Demoiselles’ slightly higher counterpart which heads over to Les 2 Alpes 1650, above Venosc. A six-seater lift provides high-speed access to the Diable sector, with onward connections to Toura, home of Les 2 Alpes’ impressive snowpark.

Below it, along with the La Fée area, lie a good variety of pistes for most levels, from gentle greens and relaxed blue cruises to some quite steep black runs back to the village. Above it lies the Glacier area, whose topmost pistes (apart from a drag-lift and snowcat connection with La Grave) are served by a funicular and a pair of T-bar drags. Being all comfortably above 3000m, it's home to summer skiing, most of it on undemanding blue or red-graded pistes, with an away-from-it-all quality during (rare) quiet periods.

Les 2 Alpes is sometimes dismissed as possessing few challenges but that's not entirely accurate, particularly when you take into account the off-piste potential. It’s a fun place to ski, and is deservedly popular.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1300m - 3600m
Les 2 Alpes
Pistes Total:
200 km
17 Green
47 Blue
20 Red
12 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 47
1 Magic Carpets
18 Draglifts
20 Chairlifts
4 Gondolas
1 Cable Cars
2 Funicular


View of Les 2 Alpes ski resort village centre after snowfalls.

The Ski Village

Les Deux Alpes was developed on the Alpine pastures of two peaks, l’Alpe de Mont-de-Lans and its southerly neighbour l’Alpe de Venosc. Between them sits the resort (you can hardly call it a village), which extends for a couple of kilometres along a broad valley. Careful planning, however, has ensured that most of the accommodation is served by shuttle buses or gentle connecting pistes, so there are ski-in, ski-out options if you look carefully.

An emphasis on fun has given Les 2 Alpes a long-established youthful image but recent years have seen a subtle shift, as singles and young families have been joined by serious skiers attracted by high-altitudes, extensive terrain and reasonable pricing. As a result, the original high-rise apartment blocks have now been joined by some premium chalet-style self-catering accommodation, and there’s a steadily-expanding selection of stylish boutiques and restaurants. This place is on the up.

As far as getting up the mountain is concerned, look on the map and you’ll see that there are lots of access points, although central lifts offering the most direct access to the highest terrain can become congested on fine mornings, when everyone decides to head for the glacier. At times like these accommodation located on the margins can be attractive, as their nearby lifts take fewer skiers. Just be aware that if you decide to head up in multiple hops you’ll need to stick to the plan – joining the Jandri Express at mid-station will prove difficult, as it will already be packed with skiers from the village.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm


Skiers and snowboarders on mountainside above Les 2 Alpes

Best For

Party People. Les 2 Alpes has a well-deserved reputation as a fun place for those who like to party, both on and off the mountain, rather than pitting their skills against technical challenges. However, its high-altitude skiing, combined with a down-to-earth pricing and friendly vibe certainly seem to generate return visits.

Young families - as long as your accommodation is close to the centrally-located ski-school/debutant area, or you don't mind taking shuttle buses. It’s a Famille Plus resort, which means that families with young children (or elderly relatives) have dedicated facilities and receive a special welcome.

Intermediates can now ski virtually top-to-bottom on a single blue-graded piste, which is likely to put Les 2 Alpes on many more leisure skiers’ wish-lists.

Off-piste fans, who have lots of potential for guided excursions, plus direct access to neighbouring La Grave’s legendary ungroomed terrain.


Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery


Popular with boarders, freestyle park and almost limitless off-piste.

Cross-Country Skiing

Very limited terrain, better to head elsewhere.
20km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails


