Top Lift: 2720m
Ski area: 88km of piste
Adult lift pass: 277€ for six days
In a Nutshell
A longstanding favourite with locals – and on the brink of being discovered.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
Things are looking good for Les Orres. Created during the 1970s wave of high-altitude construction when concrete was king, the ski village was until recently a huddle of high-rise apartment blocks which was somehow absorbed by the scale and majesty of the surrounding mountains. In fact it’s still barely visible from the valley below, unlike the vast expanse of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. So it’s hardly surprising that while local family skiers spent every spare moment up here, having a great time, the rest of the world passed by oblivious of what it was missing.
What suddenly changes everything is the recent arrival of Bois Méan, a slopeside village at a respectable 1800m (some 150m above the original development). The landscaping and architectural approach reflect the current taste for a return to more traditional timber-and-stone chalet style, and the result is just what the tour operators have been waiting for: plenty of premium self-catering accommodation, backed up by massive investment in new high-speed lifts. And great skiing, of course. Not that we’d write off the 1650 village. There’s no escaping the fact that the internal dimensions of many of the original apartments now relegate them to the budget sector, but the village layout actually functions remarkably well and offers a cocoon-like protection at ground-level from whatever winter might throw at it. It also offers all the services you’ll need and then throws in an auditorium, a large indoor skating rink and free WiFi internet access. The message, then, is clear: Les Orres is looking like it has finally and convincingly come of age.
“This is our ideal resort. It is very low key, very unpretentious, and the ambience on the slopes is very friendly and cool. There aren’t big ego skiers here, which we found the complete opposite of Meribel. It was just fun to go out and ski without being bombed or struggling just to get back down to the main lifts,” said a reader.