Situated on the edge of the Écrins National Park in the French Alps is the ski resort of Pelvoux-Vallouise. This nature lover’s paradise is made up of several hamlets high up in the Vallouise valley, in particular, stretching from 1250 to more than 2300 metres above sea level.
The Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort
The small village of Vallouise-Pelvoux, where the ski resort is located, is situated in the heart of the Écrins National Park, in the Hautes-Alpes department. Specifically, it is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, located in the district of Briançon. This location is perfect for the ski resort, as it is surrounded by the highest peaks of the Ecrins massif, such as the Ailefroide or the Pelvoux.
For a long time it was an important place of worship of Vaudois, a church resulting from the preaching of Vaudès, very popular in neighbouring Italy. At the end of the 15th century, Vallouise experienced the crusade against Vaud at the hands of the inquisitor Albert Cattaneo until the King of France Louis XI put an end to it.
Today, the village is known for its unspoilt mountain scenery as well as the Pelvoux-Valloise ski resort which attracts many winter sports enthusiasts. In addition, the village also has an important architectural heritage to bear witness to its history.
Pelvoux-Vallouise ski slopes
The Pelvoux-Vallouise ski area offers slopes for all levels, from beginners to experienced skiers. The resort offers varied slopes between 1,230 m and 2,240 m altitude with more than 1,000 metres of vertical drop. It has 25 km of marked pistes and 12 hectares of pistes equipped with snow cannons. In total, Pelvoux-Vallouise has 12 pistes: 2 black, 4 red, 4 blue and 2 green.
To access the slopes, a total of 11 ski lifts are available. In particular, there is a state-of-the-art 4-seater detachable chairlift, 5 ski lifts, 1 rope lift and 1 baby lift. In addition, the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort has an illuminated slope for night skiing, a toboggan run, 20 hectares of artificial snow to ensure a safe return to the resort, a snowpark for beginners and a cross-country skiing-biathlon stadium.
The resort also has a beginners’ area located in the lower part of the domain. Here, families can make the most of the snow while learning to ski in a safe environment under the sun. On the other hand, the higher slopes offer beautiful views of the valley and the Puy Saint Vincent ski resort.
Pelvoux-Vallouise Ski Resort Activities
There are so many activities to do at the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort that it’s impossible to get bored. First of all, you can go tobogganing on the secured slope at the front of the resort or in the village of Vallouise, and best of all, both children and adults can enjoy this fun activity! Another option to make the most of the snow is mushing, which consists of sledging on a sled pulled by dogs. Don’t miss it!
For those who don’t dare to slide on skis, or those who want to discover the Écrins National Park in a different way, it is also possible to go on guided snowshoeing excursions. There are several signposted routes throughout the ski resort dedicated to this activity.
The more adventurous can also enjoy a unique activity by cycling through the park —yes, even in the snow! This is possible thanks to the special bicycles with the biggest wheel (FatBikes), which allow you to ride on unstable terrain without any difficulty. Another incredible activity for adrenaline junkies is paragliding. With the help of experienced professionals, you can get the best views of the Parc des Écrins from the air!
When winter permits, it is also possible to climb frozen waterfalls. What’s more, there are beginner’s overhangs in the Écrins National Park area: Pelvoux, Puy Saint Vincent and L’Argentière-La-Bessée. You can learn from scratch or improve your climbing techniques under the guidance of the best professionals.
Finally, it is also possible to ice skate on a natural rink in the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort. When conditions permit, the rink is open every afternoon from 16:00 to 20:00 during the French holiday period. Outside this period, the piste is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It is also possible to bring your own skates or rent them there.
Sustainable development in the Pelvoux-Vallouise resort
As part of the Pays des Écrins group, the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort is part of a new first in France. Last 2021, together with SMITONGA, the municipality of Puy St. Vincent announced the evaluation of the first phase of the food waste collection experience in the ski resorts of the area. During the event, elected officials from SMITOMGA and the Communauté de Communes du Pays des Écrins were present, as well as stakeholders involved in the project, such as the France Location agency, restaurant owners who have joined the project and accommodation owners affected by the experiment.
