Authentic French Skiing at Villard de Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors
The neighbouring ski areas Villard de Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors may not be among the best known French ski resorts to us Brits, but given the superb skiing and great family-friendly skiing they both offer, they ought to be.
Located in the Isère area of the French Alps, the two villages have an authentic feel with more than a century of skiing history. They’re perfect for families, with quieter slopes and a friendly welcome.
The ski area both resorts share access to is known as the Espace Villard-Corrençon. It extends to a substantial 125km (more than 70miles) of slopes with something for everyone from complete beginners, who have dedicated areas especially for them to learn their first turns in peace, to plenty of long cruisy blues and reds for intermediate pleasure and then some challenging black rated terrain as well as a new terrain park for the serious skier or boarder.
Beginners have a choice of four dedicated beginners’ areas. Once the basics are mastered there’s a choice of very gentle green and, wide, easy blue slopes to start practicing your technique on. One of the beginner areas, the Hameau des Rambin in the centre of Corrençon, is nicknamed ‘the children’s hamlet’ as it has very gentle slopes and is a sector specifically dedicated to families.
Regular intermediate-level holiday skiers will love the numerous long blue and red runs that meander down through the forest between the two resorts. Also there’s an unusual collection of bear sculptures to look out for when you’re on the slopes or back in the village. See how many of the bears of Villard/Corrençon you can spot!
Advanced skiers have a number of challenging black runs to test their mettle on including the Rhodo, Le Grand Couloir and Chamois. There are also several patrolled small freeride areas to head into when the powder is plentiful.
For freestyle skiers and boarders there’s an all new terrain park located at the top of the Cote 2000 gondola gives lots of fun jumps, pipes, rails and other snowy fun features.
Neighbouring Villard de Lans and Corrençon are similar in many respects, but also have distinct differences characteristics.
Both, for example, have a skiing history dating back nearly 120 years to the early years of the last century. However Villard de Lans is the larger, and indeed, with a population of over 4000, can claim to be the largest ski resort as well as year-round market centre in the Vercors massif. Corrençon-en-Vercors is smaller and famed for its delicious, mountain food from both local food sources and chefs, it’s also the gateway to the tranquil Vercors Haut Plateaux Nature Reserve.
Both resorts are keen to preserve the traditional Alpine village way of life and unique identity of the area. You’ll find events and attractions tied to that heritage and the chance to buy local products from the area.
Villard de Lans’ pedestrian streets are home to a market, shops, a wave pool, an indoor ice rink, and even a casino while Corrençon-en-Vercors is a place to recharge your batteries and enjoy the natural environment you’re skiing through.
Both villages, located just a short distance from Grenoble, offer a world apart from the hussle and bustle of big ski resorts with names better known to British skiers, and a far more genuinely French authentic mountain experience.
There’s plenty to do at Villard de Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors when you’re taking a break from the slopes, or for any non-skiers in your party.
In Villard de Lans the Luge and Ski Park at La Colline des Bains is a big family attraction where you can try a number of different sliding devices together for maximum fun. Along with regular -friendly fun in the snow, where you can try tobogganing, there are high-speed air boards or the articulated snake-gliss, a French favourite where a line of sledges are linked nose to tail to make a snaking descent of the slope together.
Villard de Lans also offers indoor facilities including a leisure centre with indoor wave pool, ice rink and a fitness centre.
Other options in the area include snowshoeing, Nordic walking, dog sledding, igloo experiences, pony rides, fat bike riding and many more choices.
Villard de Lans also organises two weekly markets every Wednesday and Sunday, a great way to discover local produce and creations and meet and support the friendly locals.
It may not be that well known to the UK market, but Villard de Lans/Corrençon are one of the easiest ski areas in the French Alps to reach, located just an easy 35 minutes from the city of Grenoble. So it’s a very quick and easy transfer if you’re taking the train to Grenoble or flying to the city’s airport. For those driving from the UK it’s also straight forward to reach the resorts with a nine hour drive from Calais, largely on modern, quiet motorways. Travel with Peak Retreats and you’ll receive a free FlexiPlus upgrade for your Eurotunnel crossing on most dates, providing additional flexibility if you need to change your plans as well as access to the amenities reserved for those who can use the FlexiPlus Eurotunnel Terminal.
Stay at :
Le Splendid apartments benefit from a central location in Villard de Lans; tastefully refurbished within recent years, the residence is just 200m from resort amenities. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, private ski lockers and high standard finishes including a Nespresso coffee machine.
www.peakretreats.co.uk, 023 9283 9310
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