Visitor reviews for Villard-Reculas Ski Resort
February 08, 2013
Chris Gill from France
A tour of downtown Villard Reculas by Chris Gill editor of Where to Ski and snowboard. 23 January 2013
Wednesday brought cloud and snow to the Alpe d’Huez area, creating the perfect opportunity to explore the minute satellite village of Villard-Reculas in the company of Michael Baldwin, year-round resident and owner-operator of La Source, a 200-year-old stone barn converted into a charming catered chalet.
In the course of touring the densely built village, in the middle of the day, we encountered one pedestrian, three cats and one moving vehicle. If you’re looking for a ski resort that is nothing like a typical ski resort, this place is for you.
The forecast for Thursday is better, and we have the slopes of another satellite, Auris, on the agenda.
Overall: 3.9. Based on 5 votes and 3 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 Villard-Reculas.
Public Transport: 2.8
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Villard-Reculas, (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 Villard-Reculas, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.5
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.2
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Villard-Reculas.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.8
(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 Villard-Reculas, (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) Villard-Reculas is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Villard-Reculas relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 5.0
(1) There are no snow groomers at Villard-Reculas, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Villard-Reculas 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) Villard-Reculas is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 4.8
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Villard-Reculas, 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: 4.2
(1) Villard-Reculas 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: 4.8
(1) The staff at Villard-Reculas are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Villard-Reculas 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: 4.4
(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: 4.8
(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: 5.0
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Villard-Reculas 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 Villard-Reculas, (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: 3.0
(1) Not even a kicker at Villard-Reculas, (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 Villard-Reculas, (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) Villard-Reculas 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: 2.0
(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: 3.4
(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: 4.4
(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): 3.6
(1) Overall, Villard-Reculas 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): 3.8
(1) Overall, Villard-Reculas 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.
February 14, 2012
Judith Phillip from United Kingdom
We have stayed in Villard-Reculas for two consecutive seasons, having enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this unspoilt village and the personal service offered by the private chalet La Source, that we found through Where to Ski and Snowboard. The village of Villard-Reculas is truly unspoilt. It has wonderful views of the mountains and the patchwork quilt of the town of Bourg D'Oisans below. The accommodation is limited to one hotel but there are charming chalets and apartments to be found, all in very traditional mountain style.
The main ski area of Alpe d'Huez is superb, offering skiing for all abilities with its wide range of challenging blacks, reds, blues and greens. La Sarenne is the longest black run in Europe at 17km, coming down from 3330m to 1510m with an excellent restaurant at the bottom. But if something gentler is more your style then you will certainly find it in this resort. Snowboarders are also well catered for with the snowpark in the centre of Alpe d'Huez.
The lifts from Villard-Reculas quickly and efficiently transport you up to the main resort area where you will find fast, comfortable chairs to take you up and over Le Signal. There is now a free ski shuttle bus which operates in season, taking skiers from the chalets to the bottom of the escalator lift, or the drag lift, but if you are staying in Chalet La Source, you will be able to take advantage of their free mini-bus service. Michael will also gladly show you around the ski area and direct you to one of the charming villages on the lower slopes. He will also recommend one of the many excellent restaurants which are to be found on the mountain, or in the villages.
The run back from Le Signal can be made on a variety of runs from the challenging La Foret, a choice of wide reds, or if your legs are tired, on the blue. The snow was excellent throughout the area while we were there this year. In times of poor snowfall, Villard-Reculas and the main resort of Alpe d'Huez can manage to keep their slopes operating through the use of their many snowmaking machines.
If lively apres-ski is your scene, then Villard Reculas is not for you, but if you are looking for a peaceful village, set away from the main resort with excellent skiing, superb views and a charming friendly ambiance then you can do no better than trying Villard-Reculas.
December 14, 2011
Jonathan Poole from United Kingdom
Villard Reculas (Villard-Reculas) is an unspoilt tiny picturesque old village with many original buildings made from local stone and wood scattered on a high shoulder above Bourge. It is a one hour drive from Grenoble, the last few kilometres up a steep hair-pinned alpine road. The setting is beautiful and the view of the mountains and down the ]valley is quite stunning.
The ambiance is local and French with few foreign visitors. Accommodation is mostly in private houses and apartments although there is a small hotel and one catered Chalet run by an enthusiastic English ex pat. There are a couple of bars and restaurants serving simple meals in the village centre as well as the hotel. However there is no 'nightlife' to speak of.
The slopes are Just 150 metres from the village centre which provide a high speed quad chairlift into the main Alpe D'Huez Ski circus as well a number of button lifts serving the beginners area. The village slopes themselves are all above the tree line offering a range of red blue and a few green runs. The run back down into the village from the top of the chairlift is a delightful and normally quiet end to a heavy day in the rest of Alpe D'Huez.. These slopes also offer wonderful off piste skiing in new snow.
The local ski school is run by a young English speaking Frenchman called Alex and only operates in peak season offering private lessons out side these dates.
Much of the accommodation is over 500 metres from the slopes but a free bus service is now available in peak season and the Chalet La Source provides transport for its guests.
Overall Villard is a charming and quiet alternative to the noise and bustle of Alpe D'Huez whilst retaining quick access to one the Alps major ski areas. It must have something as we have returned every year with a mixed assortment of expert intermediates children and even walkers for the last 12 years staying in the La Source chalet.