Visitor reviews for Risoul Ski Resort
March 03, 2013
Bruce Jones from United Kingdom
We (2 adults and one 13 yr old) stayed in Risoul the week of 17th Feb 2013. The wait at Turin and transfer was 3 hours, but was well worth it. A great resort for all standard of skier, but mainly beginners and intermediates. Saying that, there's some great safe off-piste with good visibility from the main pistes.
The lift system takes you out of he base of the resort on 4 chair lifts and 2 drags, from where you can ski back down on a choice of blue, red and green runs, or head up again and get away from the main resort and also quicky strike across and down into Vars.
We were told that this week was the busiest French half-term week as well as the UK week, but still the queues were small or non existent after the usual 9am peak. Can't remember queuing for more than 5 minutes on the Risoul side, but did encounter some slightly longer ones in Vars.
The resort is mainly self catering, either in fairly low rise appartment blocks or smaller appartment blocks. We stayed at the Foret Blanche appartments (Sara) which were relatively cheap. Basic but comfortable with great ski lockers. Pretty much ski in-ski out give or take 100m walk to piste. You are pretty much captive once in resort, so the shops are pretty expensive, but you can get a reasonable meal and drinks. The mountain restaurants aren't bad value either, with dishes as low as €8 and great plat du hours at €12-15.
We don't tend to return to resorts often as we've only been skiing a few years, but for a value family holiday I would definitely return.
Overall: 3.7. Based on 11 votes and 18 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Risoul.
Public Transport: 3.4
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Risoul, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Risoul, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.0
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 2.4
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Risoul.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.7
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Risoul, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Risoul is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Risoul relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.9
(1) There are no snow groomers at Risoul, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Risoul are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Risoul is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 3.5
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Risoul, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.1
(1) Risoul usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.8
(1) The staff at Risoul are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Risoul are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.1
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.3
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 3.6
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Risoul has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Risoul, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.9
(1) Not even a kicker at Risoul, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Risoul, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Risoul has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.4
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 2.7
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.7
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.9
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 4.0
(1) Overall, Risoul is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.9
(1) Overall, Risoul is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
November 23, 2012
bill warren from United Kingdom
Although I don't ski anymore [due to a back injury] I continue to take my family there with Crystal Ski. I have skied many resorts over the years inluding Brekonridge Colorado and this is a mini version of that resort with tree line skiing to the door and a link to Vars. Both resorts have an excellent snow record. We will be going January 2013 and again staying at the superb Balcons De Sirious appartments which has its own indoor pool and jacuzzi.
September 29, 2011
Matt from United Kingdom
I've been to Risoul with a group of friends (mixed ability) for the last 2 seasons, and we found that the ski area was fantastic for all of us. There's some good off-piste, the park in neighbouring resort Vars is great, and the setup was also great for beginners. The area is below the tree line which means that it's also really attractive to ski around and it's extensive enough that we never got bored.
The resort village was also great - plenty of services/small supermarkets etc. The bars were cool and there's a nightclub in town that was great fun.
Only drawback is that it's a little bit difficult to get to - but that's probably why its such good value and makes it even better once you're there :)
November 29, 2010
Glyn from United Kingdom
We stayed in Risoul in January 2010 and found it ideal for our mixed ability group. Like many others I was surprised by the extent of the skiing, but as others have said this is not the 3 valleys/Portes du Soleil etc. Sun was shining 4 out of the 6 ski days we had. Recommend you do Vars side in the morning and slopes around Risoul in the afternoon. Some good off-piste if you want it. There are quite a few button lifts around, but these are easily avoided if you want with a bit of planning, it doesn't take long to remember where they are. Saying that none of them are too long or violent, I have been on a lot worse. Stayed in Balcon du Sirius apts where you can step out of the boot room virtually onto the piste that takes you down to the lift area. Apts are nice considering you're in France, and again have stayed in much more basic ones with less amenities. If you are after a resort that is party central, this isn't it, though there is a club in the town and a couple of bars where the boarders tend to hang out. There are plenty of places to eat at quite reasonable prices, but the menus don't vary greatly from each place. Supermarkets are fairly small but will cater for most things if you are self catering. If you drive over stop at a larger supermarche and stock up before you arrive. All in all, the resort suited us, skiing conditions were great, enough variety for our group, nice quiet slopes generally and very few queues on the lift system. Don't be put off by the transfer, it's not as bad as it sounds, once we had dropped people off in Serre Chevalier there were only 7 of us heading to Vars/Risoul. We're heading back in January.