  • The ESF ski school offer 2 hour handiski lessons with qualified instructors for a range of disabilities including partially-sighted.
  • Accessibility to the higher slopes is possible via the Jandri Express gondola (inclined ramp access) or the Diable chairlift. Plus there are a number of easy draglifts onto gentle beginner slopes.
  • Les 2 Alpes offers a free accommodation search and all-in packages.
  • On the mountain there are toilets and an indoor picnic area at the Jandri Express mid- and top-stations.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Snow-sure, high-altitude skiing.
  • Terrain for all levels especially intermediate skiers, but limitless off-piste and challenging blacks for those with the skill and nerve.
  • Snow-sure slopes on the glacier with extensive snow-making on essential return runs.
  • Blue graded Jandri piste (with 2000m vertical drop) is accessible to all and adds a safe lower return run to the town.
  • Huge Freestyle Land snowpark with areas to suit all levels, skiers and boarders.
  • Free protected beginner area close to town centre.
  • Free events organised by the Tourist Office on most days include off-piste and avalanche training, guided visits and walks, first tracks, live music, fireworks, etc.
  • Slow Zone responsible skiing areas patrolled by pisteurs.
  • A Famille Plus ski resort with some extra services to benefit everyone including on-mountain toilets and indoor picnic rooms.
  • Great night-life with plenty of pubs, restaurants and clubs to choose from.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • It’s a long haul up to ski on the glacier and find the best snow.
  • Queues at main lifts (and crowds on certain pistes) at busy times.
  • Pricey on-mountain food and drink.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • In warm weather go high and stay there.
  • The Vallée Blanche sector has some good intermediate slopes and can be quieter, unless conditions are compromised higher up.
  • Take a back-pack picnic - on-mountain prices are steep, even for snacks.
  • Take the gondola lift down to Venosc, a mountain village with authentic charm, craft shops and weekly market.
  • Choose your accommodation carefully, as location is a key factor in a big resort.

Practical Information

Getting there

By Car
For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

Take the A480 to Grenoble, continuing after the péage point to exit 8 signed Stations de l’Oisans, direction Briançon. After Bourg d’Oisans continue to the Chambon dam and turn right on the D213 to Les 2 Alpes.

You can transfer direct to Les 2 Alpes by bensbus.co.uk or by the bus service Transaltitude from Grenoble rail station.
From Lyon-St Exupéry there are connections via transisere.fr to Grenoble bus station, where you will need to change. From Chambery, use altibus.com to get to Grenoble then change.

By train
TGV Paris (Gare de Lyon) - Grenoble (3 hours) with daily bus connections by Autocars VFD to Alpe d’Huez (approx. 1hr30min) for a return fare of 26€ (reductions if booked online). For bus details and bookings see transaltitude.fr

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with .

Visit Ski-Lifts for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main rail stations.

Things to do

Events Programme

Snow-shoe walkers on marked trail at Les 2 Alpes

Every week the Tourist Office offers various free activities and events. There’s something for everyone – some sporty, some for children, many open to all. Specialist activities include off-piste practice - an all-day training event including an afternoon putting the theory into practice with a guide. Ever popular is the First Tracks Adventure where you ascend to the glacier at sunrise and follow the snow patrols, while they open the slopes (15€ fee).

You’ll find a current programme of events in the Tourist Office.

La Fromagerie

Interior of La Fromagerie cheese seller, Les 2 Alpes

85 Ave de la Muzelle
38860 Les 2 Alpes
Tel: (0)4 76 79 82 78

Drop in to taste and buy excellent local cheeses, or to organise your own fondue or raclette evening with friendly staff who can advise you. You’ll also find a good selection of local produce including wines, jam, honey and charcuterie.


View of narrow street in heart of Venosc mountain village

Take the Venosc gondola and visit this authentic mountain village. Among the tiny cobbled streets, discover craft shops, bars and restaurants plus a producers’ market held every Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm.

Where to stay

Seen, tried and tested.Goleon - Le Val Ecrin

Exterior view of Goleon ski apartments, with mountains and ski lifts at Les 2 Alpes

18 Route du Petit Plan
38860 Les Deux Alpes

Easy to locate luxury apartments located at the lower end of Les Deux Alpes in a quiet area with quick access to an easy run and lifts. There’s free parking outside, or 25 euros gets you an underground space (lift access to all apartments). The ski lockers are on the same level so unloading and loading is easy.

We stayed in a 3 bedroom apartment which had one double, one twin and a bunk room plus a convertible sofa bed. When fully occupied the one bathroom without a separate shower might prove inconvenient, although there is a separate toilet.

The apartment has a full-size kitchen with a proper oven/grill plus a microwave. There’s ample equipment to cook for six, although more saucepans would be helpful.

