Puy Saint Vincent
Pays des Ecrins, Hautes-Alpes, French Alps
In the southern French Alps close to Briançon and just below Serre-Chevalier, with solid-value family skiing for most levels.
Surrounding peaks rising to well above 3000m create a sheltered setting and particularly fine scenery.
Shortest transfers are from Turin, and there’s an overnight train from Paris to Briançon.
Long drives from the UK are rewarded by economical skiing both here and in several other nearby resorts.
The Ski Area
Puy Saint Vincent’s ski area is varied, although relatively compact. The terrain is almost exclusively north-facing (which helps preserve snow conditions between falls) and extends well above and below the tree-line. For advanced skiers there’s also some worthwhile, quite challenging off-piste which you can explore (with a guide) between the peaks of La Pendine (2750m) and the Pointe de l’Aiglière (3310m).
A six-day or longer Galaxie lift pass also allows you to ski a full day in each of the nearby resorts of Pelvoux-Vallouise, Serre-Chevalier, Montgenèvre, Sestrière, Les Deux-Alpes, l’Alpe d’Huez and La Grave. We’d call that a highly-attractive deal - but keep an eye on road access this season, as things have been severely disrupted by landslides near La Grave.
Finally, the snowfall record here is good, and the same applies to the weather, frequent blue skies offering a reminder that we’re in the sunny southern French Alps.
Pistes Total: 75 km
The Ski Village
Not one village but three, divided between locations at 1400, 1600 and 1800m, the mid-point being the most animated, with multi-level apartments above a selection of bars, restaurants and a modest indoor shopping arcade. The ski-school assembly-point is a convenient few steps away.
Neither of the lower centres is exactly traditional, though. For a more chalet-like feel you’ll be better off at the more recent ski-in/ski-out development at 1800m. Either way, on the road approaching the ski area you’ll pass some charming old villages typical of the Pays des Ecrins, while just along the valley lies the smaller ski area of Pelvoux-Vallouise and several mountain hamlets presided over by Mont Pelvoux (3946m).
See Practical Information below for accommodation suggestions.
Why go skiing in Puy Saint Vincent ?
Although there’s terrain for everyone here, including off-piste free-riders, the relatively compact local terrain means that Puy Saint Vincent will appeal primarily to budget-conscious young families looking for a safe environment for children and novice skiers. That said, intermediates will find challenges locally, and if they have transport there’s straightforward access to Serre Chevalier, Montgenèvre and beyond. Off-piste and cross-country opportunities among truly stunning scenery broaden the appeal.
Cross-Country SkiingMostly for experienced skiers, some pistes shared with snow-shoe.
45.6km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails
- Up to 100% free ski pass for disabled skiers and 50% for companion (proof required, other conditions apply).
- Reserved parking 6 places at 1600, 1 at 1400. Ramp to front de neige at 1600 possible for drop-off.
- Three detachable chairlifts are accessible.
- Access to 28km of cross-country trails. The same discounts apply to ski de fond pass.
- Specialist instruction and loan of equipment by pre-booking with ESF - Chalet ESF 1600 Tel: +33(0)4 92 23 35 11 or www.esf-psv.com
- Useful website: Handi-Alpes
- Mostly north-facing pistes retain their snow-cover.
- You won't get lost here.
- Small-is-friendly atmosphere.
- Range of activities including ice-climbing.
- Natural snow until late into the season.
- Solid value all round.
- Off-piste skiing for experienced skiers - plus much easier, enjoyable itineraries in unspoilt, woodland settings.
- Long distances for those driving from the UK.
- You might hunger for more terrain – there’s lots nearby.
- Relax, take it easy and discover the woodland excursions accessible from beside the Crêtes piste.
La Dame Blanche
Puy Saint Vincent 1800
Situated at the uppermost part of the resort, you can ski in and out of this well-sited residence, with fabulous views over the surrounding peaks of the Parc des Ecrins.
Although compact, the apartments are some of the most well-conceived we’ve stayed in. We had a 2-bedroom apartment with separate bathroom and toilet, double and twin bedrooms and an amply-proportioned lounge/dining area with a large family dining table, sofa (convertible for further sleeping accommodation) and a door opening onto a balcony with views. There’s a surprisingly well equipped and well laid out separate kitchen with dishwasher, fridge, microwave and hob.
The underground parking costs extra but has direct lift access to the apartment floors. The ski lockers are on the same level as the piste and it couldn’t be easier to boot up and ski out in the morning. One extra little advantage is a small shop/café where you ski out, with a small terrace overlooking the piste - perfect for a coffee or cold drink at any time of the day. The shop sells a limited range of groceries but does have fresh bread and pastries in the morning and a selection of local specialities - try the Tourtons...