Villars, Switzerland

The utlimate guide to Villars ski holidays in 2014 & 2015.

Ski holidays in Villars

Not just a sunny ski resort, Villars has an impressive ski area and caters really well for families. Topped with olde village charm, views of Lake Geneva, Mont-Blanc and the Dents du Midi and restaurants that even Heston raves about, a holiday here is likely to be a hard one to forget.

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
Snowboarding

At a glance:
Linked ski area Access to glacier skiing Charming Swiss village

Great for:
Groups Families Short transfer

Villars Ski Resort

Just west of Lake Geneva, Villars is part of the French-speaking region of the ‘Alpes Vaudoises’. The resort sits on a balcony at 1300m and is mostly south-facing – ideal for sun-soaked vistas of the Portes du Soleil and even sights of Mont Blanc on a clear day.

This eco-savvy destination is one of the greenest resorts in the world and has been awarded the Flocon Vert for sustainable development. The Swiss tourist office has also recognised it for the awesome children’s facilities (they’ve offered free lift passes to under 9s in recent years), and at just over an hour from Geneva, its perfect for anyone wanting to land and hit the slopes, stat.

The historic village dates as far back as the 12th century and saw its first skiers take to the slopes in 1913 – its heyday really taking shape during the glamour of the roaring twenties. The existing architecture honours this depth of history by sticking faithfully to the traditional alpine style; you’ll find that even the most recent constructions have rustic wooden designs to blend seamlessly with their neighbours.

The town is connected to the ski area via the Roc D’Orsay gondola and the BVB railway. The lift network also makes it possible to get to neighbouring Les Diablerets and the Gstaad glacier (the highest in the Vaud Alps) without the hassle of having to take off your skis.

A little further down (linked by road and rail) is the smaller village of Gryon, where the Chaux gondola also has access to the mountain. Gryon’s not quite so well-versed in terms of accommodation, but has some lovely restaurants and is just as handsome as its neighbour. Villars on the other hand is pretty established; there’s a town centre with various shops and cafes, a great selection of daytime activities and a varied nightlife. Don’t just take our word for it – celebrities from royalty to the Rolling Stones have enjoyed holidays here, with Grace Kelly and Mick Jagger as well as the likes of Richard Branson and Roger Moore having a taste of Villars powder.

stats & faq

Where:Switzerland, Vaud Alps.
Established:1913
Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Geneva115km, 1 hour 20 minutes
Ski Season: December - April, Glacier: October-May
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 57km40%

  • 45km39%

  • 13km10%

Top Altitude:3000m
Bottom Altitude:1300m
Resort Altitude:Villars 1300m
Longest run:Olden 7km
Slope Orientation:NSEW
Skiable Vertical:1800m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:Yes
Downhill Ski Runs:125km
Beginner slopes:40%
Intermediate:39%
Advanced slopes:10%
Ski Pass Prices:(adult 6 days)301 CHF

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 0cm
  • Base
  • 0cm
  • Forecast
  • 22cm

Web Cam

Villars web cams

View our detailed Villars snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Villars snow history.

Nearby resorts: Les Diablerets, Chatel, Champery

Skiing in Villars

The local ski area covers the four peaks of Petit Chamossaire, Grand Chamossaire and Chaux Ronde above Villars and the Croix des Chaux behind Gryon.

There’s some fantastic beginner skiing on the designated areas towards the back of town – as these are off the main piste network, they’re usually free to use. Venture towards the bowl at Bretaye where you’ll find some wide, sweeping blue runs like Bretay-Orsay and Chaux Ronde (the main learners’ slope). The Populaire Bretaye run meets the Lapins slope for an easy ride back to the village. Otherwise head on up to the Croix des Chaux via the Sodoleuvre chair for its spectacular tree-bordered cruise down to La Rasse.

Intermediates are spoilt with an excellent network of reds around the ridges of Roc D’Orsay and the Chaux Ronde. We love the Chamossaire Sud - a long, sprawling descent from the 2120m peak to Bretaye at 1810m. Towards Gryon there’s also the Sodoleuvre Rouge, a sheer run cutting across the Chaux’s western ridge. Taking the Perche Conche chair into Les Diablerets, you can reach the steeper area of Meilleret – try the Mazots Rouge if hot views are your thing, or hit Jorasse for a technically-demanding spree through the pines.

