I know this isn’t the first time I’ve banged on about how the mountains aren’t just for winter and how they are fabulous in the summer too but honestly, they really are. This summer we went to Alpe d’Huez and stayed in one of VIP Ski’s fabulous chalets.
Alpe d’Huez is a big centre for road cyclists cycling up the iconic road with 21 hairpin bends from the valley floor to the village just like in the Tour de France, only a lot slower. It’s also very popular mountain bikers who can take one of the selected lifts which are open all summer and roll down various cycle pistes which are graded from green to black just like ski pistes. As novices, we joined a 2-hour VTT initiation session in a group of about 15 with two endlessly patient instructors who taught us how to use the brakes gently and push our bums back over the seat as the slope got steeper before taking us up the main DMC ski lift and guiding us down the mainly grassy (but sometimes rocky) slope. Looking at the rest of the group in near full body armour I began the lesson fairly convinced I was going to break something but thanks largely to the patience of the instructors, actually managed to enjoy the second run down and even gave it a go again another day.
As several lifts are open we went all the way to the top one day – there was still snow on the ground up there and we were woefully underdressed –and another day took a lift up to walk alongside some stunning lakes joined by streams.
Back down in the village we tried out summer luge and X-Fly – a collection of activities including two zip wires, climbing walls and an eight-metre jump into an air bag. On the one rainy a day the children tried out the indoor adventure park In’Vertigo, played table tennis and indoor mini golf. The Palais des Sports offers a Premium Pass which gives you unlimited entry to the indoor and outdoor pools, ice rink, tennis courts, minigolf, table tennis and more.
On our last day in the resort Toby and Livi took their first parapente flight and then in the afternoon we went mountain biking. However I was feeling lazy so after one run down I swapped my ordinary bike for an electric one and spent the afternoon cycling up to the lake, down the hill a little so that I could power up past the proper cyclists aided by the little motor. As far as I’m concerned now, that’s the only way to cycle.
We stayed in VIP Ski’s Chalet La Maison, a luxurious and comfortable chalet at 2,000 metres, above the main village of Alpe d’Huez in a quiet location but very close to the main DM1 telecabine and some chairlifts as well as shops, bars and a small supermarket.
The chalet has four en suite rooms with balconies, lovely big living room with a large sunny balcony with deckchairs and fabulous view, Freeview TV, Bose sound systems and fully-equipped kitchen. Best of all, downstairs there’s a sauna and jacuzzi. Summer prices start at £105 per room per night, self-catering. Breakfast can be added for an additional charge of £7.50 per person.