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Risoul

Risoul Ski Resort Guide

Risoul, France

Rated: 4/5 (from 6 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForExpert Skiers, Intermediates, Beginners, Snowboarders, Snowfall and Apres-Ski!
Total Piste Length180km
Highest Lift2,750m
Resort Height1,850m
 Nearest AirportsTurin Cuneo and Turin Caselle
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Risoul

Very pleasant for a purpose-built centre, Risoul has the largest doorstep skiing area in the Southern Alps, being linked to Vars. Pistes are usually quiet with lift queues a rarity, unlike the sun, which shines 320 days a year.

Summary

The French ski resort of Risoul is in the French Alps at an altitude of 1,850m, with 180km of marked runs.

Risoul is part of the La Forêt Blanche ski area with access to 180km of downhill skiing, with 108 marked pistes, served by a total of 59 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Risoul itself (180km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other La Forêt Blanche ski resort of Vars. Risoul is directly linked by Ski Lift to the ski areas of Vars.

The ski resort itself is at 1,850m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 2,750m, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Risoul?

The next notable snow forecast is 8cm, expected on 5 December, with around 16cm forecast over the next 7 days.

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Snow this week

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Ski Area Stats

Risoul Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
 3 2km
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
1425km
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
1838km
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
1015km
Downhill
Total Length
180km
Cross Country
Total Length
30km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
26

La Forêt Blanche Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
10
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
37
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
42
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
19
Downhill
Total Length
180km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
59

Altitudes

Risoul Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift2,750m
Resort Altitude (Risoul)1,850m
Lowest Piste1,650m
Max Vertical1,100m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Risoul
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers
Beginners
Snowboarding
Snow
Apres-Ski

Risoul Overview

Risoul has grown in popularity over the past two decades and is now one of the few resorts which attracts most of the major international tour operators. Although the resort has few distinguishing features it is invariably described as, very pleasant for a purpose-built centre whilst the large Foret Blanche ski area of which it is a part is the largest doorstep skiing area in the Southern Alps.

The idea to build a ski resort here dates back to the mid 1940s when the team responsible for envisaging the Espace Killy and the Trois Vallées looked at the area. However, work on Risoul did not start until 1970. The skiing, which is linked to the larger and older and 'very French' resort of Vars, takes place in sunny bowls, with most of the runs ultimately returning to the resort base, so it's hard to get lost. Pistes are usually quiet with lift queues a rarity, unlike the sun, which shines 320 days a year.

Risoul is located 300km (187 miles) north of the Mediterranean city of Nice and within the Queyras Regional Park, an area of great scenic beauty. The resort has been sympathetically designed using local larch wood and the pink stone of Guillestre region.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in Risoul is 2km long and the most difficult run is the 'Les Vautours'.

Skiing

Risoul's large sunny terrain is almost entirely within a vast snowbowl that allows runs to radiate out from all directions. The connection over to Vars, which was completed in 1986, is well established at a high point on the circuit giving a snowsure link and enabling a total skiable terrain tally of 180km (over 106 miles).

Beginners are likely to start by using special learner tows right by the resort on the wide sunny slopes, great for staggering to one of the cafés after classes end. The compact nature of the resort means most guests will find they can get from apartment, to rentals, to ski school, to lessons to bar without too much stress. Once the basics have been mastered on the piste there's easy progression up the mountain with several long easy greens beginning higher up the bowl and served by the Clos du Vallon chair.

Intermediates will enjoy the huge Foret Blanche the most with long blues and reds both above and below the treeline, the latter providing shelter on cold days. The trip over to Vars gives you a feeling of ski touring, but make sure you start heading back before 3pm in order to reach all the last lifts of the day. Popular runs include the Pinitaux Superior which includes moguls and short steeps, whilst the long blue down to Vars Sainte-Marie is an 8km (5mile) long treat.

Experts have more limited choices although there are 10 blacks, the majority (eight) above Vars, which has the steepest skiing on the circuit. There can be good off-piste powder above Risoul to tackle with a guide after snowfalls, and the moderate gradients make it suitable for first-timers.

There are a variety of pistes to suit all levels of skier ability, from Beginner to Expert.

Snowboarding

A good choice for 'boarders who enjoy terrain parks as Risoul is one of the pioneers of park design with one of the best in France. The resort's terrain park is highly regarded and well designed with a wide variety of features for mltiple ability levels. Of the slopes there's a wealth of fun terrain in the trees and powder and Risoul believes that almost half of its visitors are 'boarders.

Location and Map

Where is Risoul?

This ski resort is in the French Alps in La Foret Blanche, Hautes-Alpes.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Risoul is Turin Cuneo, 134 minutes drive away.

Turin Caselle, Chambery, Marseille Provence, Grenoble and Avignon airports are all within three hours drive.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The 26 ski lifts are able to uplift 22,000 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 35km of ski runs, with 25 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Risoul open?

 Opened : 14 December 2019.

Usual opening is mid December, and usual closing is Late April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Risoul, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Risoul Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Risoul

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

The giant snowbowl above Risoul funnels down to a semi-circular bank of buildings which include bars, restaurants and shops. These remain lively all day as skiers and 'boarders stop off for snacks and drinks, and they continue to be the centre of activity after the lifts close and into the evening.

The scene gets busier every year and has been boosted by the boom in snowboarder visits. Current favourites include The Yetti with a variety of Dutch beers and live music at peak times. La Licorne and La Cherine are also popular.

Apart from wining and dining Risoul has a cinema, skating rink and evening snow shoe walks are organised. The two discothèques are Le Morgan's Club and Le Cham Rock.

Risoul