The central bowl of Alpe d'Huez can be likened to a saucer and the simple rule is that the higher you go, the steeper it gets.
The ski area offers wide, open pistes just above the main town, ideal for learners, whilst the runs from the top of the Pic Blanc provide challenges for the more advanced (see the piste maps).
Higher Runs of Alpe d'Huez (West Facing)
Ascending the west-facing slopes by the Télécabine 1er Troncon at the top of resort (DMC to the locals) will access the massive green rolling runs primarily known as Les Jeux. In fact, from the first stop of the DMC, there are no less than seven wide green pistes nearly a mile long rolling back to the centre of the station. To access the higher runs of the area, you must continue to the top of the DMC lift (Deuxieme Troncon) at 2700m. From here you have two options - the blue Couloir and the red Chamois pistes both return to the midpoint of the DMC and eventually back to resort, or you can take the Les Rousses red run that accesses Vaujany. Taking the Couloir, a busy blue, finds one on a long 'flattish' section which continues straight along a 'pushing mandatory' path to the Marmotte Restaurant and Les Bergers.
Pic Blanc Area
The Troisieme Troncon to Pic Blanc begins at 2700m and ascends via cable car to the top point of the Alpe lift system, Pic Blanc (3330m). From here the views are stunning and offer a panorama over an area equal to one fifth of France.
The start of the runs from here cannot be seen from town as you must first descend a steep section labelled Sarenne and Tunnel before turning to the right at the end. Continuing along the narrow path one is faced with a square building, at one side of which is a narrow snow filled tunnel some 200m long which opens out onto the Tunnel black run (this is a serious black run..). Return to Alpe d'Huez is achieved by following the routes that lead to the deuxieme troncon of the DMC. There are also some superb off-piste runs from the bottom of the first section of the Tunnel but much care must be taken as the avalanche danger is high in this area.
The Marmotte lift from Les Bergers has three sections, all separate. The second section has two notable blacks from it – the Cloche de Macle is the easiest black in the resort; short and steep but relatively wide, and the Les Balcons run, found by turning left at the top of Marmotte two. Les Balcons is never pisted and often closed and its off-piste character can develop into a very steep bumpy run, challenging Tunnel for difficulty. The bottom of this run liaises with the top of the Lievre Blanc chair that ascends from the mid-station of the DMC. Other blacks from Marmotte Two include the Combe Charbonnier that runs towards the old Mine de L'Herpie, again off-piste and very south facing.
- Snow Report