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Risoul

Some of the best snow in the Southern Alps can be found on the Forêt Blanche – on the runs between the trees as well as up at the summit, where views go on for miles. With its purpose built resort and charming old hamlets, Risoul makes a super base for the week.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Forested ski area • Linked with Vars • Risoul 1850, village and hamlets

Great for: • Beginners • Families

Some of the best snow in the Southern Alps can be found on the Forêt Blanche – on the runs between the trees as well as up at the summit, where views go on for miles. With its purpose built resort and charming old hamlets, Risoul makes a super base for the week.

Risoul Resort

Guillestre in the Southern Alps is home to lovely Risoul, a parish of tiny hamlets dotted about under a modern ski resort.

Most of the hamlets have their own guesthouses and hotels - Rua and its town hall being the nerve centre of the lot, Gaudissard the highest at 1300m and Hamlet L’Eglise arguably the prettiest, named after its 16th century Romanesque church. They’re delightfully compact and traditional, with church steeples, wood and stone buildings and surrounding forest.

On the other hand, Risoul 1850 has been purpose built on the mountainside – a collection of tall apartment blocks and hotels within easy reach of the ski lifts. It’s been here since the seventies, when the population of the quiet hamlets was diminishing and locals (AKA ‘Risoulins’) decided to build a ski resort to put Risoul back on the map.

There’s a reason visitors opt for the less attractive resort over the hamlets, and it’s the swift access to the Forêt Blanche ski area. Risol connected with Vars in 1990 to create a fabulous 185km linked ski area. Its name comes from the larch forest that blankets the mountain from 2200m and up top, sights of the Écrins and Queyras National Parks, Mont Viso and Mont-Blanc will blow your ski boots off.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Southern Alps, France

Established: 1970

Open: December – April

Downhill: 185km

View our detailed Risoul 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 Risoul snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Turin Airport (TRN)157km, 2h15
Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)227km, 2.5 hours
Grenoble–Isère Airport (GNB)199km, 3h10
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 66 runs

  • 40 runs

  • 10 runs

Top Altitude:2750m
Bottom Altitude:1650m
Resort Altitude:1850m
Longest run:8km
Slope Orientation:N W E
Vertical Drop:900m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes – snow park
Glacier:No

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Risoul web cams
Downhill Runs:185km
Beginner slopes:
Intermediate:
Advanced slopes:
Lift Pass Price: €190 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Vars

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Risoul

With 21 green runs and 45 blues, beginners and improvers will have a ball in Risoul. The Espace Debutants (usually free to use) is near the village base, with easy access to the Chardons and Vallon Vert greens for progression. When you’ve got your ski legs, the R12 and R4 chairs serve some gorgeous tree-lined blues back to the village (we like Faucon). The ski area planners have laid out the pistes so learners can ski back home from the Peyrefolle summit like all other levels of skier and snowboarder – and we love them for it.

You can link over to Vars via the Col des Saluces blues, continuing down to the neighbouring resort on runs like Jas du Boeuf and Serre Banet.

The red runs here feature a mix of terrain – some groomed into crisp corduroy, others (like Lac and Aigles from L’Homme de Pierre) left with bumps and powder on snowy days. There are some excellent runs from Pointe de Raziz, which stream down towards the tree-line from 2571m. Don’t miss the highest point of the area, Pic de Chabrieres, where the red Col Sans Nom links with Pro Rond and other blues to Peyrefolle. The Olympic Superior and Inferior pistes are another favourite, which we could easily repeat again and again.

Experts have ten black runs to tick off the list, including the Epervier and Gentiane pistes (get to them via Peyrefolle) where bumps and powder are allowed to build up. Towards Vars, Coni from the top of the ski area is a must-ski, where the views are incredible.

The Vars half is freestyling central, with seven areas assigned to different levels. For freeriders, powder fields, gulleys and forest runs can be found all over the Forêt Blanche – get a guide to show you the best of it.

Risoul Apres Ski

Families are the main focus here, which means the après is less rowdy, more relaxed. That’s not to say you can’t find a decent watering hole in these parts - Grotte du Yeti has sister bars in Les 2 Alps and other resorts, and is a favourite for big themed parties where crowds spill out from the terrace. In the resort centre, Le Babao Rhum do all the classic cocktails and a cracking rum punch, while Pub La Place is a good spot for draught and bottled beers as well as whisky.

For food-focussed evenings, there are plenty of places to eat. Contrary to its name, Le Marmite is somewhere everyone loves and no one seems to hate, serving regional favourites like Tartiflette and fondue. Le Pitchounet serves everything from soup to fries and crepes (try the stuffed potatoes), while Le Chalet is a popular spot for raclette.

Ice skating, mushing and climbing frozen waterfalls are some of the wintery activities on offer here, while anyone needing a break from the great outdoors can relax in the Pause O Spa on the main street.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Risoul

When is the best time to ski Risoul?

One of the first things you hear about the Forêt Blanche area is how wonderfully quiet the ski area is. The lift company have brought in lift systems and queue management from the USA, creating a lift capacity of 57,000 snow lovers an hour. Even on the busiest day of the season you shouldn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes to get on a lift.

Another thing often mentioned is that Risoul has some of the best snow in the Southern Alps. Over 80% of the slopes here are above 2000m, and this with the dry climate and numerous north facing runs helps the area hold onto the white stuff well throughout the season. If things need a kick start, there’s also snowmaking on more than half of the runs.

Peak Dates

The Marché de Noël usually takes place in the lead up to Christmas in Risoul, with Noel Scandinave events on previous years featuring parades and husky sleigh rides with Santa until December 31st.

Music concerts and family activities have welcomed in the New Year in Risoul in seasons past.

Head to the Southern Alps for Half Term in Risoul, where lift queues don’t tend to take over the week.

Thanks to the bulk of the ski area being above 2000m and a host of north facing pistes, Easter in Risoul often still sees good skiing conditions.

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Families in Risoul

Risoul’s ‘Espace Enfants’ childcare centre looks after youngsters from 6 months to 10 years old and opens throughout the ski season. The crèche for 6 month olds to 3-year-olds (find it above the ticket office and French ski school in the middle of the resort) has a dormitory, playpen and more toys than you can shake a stick at. 3-10 year olds are looked after in La Garderie (above the tourist office) and services include the ski school run, quiet time and indoor games as well as fun outdoors sledging and igloo making.

The Ski Kindergarten gently coaches little ones through their stops and turns, soon seeing them glide down the greens above the village. Those with more ski weeks under their belt can get involved in the Zing Zone’s freestyle area with its boardercross and forgiving obstacles.

Look out for exciting activities like husky rides with Father Christmas if you’re here in December, or swap ski boots for skates on the local ice rink.

GroupsGroup Holidays Risoul

With the Forêt Blanche to explore by day, and the likes of Grotte du Yeti to gather in come sundown, Risoul has a lot to offer groups. Spend less time in lift queues and more time roaming the linked ski area, which has a good amount for all levels of skier and boarder. If you’re a bunch of beginners, share the cost of a private instructor who’ll have you zooming down from the Peyrefolle summit in no time. Or, for more seasoned snow lovers, a mountain guide will show you some incredible steeps and deeps off the beaten track. Non skiers can visit the charming hamlets further down the valley, or sample the local spas and cafes. The nightlife isn’t as huge as Val d’Isere, but make Yeti or Babao your local for the week for music, drinks and dancing. For something different, get the gang husky sledding or climbing frozen waterfalls…

More Risoul Holiday Resources


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