Chamrousse Ski Area

06/29/2018 - Brandi Gulick

The magical Chamrousse ski area, located in the French Belledonne massif, is considered a meeting point for winter sports fans in the Grenoble area. The high altitude and orientation towards the west guarantee snow security even until spring. The family-friendly infrastructure and the diverse activities available both on and off the piste make the ski area a favourite amongst families with children, while still offering challenges for demanding skiers.

View towards Grenoble from the Chamrousse pistes.

1) General information about the Chamrousse ski area

• Venue for the 1968 Winter Olympics

• Excellent children and family-friendly ski area

• Special attractions like the igloo village at the Croix de Chamrousse

The “Chamrousse Alpine Park” ski area spreads out along the side of the Belledonne massif, below the 2,250 m high Croix de Chamrousse. Differing from the other naturally transformed winter sports resorts, Chamrousse was first built solely for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Today, ambitious skiers can consider taking on the “Casse-Rousse” Olympic run, for which Jean-Claude Killy took home the gold.

The Chamrousse ski area is comprised of 90 km of piste, which extend from 1,400 m – 2,250 m altitude. Of the 90 km of piste, 45 km are easy, 35 km are intermediate, and 10 km are challenging. 17 lifts provide for smooth transportation, and buses also run between the individual areas of the resort.

During the season, an average of about 31 cm of snow is recorded in the valley and 59 cm up on the mountain. In March, the snowiest month of the season, a record amount of 160 cm of snow was recorded at the Croix de Chamrousse mountain station. Thanks to the high altitude in the mountains, the Chamrousse ski area counts as one of the snowiest ski areas in the western Alps and therefore receives a full five stars from our SnowTrex experts.

Chamrousse’s entire selection overall has been rated with 4.5 stars. Along with diverse pistes, the ski area also excites with its huge snowpark for snowboarders and freestylers, its gorgeous ski tours through deep snow areas, and a large selection for cross-country skiers. In Roche-Béranger (Chamrousse 1750), 55 km of prepared trails can be enjoyed, as well as a 3 km long dog trail.

2) Chamrousse ski area map

3) Skiing in the Chamrousse ski area

Experienced skiers can head to Le Recoin to find the Olympic runs from 1968. The men’s run, “Casse-Rousse”, which has an 850 m difference in altitude along its 4 km length, is a cult classic, while the women’s run has recently been categorised as an intermediate piste. The 2,250 m high Croix de Chamrousse peak is the starting point for several other challenging black pistes that run down to Chamrousse 1650.

The neighbouring Roche Béranger is made up of easy to intermediate pistes, along which beginners and children feel comfortable. Here, the popular deep snow areas of “Les Pourettes”, “Lac Archard” and “Les Vans” can also be found, where freeriders can enjoy plenty of powder off the piste.

Open terrain for ski tours and deep snow runs.

An unforgettable experience can be had when riding along one of the illuminated pistes at night, like the “Piste des Crêtes” and the “Piste de la Perche”. When visibility is good, skiers can see the glow of Grenoble below them.

Chamrousse 1750 is also a snowboarder and freestyler destination what with the “Sunset Park” offering a large selection of obstacles for beginners, intermediates, and experts. Facilities are rounded off with skicross, boardercross and parallel slalom runs. In the bordering “Kid park”, children can practice on their own racing and boardercross runs.

Easily navigable pistes help distinguish the ski area.

The kid-friendly selection available in the Chamrousse ski area has already been awarded several times. Little winter sports fans are welcome to attend the guest kindergarten while their parents are out on the pistes. In the “Parcours du Petit Montagnard”, located between Chamrousse 1650 and 1750, children learn all about the resort of Chamrousse and the alpine mountain world around them in fun ways. Children ages 3 and up will be offered the chance to participate in ski lessons and try out diverse, easy practice runs in the “Family Park”.

Tobogganing fans will certainly get their money’s worth thanks to the several toboggan runs available, like the speedy “Luge Park” (ages 6 and up) with its 2.1 km length. A real highlight is the run from the Croix de Chamrousse into the valley, which is only available to experience Wednesdays during the day and Fridays in the evenings.