This was an opportunity to show that local authorities are committed to assisting collective establishments in the management of bio-waste. The aim is to make this mandatory by 1 January 2024, but for businesses to start implementing it as soon as possible. For this, free advice and support is being offered, as explained Anne Chouvet, the president of SMITOMGA.
Therefore, compost bins and organic composters have been installed for accommodation providers, restaurant owners and flat tenants in all communities in the area. In this spirit, the Pays des Écrins Tourist Office is committed to an eco-tourism approach that aims to be exemplary. In fact, they intend to be the first tourist office in France to benefit from the “Esprit Parc” label, developed by the National Parks and awarded to establishments that meet the specifications of an eco-tourist approach.
Also, the Pays des Écrins Tourist Office has also partnered with Citroën to gradually convert its fleet of diesel vehicles to clean electric vehicles. As a result, the whole of the Pays des Écrins territory is committed to sustainable development.
Services of the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort
Learning to ski
In the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort, it is also possible to learn to ski or improve your technique thanks to the ESF (French Ski School). Here, the lessons are divided by age and level, adapting as much as possible to the needs of the students.
First of all, children under 3 years of age can have their first contact with the snow under the guidance of experienced professionals. In addition, there are also group classes (maximum 8 children) or private classes for children between 3 and 6 years old, for two hours or two and a half hours. These children are divided into those who are discovering the snow for the first time, those who are already familiar with the snow and are under 5 years old, and those who are over 5 years old but have never skied before.
For children between 6 and 13 years of age, there is also the possibility of personalised or group lessons. For the latter, there are several options depending on whether you prefer a group of 6 or 10 people. In addition, children over the age of 7 can also sign up for snowboarding lessons, and they don’t need to know how to ski!
For teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16 there are group lessons depending on the level. Lessons are divided between snowflake (able to brake and maintain balance), one star (able to chain turns and glide down low to medium slopes), two star (able to tackle bumps and hollows without losing balance), three star (able to chain basic parallel turns and adapt to varied terrain) and bronze star (able to perform light jumps). Snowboarding lessons are also available.
For adults, there is the possibility of learning to ski in group lessons for beginners or private lessons. Snowboarding and Nordic skiing lessons are also available. Finally, the school also has other offers such as adapted skiing lessons or the off-piste skiing course.
If you don’t have the necessary equipment for skiing in Pelvoux-Vallouise, it is possible to rent it in two different shops. Firstly, the Jacky Sport shop is located at the entrance to the village of Vallouise. There you can rent equipment in winter as well as in summer. During the winter it is possible to rent skis, snowboards, cross-country skis, ski-bikes, monoblocks, telemark skis, baby snow scooters and snowshoes, but also gloves, hats, clothing, equipment and various accessories. During the summer, e-bikes, skis and mountain bikes are available.
In addition, for mountain enthusiasts, they also have harnesses, ice axes, helmets, shoes and ropes. For mountain bike lovers, it is also possible to rent bikes for the whole family, trailers and electric bikes.
On the other hand, there is the King’s Sport shop, which is open all year round. It is located just 300 metres from the shuttle, making it very accessible. Here you can hire all the equipment you need for skiing, climbing and mountaineering. They also specialise in ski touring and have a repair and maintenance workshop.
Where to eat in Pelvoux-Vallouise
If you’re wondering where to stop for a bite to eat after a fun day in the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort, we’ve got good news for you – there are a variety of restaurants nearby for you to enjoy the local cuisine.
Firstly, you can enjoy a nice French meal at Les Rhododendrons while enjoying the sun on their terrace. Their dishes are characterised by being totally traditional and having a unique flavour. In particular, its delicious desserts such as the blueberry tart stand out. In addition, a plus point of the restaurant is that they have a separate area for smokers. As it is a long way up to the restaurant, either by car or by other means, it is also possible to order takeaway food and leave it on the phone to make the most of the time spent skiing. What’s more, the value for money is unbeatable!
