On skis and husky in Alpe d’Huez (PHOTOS + VIDEOS)
This article is part of our weekly tourist advice column.
A pack of beleaguered dogs grow impatient at the bottom of the snowy slopes which adjoin the Alpe d’Huez heliport. Obviously very excited at the idea of taking the start of the walk as quickly as possible, they no longer hold in place, howling like wolves, harnessed to their sleds. Siberian huskies, Alaskan, Pyrenean shepherds, Greenlanders, Polar speed or even husky hound dogs, they seem to have only one desire: to tread the snow as quickly as possible and take in their wake the happy onlookers who have come to taste the joys. a dog sled ride. Thirty or forty-five minutes of pure happiness through breathtaking landscapes.
The signal given, they rush off immediately, silencing their incessant barking to make way for the silence of the mountain, punctuated however by orders of conduct from their leader, called a musher. And here we are on the Pierre-Ronde via ferrata, one of the two loops offered by the organization Second souffle.
Seen from a sled, and no longer on skis, on foot, on snowshoes or even from the chairlift, the mountain suddenly takes on another dimension. The magic happens. For little, one would imagine oneself adventurer in the Far North while, behind us, who are comfortably seated in the sled, it is Estelle who guides the pack. “Maistro, tighten to the left…”, “Right, right, turn… Good, continue”, “Good dog, Elia…”, “Stop, the little wolves. Perfect, that”. The benevolent orders of their masters follow one another and the dogs, for the most part taken in shelters, with veterinarians or individuals from all over France, respond happily.
Whether it’s Moka, Joy or Ottawa – there are about sixty of them – they seem obviously happy to have found a new job there in the great outdoors (sledding in winter, cani-hiking in summer). At the rate of eight dogs per sled in general, just in front of the sled, there are the traction dogs, called “will to go”; they are the most powerful dogs. In the middle, we find the speed dogs, and in front, the lead or obedience dogs, which respond to a dozen commands such as left, right, stop, U-turn … But whatever they are, gentle like cuddly toys and very affectionate, all seek the well-deserved caresses, before and after the walk.
A fundamental renovation
This beautiful dog sled ride is one of the experiences that is, like many other winter sports resorts, offered at Alpe d’Huez where Club Med has just completely renovated, expanded and transform with great elegance its hotel thus gone from 2 to 4 tridents, from 356 to 442 rooms, from two to four kids clubs. It took 18 months for the “ski in ski out” complex, located at an altitude of 1,860 meters, to get a makeover. Chic and warm atmosphere, the large Resort partially adorned with wood offers a long terrace facing south. What happiness to admire the snow-capped peaks while sipping an aperitif in the soft armchairs.
Inside, the places with a cozy atmosphere deploy everything one could dream of for an idyllic stay: the Pic Blanc restaurant or its brand new Gourmet Lounge “Les Alpages” when you want to taste the best regional wines. and local specialties, a Spa by Payot area, with heated indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi on the outdoor terrace, hammam, cardio and fitness rooms… It is thus positioned as “an upscale, trendy and eclectic Resort, bringing together all generations, families, friends, couples, and offering a wide choice of skiing and new experiences for all as well as a friendly and cozy atmosphere for wonderful moments of sharing in a sunny resort.“
And in fact, the resort claims to benefit from 300 days of sunshine per year. A godsend to try out multiple experiences, whether hiking from Lac Noir to Lac Besson, freeriding to make your mark far from the slopes, or climb to the top to admire the Grandes Rousses glaciers up close. , the snake gliss, a descent on articulated sleds at nightfall… Or, why not, try out ski-jöering, skis on, tracked by a horse. “You don’t need to be an experienced skier, you just need to know how to hold your skis parallel to experience unforgettable sensations in an exceptional environment”, we are assured.
To these sensations, others may prefer après-ski at La Folie Douce (photo), the place to be perched at the top of the Marmottes chairlift. But one does not prevent the other …
5 good reasons to come to Club Med
> The kingdom of little kings
For the third year in a row, the “European best destinations” site has voted Alpe d’Huez best ski resort in Europe. Facing due south, the new resort benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year and 250 km of slopes, up to 3300 meters above sea level. All of this makes it the most beautiful balcony overlooking the Alps in the heart of the Oisans massif.
> The all inclusive formula
At the Club, everything is planned and everything is included: from cocktails to ski lessons given by the French Ski School (ESF), through the latest equipment, the ski pass or even the supervision of 4-month-old children. at 17 years old. An all inclusive experience to live fully.
> Hot drinks at the bottom of the slopes
It’s a detail, but it’s so comforting: whether it is at the start of the lessons or at the finish, coffee, tea or hot chocolate are offered to skiers to warm up to musical tunes. Lambada and others.
> A concept: snow motion
More and more winter sports enthusiasts wish to alternate sporting exploits on the slopes with moments of relaxation and contemplation. Club Med’s answer to these needs is Snow Motion, a holistic travel concept that brings a new dimension to mountain vacations. Those who choose the Snow Motion package can combine sports half-days and wellness packages, while enjoying the Resort’s service package.
> Yoga galore
With a view to a holistic travel experience, Club Med has also created the Yoga Academy with classes and workshops according to the Vibhava method created by Heberson Oliveira.
How to come to Alpe d’Huez
By train: to Grenoble station, 65 km or 75 minutes by road to the station.
By plane: from Zaventem to Grenoble airport, 90 minutes to Alpe d’Huez station.
For further information: Club Med Alpe d’Huez Route de l’Altiport, 38750 Huez, France Telephone: +33 4 76 79 75 70 Site: www.clubmed.be