Skiers can take advantage of new flight routes this winter and discover the incredible skiing the French department of Isère has to offer. From December 2018, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and Wizz Air are all introducing more flights from the UK to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport, the gateway to the French Alps. For excitable skiers looking to maximise on resorts opening early at weekends, the first flight of the season to Grenoble will be on 29 November 2018. The number of flights will then increase on 15 December 2018, ready for the official opening of most alpine ski resorts.
Thomas Cook will expand its UK departures to include London Gatwick and Birmingham with flights arriving to Grenoble every Saturday. Jet2 will have scheduled flights every Saturday and Sunday from Birmingham, whilst Wizz Air will now offer twice-weekly services on a Tuesday and Saturday from London Luton.
The addition of these new flights will make skiing in France even more accessible to British holidaymakers. Skiers can touch down and be skiing in the heart of the French Alps in less than two hours with quick, low-cost transfers from the airport to the main resorts. Ben’s Bus is one of the companies that operates shared transfers to many resorts in the Isère region including Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes and Chamrousse, from as little as £43 pp.
The Isère region boasts 23 stunning ski resorts in the four mountain ranges of Belledonne, Chartreuse, Vercors and Oisans that range from charming villages to extensive, larger ski areas, complete with 1,200km of downhill ski trails and Nordic skiing from 25 sites. Visitors are spoilt for choice on alpine activities, from snowshoeing through forests to mountain biking on snow, always accompanied by Isère’s spectacular mountain backdrop.
The top resort of Alpe d’Huez, known as the ‘Ile du Soleil’ or ‘Island in the Sun’ enjoys an average of 300 days of sun a year, whilst its glacier provides pisted slopes until late April. In March 2019, Tomorrowland, one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world will come to Alpe d’Huez for an insane few days of incredible DJs combined with awesome skiing. Those who don’t plan to frequent the festival will still have 250km of terrain to explore that is suited to all abilities. The extended ski area boasts copious green, blue and red runs for beginners and intermediates, whilst advanced skiers seeking a challenge should attempt Le Tunnel run - ranked one of the hardest runs in the world - or the Sarenne, a 16km black run beginning at Pic Blanc, Alpe d’Huez’s highest peak.
From Alpe d’Huez, skiers can also discover the resorts of Vaujany, Oz-en-Oisans, Auris-en-Oisans and Villard Reculas, all part of the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski area. Each of them offers child-friendly pistes and entertaining activities off the slopes.
This season Vaujany will see a number of improvements and exciting new developments. The renovation of its Montfrais gondola will provide optimum comfort for those accessing the Montfrais area, a paradise for children and beginners. For the first time, sunset skiing will be available in the resort so skiers reluctant to come off the pistes at 4pm can enjoy skiing safely in the light of the last rays of sun. This will provide experienced skiers with a reserved route illuminated by the glow of the setting sun at the Dome of Petites Rousses at 2800 m and another 1450 m descent supervised by piste-groomers on the ski area. Guests can appreciate the charms of Vaujany during a thrilling new experience this winter with a panoramic dinner suspended in the air. On certain evenings, a privileged few will be able to enjoy a fondue in the Porsche Design cabins of the Enversin d’Oz gondola, which was installed last season.
Les 2 Alpes is another major resort easily accessible from Grenoble airport. It is one of the few resorts that guarantees skiing almost all year round thanks to its high summits that reach up to 3,600 m, and to the development of artificial snowmaking that ensures ski access back to resort from the start to the end of the season. Les 2 Alpes has other advantages, including a freestyle area for everyone, a glacier that is accessible to all, doorstep skiing, a blue run between 3,400 and 1,600 metres and one of the longest vertical drops between 3,600 and 1,300 metres. The resort centre boasts trendy shops, a wealth of activities and entertainment, a party atmosphere and quality gastronomy with a total of 70 restaurants.
For a low-key ski holiday, far from the commotion of the internationally-renowned resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes, Chamrousse’s ski area has excellent skiing and stunning scenery. It asserts itself as one of six resorts to have been awarded the Flocon Vert, a label that guarantees the sustainable commitment of mountain resorts. New for winter 2018/19, the Sunset Park will be developed, with an improved layout and new rails being added to this thrilling snowpark that boasts a ski cross designed on the advice of the Olympic medallist Marion Josserand. Guests can try night skiing or explore the new recreational and experimental zones of the Sunset Park and Family Park.