Chamrousse ski resort
Chamrousse is a mid-sized, purpose-built ski resort that’s one of the closest in France to a major city and airport – in its case Grenoble, only 30km (19 miles) away.
Although there has been downhill skiing here since the early years of the sport, Chamrousse really leapt to fame when it hosted the Alpine events at the 1968 Winter Olympics. These were particularly important to the French as local boy Jean-Claude KIlly won three gold medals, rocketing him to worldwide fame – the giant ski area that links Tignes and Val d’Isere is named after him.
Since the Grenoble Olympics, now nearly 50 years ago, Chamrousse has established itself as a low-key, low-budget, family-friendly destination and a weekend snow fix provider to the nearby city’s residents. Most accommodation is provided in apartment complexes and there’s a modest selection of shops and restaurants.
There are two main resort bases at Chamrousse: Chamrousse 1650 (Recoin) and Chamrousse 1750 (Roche Béranger), which are linked by ski slopes, forests tracks and an efficient bus service. The slopes extend above and below the resort with spectacular 360-degree views from the highest point, Croix de Chamrousse at 2,250m (7,382ft).
Chamrousse is located at the southern end of the Belledonne mountain range, 30km (20 miles) away from Grenoble. The resort is in the Isère region of France, part of the southern French Alps.
On the slopes
Chamrousse’s southerly location and south and west facing slopes would not usually provide the best combination for snow cover; but the resort’s 100-plus years of skiing has proven it to be a relatively reliable destination. This has also been enhanced in recent years with increased investment in snowmaking equipment.
The 90km (56 miles) of runs here provide something for all ability levels, from well thought-out beginner runs to the challenges of the Olympic men’s downhill course. But much of the terrain is composed of glorious wide, fast, intermediate level sunny slopes perfect for day-long cruising.
Chamrousse is a great choice for beginners with its easy-to-ride lifts and convenient slopeside access to facilities. The resort also affords good value for money with its ‘mini-area’ ski pass providing access to key, easy trails and the four drag lifts and one chair lift that serve them.
For advanced skiers, the resort’s greatest challenge is the Casserousse couloir, with its 850m (2789ft) vertical descent. Accomplished skiers can test their avalanche awareness skills in Chamrousse’s ARVA Park at the top of the slopes, while there’s also night skiing on the floodlit Les Gaboureaux run.
Boarders and freestyle skiers will enjoy the resort’s Sunset Park in Chamrousse 1750, and for younger riders, the Kids’ Park offers mini boardercross, slopestyle, tables and a speed skiing course
Those who prefer to take things at a slower pace will love the 40km (25 miles) of cross-country tracks for all ability levels in the Nordic area.