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Nordic skiing, snowshoeing… Vercors, our winter guide

The Vercors massif spans two departments, Drôme to the south and Isère to the north. It offers a string of village resorts cut naturally for Nordic activities. And charming family accommodation. Our guide in the heart of the pre-Alps.

Limestone citadel, the Vercors massif is divided between two departments, Isère and Drôme. Two bordering territories with different and marked cultures that can be read in the landscape of this mountainous plateau dominated by the Grand-Veymont (2341 m), and placed away from the chain of the Alps. From Isère, to the north, the Vercors has kept an alpine aspect. Steep cliffs, bordered by a thick forest, which plunge into the valleys of the Rhône and the Isère. These are the “Four Mountains” which bring together the villages of Villard-de-Lans, Corrençon-en-Vercors, Lans-en-Vercors, Autrans and Méaudre. From the Drôme, to the south, the Vercors has retained a more southern and wild identity where the fauna and flora have been protected from human activities. These are the Hauts Plateaux.

These two facets have made it a popular destination for downhill skiing and favored for Nordic activities (cross-country skiing and snowshoeing), with as many family and sports routes.

Nordic area ofAutrans – Méaudre (Isère)

The Gève plateau, ideal terrain for a family outing. David Boudin

Hidden behind the Molière ridges, which overlook the city of Grenoble, Autrans and Méaudre seem to live away from the hustle and bustle of the world. These two villages, separated by 5 km, have always taken care to keep their authenticity. The common area, which hosted Nordic skiing events during the Grenoble Winter Olympics in 1968, capitalized on this heritage to become a reference in France. The Autrans-Méaudre resort offers 115 km of prepared and marked skating and alternative trails, between plains, ridges and forests. Tobogganing on rail (Autrans) and zip line (Méaudre) activities are also possible.

The cross-country ski trail to do: starting from the plateau of Gève on the heights of Autrans, the “Panoramic” (red; 25 km round trip) offers a view of the whole of the Massif de Belledonne and the Chartreuse – the two other mountain ranges that surround Grenoble — from the Molière plateau. On sunny days, Mont-Blanc is revealed to cross-country skiers.

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The discovery to be made: Nordic or backcountry ski touring is halfway between cross-country skiing and traditional ski touring, practiced in the high mountains. It offers the opportunity to evolve in undeveloped natural spaces, on snow-covered terrain with low and medium slopes and on high plateaus. It is cut for the territory of the Vercors! For beginners, itineraries are offered on the piste map.

Rate : the price of an adult day pass is 10 euros. It is possible to buy a half-day pass (from 2 p.m.) for 7 euros. Website: https://autrans-meaudre.com

Nordic domain of LAns-en-Vercors (Isère)

View of Lans-en-Vercors. The resort offers 35 km of slopes. Pascal Conche

Lans-en-Vercors is, from Grenoble, and with Saint-Nizier, one of the two gateways to the northern part of the Massif du Vercors. It is the crossroads of the Four Mountains. Bordered by the toothless peaks of the Vercors, the village opens onto a wide plain which closes 10 km further on, at Villard-de-Lans. Nordic activities are practiced on the heights of the resort in the heart of the Montagnes de Lans on the Allières plateau where 35 km of trails are traced.

This is where the “Vertige des Cimes” (accessible by ski lift, or pedibus) was installed, a footbridge that overlooks 300 m of empty space. The Aigle Leisure Park, located in the heart of the village, is a space dedicated to beginners and tobogganing. Ice climbing (supervision and equipment provided; information: 06 61 03 58 87; price on request) is also possible within the park.

The cross-country ski trail to do : from the Auberge des Allières, located 1.5 km from the snow stadium in the Lans mountains, the red run (8 km, price on request) navigates between clearings and undergrowth in an alpine setting with a canvas background the Pic Saint-Michel and its 1966 m.

The Nordic area of ​​Lans-en-Vercors, here on the Allières plateau, bordered by the peaks. Vincent Juraszek

The snowshoe hike to do : from the Montagnes de Lans snow stadium, Les Ramées (7 km), in an intimate and wild setting, offers a multitude of viewpoints over the plain of Lans which connects Lans-en-Vercors to Villard- de-Lans.

