The 3 villages of Le Recoin, Roche-Béranger and Bachat-Bouloud, often simply referred to as “Chamrousse 1650, 1750 and 1700” in accordance with their respective altitudes, together form a ski resort with Olympic pedigree. Built for the Winter Olympics in the 1960s, Chamrousse has now become the “local” ski area for residents of Grenoble, situated 25km away, and has also become a popular winter destination for families. The fact that this modern resort faces to the West has two particular advantages; firstly that great snow conditions are a near-certainty, and secondly that it enjoys plenty of sunshine during the afternoon and evening. “Chamrousse” directly translates as “red fields”; indeed the clouds and snow fields do appear to glow red each day at sunset.
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Thanks to their various locations in different sections of the ski area, the three above-mentioned ski stations each offer access to a different selection of runs. The original station at Chamrousse 1650 (Recoin) is particularly well-known for its Olympic heritage, with such runs as the famous “Casserouche”, and various other challenging slopes starting at 2250m on the “Croix de Chamrousse”. Chamrousse 1750 (Roche- Béranger) was built at the same time as Chamrousse 1650, but has more in common with the newest station at Chamrousse 1700 (Bachat-Bouloud), in that they both offer a large range of mainly easy-medium level runs, that snake across the largely clear area of mountainside underneath Croix de Chamrousse. Whilst Roche-Béranger is most notable for its deep powder skiing facilities, Bachat-Bouloud, which sits on the l'Arselle plateau, enjoys the best possible connection to the ski area, via the “l'Arselle” chairlift.
The existence of 2 separate snow parks allows Chamrousse to also cater excellently for boarders of all ages and abilities. The “Sunset Park” just above Chamrousse 1750 and Chamrousse 1700 provides a “boardercross” run and many different challenging obstacles, whereas the kids park lower down offers plenty for younger boarders to get their teeth into, including its own “boardercross” run and a racetrack.
Thanks to the provision of this second snow park, as well as many other facilities such as a ski kindergarten for children as young as 3 months, Chamrousse has been awarded the label “Les p’tits montagnards”, which recognises ski resorts with outstanding provision for families.
But of course it’s not just the young that Chamrousse provides for. Skiers and boarders that are looking for some skiing with a difference will also find themselves right at home. A particularly special experience is a nighttime run on the Piste Gaboureaux, with spectacular views not only of the starry night sky, but also of the lights of Grenoble. Those looking for some unusual ways of discovering the areas below Croix de Chamrousse can take a ski tour or indulge in some off-piste skiing with the help of a knowledgeable mountain guide. Another alternative is a motorised adventure on a so-called “snow scooter”.
A small but potentially life-saving excursion can also be made to the “Arva Park”, at the summit of Croix de Chamrousse, where a specially designed centre educates skiers about the risks posed by avalanches, as well as providing basic training in the search and rescue of avalanche victims.
The absolute no.1 place to be for cross-country fans is Roche-Béranger. High up on a wooded plateau, near the edge of the resort, an idyllic network of routes provides a total of 55km of cross-country excitement, including a single 9km circuit, a 3km dog sled circuit as well as its own chairlift.
The provision of free shuttle buses both throughout the day and at night means that that holidaymakers can skip back and forth between the three sections of the resort at will.
The impressive variety of ski runs at Chamrousse is matched only by the equally impressive range of other activities for guests to get involved in. Visitors have everything from snowshoe hiking, dog sled rides, ice skating and snowmobiling, through to ice diving, ice driving and paragliding to choose from. Chamorousse is of course perfectly equipped to cater for tobogganing fans, who will find 2 runs, at Chamrousse 1650 and Chamrousse 1700, as well as the opportunity to sledge all the way down from the highest point in the ski area into the valley, during the day on Wednesdays and at night on Fridays.
When the time comes to kick off the ski boots and wind down after all the excitement of a day in the ski area, Chamrousse certainly doesn’t disappoint, with many welcoming cafés, bars, restaurants and clubs (a particular hub for those wanting to dance the night away is the club “La Tempera”). For a more relaxing way spend time away from the slopes, the resort also has its very own spar.