- Picture-perfect skiing holidays far from the intense larger resorts.
- Plenty of activities off the hill, from snowmobiling, husky sledding and ice skating.
- Just under 20 restaurants to pick from, and a few bars for an evening drink.
Les Orres is a charming ski destination in the southern French Alps, far away from the mega resorts further north. Made up of two smaller resorts, Les Orres 1650 and Les Orres 1800, there's a total of 100km of pistes which should keep most intermediate to advanced skiers occupied for a week. Established as a ski resort for the past 45 years, Les Orres has exceptional views over the Serre Poncon and Embrun Valley. A good mix of runs ensures the area attracts families and friends of all abilities.
While the resort may have been established for some time, it simply continues to get better, providing more and more facilities and activities to attract visitors. For those who love anything sporty and a challenge away from the slopes, the resort offers paragliding, snowmobiling and fly jumping. Those who might search for a little more relaxing après ski can relax in the sauna at the massage centre. The resort works hard to ensure childcare for all ages is available and over 50 WiFi hots spots should prevent teenagers becoming bored.
A ski resort can have the best of activities but it is no good without one specific detail, snow! The resort typically opens in mid-December and stays open until mid-April. Snow conditions are average for the Southern Alps and the slopes have enough snow cannons to cover almost 60% of the area and therefore conditions are generally good.
The two villages of Les Orres sit at 1650m and 1800m respectively whereas the altitude range of the ski area is between 1550-2720m. As mentioned, the resort attracts a mixture of abilities, especially families, and thrill-seekers, with its high gradients.The resort consists of 7 green, 6 blue, 20 red and 4 black pistes. There are 19 lifts and a snowboard park.
The gentle green areas are ideal for those who are just starting out. There are several runs to try so it does not get overcrowded. Children have a dedicated area at the foot of the slopes. There are wide runs at the base of Les Orres, perfect for practicing, and there are beginnerpistes above the Les Fontaines chairlift.
The great thing about Les Orres is the stunning scenery from the wide open slopes, which head into the trees. Genepi and Grand Cobone are among the prettiest, however if you are looking for something a little more challenging, head over to Les Orres 1650.
For the skiers who want to take it to the next level, Les Orres can satisfy their needs. Whilst the resort is more suited to beginners and intermediates, there are four challenging black runs to really get the adrenalin going. Choose from panoramic views or forest skiing, with the Grand Cabane and the Myrtilles runs. If cross country skiing is more your thing, there are 30 km of pistes available so you should not get bored, plus piste-access is free as there is no need for lift pass.
Unfortunately you will have to leave the slopes at some point, but Les Orres has plenty to keep you entertained. The resort is proud to offer husky sledding, toboggans, snow motorbikes, snow scooters, snowshoeing and an ice rink. There are all the usual ski shops and boutiques as well as a cinema and bowling alley. If you need of some rest and relaxation, head to spa for a sauna or book a massage for those weary muscles.
Across the resort, there are just under 20 restaurants, serving everything from traditional mountain fare to Michelin-starred plates.
Cote Terroir: This is a typically French resort and all the food is homemade. Melted cheese and cured meats are the order of the day, and prices are quite good, although be warned there's a very tempting artisan shop next door!
La Table: This is one to book, as it gets very busy. A small menu serves delicious French cuisine paired with fabulous wines. Naturally you do pay more here, so book this one for your final night or a treat dinner.
Lou Cugilloun: when in the mountains, it would be rude not to fondue. Frequented by locals, expect platters of cured meats, cheese fondues and crème caramel; proper rustic dining at its best.
If you are something of a party animal and want to drink into the small hours, this is perhaps not the best resort for you. However, groups of families and friends looking for excellent skiing and simple, cosy nightlife will have a good time. The resort has only one club, and a few bars, Of the two villages that make up Les Orres, 1650 and 1800, 1650 has slightly better nightlife and is a bus ride away.
The ski season normally runs open between mid-December and mid-April.
There is one type of lift pass available for a variety of durations and for both children, adults and seniors. Book with Madame Vacances to get your 5% discount.
There are a wide range of ski shops available providing equipment hire. Book in advance to get a better deal and why not book directly with Madame Vacances for convenience and a 30% discount.
The ESF, France's largest ski school, has comprehensive tutoring offering ski and snowboard lessons to children and adults of all abilities, and the international school offers the same structure of lessons.
As a family resort, childcare and facilities for the families are highly valued here. Les Pitchounets is a nursery providing daycare for children aged between six months to six years. Juni' Orres Club provides a facility for children aged between 6 -12 years old. There is also a night service which means your children can be taken care of between the hours of 6pm -10pm, allowing you to have dinner in peace.
The ESF snow garden is located in a sunny area with a magic carpet conveyor belt. There is a special area for ski instruction and children between the ages of 3-5 can be taught there.
An added adventure is the Trappers's Excursion where children can learn to track animals, learn how to build an igloo and then enjoy a nice warming cup of hot chocolate.
There are numerous off areas and free car parking outdoors. The Champ Lacas Car Park has 400 spaces and offers direct access to the ski area. Usually advice applies for driving in the mountains; be equipped with snow chains and know how to use them!