Risoul is one of the many ski resorts in the French Hautes-Alpes. The resort, which is 12 km above the original village of Risoul, is also known as Risoul 1850 or Risoul Station. It partners with neighbouring Vars to create 185 km worth of connected ski routes, divided over 113 slopes. It's tucked away in a rather remote spot of the French Alps, making it one of the cheaper winter sports destinations and a popular pick among young people and families.

At the bottom of the slopes

Understand edit

Most visitors make their way here to enjoy the good choice of snowy slopes. The joint domain that connects all the slopes of Risoul and Vars is Forêt Blanche, and many of the ski passes provide access to the entire area. In terms of after-ski activities and entertainment for the kids, Risoul has most to offer.

Get in edit

Due to its fairly remote location and limited access by road, Risoul isn't the most easily reachable ski resort (which was one of the main reasons of the 1974 bankruptcy). It's a few hours drive from all the nearest international airports, being Turin (2½ hours), Grenoble, Chambéry and Marseille (all just over 3 hours).

Many visitors come by car. From the direction of Marseille, Risoul is accessible through the A51 and N94. From the direction of Grenoble, it's either the N85 or the N91, again followed by the N94.

Get around edit

The station itself is not very big, and especially when you're not carrying your ski or snowboard gear, it's fairly easy to make your way on foot. Of course, remember that stairs and pavements can get icy so make sure to bring proper footwear.

During the winter sports season and during French holidays, free taxi buses run approximately hourly between the village and the station. Another free minibus circulates the station, allowing those who are staying in accommodations somewhat further from the pistes to get there and back without extensive walks. Check the Risoul website[dead link] for updates and running dates.

See edit

Do edit

  • Alpine skiing is of course one of the main activities in Risoul. Lessons are readily available, both through the nationwide French Ski School ESF and other, local schools. English speaking instructors are well available, so ask.
  • Risoul was an early adaptor of snowboarding, which is at least as popular there now as skiing is. As for skiing, lessons are readily available.
  • For advanced snowboarders and skiers, a funpark is available
  • Snowshoes or "raquettes" are available for sale and rent, and a number of itineraries are marked. Demonstrations and workshops are given occasionally and guides are available.
  • Snowmobiles are available for guided excursions. There are some smaller ones for children, too.
  • Take a ride down the luge rails. It's for recreational use, with cards being attached to a rails, but it's still fun and quite fast, especially for kids. A single ride down is €4 (€2 for kids under 8 years old).
  • Hiking is popular, especially outside the winter sports season. The mountainous surroundings full of trees is beautiful and a number of stunning routes are available.
  • The same goes for mountain biking.

Buy edit

There are enough shops in Risoul 1850 to provide visitors with all their basic needs. Upon arrival you'll probably be handed a map of the station, with the different shops marked on it. If not, pick it up at the tourist office or SARA registration office (right when entering the village). Virtually everything can be found in the buildings facing the "front de la neige" (the main starting place, where the lifts are) or in the streets directly behind. There are two SPAR supermarkets (one under de Melezes residence, the other at the Rue de la Forêt Blanche.) Almentation Andrieux Proxi (in the same street) has a comparable selection. There are two butchers, several bakeries (most open only until late in the morning, though) and some local delicatessen stores. The pharmacy is located right in the centre.

Of course, sports stores are plentiful, offering all kinds of sports gear, clothing and accessories. Most aren't super cheap, so if you're traveling on a budget it probably better to buy your gear beforehand.

Several souvenir stores sell postcards, but most don't sell stamps. For stamps, head to the post office which is also just on Rue de la Forêt Blanche.

Eat edit

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Risoul's ski resort has over 18,500 beds, divided over hotel rooms, chalets and many 2-, 3- or 4-star apartments. A large number of beds, some 6000 in total, are run by SARA. Pay attention to the location of your accommodation. Some are conveniently located right next to the slopes, at a stone's throw of the lifts, while others will require a walk. If you're a light sleeper, take into account that accommodations above bars and discos may come with late night noises.

Connect edit

Go next edit

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