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Rate : the price of an adult day pass is 8.5 euros.
A map of the snowshoe trails is available on the website. Snowshoe hikes are free. Website: https://www.lansenvercors.com

Nordic domain of Villard-de-Lans / Corrençon-en-Vercors (Isère)

The Nordic area of ​​Haut Vercors, here on the Corrençon side, is the wildest of the massif. In the background on the right, the biathlon launch pad, where Martin Fourcade practiced in particular. Carole Savary

Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors are two villages with well-established identities. Villard-de-Lans and its lively pedestrian streets is the capital of the Quatre Montagnes and the center of attraction of the Vercors. Last village before the Hauts Plateaux, Corrençon-en-Vercors is more discreet. Traced on the northern borders of the Hauts Plateaux, the Nordic Area of ​​Haut Vercors (110 km of slopes) is shared between these two resorts. Of the “Four Mountains”, it remains the wildest and most secret northern domain.
For all kinds of snow sports enthusiasts and families, the Luge Park on the Colline des Bains (accompanied child from 2 years old; prices online), located near the center of Villard-de-Lans, has a garden of children and toboggan runs.

The cross-country ski trail to do: from Corrençon-en-Vercors or Bois Barbus to Villard-de-Lans, the “Royale” (red, 26 km round trip) is one of the routes that will allow you to discover the best of the Vercors, offering a wild raid on the Highlands.

The snowshoe hike to do : the blue run, “Auberge le Clariant” (5.9 km), in Corrençon-en-Vercors, is a family outing in a unique and wild landscape at the foot of the Grande Moucherolle (2284 m), the highest peak of the “Four Mountains”

Rate : the price of an adult day pass is 10 euros for the Haut Vercors Nordic Area. Snowshoe hikes are free. Website: https://www.villarddelans.com

Nordic area of ​​Font d’Urle – Chaud Clapier (Drôme)

This alpine plateau offers 115 km of marked trails, and its gentle geography lends itself to snowshoeing. Cyril Crespeau

Close to the Rhône valley, Font d’Urle is an alpine plateau in the Vercors region of Drôme. In winter, it is a resort shared between alpine skiing and Nordic activities. Located near Vassieux-en-Vercors, a center of the Resistance, the Nordic area offers an area as vast as those of its neighbors in the “Quatre Montagnes” with 130 km of trails traced in alternative style or skating in the century-old forests. . Due to the geography of the massif, the resort is particularly suitable for snowshoeing.

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The cross-country ski trail to do: the “Lièvre Blanc” (black; 16.6 km loop) offers a first discovery of the domain in a typical landscape of the Drôme with a trace that weaves its way through the heart of century-old forests and between clearings that can only be discovered at the last moment.

The snowshoe walk to do: Font d’Urle – Chaud Clapier (3.7 km). This route from Font d’Urle reveals the beauty of the hamlet and is an excellent way for young and old to taste the joys of snowshoeing in complete safety.

Rate : the price of an adult day pass is 9.50 euros. Snowshoe hikes are free. Website.


The Vercors, practical notebook

  • How to get to the Vercors massif?

By train : Valence (Drôme) and Grenoble (Isère) are the two main TGV stations which provide access to the Vercors massif. Count three hours from Paris. Then, on to the bus. Information from the bus station of Grenoble and Valence TGV.

By plane : Grenoble – Saint-Geoirs and Lyon – Saint-Exupéry are the two closest airports to Vercors.

By car : the massif is easily accessible even if the road to climb into the “fortress” is steep. The Vercors has two main entrance gates. One is located north of the Grenoble conurbation at the intersection of the A51, A48 and A41 motorways. The second is located near Valence (Drôme) and is accessible from the A7 and A49 motorways.

  • Prices for Nordic activities in the Vercors: to know

For each area, it is possible to purchase a fee for stays lasting between 2 and 7 days. For any purchase of a 5, 6 and 7-day license on the Nordic areas of the resorts of Villard-de-Lans – Corrençon-en-Vercors, Autrans – Méaudre and Lans-en-Vercors, there is a “4 Mountains” option. which gives access to all of these domains for an additional 10 euros.

https://www.vercors-drome.com/fr/https://www.parc-du-vercors.fr
http://www.accompagnateur-vercors.com

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