The lounge/diner is large and comfortable and there’s a TV and DVD player for entertainment. There’s also a large, sunny balcony with views – great for long afternoons in late season. WiFi is available in the apartment, although there is a pretty steep charge.

The ski and boot lockers are on the same level as the car park and involve climbing a short flight of steps to get outside, after which it’s only a 50m walk to join a piste down to one of two lifts - Petit Aiguille gives access to the main ski area and Côte serves the Vallée Blanche. You can ski back to within 50m of the apartments from the green-graded Demoiselle, with which you’ll become very familiar.

All in all a very comfortable, spacious apartment in a good location for those who enjoy a quiet setting. What it’s not convenient for are complete beginners needing to get to a ski school meeting point each morning, or those who enjoy a bit of nightlife, as the main town is a 1km uphill walk. There is, however, a convenient bus stop right outside the apartments and the free shuttle bus runs every 15-20 minutes until 7pm.

Note that on arrival a 600 euro deposit is required against breakages. The reserve on this sum is removed after an inspection of the apartment and before you leave.

For more information and booking:
Peak Retreats
0844 576 0170 (UK)
or +44 23 9283 9310

Where to Eat

La Bergerie Kanata

Skiers relaxing on sun terrace above Les 2 Alpes, with mountainside and chairlift

At the top of the Côte chairlift,
Vallée Blanche sector
Tel: +33 (0)6 12 29 49 03

Friendly bar restaurant with sunny terrace and cosy interior with tables set around a central log fire. Delicious and generous vin chaud at 4€, large coffees 3-50€. Meals include traditional tartiflette or moule-frites plus a selection of local dishes.

Chalet La Toura

Wide view of skiers outside Chalet La Toura mountain bar / restaurant above Les 2 Alpes

Mid-station of the Jandri Express lift
La Toura sector
Tel: +33 (0)6 84 47 73 64

Set in the heart of the slopes with views towards the snowpark – grab a deckchair and relax either in the restaurant or fast-food area. We tried the take-away at 12€ for a small pizza, a burger or a panini with frites and a drink.

Le Pano Self

Skiers relaxing in mountain bar / restaurant terrace, above Les 2 Alpes

Jandri Express mid-station
La Toura sector
Tel:+33 (0)6 84 47 73 64

We only had a late-morning drink here (two beers 8,80€ served with nibbles) but it’s got a great atmosphere and there’s a raised terrace where you can eat from the self-serve restaurant from around 15€. From 3pm onwards there’s music with DJs, as the ambiance changes from relaxed to party.

Le Grain de Sel

1 rue Saint Claude
38860 Les 2 Alpes
Tel: +33 (0)4 76 80 50 30

Situated opposite the Diable chairlift, this popular restaurant offers traditional and mountain specialities, and wood-fired pizzas. It’s recommended to reserve a table.

Le Raisin d'Ours

98 Ave. de la Muzelle
38860 Les 2 Alpes
Tel: +33 (0)4 76 79 29 56

For a special night out, enjoy the “bistronomic” menu using seasonal produce served with specially chosen wines. Reservation recommended.

Insight: Les 2 Alpes

Long view of skiers at base of snow-covered glacier with ski-lift

Insight: Les 2 Alpes

A lot has happened since we first got to know Les Deux Alpes (also known as Les 2 Alpes or L2A), and it all seems to have been for the good. What once looked like a resort focused predominantly on young skiers and snowboarders, and with endless fast-food outlets, has raised its game considerably, and now has a quality air and consequently a much broader appeal. Progress indeed.

The piste network and lift system have also received big investments, not least the provision of a blue-graded run enabling intermediates to ski virtually from top to bottom, with the previous final steep section bypassed. That’s welcome news for intermediates in a resort whose ski terrain is actually easier the higher you go.

As an unexpected bonus, our base, a self-catering apartment at Le Val Ecrin, near the entry to Les 2 Alpes 1800, offers views across to the famous Sarenne piste in l’Alpe d’Huez, to which Les 2 Alpes will be lift-linked in a few years time. That’s going to be some lift, and will create one of the world’s biggest ski areas. For now, though, we’re happy to be here, particularly when snow starts to fall shortly after nightfall and continues for most of the night.

