Oz en Oisans is one of five resorts in the Massif des Grandes Rousses ski area which is ideal as a beginners and intermediates area with plenty of gentle slopes, but for advanced skiers it also plays host to some of the most interesting black runs in the world: Le Tunnel, which takes you through the mountain, and La Sarenne, the longest black run in Europe. It’s also possible to ski a record breaking 2205m of descent from the top of the Pic Blanc all the way back to Oz en Oisans without taking a lift- that’s if you have the legs for it!
The Oz/Vaujany ski area is itself very substantial with 65kms of on-piste, 22 lifts, 12 greens, 13 blues, 12 reds and 3 blacks. But there are two modern and very quick (10 minutes) to connect you with Alpe D’Huez, which hardly ever have queues.
With over 250km of pistes and countless routes off-piste, the Alpe D’Huez ski area provides excellent skiing for all abilities going up to 3,300 metres. The skiing is spectacular with fantastic panoramic views from glaciers & forests, to villages nestling in the valleys below. There are 41 greens, 28 blues, 27 reds and 14 blacks. The area is known quite rightly as ‘l‘île au soleil’ (the island in the sun), because, uniquely, the majority of its slopes are south and south-west facing. The combination of this and its consistently excellent snow base means you won’t want to leave the slopes.
There are a host of ski schools in both Oz en Oisans and Alpe D’Huez. The Oz en Oisans ESF meets at the entrance to Chalet des Neiges. See the following links for more information on ski schools:
- ESF Oz en Oisans www.esf-ozenoisans.com
- Private Instructor Oz en Oisans www.skiaoz.com
- Active Ski School Oz en Oisans www.ski-school-oz.com
If you fancy yourself as more of an advanced skier or mountaineer, La Grave is a short drive and perfect for a day trip; coined as the ski extreme capital of the world its tourist website claims ‘the mountain is a playground for extreme skiers’. Beware: 45 degree couloirs are plentiful – this is only for experts!
Slightly closer and for a more rounded ability group are Les Deux Alpe and Sierre Chevalier, you can ski in both for a day as part of an Alpe D’Huez lift pass and there are regular shuttle buses.
Other winter Activities
It doesn’t stop at snowboarding and skiing, there are a good range of toboggan runs and fun activities to do with the snow- making snowmen, igloos, or having snowball fights! The resort keeps opens a beginners ski slope one night per week, so you can ski or toboggan beneath the stars, often a holidaymaker’s highlight of their week. At special times of year, be sure to watch out for a free fireworks display and lantern parade down the slopes.
If you’re looking for something more thrilling, in 2014 Oz hosted its first Festival of alternative winter sports featuring opportunities to try innovative fun activities including Snakegliss, Zipfy, Yooner, Snowscooting, Ski rider and Airboard.
There’s also the opportunity to do a beginner’s course in Ice Climbing, bookable through the tourist office (340 € for 1 day between 4 adults (12+)).
The wide range of accessible lifts and friendly staff means that a trip to the top of Le Pic Blanc to check out the stunning views is something everyone should do, whether on skis or not. An orientation table helps you to find your bearings and on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc, Grandes Jorasses, Grand Combin, Cervin, Grand Paradis to name but a few. A pedestrian lift pass is cheap.
The beautiful fir trees means Oz has several lovely Alpette walks that you can either do on cross country skis or on snowshoes. Hire a guide (small price, register at tourist office) or go on a group day out and experience virgin snow, peace and quiet whilst looking out for animal tracks and taking a welcomed breath of fresh mountain air in.
Don’t forget to check out the infamous ‘Ice Cave’ at the top of Le Poutran 2 gondola. (See the virtual tour here to whet your appetite: www.grottedeglace.com)