A small compact ski resort well suited for novice skiers and family groups. Resort Height: Le Recoin or Chamrousse 1650m (5,413ft), Les Domaines de l’Arselle or Chamrousee 1700m (5,577ft) and Roche Beranger or Chamrousse 1750m (5,741ft) Skiing Range: 1400m (4,593ft) – 2250m (7,382ft).
The small resort of Chamrousse is just over an hour from Grenoble, which was home to the Winter Olympics in 1968. Chamrousse was originally built as part of these Olympics and used for Alpine skiing events such as the downhill runs and giant slaloms for both men and women.
Afterwards, the resort was mainly used by local skiers, along with weekend visitors from the close by towns of Grenoble and Lyon. But over recent years, Chamrousse has become more popular with visitors from further afield, probably due to its picturesque setting. The resort sits on a plateau within the Belledonne mountain range of the French Alps, with stunning views across the Grenoble Valley.
The resort itself is split into 3 different levels – Chamrousse 1650 (Recoin), Chamrousse 1700 (Les Domaines de l’Arselle) and Chamrousse 1750 (Roche Boranger). However, they all link together with an efficient lift system and free shuttle bus, as well as merge into the same ski area.
Chamrousse opens up into a total 92kms of pisted area, with 24 easy blue and green runs for beginners, 16 red runs for intermediate level and 6 testing black runs for the more advanced skier. It is also home to Sunset Park, a great snow park dedicated to freestylers and boarders. This snow park also contains a brilliant Kids Park with a mini bank slalom; a series of jumps and box slides, plus much, much more for confident young boarders and skiers.
There are some brilliant nursery slopes in Chamrosse, which are perfectly sized for early skiers to practice on. When ready to move on, there are easy, gentle green and blue runs located on the Arselle plateau. Also try the ‘Les Cretes’ blue run, where you can enjoy some beautiful scenery as the piste winds its way down, merging with the ‘Ours’ blue run which takes you back through the trees.
The red runs are great for intermediate skiers to build their confidence on – including the scenic run, the ‘Arolles’ which takes you down to pass the Lake du Vallons. Head further up for superb views across the Grenoble valley and wind your way down on some of the tree line runs which head back towards the resort.
The more experienced skier will want to try out their skills on the ’1968 Olympic’ black run – an original piste from the Winter Olympics. Be warned, this has 805m of pure vertical drop! Also try the ‘Couloir de Casserousse’, which is another testing black run.
Chamrousse welcomes all levels of boarder on the pistes and also offers good tuition for beginners on the nursery slopes. However, the more advanced boarders will probably want to head for the snow park called Sunset Park. Here you will find ‘The Slopestyle’ area, which is dedicated to freestylers of a good level with two big airs, rails, boxes and a red level hip. Also try the ‘Boarder Cross’ which runs along the snow park at Chamrousse 1750. This area guarantees banks, abrupt descents, slopes breaks and great fun for all snow boarders.
The nightlife in Chamrousse is much quieter than that of the larger French resorts and mainly consists of a smaller bars and cafes. Popular choices include ‘Le K’DOX’ and the ‘L’Iceberg Cafe’ – both of which are lively music bars.
Chamrousse offers you an excellent range of good value restaurants. Try ‘Le Grillon’ for traditional French cooking with a family and friendly atmosphere – a great spot for crepes and other mountain specialities. ‘Chez Georges’ can be found at the bottom of the slopes and also serves traditional French cooking. Another popular choice is ‘La Pierre Chaude’ which offers local specialities in a traditional mountain setting, with a cosy fireplace lit in the restaurant every evening.
Chamrousse offers a range of non-skiing activities such as ice skating, para-gliding, snowshoe walking and dog sledding. There is also a local cinema if you fancy a night at the movies.
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