The following morning we walk 100m or so to join the lower end of the green-graded Petite Aiguille return piste, snap into our skis and take a quick run down to two nearby lifts. The Petite Aiguille chairlift heads up to the connector run above Les 2 Alpes 1800, but we take Cotes 4-seater, which carries us across to the Vallée Blanche sector on the opposite side of the valley.

At the top there’s the option of skiing back to the base of the lift on the Cotes piste or – our option – of dropping down on a slightly steeper blue to pick up the Vallée Blanche 4-seater chair for a haul up to around 2300m. When we ski off we pause to look around, since much of the main ski area across the valley is now laid before us like a giant 3D piste map.

Wide view of snowboarder with valley, ski village and mountains at Les 2 Alpes
Wide view of mountainside with skiers passing signage at Les 2 Alpes

Skiing Les 2 Alpes’ own Vallée Blanche

Beside us an unnamed blue appears on the piste map to head along a crest, arc right and access a choice of lifts. It soon feels remote and unskied, though, and drops away out of sight, so we turn off onto a steep red which fires us down to the Vallée Blanche chairlift, where we’d have ended up anyway.

Although quite limited, the Vallée Blanche includes a couple of steep reds below the Pied Moutet (2339m) with dramatic views across a deep valley, at the foot of which Venosc is currently hidden from view. There’s also a short but steep section waiting at the foot of a blue-graded drop to Super Venosc, the sector’s last chairlift.

Once down we head straight back up again and pack in a few more quick runs before stopping for lunch back at the apartment. We’re at the opposite end of the valley, but heading back is surprisingly quick. All it takes is a cruise down the blue-graded Vallée Blanche piste, which feeds onto Cotes for the run over to just below our accommodation. From here the Petite Aiguille chair drops us neatly beside the green-graded Demoiselles piste for a quick glide down to the Petite Aiguille piste. Now one final cruise brings us back to our starting point. Simple – and more fun than a shuttle bus.

Up & Away: Les 2 Alpes’ main ski area

In the days to come heading out to explore the other terrain from Les 2 Alpes 1800 follows a simple routine. Unless we see a shuttle bus approaching, we ski down to the Petite Aiguille chair, ride up to the Demoiselles piste then let our skis run all the way to the front de neige. The only exception is on mornings when crowds of skiers are homing in on the main gondola lifts, in which case we leave Demoiselles to ride the Village 1800 and Crêtes chairs up to other onward lifts.

Mostly, though, the logical departure points are via the slightly antique Oeufs Blancs gondola, the muscular Jandri Express 20-seat DMC or the Diable 8-seater high-speed chairlift. That adds up to a lot of skier capacity, but it still takes awhile to ride all the way up to the terrain on the glacier – almost 7km (with a climb of 1600m) in the case of the Jandri Express.

Each route offers a very different riding experience, and is suited to different areas. Mid-mountain highlights for us include the exhilarating steep drops among dramatic scenery from the the top of the Super Diable chairlift (2776m), plus the more relaxing “Ski Tranquille / Slow Zone” runs in the La Fée area.


Skiers beside family fun area with big mountain view, at Les 2 Alpes

Skiers on steep piste, passing signage at Les 2 Alpes
Skers looking at piste map with snowy mountainside at Les 2 Alpes

From the steeps to Les 2 Alpes’ Slow-Go Area

With so many options for fun-focused experienced skiers and boarders, a sector dedicated exclusively to taking things (very) easy seems like an inspired concept. La Fée is easily accessible to timid or early intermediate skiers via the Jandi Express 1 lift or the Oeufs Blancs gondola + Jandri 2 cable car, but its pleasing away-from-it-all sense of remoteness is also hard for the rest of us to resist. Add the fact that it’s located just below the relatively confined area below the Glacier sector and you can see the appeal of a detour into more tranquil, natural-feeling surroundings.

Not that it’s without a few challenges. In addition to the blue-graded cruises there’s also a couple of reds, a black and an unpisted run dropping down to the Thuit chairlift.