For experts, La Croix is a hair-raising drop at the summit of the slopes behind Gryon. It finishes a little above the Restaurant Des Chaux, then leads into a second black – Ruvines – a much longer cruise through the treeline. Having access to Les Diableret’s 3000m glacier is brilliant for seasoned skiers; snaking through the combe between Oldenhorn and Sanetschhorn, the 7km Olden is snow sure and best known for its fresh powder and tricky switchbacks. It’s also a haven for freeriders after particularly heavy snowfall. Villars has some spectacular trails too, which make amazing shortcuts back to the village: Bouquetins bypasses Bretaye, ideal for beating the late-afternoon madness and getting ahead for après drinks. Les Mosses also has an amazing boardercross through woodland, whilst at the Glacier 3000’s Monsterpark, the Big Mama line and half pipe are well worth sessioning.

Villars après Ski

Kick things off during the afternoon by settling for vin chauds at a slopeside café like Col De Bretaye. You can relax on the terrace with a sunny view of Mt Blanc and the surrounding runs - if you haven’t had lunch yet, we’ve heard the steak tartare is amazing!

Down in the village, the Plaza el Gringo has 3 bars that are popular with both tourists and locals. The liveliest is the El Gringo disco and there’s also the VIP club and Charlie’s that do a good range of drinks and have DJ’s most nights. The Moon Boot Lounge is an attractive modern building in the town centre, serving legendary cocktails and often hosting guest DJ’s and themed parties. Le Sporting has its own jazz bar whilst Harambee in Gryon often puts on concerts and discos.

With Heston Blumenthal raving about the food in restaurants like Lac des Chavonnes and L'Etable, you can enjoy some pretty amazing meals here. Les Francis is a definite favourite for its value for money Italian classics (the crepes are pretty tasty too). El Gringo has a reputation for the best pizzas in town and there’s even Asian cuisine at Sushi-B and Vieux Villars. For a taste of traditional Swiss mountain food, Tisonnier specialises in fondues, raclettes and rostis and has a lovely open fire.

All the classic winter activities are at hand including an ice rink and a 2km sledge run. The Télébob track at Gryon is sometimes open at night and there’s also a sports centre with bowling and a swimming pool.

Non-skiers have the awesome benefit of the Liberty Pass which gives you unlimited travel on the main ski lifts and entrance into most tourist attractions. There are loads of souvenir and craft shops as well as various wellness facilities. If you’ve got time to spare during the day, the Bains de Lavey thermal baths are an hour’s bus ride away, or closer to home is the stunning Royalp hotel spa – complete with gym, swimming pool (with fireplace!) and Jacuzzis.

When is the best time to ski Villars?

The relatively low ski area and limited snowmaking (12%) around Villars suggests that the resort’s best-suited to mid-season skiing – where snowfall tends to be at its highest. There are slopes facing in all directions, making it ideal for a variety of temperatures and conditions, although some of the most popular runs to the village don’t tend to see much of the white stuff around the warmer months. Shady runs through trees (like Ruvines) have the best chances of snow preservation, meanwhile the north-facing Meilleret domain does well to avoid the sun’s glare. Don’t forget that the glacier at Les Diablerets is covered in your lift pass too; it’s usually still skiable in the summer so should be in good shape whichever time you choose to visit!

Peak dates

If it’s anything like years gone by, you should expect to find an enchanting display of festive spirit during Christmas in Villars. The resort becomes a winter wonderland with pretty market stalls, seasonal entertainment and activities – with a cracker of a ski area to enjoy too! Browse Villars Christmas ski holidays ‣

New Year in Villars is a spectacular time to visit – full of music, food and fireworks! There are plenty of seasonal activities to get stuck into, alongside brilliant displays and some beautiful skiing to kick start your New Year in style. Browse Villars New Year ski holidays ‣

With its best snowfall traditionally being around February, you should expect some great skiing during Half-term in Villars. The town’s fantastic range of facilities guarantees everyone has a fab time away from the classroom – whether letting off steam in the sports centre or unwinding in a hotel spa. Browse Villars Half Term ski holidays ‣

The nearby glacier usually has some awesome snow during Easter in Villars. If you’re spending afternoons off the mountain, you’ll also find loads of brilliant activities in the resort to keep you occupied. Browse Villars Easter ski holidays ‣

top Villars accom

Club Med Villars-sur-Ollon

Club Med Villars-sur-Ollon

Villars reviews, 3 star rating and resort and ski area information is collated by SNO man from staff experience and customer feedback.
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