Paradise for cross-country fans can be found in the Nordic Park near Chamrousse 1700 with 40 km of dreamy, prepared trails along a high plateau including the 9 km long “Astragale”. Dog lovers can even let their furry friends join in on the fun when riding along the 3 km long dog trail.

There’s no question: for this extensive selection for skiers, from beginners to experts and freeriders, the ski area has been rightfully awarded a full five stars by our experts. The selection for families with children has also been awarded a full five stars.

4) Expert rating

Current status and further information with SnowTrex.

5) Activities besides skiing

In the ski area, the word “boring” doesn’t exist. From the ice rink in Chamrousse 1650 to extraordinary excursions like dog sledding or riding along child-friendly snowmobiles, families will find a plethora of activities for young and old alike.

A speedy ride with the snowmobile really get your heart racing.

Those specifically looking for an extra special adventure can join up with a group and go ice diving in a mountain lake at 2,000 m altitude. Dive together into the ice-cold water and discover a unique world of light and colour below a thick layer of ice. Another unforgettable experience is the feeling of endless freedom while taking a paragliding tandem flight over the heavily snowed ski area and the French Alps. Furthermore, helicopter circle tours take off regularly from Chamrousse 1650 and make their way over the Belledonne massif.

Dinner in a unique atmosphere can be experienced in the igloo village way up high at the Croix de Chamrousse, which can be reached with the cable car. Guests can then decide to either head back to their accommodations in the village after enjoying exquisite fondue, or they can stay the night in one of the cosy igloos on the peak.

In the gournmet country of France, no one has to worry about their culinary well-being. Those who need to recharge between two runs can enjoy gorgeous views from the sun terrace at the Croix de Chamrousse at 2,250 m altitude. The restaurant serves up regional specialities and in the separate self-service area, you’ll find international snacks perfect for a pick-me-up.

In Chamrousse 1650 and Chamrousse 1750, cosy restaurants crowd together side by side, like the “Le Sorbier”, “Au Péché Mignon” and the “Le Chalet des Neiges”. An absolute must is the classic Savoy fondue and raclette. Wine lovers will enjoy the “L’i-Glou”, where over 100 select wines are available to choose from.

In the family-friendly Chamrousse ski area, après ski is rather subtle. However, many skiers can check out the “K-Dox” at the L’Arselle lift, where a DJ provides keeps the party going until 2:00 a.m., or they can stop by the “L’Iceberg”. Those looking for more après ski can ride the 30 km down into Grenoble with its nightlife lead by numerous bars and clubs.

6) Locations in the ski area

The resort of Chamrousse is the centre of the ski area. The resort is actually composed of three villages: Le Recoin, Roche-Béranger and Bachat-Bouloud, all of which are better known as Chamrousse 1650, Chamrousse 1750 and Chamrousse 1700, which are respective of their altitudes. Free buses run between the individual villages.

The “Spa Belladonna” in Chamrousse 1650 is a popular destination for skiers who are looking to treat their muscles to a little relaxation after a day of skiing. There is even a small cinema that shows current movies from France and Hollywood in the evenings.

Sunsets like this one practically invite you to go tobogganing. “Chamrousse” certainly doesn’t mean “Red Fields” for nothing.

The name “Chamrousse” translates more or less to “Red Fields” (French: “Champs Roux”). This is referring to the magnificent sunsets in the ski area, which bathe the snow-covered slopes in a golden-red light. A real spectacle that can be enjoyed from the terrace with a drink.

7) Arrival in the ski area

The Chamrousse ski area can be reached via Grenoble. Arrival by car occurs either via Lyon and then along the A43 and A48, or from Geneva along the A41. From Grenoble, continue along the D5 to Brié-et-Angonnes and then continue on the D111 towards Chamrousse.

The nearest airport is in Grenoble. Many hotels offer a pick-up service by shuttle from the airport. A more affordable alternative to costly taxis is the public bus: the 7310 bus runs to the bus station (Gare Routière). From there, the 6010 runs to Chamrousse. Buses also stop at the Grenoble train station and take train passengers with them. The French train offers combo tickets – “iDNeige” -, which covers the train ride to Grenoble and the connecting transfer with the bus.

8) Weather, snow depths, and webcams

Want to check and see if the sun is shining in the ski area? SnowTrex provides information about the weather and snow depths, and also gives you the chance to view webcams images.

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