Another option in the village is L’Ecrin de Suzette, a quaint restaurant with delicious food. In addition to having very cheap prices, the restaurant is known for its delicious dishes such as grilled scallops with saffron, accompanied by leek fondue in cider and wild rice. Its desserts include the delicious chestnut cake. In addition, their menus vary depending on the season, so you’ll always find new dishes to try.
If you want something closer to the resort, the best option is Les Lauzières Bar at the foot of the slopes. There, you can grab a mid-morning snack, have sandwiches or other fast food, or enjoy the daily specials. In the evening, the place turns into a pizzeria. It is also a self-service restaurant. It’s definitely the best place to be when you want to get back to skiing on the slopes of Pelvoux-Vallouise.
And following the trend of food at the foot of the slopes, there is also the foodtruck Alex’térieur all winter long. Their style is fast food, so they offer burgers and fries, but there are also delicious soups to warm you up or tasty salads. And don’t miss their desserts either, especially their chocolate and coconut biscuits. What’s more, everything is homemade!
And don’t miss the restaurant of the hotel Les Vallois, located right in the centre of the village. There, you can enjoy a delicious menu of the day or à la carte, a vegetarian menu or a children’s menu. Above all, the restaurant stands out for its abundant dishes, no one goes hungry there! Don’t miss their cheese fondue and cold meats. And best of all, if it’s late, they are able to adapt to your needs because the bar is still open and they can cook some dishes exceptionally well.
Finally, located in the centre of the village and with a discreet exterior, is La Table de Nany. Their gastronomy is characterised as classic, as they have dishes that seem simple such as salads, hamburgers or cheese fondue. However, its artistic presentation and combination of flavours make it stand out among the restaurants in the area. Besides, there is no better place in town to enjoy a good French wine.
How to get to the Pelvoux-Vallouise resort
There are three main routes to reach the Pays des Écrins. The first route is from the north, via the A48 motorway to Grenoble, then via the Col du Lautaret (RN 91 road). Then continue via Briançon, in the direction of Gap. Finally, when you reach Saint Martin de Queyrières, you enter the Pays des Écrins.
The second route is via Italy, on the A43 Maurienne motorway through the Fréjus tunnel, then via the Col de Montgenèvre. Then continue via Briançon, in the direction of Gap. When you reach Saint Martin de Queyrières, you will have entered the Pays des Écrins.
The third way is from the south, on the A51 motorway to La Saulce, then towards Briançon on the RN 94 road. When you reach La Roche de Rame, you will have entered the Pays des Écrins.
It is advisable to check the road conditions and traffic conditions, as well as the weather forecast, before setting off on your journey. You can consult the Pays des Écrins website to check the weather and traffic information, which is updated daily.
The Pays des Écrins can also be reached by train via the SNCF website (https://www.sncf-connect.com). The train station serving both the Pelvoux-Vallouise and Puy St. Vincent ski resorts is called “L’Argentière les Écrins”. It is important to specify the full name, as there is another station called “L’Argentière” in Savoie.
There are three direct daily connections from Paris, Marseille and Grenoble to “L’Argentière les Écrins”. To get to Paris from Spain, it is possible to use the high-speed train Paris-Valencia.
First of all, you can get there from Grenoble with VDF, which has regular lines to Briançon. Timetables can be consulted on the VDF website.
It is also possible to get there from Nice, Marseille or Gap with SCAL. From there there are regular lines to Pays des Écrins and Briançon. Timetables can be consulted on the SCAL website.
Finally, the nearest airports are Turin and Marseille. You can hire a car there to reach the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort.
Discover the Pelvoux-Vallouise resort in summer
Although the Pelvoux-Valouise ski resort closes in summer, the natural environment of the Écrins National Park is well worth a visit. In addition, there are plenty of villages to enjoy: l’Argentière-La Bessée, Champcella, Puy Saint Vincent, Freissinières, la Roche-de-Rame, Vallouise-Pelvoux, Saint-Martin-de-Queyrières and Les Vigneaux.
