As France’s third largest ski destination, the Isère region has all the skiing you could want, from quiet family-friendly centres to the liveliest of après scenes; from gentle beginner slopes to the wildest freeride terrain.
Its resorts range from big household names, such as Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes with their high-altitude ski areas, to more intimate, little-known centres like Les 7 Laux, Chamrousse, and Villard de Lans-Corrençon. Isère is also home to high peak playgrounds, glaciers, forested valleys, three natural parks (Vercors, Chartreuse, and the Ecrins National Park), wide-open slopes, plus pretty traditional villages.
Where is Isère?
The Isère ski resorts are nestled within dramatic mountain scenery, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of south-eastern France.
Isère's resorts have superb transport links and are very easy to reach from the gateway city of Grenoble. Flying to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport is a great choice, offering visitors short transfer times - just two hours to the main resorts, but as little as 30 minutes to many smaller ones. There are direct flights to Grenoble from many UK regional airports.
And if you'd rather ride the rails to resort, Isère is one of the easiest ski regions to reach by train - it only takes three hours to get to Grenoble from Paris, and just over two hours from Geneva.
Sporty and lively ski resorts in Isère
Isère’s most famous resorts are undoubtedly Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez. Both top out above 3,000m, are crowned with glaciers, and have large ski areas, each with hundreds of kilometres of runs, and a remarkable diversity of slopes, from beautifully-groomed pistes to exciting freeride.
In Les 2 Alpes - one of the most snowsure destinations in Europe - you can ski an incredible vertical drop of 2,300m without taking a single lift on your way down! And at Les 2 Alpes even those taking their first turns on the ski slopes can ski from the highest point at 3,600m, so no one misses out on the spectacular scenery in this popular resort. This resort's lively atmosphere also makes it an ideal location for group trips.
Set high on a large sunny plateau at 1,860m, Alpe d’Huez ski resort is one of the oldest in the Alps; the first ski lift was built here in the 1930s. This friendly ski resort has an excellent snow record and provides an impressive ski area of 250km includes the mythical Sarenne, at 16km the longest black run in Europe.
Perfect ski resorts for families in Isère
The Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski area also has a host of smaller, more family-friendly satellite resorts dotted around, all of which enjoy the same excellent slopes. These include laid-back Auris-en-Oisans, exciting Oz 3300 (formerly known as Oz-en-Oisans), and charming Vaujany. Oz offers dog-sledding for children, on a pared down sled designed especially for them. For experienced skiers it also offers an unforgettable sunset skiing descent from the stunning Dôme des Rousses (2,800m).
In Vaujany visitors can twirl around on an impressive ice rink or try curling or ‘Eisstock’, a cross between curling and boules. Also popular with families is a fondue evening with a ride home in a piste basher! Vaujany’s attractions also include a spa with a swimming pool, bowling alley and a climbing wall.
For family fun, Auris-en-Oisans has all-terrain electric ‘fat’ scooters and a forest trail to explore. It also has its own beginners' area and 'fun pistes' with brightly coloured statues of Jacques Le Bucheron (Jacques the Lumberjack) and his friends lining the slopes, which are perfect for young families.
Hidden gems in Isère
Isère is also home to some delightful off-the-beaten-track ski areas, for visitors wanting a more rounded, fully-French atmosphere.
Les 7 Laux offers 120km of pistes, with panoramic views over the Alps, and the unspoilt freeriding wilderness of the Pra valleys. Freestylers will love the resort’s superb terrain park, while families will enjoy the 723m Wiz Luge mountain coaster.
Grenoble’s ‘home’ resort is Chamrousse, which hosted the alpine skiing at the 1968 Winter Olympics, and at just 30km from the city, it’s easy to reach. Feeling daring? Fly through the air on the new 2km zipline, or for a unique experience, try night skiing here, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city lights below. Chamrousse has 100km of pistes, including a dedicated beginners’ area, and three popular ski touring routes.
In the Vercors Massif you’ll find two authentic French ski villages - lively Villard de Lans and the quietly charming Corrençon-en-Vercors.
Their large, shared ski area has a rich history going back a long way, with the first skiers on their slopes dating back to 1906. Here you’ll find 125km of wide cruising pistes, tree runs and powder fields, and 110km of cross-country skiing tracks. Both are really family-friendly: Villard-de-Lans has an innovative luge and ski park with the chance to try luge, snake gliss, yooner and airboards.
Sporty, family-friendly, off-the-beaten track…all you have to decide is which Isère is right for you!
Take the trip with Peak Retreats
Book your Isère ski trip with Peak Retreats for an unforgettable winter holiday. The company offers all the resorts featured here, with a wide variety of accommodation to suit all party types and budgets. All of these resorts have been awarded the prestigious Famille Plus Montagne quality hallmark by the French Ministry of Tourism, meaning the whole family can enjoy a special welcome, top-notch facilities and activities. All packages booked with Peak Retreats also include a return Eurotunnel crossing.
Go to peakretreats.co.uk for more information and to book your trip!