Thu, 28 February 2019
Minimum altitude: 1,130 meters
Distance: 55.4 km
Slope Aspect: WestTrip Reports
Vertical Climbed: 6,239 meters (20,470 feet)
Vertical Descended: 6,203 meters
Villard des Lans is situated about 45 minutes by car from Grenoble on the Vercors plateau. It is also within easy reach of Valence (1h20, 70km) and Lyon (1h40 / 135km) / Lyon Satolas (1h20 / 115km) and Grenoble airports (1h00 / 65km). The station consists of a charming typical Vercors town of 4000 inhabitants and a modern ski resort at the bottom of the ski runs with two areas: Le Balcon de Villard et Les Glovettes.
To be honest, the main ski resort is functional but a blot on the landscape. In April 2019 the American basketball star Tony Parker bought 76.8 % in the ski lift company (SEVLC) with the aim of a vaste building programme which will no doubt considerably change the nature of the ski area.
Offering a claimed 125km of ski runs the area is the third largest in the Isère after l’Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes. The lift system is relatively modern and well laid out and the runs, interesting. The area links with Corrençon, another quaint and typical Vercors hamlet. Runs are largely tree lined with rock outcrops, great in poor weather, but the area does suffer from wind, especially at the Corrençon side. Overall there is close to 1000 meters of vertical but only around 800 to 900 meters are easily exploitable and drops of 500 meters are more typical of the area. A number of natural bump runs form on the Corrençon side for fans of hot-dogging.
The runs are, nevertheless, of a good distance. The resort is ideal for beginner to intermediate level skiers with 12 green and 12 blue pistes. The blacks are not that challenging but there are steeper freeride areas (former black runs such as the Combeauvieux) at both Corrençon and Villard and some accessible off piste and ski touring. Lift pass prices are reasonable and there is a hands free system.
There is a lot of accessible between the piste skiing. Sometimes through steep limestone gorges with impressive rock walls but beware there is a risk of avalanche in these natural terrain traps and the off piste sectors have numerous potholes.
The resort is not overly busy during the French winter holiday period. Queues are typically around 5 minutes. However the car parking can be very busy, on busy days head to Corrençon where there is also a large beginners area.
Views from the top of the ski area are stunning, looking over the mountains of the Vercors and beyond: the plateau to the west, the Gerbier to the east and the Mont Aiguille to the south. The “cretes” is accessible to beginner skiers with blue descents.
Over 100km of cross country ski trails are available at Bois Barbu and Corrençon and Corrençon also has a large, summer, rollerski circuit, golf course and shooting range. Villard de Lans has an aqua center but reports are mixed.
There is great potential for off-piste skiing in the forests especially on the Corencon side of the domain.
Max altitude 2050 meters
Min altitude 1111 meters
125km of marked pistes
Great afternoon of spring skiing in the sun. Pistes generally in very good condition with no rocks or bare patches. Of piste was generally hard and icy except for the excellent freeride area at Correncon. The Grand couloir and Rhodos were mogulled on the steep sections and somewhat challenging.