Villard de Lans
Massif du Vercors, Isère, French Alps
Situated above Grenoble in the heart of the protected Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors, the autoroutes provide quick transfers from budget flights into Grenoble and Chambéry airports.
The Ski Area
France’s 3rd-oldest ski resort offers 125km of varied downhill terrain, from 2050m right down to 1143m. The mini-sized piste map is deceptive – you can cover some distance here, for the domain brings together the terrain of Villard de Lans with that of neighbouring Corrençon en Vercors.
Skiing between them can be addictive, particularly during the fine weather which happens a lot here between snowfalls. The other thing we love about skiing here is that many of the runs are among pine forests, rather than the usual larch and spruce found further north. The result of this heady combination is more than a hint of nearby Provence.
These forest runs also provide welcome reassurance during heavy snowfalls or other spells of reduced visibility, helping you make your way safely back to a return run or a gondola descent. In fact, from the Clos de Balme télémix lift above Corrençon you can ski all the way back to Villard de Lans Côte 2000. From there it’s just a short shuttle bus ride back to the main village.
Beginners, on the other hand, have high-speed gondola access direct to an ESF ski school assembly point. For younger children there’s a secure, well-equipped Piou-Piou Club area, from which they can progress to gentle pistes on either side of a snowpark.
Pistes Total: 125 km
4 Magic Carpets
1 Télémix Gondola/Chairlift
The Ski Village
The old market town of Villard de Lans will please traditionalists. Not surprisingly, its proximity to the city of Grenoble has made it a highly desirable location, as reflected in the range and quality of its boutiques and restaurants.
That said, it still retains the friendly, down-to-earth vibe of a year-round working community. Step into a bar or restaurant and most of those around you will be local people (including the owner and staff). There’s also a cinema, weekly open-air markets and even a fresh fish shop – a rare find in a mountain village.
Having been welcoming visitors for significantly longer than most ski areas, Villard de Lans knows how to make them feel at home, and has recently moved its Office du Tourisme into the town’s newly-renovated 18th century chateau, where its services for visitors can continue to expand.
There’s also quality accommodation served by regular free shuttle buses to and from the front-de-neige lifts at the purpose-built Côte 2000 ski village, which has its own shops and services.
Why go skiing in Villard-de-Lans/Corrençon ?
Villard de Lans holds the coveted Famille Plus label, awarded for the excellence of its range of year-round, family-focused activities and services for all generations.
For skiers and snowboarders there are safe debutant areas and ESF ski school meeting-points accessed by high-speed gondola lifts, while intermediates will find lots of long, nicely-groomed cruising runs on sheltered forest trails.
Higher up the mountain there are more technical reds and blacks, a snowpark and a couple of slalom and freeride zones.
Perhaps the strongest appeal, though, is to nature-lovers. The Vercors scenery is exceptional, and in fine conditions there’s a real sense of being in a privileged setting at the very gateway to Provence. You won’t forget skiing here.
Cross-Country SkiingSite Nordic du Haut Vercors
148km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails
- A detailed list of authorised equipment and the accessible lifts is available on the ski domain website (currently in French only).
- ESF Villard de Lans offer tailor-made skiing instruction and have a dualski and a Tandem'flex available to reserve in advance.
- Easy drop-off at the Côte 2000 gondola where there are public toilets, restaurant, ESF and Information point.
- Scenic skiing in a beautiful, natural setting with a Provençal vibe
- Easy Domain Package designed for young learners and debutants
- Low-price skipass giving access to 25 ha of secure skiing area with two green slopes at Corrençon (Forêt and Prairie) equipped with snowmaking and linked to the main ski area for progression onto easy pistes
- Extensive cross-country skiing, with gentle debutant areas
- Original village is a friendly year-round mountain community
- Relatively low altitude means you might want to keep an eye on webcams, to enjoy best snow conditions.
- Côte 2000’s ’70s skyline is looking a little old-school now.
- If you’re concerned about social distancing, the Côte 2000’s Glovettes chairlift is an alternative to the two nearby gondolas
- Spend some time getting to know the terrain in the Corrençon sector.
- Ski the outer runs of the combined ski area to enjoy the magnificent scenery.
- Stay in the main village for a great selection of services
- Visit the Maison du Patrimoine to learn about local history and the heroic mountain road construction which opened up the Vercors to skiers and early tourists.
Residence Le Splendid
129 Avenue du Professeur Nobécourt
Tel: +33(0)4 38 88 11 89
In their first season when we stayed here in early 2020, 50 self-catering apartments have been tastefully adapted from former hotel rooms, with hints of an illustrious past. Original features blend with modern styles to create light and spacious apartments retaining original details and examples of Art Déco furniture while including all the modern essentials.
We stayed in a one-bed apartment with a good-sized double bedroom plus an additional double sofa-bed in the lounge. The main room comprised a small kitchen and a comfortable lounge/dining area. French doors opened out onto a full-length balcony with fabulous forest and mountain views at the front of the building. Despite one or two bizarre design choices, the kitchen is adequate for preparing simple meals. However, there’s such a great choice of restaurants in the town centre that it would be a pity not take advantage of them.
We stayed with Peak Retreats at the 3-star Le Splendid. 7 nights self-catered from £182pp* including a return Eurotunnel crossing with a free upgrade to Flexiplus on most dates.
*Above prices based on 5 people sharing a 2-bedroom apartment (sleep up to 6) for low season 2019/20. Subject to availability. T&Cs apply. Accommodation-only packages are available. Ski equipment, lift passes and transfers also bookable. Holidays are fully ABTA bonded).