l'Alpe du Grand Serre

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Isère (38) > Matheysine > l'Alpe du Grand Serre


  1. History
  2. Off Piste Routes
  3. Travel
  4. Accomodation
  5. Restaurants and Bars
  6. Shopping
  7. Guides and Instructors
  8. Useful Information


The ski resort of l'Alpe du Grand Serre is situated in the Matheysine area of the Isère department in the Northern Alps region. The lift served area extends from 1400 metres to 2200 metres. There are 55 km of lift served runs. There are 20 km of cross country trails.

L'Alpe du Grand Serre is often overlooked by skiers heading to the big resorts of l'Alpe d'Huez and les Deux Alpes. However the shaded north-west facing slopes offer a variety of runs to suit all tastes. Located between the Southern and Northern Alps the resort tends to benefit from both weather systems and often has good snow cover when adjacent areas in one direction or the other are suffering. At the time of writing in mid-March there is over a meter of snow still on the upper slopes, this at a time when Pra Loup, further to the south, has shut-up shop due to a snow drought.

Grand Serre Pistes in late March

Bottom of the Pistes in late March

The resort itself is little more than a stop on a road pass. Although the lift system is good and getting heavy investment from the community, regional council and l'Alpe d'Huez who own the franchise it is how skiing used to be, without all the hustle and bustle of mega-resorts.

The Grand Serre Couloirs

The Grand Serre Couloirs

Despite being only 45 minutes from Grenoble the resort is not too busy, even during the peak February holiday period. Day trippers are probably drawn to Chamrousse and the local les Sept Laux freeride mecca. The resort has a limited number of hotels and apartments which restricts the number of people staying for longer holidays. On the borders with the Ecrins national park the area has a savage beauty and the station is authentic. The lift pass is not expensive compared to the possibilities offered by the ski domain, especially the off-piste area. The top of the pistes are exposed in bad weather but there is sheltered tree-line skiing lower down in the resort.


The resort started just before the second world war when the STD (Société des Touristes en Dauphiné) opened a hostel. A hotelier at la Morte, the name of the local community, suggested calling the new resort l'Alpe du Grand Serre; a better choice of name from a marketing perspective. The Petit Mollard drag lift was built, this worked with a luge system, skiers would have to take off their skis to travel in the lift. It was soon extended to the Grand Mollard and changed to the more traditional pole system pioneered by Pomagalski at l'Alpe d'Huez.

Spectacular views from the Grand Serre

Spectacular views from the Grand Serre

The Second World War interrupted developments. Hotels were burnt by the Germans in revenge for attacks by resistors and the community was devastated by internecine rivalries. The metal from the lifts was salvaged for the war effort. In the post-war years the lift company (SAGASA) ran in to financial trouble and the resort passed into the hands of a new organisation, the SATELAM which immediately set about investing in the lifts starting with the Sérriou lift. In 1987 the link with Saint-Honoré on the south side of the mountain was opened.

Ski Touring to Le Tabor

Ski Touring to Le Tabor

Off Piste Routes

The resort is really oriented towards families but there is some excellent ski touring in the area, for example to the summits of Le Tabor and Le Taillefer.


Nearest Airport(s): Low cost flights from the United Kingdom to Chambèry and Grenoble St Geoirs as well as charters from the rest of Europe have really opened up the area to international tourism.


Rail: The Eurostar train from Brussels and London has made the Northern Alps much more accessible. The best bet is to travel to Lille then take a direct train to Grenoble, the whole journey taking around 7 hours. VFD runs a regular bus service to the resort.



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Restaurants and Bars

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Guides and Instructors

Altalika, based nearby Le Mure, offer guiding for a number of activities including sampling some of le Grand Serre's spectacular couloirs for good skiers.

Useful Information


email: alpe_du_grand_serre.ot@libertysurf.fr

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Category: Ski Areas

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