Auris-en-Oisans is second only to Alpe d'Huez (with which it is linked) in respect of bragging rights for having the most extensive local ski area in the Grandes Rousses domain. This compact little resort is as close to Les Deux Alpes as it is to Alpe d'Huez, and has great views over the upper Romanche Valley towards Les Deux Alpes and the classic Alpine peaks of the Ecrins National Park beyond.
The actual ski resort is located at Auris Station 1600, not the eponymous Auris-en-Oisans village which is perched on the mid-altitude flank of the valley some distance below the ski slopes; at 1,600m above sea level the altitude is sufficiently high to ensure that skiing to resort level is possible throughout the winter season.
Auris is marketed as a destination for families and the resort does make a genuine effort to offer the friendly atmosphere and facilities needed to ensure that children feel welcome and happy here. The majority of visitors are French, which helps preserve the Gallic ambiance that attracts discerning international guests to such a small non-mainstream ski resort in the first place.
Being so close to Les Deux Alpes, and yet linked to Alpe d'Huez, means that Auris is an ideal choice for self-drive holidaymakers wishing to explore this region of the Southern French Alps.
The ski area of Auris is quite distinct from the core Grandes Rousses sectors of Alpe d'Huez, which sits on the opposite side of the deep Gorge de Sarenne separating the two resorts.
The Auris slopes are spread over three local summits that form a semicircular arc around the resort. The area features a sheltered wooded hillside with several genuinely green-grade slopes that are perfect for progressing beginners and nervous novices. Absolute beginners and very young children start off on nursery slopes and snow gardens right beside the resort's pedestrian plaza. A small snowpark occupies the uppermost slopes on the central summit of Les Sures directly above the resort, and there are a pair of good blue runs sweeping back down towards the base area; more advanced riders can drop down from Les Sures into the outermost fringes of the domain to Le Chatelard via a tough mogulled black piste, although there are blue and red alternative routes too.
The prime sector of Auris, and the link to Alpe d'Huez, is accessed via a fast chairlift which arrives on the mid-altitude flanks of the Signal de l'Homme. This mountain offers Auris' best intermediate-level terrain, on predominately red-graded north-facing slopes, which face directly across to Alpe d'Huez. The principal link with Alpe d'Huez is a two-way cliff-hugging chairlift that descends/ascends the chasm between the resorts, although the pistes of the two areas do also splice together along the floor of this gorge.
Off the slopes and apres ski
Auris is not that large and most of the accommodation here is in self-catering apartments, so most visitors cook for themselves and create their own evening entertainment. There are only a handful of laid-back local bars plus a couple of simple restaurants, but no real leisure facilities except for a small video-games arcade and a sledging slope. This area's most highly-rated restaurant, L'Auberge de la Foret, located down in the hamlet of Les Cours, a short drive or taxi ride away from the resort, occasionally hosts French cabaret-style live music/singers.
Bars and clubs
L'Auberge de la Foret