April 26, 2010
Bryan from United Kingdom
Recently returned from Risoul having stayed in Club Hotel Morgan 10th - 17th April 2010. I feared that this was risky, being so late in the season and so far south, but it was cheap so we went for it and were well rewarded. The ski area was bigger that expected and excellently laid out with a choice of 3,4 or more runs from each lift. We had fresh snow three days and there was plently of challenging off-piste to be found. We have skiied in St Anton, Meribel and Les Arcs recently but were not bored or restricted in Risoul. The lift pass is much cheaper and the lift system was fine with no queues.
The Hotel was basic, but the staff helpful and the food fine. We just had to cross the road to the pistes and a choice of 4 lifts up. Yes, it is a long transfer to Risoul but well worth it.
March 26, 2009
Steven from Netherlands
After having skied in some of the main areas in France (Val Thorens, Portes du Soleil, Tignes) we now went for Risoul in the Southern Alps. Although having some doubts on the snow conditions after reading the resort has a record of 300+ sunny days a year, we booked a week for mid March anyway. And what a pleasant surprise it was to see fully snow covered mountains combined with wonderful weather. The skiing area is great. Sure, you mustn’t compare it with Trois Vallees on size or infrastructure and Tignes for the fantastic ski lifts (Risoul has many tow lifts, but if you don’t like them you can easily plan your way around them), but you can have a great week of skiing or boarding. There are more than enough slopes to keep you busy for a week. For people who like to do a bit of jumping and such, this is properly sorted with a bunch of fun/freestyle parks (2 in Risoul, a large one in Vars). Here you’ll find boarder cross and ramps for all levels. If you travel with kids, they will probably have a good time, with a wide variety of facilities provided for the little skiers in both Risoul and Vars.
On the village: if you don’t like large, purpose build apartments, don’t go to Risoul. But then again, you shouldn’t go to France anyway. However, in comparison to other purpose built ski stations, it is just a bit cosier. Night life isn’t all that much, people tend to stay in and make their own noise. If you like to have a quiet stay, you shouldn’t stay in appartements Melezes (very noisy) or Constellation Foret Blanche (we’ve stayed there and it can be quite noisy sometimes) but on the left side of the station, away from the bars at the right side it is quiter. The Sara residences are sufficient, but typically French. So some refurbishment would be nice. We’ve stayed with 4 in a 6 persons appartment, which was ok.
To sum up: we’ve had a great time in Risoul. Great skiing, great weather (the best chance of good weather in the French Alps) and all of that for a very reasonable price. I don’t have to mention again that ski passes are relatively cheap. Also the slopes are kept in very good conditions, not crowdy (even at the key connection lifts) and you can make a nice tour skiing through the trees to Vars and back. Regarding all this, there is a good chance for me to return there (and I usually don’t visit the same resort twice).
November 22, 2008
Matt from British Indian Ocean Territory
I spent my very first season in Vars. It's an awesome place and I love it! I agree with what most people say about Vars but if you are a good skier then you will prefer Vars then Risoul. I have never been to a ski resort where there are so many opportunities to ski off-piste. Every where you look you can ski.
It does have a really bad lift system, but you get over it. Night life is poor but February is mad.
March 31, 2008
kate from United Kingdom
Have been to Risoul 15 times because each year if I suggest a change all my group is in uproar, especially the kids who feel they own it! We have all abilities (beginner to competition, snowboard, telemark, age 3 to 80) and there is always enough to do. This year, the off-piste, through the trees and in the open was just perfect. Because the pistes all end up in one place it's very convenient to arrange to meet up with others who have had lessons, want to ski a different sector etc etc. The s/c accommodation is fairly spacious compared to some resorts, but getting to be in need of some refurbishment. Easy to book online (Sara-residences).
