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Vars Risoul - traumhaftes Skigebiet in Frankreich, Bild: mala_ja / shutterstock

Vars-Risoul – Skiing with a view of Mont Blanc

La Forêt Blanche is the connection of two ski resorts in the Southern Alps: Risoul and Vars. This high-altitude, snow-sure and sunny ski area, as befits the Hautes Alpes, is a paradise for families (famous off-pistes, skiing in the forest, numerous snow parks, speed skiing) which, with its more than 100 slopes, meets the needs of all skiers. La Forêt Blanche benefits from very good sunshine with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. The highest point is at an altitude of 2750 m and offers a magnificent panorama of the Alpine massif. For example, on the ridgeline of numerous mountain massifs, such as the Écrins in Queyras or the Maritime Alps, but also on magical peaks such as Mont-Blanc.

There is something for everyone

It is the twelfth largest ski resort in France in terms of the number of slopes and the thirteenth largest in terms of the number of kilometers of slopes. 83% of the slopes above 2,000 m, most of them north-facing, a cold and dry climate and efficient maintenance help to ensure a first-class snow cover. The snow-making network covers 180 ha, i.e. more than 1/4 of the ski area. Vars is world-famous for its legendary Chabrières Speed ski slope, the fastest slope in the world with a gradient of 98%. The record stands at 252.454 km/h. The Vars Park is one of the most remarkable snow parks in Europe, consisting of seven sectors and two boardercross. Vars is made up of four villages: Saint-Marcellin, Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Catherine and Les Claux, which is also the centre of the village.

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According to a proverb, Risoul is the most intimate of the large ski resorts. The white slopes are joined by softness and cosiness, as well as slate roofs, wooden panelling and mountain stones modelled on the Tourist Office or the Espace Rencontre 1850, two of the most important facilities in the village.

View from Pic De Chabrieres
View from Pic De Chabrieres, the highest point in the Vars/Risoul ski area, Image: Jakub Barzycki / shutterstock

The ski area has been modernized since the winter of 2019 by building a Telemix, a 6-seater chairlift and 2 snow mats. In 2023, there will also be two new chairlifts. Higher and more beautiful: These two T-bar lifts will provide access to the highest points of the ski area. This will make access to the slopes easier and more comfortable, allowing skiers to spend more time on the slopes. Vars Speed Master is a detachable 6-seater chairlift that leads to the highest point of the ski area and is suitable for skiers and pedestrians. The route of this historic chairlift in Vars has been changed and will now depart directly from Vars les Claux.

The centre of Risoul has been reserved for pedestrians since the 2010 season, after the construction of a dismountable above-ground metal car park with an area of 4,560 m2 and 637 parking spaces, including 430 covered spaces. The side of Risoul is more forested, while the side of Vars has more treeless snowfields.

In La Forêt Blanche, you will discover numerous snow parks, natural toboggan runs and play areas where young and old can have fun. The ski resort is known for its off-piste skiing and has 10 black slopes. 185 km of marked slopes have been created, divided according to difficulty. The recently installed new ski lifts, combined with an organization that comes directly from the USA , ensure that waiting times are reduced to a minimum as soon as you hold the ski pass in your hand, in order to provide holidaymakers with a pleasant stay.

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In Risoul, skiers, whether alone or in groups, move on slopes that wind between the larch trees. It is the most intimate of the large resorts, with its traditional houses with wood paneling, mountain stone walls and slate roofs. Risoul has obtained the “Famille Plus” label, which guarantees a welcome and facilities that ensure the comfort of young and old. The facilities of the village invite you to socialize. Labell’aire offers you the opportunity to leave your skis behind between two descents and rest on comfortable deckchairs.

Journey

The ski area is not easy to reach from Paris : for the almost 800 kilometers you have to reckon with a good 10 hours of driving time. In addition, there are breaks and possible traffic disruptions. Take the A6 motorway to Lyon and then turn off towards Grenoble. Via the A43 and Gap you finally reach Vars and from there you can continue to Risoul, depending on which of the villages the accommodation is located in. The journey by train is similarly long, but there is the advantage of a night train, which allows travellers to board the train in Paris in the evening and be refreshed the next morning when they arrive in Vars.