With the days are getting shorter and a dusting of snow starting to apear on the peaks, the promise of the winter is upon us and the slower part of the local bike season. However this is one of the busiest times of the year to book you trip for next summer. With that in mind it is time to start thinking about when you might plan to book your road cycling or mountain bike holiday to the Bourg d’Oisans/Alpe d’Huez region. Here is a short guide to what you might expect from the weather throughout the year.
April is a real transition month for Le Bourg d’Oisans. Alpe d’Huez is actually still open for skiing until the middle of the month, but the hours of sunshine are increasing rapidly in the valley. Depending on conditions, it is not unheard-of for Alpe d’Huez to open some of the lower mountain bike trails from the resort down to Huez. However these close again when the ski lifts shut. Mornings are chilly and it is possible to get snow even in the valley, so bring full winter kit. However if you get lucky with the weather, the days can be glorious. Mountain passes such as the Col du Glandon, La Croix du Fer and the Galibier will remain closed due to danger of snow and avalanche, but the Alpe d’Huez, Col du Lautaret and the Col d’Ornon will generally be open, unless there is snowfall. Average rain 70mm temp. 8.9C 48F
May – Quite an unpredictable month where you can be lucky and experience the best of spring conditions and colour, with long hot days, wild flowers exploding through the alpine meadows, or be hit by a series of spring storms. The high passes of the Col du Glandon, La Croix du Fer and the Galibier generally remain closed until late May. Average rain 83mm temp. 12.7C 54.9C
June – A wonderful month to stay in Bourg. The town really starts to open its doors and bars are busy with happy cyclists. The days are at their longest and the weather can seriously start to warm up. The highest mountain passes should have already opened, or may be starting to be cleared. It’s a wonderful time to ride these mountain passes which sometimes have 2 or 3 meters high walls of snow lining the higher altitude routes. Watch out for afternoon and evening storms. Average rain 84mm temp. 16C 60.8 F
July – Typically the hottest, driest and most popular month of the year, when you should be enjoying long hot days and evenings with just the lightest of cycling clothing. However don’t be complacent, especially if your venturing out on an all day trip to one of the higher mountain passes. The altitude, exposure and rapidly changing conditions in the Alps can seriously catch you out. In 1996, the Tour de France stage had to be dramatically shortened due to snow and ice on the Col du Galibier and was almost cancelled again in 2011. Average rain 57mm temp. 18.3C 64.9F
August – Quickly moves beyond the hottest part of the years, which is more noticeable in Bourg in the valley, particularly if you’re staying on the northern side of the valley where the sunshine hours will be already waning. The evenings will start to feel chilly. Average rain 75mm temp. 17.8C 64F
September – During September the summer storms have generally finished and Bourg often enters into a pattern with 2 or 3 weeks of high-pressure warm sunny weather, followed buy 4 or 5 days of really rotten cold (sometimes snowy) weather. There is no way to plan for this, just hope you hit the lovely weather. If you do, you will get to experience the Alps at its absolute best. Quiet roads, the start of the spectacular Autumn colors. Average rain 82mm temp 14.9C 58.8C
October – Almost all the bike tourism has stopped and the hotels are closing down, but the days remain generally dry with crisp cold morning. Watch out for ice on shady corners and wrap up warm to enjoy the amazing autumn colors. Average rain 86mm temp. 10C 50F
Winter – Few people plan a cycling trip to the region during the winter, but thanks to the Alpe d’Huez being relatively low in altitude and very south facing, it is possible to take on the 21 bends pretty much all year around so long as the most recent snowfall has melted and you have some serious winter gear. Pus with the explosion of e-Bike and Fat Bikes, winter ridding is becoming more and more popular. Next time you plan your ski trip to the region, why not think about a popping the road bike in the car, just incase you’re tempted by a lovely sunny day.
Valley trails for MTB start to clear late February/early March.