Travelling to Marseille on cheap flights is a bonus, as is the 'navette blanche', the ski shuttle bus from the airport to the southern alps resorts. Look on the Marseille airport website for details. Also, no mountain passes to worry about if there's been a dump of snow. If driving, go south of Grenoble to Gap, it avoids the Col de Lauteret at 2050m (only 1100m or so over the Col de la Croix Haute: look it up on the map and you'll spot the easiest route). About 10 hours from Calais or Zeebrugge.
Very friendly ski schools, unfortunately the ESI with smaller groups has shut this winter but ESF has some fun instructors too. For ski rental 'Skiset' in the Melezes apartments are super value and very friendly too (tell them I said so!!).
Nightlife is low key (I agree about the noise late at night, why do some people insist on shouting in ski resorts?) but enough shops to s/c easily and not too expensive. Lovely butcher in the main street.
I have never queued in Risoul for longer than about 3 minutes (I don't even usually use the 'fast' queue) and the lift system is getting better. In fact, the first 8 man lift in France is now a couple of years old or so. The tows are more gentle on the body than they used to be! Vars is more crowded with no soul to it, in fact, I hate it, but you can quite easily spend a morning in the sun on their slopes without ever going to the village and come back for the better snow in the afternoon to Risoul. Lift pass is CHEAP compared with main areas of France, don't know why someone on this site said it was expensive (I've just paid £63 for the whole area by booking it with the apartment).
Please don't go, you'll take up my space on the slopes! and won't be able to resist going back for the good value.
I've just come back and, apart from Easter Day, had quite a few slopes to myself early morning, early and late afternoon - I mean that literally. How nice to ski down a whole run without seeing another soul! and they look after the snow superbly, know when to bash it and when to leave it alone for a bit of fun.
I've been to plenty of bigger resorts too, but you can't beat Risoul for value and fun skiing.
January 27, 2008
John Harris from United Kingdom
As this was my first skiing holiday I can't compare with other resorts (though I've seen the dead, purpose-built ones) but in general I can confirm most of the points already made:
1) Nice resort with a French feel - great if, like me, you hate being in a kind of 'Little England' abroad.
2) Pistes good for all - I was with a party of 8: 4 of us were complete beginners, the other four expert skiers. As one of the beginners I was carving (is that the term?) easy reds & blues by the end of the week, but the expert skiers had equal challenges with harder reds, blacks and moguls.
3) Excellent for those with children like us: a) all accommodation within walking distance from the pistes and b) all lifts at the bottom are in pretty much the same place, so if both parents and children are in classes, pick ups are easy.
4) Nightlife is limited which is fine by me, though I was still woken up at 02:00 every morning as the doors closed on the "music bar".
Yes, the transfer from Turin is long (3 hrs), but for me this is offset by the only 10-minute drive from my local airport.
I stayed in the Hotel Morgan. Staff service excellent, though for the first 4 days of my stay the food was appalling (though soon rectified following a discussion with the manager).
October 13, 2007
Ronald Oerlemans from Netherlands
I've been to Risoul in January 2005. This is one of my favorite resorts. Almost every apartment or hotel is situated near a slope. You never have to walk a lot. Risoul lies in the southern part of the Alps. Therefore, you can receive a lot of sunshine, but also plenty of snow, due to the high altitude (1850 m). The highest point (2750m) is not something special to ski from but nice for the views. With some wind they close the lift to the top. The connection with Vars is nice and easily accessable. That area is also very nice. Many different types of slopes. Most of the slopes are wide, perfect for carving. The black ones are scarey but if you want to go off-piste you must look for it. On the lower part of Risoul between the trees, you can find some nice trails. The advantage of the fact that Risoul is in the Southern Alpes, is that the tree level is higher. You can find trees until 2100 metres.
The grooming of the slopes was also perfect. Even with new snowfall, the slopes were like a sheet.
Therefore, check out Risoul, you will love to ski here.