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Patrick Thorne

24 Nov 23

Isère’s Winter Wonders

Patrick Thorne

24 Nov 23

Fresh Pistes and New Adventures

Isère is a French ski region that every skier needs to know better!

Home to four mountain ranges containing a fabulous choice of 21 mountain resorts, it’s actually France’s third-biggest mountain destination. 

Isère is located in the southern French Alps, so you can enjoy a sunny Mediterranean feel to the climate while still getting loads and loads of snow.

The Resorts

You’ll find large, world-famous resorts like Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez along with plenty more small to mid-sized destinations that might suit you better, some accessing the same huge ski areas as the big name destinations, others with their own uncrowded ski slopes where you can really relax and disconnect. 

A winter playground for all abilities, Isère offers an unrivalled diversity of resorts and a wide range of winter activities to suit all, from the most challenging mountain terrain, to perfect, gentle beginner slopes and lots for non-skiers to enjoy as well. There’s also a wide range of resorts in Isère with something for everyone, from pretty, traditional villages to world-renowned ski destinations.

There is a resort for everyone in Isère. Among the big-name options, Les 2 Alpes is one of the world’s biggest and best choices with an incredible 2,200m+ of lift-served verticals (that’s top three for the entire planet!) and lifts climbing to nearly 3.600m – an altitude so snow sure people can ski and snowboard here in late-spring and early-summer.  

Les 2 Alpes’ Vallée Blanche

Isère’s Winter Wonders

©A Gelin – Peak Retreats

This winter Les 2 Alpes’ Vallée Blanche sector has received a major upgrade to make it more accessible, efficient and environmentally friendly. There are three new ski lifts waiting this December and a new green beginners’ slope at Pied-Moutet. This will make it the ultimate skiing playground for everyone of any skill.

Nighttime ski descents will also make a comeback this winter with skiers and boarders again able to hit the floodlit slopes after dark using the Super Venosc gondola or the Vallée Blanche Telemix. 

At the bottom of the resort, three free-access training areas are to be created for those wanting to practice their skills. They include the Coolidge area with magic carpet and a ski lift and Champamé with a new ski lift. These areas will make it easier for skiers to learn and improve their skills lower down in the resort. 


Isère’s Winter Wonders

©Klip.fr – Peak Retreats

Chamrousse is one of the easiest ski areas to reach in France, just a short transfer from Grenoble airport, or easy to access by road or rail too.  It has a long and illustrious history having hosted ski racing at the Grenoble Winter Olympics when national ski hero Jean-Claude Killy swept the board winning three gold medals in all the alpine skiing events of the time.

New for this winter, Chamrousse has installed the world’s longest zipline at 1,950 metres long. Starting at the summit of the Croix de Chamrousse, at an altitude of 2253 metres, the zipline runs parallel to the La Croix gondola, and finishes in the heart of Chamrousse at 1650 metres, delivering almost 2km of thrills and breathtaking views along the way. Why ski down when you can fly down?

Alpe d’Huez

Isère’s Winter Wonders

©Lionel Royet – Peak Retreats

Alpe d’Huez is, like neighbouring Les 2 Alpes, home to high-altitude skiing and offers another of the world’s biggest lift-served verticals. Here that also allows for the world’s longest black run, the fabulous Sarenne, to take you 10 miles down the mountainside.

Here the French Ski School (ESF) has launched its Ladies Camp this winter, a 100% women’s ski programme. Running over three half-days, it is led by experienced female instructors and has three different options to choose from: Progression Ski, Precision Ski and Premium which includes a mix of skiing, massages, yoga and wellness.

Les 7 Laux

Isère’s Winter Wonders

©M Mollier – Peak Retreats

Les 7 Laux has a good-sized ski area of over 120km and is a great choice if you’re looking for an authentic French destination where you’ll be able to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere as one of very few Brits on the slopes.

This winter the resort has invested in its picnic spots, placing BBQ stations around the ski area, close to the Squirrels’ Route piste, with covered sofas shaped like acorns, making the perfect spot for a lunchtime picnic on the slopes!


Isère’s Winter Wonders

©J. Chavy – Peak Retreats

Vaujany gives you the chance to stay in a village linked to the huge d’Huez Grand Domaine ski area, but in a separate, smaller resort, albeit one with great facilities for its size and fast access to some of the best sports in the ski area.

For the 23-24 season Vaujany’s new Team Rider programme provides weekly lessons for teenagers to help them improve their freeride and freestyle skills. There’s a choice from 5 to 12 lessons with the French ESF ski school and the aim is to provide a great way for teens to get an introduction to the sport and help discover a passion for freeride. 


Isère’s Winter Wonders

The quaint resort formerly known as Oz-en-Oisans, set amidst the fir trees just above the village of Oz, is another option for access to the vast Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine ski domain which it also lies within. This winter the village has changed its name to Oz 3300, the new name paying homage to its links to the ski region’s highest peak, Pic Blanc …at 3,300m.

Villard de LansCorrençon en Vercors

Isère’s Winter Wonders

©T. Lefebure – Peak Retreats

Another of Isère’s wonderful, traditional destinations, full of that famous French ambience, as well as an impressive 125km of slopes, is Villard de Lans/Corrençon en Vercors. 

Among its many claims to fame, the destination is a key stop on the famous Grande Odyssée dog sled race which covers some 900km (over 560 miles), climbing more than 25,000m in elevation and one of the longest and most challenging races of its kind. Back for the 20th time this winter, it’s running from 13th to 25th January 2024. 

Isère’s Winter Wonders

Every year, 65 mushers and over 600 sled-pulling dogs (a mixture of Malamute, Husky and Greenland Dog’s), are watched by over 50,000 spectators. An exciting event to attend, with its last stage (Stage 11) taking place in Isère’s Villard de Lans/Corrençon en Vercors.

Guided Tour

Also in Isère, within the Chartreuse Massif, you have the chance of taking a remarkable guided tour through the mountains using your ears! Alexandre Guhéry is known for his two professions, as a mountain guide and a pianist, who listens to the landscapes he hikes through. 

He has combined his two passions to create the ‘piano hike’. His aim? To help people experience music outside of the conventional setting of a concert hall, with the hike beforehand to prepare his audience to listen to the concert held in a barn or cottage reached along the route. 

Wherever you choose to stay in Isère, the region has all the elements to make a winter holiday memorable. That’s not just the thousands of kilometres of amazing ski slopes but also everything from an exhilarating afternoon of fun on the zipwire to experiencing a piano concert in the heart of Chartreuse Massif.  Amid the mountains, you’ll find a resort for everyone.

Discover your ideal Isère ski holiday, at peakretreats.co.uk

Peak Retreats are the French Alps ski holiday specialists, winner of the Telegraph Travel Awards Best Ski Operator 2023, they offer accommodation in over 70 mountain resorts; specialising in self-drive, self-catered ski holidays.

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