In the Queyras PNR (Parc Naturel Regional) you’ll find all the popular winter activities: downhill skiing (ski alpin), Nordic skiing (ski de fond), backcountry skiing (ski de randonnée), snow-shoeing (raquettes) etc… and if you just want to do nothing, to just enjoy the sunshine or go walking, then it’s your choice.
- Downhill (alpine) skiing
- Nordic skiing (cross-country skiing)
- Backcountry skiing* and snow-shoeing
* also called alpine ski touring and ski mountaineering (and “ski de randonnée” by the French)
There are several ways to enjoy the mountains... the most popular is of course...
The Arvieux ski area
This ski area with its 500 m of vertical drop and 15 km of ski runs for all levels (5 green, 1 blue, 5 red and 1 black) makes Arvieux the family ski resort par excellence. No waiting at the lifts, no big boulevards, you ski between the larch trees with a view of the Pic de Rochebrune (3320 m), the highest mountain in Queyras. Arvieux is an ideal ski resort for children to learn to ski.
Abriès-Ristolas ski area
The ski slopes of the Abriès-Ristolas ski area have more than 910 m of vertical drop between top and bottom. There are 1 green, 4 blue, 9 red and 1 black ski runs. The resort also offers 40 km of Nordic skiing trails.
Ceillac ski area
The Ceillac ski area has 12 downhill runs (4 green, 1 blue, 6 red, 1 black) totalling 22 km. At the top you have a magnificent view of the Fontsancte (3385 m) with the snow-covered Lake Ste Anne (2415 m) at its foot. And if you prefer Nordic skiing, you’ll find 36 km of ski trails in the Ceillac valley.
Molines ski area
The Molines ski area has 1,250 m of vertical drop with 15 alpine ski runs facing due south (4 green, 4 blue, 8 red, 1 black). This area is also linked to Saint-Véran pour un total de 29 pistes.for a total of 29 runs. In addition, Molines has more than 30 km of Nordic ski trails and offers a very pleasant stay for its visitors.
Saint-Véran ski area
Saint-Véran, the highest town in Europe, has 14 south-facing ski runs (2 green, 5 blue and 4 red). It is connected to the Molines-en-Queyras ski area. From the top of the ski slopes, at the Grand Serre, there is a beautiful view over into the Aigue Agnel valley.
Ski Schools in the Queyras
For beginners or for skiers who want to improve their technique there are individual or group skiing lessons:
- Ecole de ski Queyrassine
- ESF Molines Saint-Véran
- ESF Haut Guil (Abriès Ristolas)
- ESF Ceillac
- ESF Arvieux
Kindergartens (Jardins d'enfant): secure areas specially designed for teaching children from 3 to 6 years old to ski in complete safety.
Downhill skiers... try cross-country skiing
One day a week, why not put on Nordic skis for a walk in the forest and practise cross-country skiing? Or why not head out with your family for a ski-hike on prepared trails, in totally unspoilt scenery, to the Refuge de la Blanche or the Refuge Agnel , where you can have lunch in a cozy atmosphere. You could even climb to the Col d' Izoard, passing the magnificent Casse Déserte on the way before arriving at the Refuge Napoleon (see Arvieux Nordic ski trail map). Or you could simply ski on the loops in the valley bottom, allowing you to improve you technique – why not even go with a qualified instructor?
The Queyras has the largest Nordic skiing area in the Hautes Alpes. It offers cross-country skiing in all four of its valleys, three of which are linked by prepared trails.
- Vallée des Aigues (Molines-en-Queyras, Saint-Véran)
- Vallée du Haut-Guil (Château-Ville-Vieille, Aiguilles-en-Queyras, Abriès, Ristolas)
- Vallée du Cristillan (Ceillac)
- Vallée de l'Izoard (Arvieux)
Backcountry skiing and snow-shoeing
In the spring, you could go for snowshoe walks or, if you are an experienced skier, backcountry skiing. Both will allow you to discover a different view of the mountains with their vast wide-open spaces under an incomparably blue sky.