Wide overview of snowshoe walkers on mountainside

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.

Wide view of ski pistes between snowy forests on mountainside

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.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1143m - 2050m
14 Green
9 Blue
7 Red
8 Black
4 Magic Carpets
11 Draglifts
6 Chairlifts
1 Télémix Gondola/Chairlift
3 Gondolas

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Overview of luge park and snow-dusted village of Villard de Lans, French Alps

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.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Families gathering at ski school on mountains at Villard de Lans

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.

Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery


icon-smileyYes please...

  • 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

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • 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.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • 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.

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Practical Information

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Leisure Centre

Situated in the heart of Villard-de-Lans, there’s a range of activities available including the aquatic centre with outdoor pool and its famous indoor wave pool, the André Ravix ice rink, as well as the Espace Forme (fitness centre). Whatever the weather, there’s something to entertain all the family, including ice hockey matches and the Masters of Skating events. Open all year, prices start from around 6€ adult / 4€ child for swimming or skating.


Snowshoeing

There are over 50km of marked trails that anyone can use to enjoy discovering the snowy landscape in total freedom and safety. Trail maps are available from the Nordic centres. There are also daily guided excursions by local guides that will help you discover the local heritage and most beautiful trails. Programmes or a list of professional guides are available at the Tourist Office.


My Little Terroir

128/130 avenue Général de Gaulle
38250 Villard-de-Lans
Tel: +33(0)4 76 94 02 74

We loved this little restaurant situated a few steps from the town centre. Whether you’re looking for something a little different or seeking some comfort food,this English chef and his Italian wife give you a warm welcome and go the extra mile to make you happy. Needless to say, you’ll get a great fish and chips here, but also some Italian style dishes created using local produce. The dessert menu is a journey into the world of the best of British desserts including favourites like Sticky Toffee Pudding and Banoffee Pie. The ambiance is very convivial, and with only seven tables you’ll likely get to know your fellow diners over a glass or two of some very fine wines. Reserve a table to avoid disappointment.


Ski & Equipment Hire

Ski & Equipment Hire

Our partners at Alpinresorts.com ski hire don’t currently cover this resort
but you may be able to take advantage of their BEST-PRICE GUARANTEE by using
the search box to look for a convenient location nearby.

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Airport Transfers

Ski-Lifts offer the widest range of airport transfers to ski resorts in France, from economy shared transfers for budget-conscious travellers, right through to luxury limousines. They also offer coach transfers for larger groups.

Insight: Villard-de-Lans/Corrençon

Lone snowbaorder on piste between snow-covered pine trees

Insight: Villard-de-Lans/Corrençon

The Vercors setting is magnificent at any time of year, and the promise of blue skies between heavy winter snowfalls sets Villard de Lans Corrençon high on our list of favourite places to ski. It had never occurred to us to wonder what it might be like when skies are more troubled – but it’s a wonder we managed to ski it at all this time.

We couldn’t have foreseen the sudden Covid-19 shutdown of the 2019 season which soon followed, but we knew that our visit would coincide with a pretty grim weather forecast. Across the valley in Les 7 Laux we’d sneaked in before the depression arrived, but on the drive up to Villard de Lans dark clouds are gathering ominously.

As predicted, temperatures continue to fall, rain turns to snow, and the piste grooming teams have plenty to keep them occupied during the night.
View from chairlift of mountainside with falling snow
Skiers on misty piste with snow-dusted trees

There Goes The Sun

By the time we check into Le Splendid rain is falling steadily, so we make the most of the home comforts of our apartment while trying not to think about the likely effect of rain on snow cover.

The following morning is little better but temperatures are dropping and set to replace the rainfall with fresh snow. While waiting for that to happen we slip into tourist mode and reacquaint ourselves with the village heart.

But rain turns to snow

As forecast, temperatures overnight continue to fall, rain turns to snow, and the piste grooming teams have plenty to keep them occupied.

Daybreak finds snow still falling steadily, but by late morning visibility is returning, so we head out to Côte 2000, park the car and tumble into the Glovettes high-speed gondola, one of three lifts departing from the front-de-neige.

View through mist of frozen piste signage
View from ski lift of forest ski trail

It’s dim up here

At 1520m the snowfall has thinned a little, although low cloud limits visibility and a strange silence hangs over the mountain. It’s eminently skiable, however, so we ride the Refuge chairlift up to 1684m for a gentle descent on Chevreuil (blue) beside a currently-deserted snowpark.

Despite everything feeling unfamiliar in the gloom, snow quality beneath our skis is reassuring, so we ride the Grand Canyon high-speed six-seat chair up to 1920m, hoping to pop through the cloud cover.

Welcome shelter on forest trails

We don’t, but snow quality is even better, so we adopt a pick-and-mix approach to our descent, skiing between a couple of blue pistes back to the top station of the Côte 2000 gondola.

With visibility still denying us the bigger picture, a wooded run seems like a good idea, so we launch left onto Salamandre (another blue) which will take us into the Corrençon sector. With no chance of losing our way between the trees, we explore the extensive piste network on this side of the mountain.

Wide view of ski piste between snow-covered trees
Skier returning to Cote 2000 village

High above Corrençon

After rejoining Salamandre we thread our way steadily back down into Côte 2000.

The following morning brings clearer conditions, so we head back up the mountain, this time entering the forest on Canyon (red). The sun might not be due to return for a couple of days, but the scenery is as sensational as we remember it.

For awhile we amuse ourselves above the tree-line on the intermediate runs served by the Belvedère chairlift, which drops skiers at 2050m.

Scenery, good snow and spacious pistes

Between here and Corrençon there’s 900m of vertical to enjoy, via a choice of routes for different abilities.

The sun didn’t follow us this time, but gliding on fresh snow among wide rocky gullies and southern pine trees with hardly another skier in sight is addictive.

We can now say that we’ve skied Villard de Lans Corrençon in both perfect and not-so-perfect conditions, and as a result have come to know it a whole lot better. The verdict? It’s still a love thing.MountainPassions heart icon