Meanwhile, way up on the glacier…

Until it created the world’s longest piste (and greatest vertical drop), Les 2 Alpes’ killer feature was its glacier, which enables it to offer summer skiing. In winter the snow quality is exceptional, and attracts waves of skiers to the fastest route up the mountain, namely the Jandi Express 1 & 11 DMC lifts. Joining them well before mid-morning means we have to queue, but it’s worth it for what is by any standards an epic haul (6.7km) to the foot of the glacier 3183m.

When we finally step out we pass on a Tee-bar haul in favour of the Dôme Express funicular, which passes under the glacier to drop us at 3384m. But there’s more – the Lauze draglift offers a final tug up to 3525m, beyond which you’re in Snowcat territory for the transfer to La Grave’s steep, unpisted terrain on its own glacier (La Meije).

Wide view of skier on snow-covered glacier at Les 2 Alpes.

On top of the world

Is it worth it? The tempting answer is another question: Why wouldn’t you? The sensational views alone more than repay the effort, and you really can see for many miles in every direction. It’s hard to take in the scale of things, but an orientation panel identifies the main peaks to help you make sense of just where your’re standing.

In winter at least, most people are more focused on the skiing, which apart from a couple of reds down to the Signal draglift, is on wide, shallow-pitched blues bounded by Tee-bar lifts or banks of snow nudged into neat lines by the piste groomers to build up stocks for summer.

But it’s not about challenges; what puts a big, childlike smile on your face is the sensation of floating near-effortlessly on light, powdery snow – and pistes this wide give plenty of room to lean your skis’ edges into the carve for which they were carefully designed..

All the way down: Les 2 Alpes’ 2300m vertical drop

Yes, it’s well worth skiing on the glacier – and of course when you reach the bottom of the glacier there’s no need to feel you have to stop there. Considering that it cost some 10 million euros to create, you might like to ski the Resort Return piste, for a blue-graded run all the way down to the village which adds up to around 2000m of vertical drop.

That’s quite something for ordinary leisure skiers to tell their friends, while if they’re comfortable on reds they can look out for Access Vallée Blanche signs and continue skiing down to Mont de Lans – taking the vertical up to an unparalleled 2300m. Being in a shady combe, it’s often icy down there, but we found no problem finding edge grip, and loved the natural setting below the tree-line.

As a bonus, the slow chair-ride back up gives plenty of time to take in the scenery, and wait for the amused reactions of skiers as they suddenly encounter the low-grip sections of the piste below.

Skier on slow zone piste among wild mountain scenery at Les 2 Alpes
View from chairlift of skier on woodland piste at Les 2 Alpes.

Dropping in on Venosc

Les 2 Alpes’ dramatic location is only revealed when you take the gondola lift down to Venosc, in the Vallée du Vénéon, some 700m below. The gondola took over from a cable-car, which in turn replaced a cable which carried hay bales from the Alpine pastures down to the farms in the valley until tourism appeared and made life a lot less difficult for the villagers. Part of their story is recounted in a series of interpretation panels at various viewpoints around the village, which is well worth taking the time to discover.

The traditional architecture is well preserved and today the narrow streets in the village heart are home to craft boutiques, bars and restaurants. The walk up from the lift gives a sense of the remote setting of the valley, which became an important mountaineering centre during the early 20th Century.

Les 2 Alpes: Parting Thoughts

Les 2 Alpes has long been popular among leisure skiers and snowboarders, despite tough competition further north, not to mention in neighbouring l’Alpe d’Huez. The two rivals are finally destined to be linked by gondola lift, creating in a shared domain offering 474km of pistes – a figure second only to the 3 Vallées.

The 60 million euro budget for the link (due for completion in 2021) is nothing, however, compared to the cost of upgrading each ski area, which will bring the total bill to a staggering 350 million. For now, though, we can say that we’re already impressed by the many improvements which have already enabled Les 2 Alpes to raise its game significantly. There’s great skiing, most of it designed for intermediates, while the village looks and feels revitalised since we last saw it. We’re already looking forward to returning. MountainPassions heart icon