All of them have an important historical and cultural heritage, so it is not surprising that the area is full of museums and churches. You can visit the History Workshop to learn about the origins of the area; the Maison du Parc to discover the natural and architectural heritage of the area through photos, drawings and models; or the Hydroelectric Power Museum, where you can learn how electricity is produced in a power station. You can also visit the Freinet Way or the Fournel Silver Mine if you want to see the natural heritage at first hand.
And don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Écrins National Park, one of the most beautiful French natural parks, during the summer. It is located between the Northern and Southern Alps, in the Écrins massif, which is a vast area of high mountains (150 peaks over 3,000 m and some 10,000 hectares of glaciers). The park can be accessed via Pré de Madame Carle, at the end of Vallouise, to approach the highest point of the massif, La Barre des Écrins (4100 m) or Mont Pelvoux (3932 m).
In the park you will discover amazing fauna: deer, eagles, chamois, marmots and much more. In addition, there is also an abundance of flora. Without a doubt, it is a great place to spend a day in nature. In particular, there are several marked walks that you can do in the park, and they are perfectly signposted so you know if you can do them with your family or even by bike. You can’t leave without discovering natural wonders such as the White Glacier, the Blue Thistles Reserve or the High Altitude Lakes in the Pays des Écrins!
Hotels near Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort
Chalet d’Ailefroide Hotel **
The Chalet d’Ailefroide hotel is located at the gates of the Écrins National Park. You will be welcomed by a warm atmosphere in the magical setting of the park. It has 27 comfortable rooms and two dining rooms, one reserved for half board and the other is its restaurant which serves delicious traditional mountain food. You can also relax after skiing in Pelvoux-Vallouise in the reading room or in the sauna.
Ailefroide is the last village in the valley before the high peaks, nestled on a green plateau and dominated by the rock and ice pyramid of Pelvoux (3946 m). All in all, the natural environment surrounding the hotel is perfect for all mountain lovers, whether you like skiing or hiking and climbing.
Les Vallois Hotel **
Situated at the foot of the Nordic ski slopes and in the heart of the village of Vallouise at an altitude of 1160 m, the Les Vallois hotel is located at the crossroads of several winter and summer hiking trails. The hotel’s restaurant offers the most delicious traditional French cuisine thanks to its wide range of products.
In particular, guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet. The hotel offers 17 rooms for 2 to 5 people, ideal for couples or families. They are all equipped with private bathrooms and televisions and offer breathtaking views of the valley.
Auberge Saint Antonie
The Auberge Saint Antonie is located in the small village of Pelvoux, in the heart of the Écrins National Park. This hostel is characterised by an exotic, warm and authentic welcome, as well as spectacular mountain views. And to make the most of nature after a long day gliding down the slopes of Pelvoux-Vallouise, the hostel has a small flowery garden from which to enjoy the soothing sound of the river.
In addition, half of the rooms were recently renovated in 2021. As a result, many rooms have a terrace to enjoy the mountain views. And let’s not forget the restaurant, which offers delicious homemade dishes based on fresh, local produce. There is also a bar where you can relax with a beer or tapas from the region.
L’Edelweiss Hotel *
The small L’Edelweiss hotel is located in the heart of the Écrins National Park. With only 6 rooms, the hotel dedicates all its winter activity to the ski resorts. In fact, it is not only close to Pelvoux-Vallouise (2 km from the resort), but also close to the Puy St. Vincent ski resort (4 km away). Moreover, this hotel is located right next to the Jacky Sport equipment rental shop.
After skiing in Pelvoux-Vallouise or Puy St. Vincent you can enjoy a hot chocolate by the log fire in the lounge. There are also board games and a library for young and old, an ideal place to relax with the family! There is also a stunning terrace with a beautiful view of the Bonvoisin, as well as a terrace with sun loungers open during the summer season.
Pelvoux-Vallouise resort’s strengths
Numerous services and activities for the whole family
A wide range of activities to suit all tastes.
Located in a beautiful natural area, the Parc National d’Écrins, with numerous routes to enjoy the mountains.
Numerous restaurants and accommodation close to the resort
It is a ski resort with eco-responsible initiatives.