Activities

Winter activities

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Skiing/Snowboarding

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.

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Ski Schools

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:

Other skiing

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)

Summer activities

There are even more activities to do in summer than there are in winter! Most of them are right on your doorstep or simply require you to take Le Poutran lift to the top. All the main lifts are open in the summer and passes are reasonably priced.

Or you can take a short drive tolakes. glaciers, via ferratas etc.

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Walking

As with any mountain range there is endless walking. The local tourist offices have excellent guide books and maps for the numerous walks, most of which are well signed. For more adventurous treks you can hire a guide and even walk on the 10km2 glacier above Les Deux Alpes onle half an hours drive away.

Mountain Biking

Oz-en-Oisans is a haven for mountain bikers, many of whom just want to go downhill! Rent a bike or bring your own and have a blast playing on the trails all day long.

There are marked trails similar to ski runs that, in July and August, are accessed by the lifts which open for the summer season.

Road Biking

Arguably the sport France is most famous for!

The are is a mecca for road biking with Bourg D’Oisans just 10km away, full of bike shops that all hire and service road or mountain bikes.

There are many famous cols right on your doorstep including the Glandon/Croix de Fer/Lauteret/Galibier/Sarenne/Ornon and the infamous Alpe D’Huez climb. Even the climb up to Oz is 7.7km and 600 metres of ascent – a fair test at the end of the day!

There are also many easier’ road biking routes – more details can be found on the Oz-en-Oisans website and the tourist offices have maps showing many different routes with anything from the ’30km tour of Allemont’  to the infamous 155km La Marmotte…

The  Tour de France regularly visits the area most years.

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Climbing/Via Ferrata

The Oz en Oisans indoor wall is open over summer and there is also a wall in Vaujany. The Alps are the best place for experiencing the sense of freedom you gain from climbing on the rock outdoors! Hire an instructor if you’re a novice and enjoy the wonderful sport. Some of the many crags and cliffs include:

  • The west facing cliffs of Lac Besson (2200m), just above Oz en Oisans, boasts over 150 bolted climbing routes of level 5-6, ranging from 30-120m high
  • There are a huge range of bolted routes at Les Ecrins national park, including La Barre des Ecrins which is a massive 2000m wall graded at a very do-able 5c climbing
  • La Meije is a south facing cliff with more than 20 pitches of bolted 6b routes.
  • There are nice granite slabs at Ailefroide.

There are 5 via ferratas in Oisans. They are Italian origin, meaning a protected climbing route where you are always attached to a steel cable which runs along the route. Pegs, carved steps, ladders and bridges have been provided to make the route something everyone can do of all abilities, normally from about aged 8+. You can rent all the equipment from any local tourist office; it is easy to use and completely safe if used correctly. The staff will show you how to work it.

Other summer activities

Situated in the spruce forest and with spectacular views, in the summer a high ropes activities centre opens up in the heart of Oz: the ‘Kamikaze Parc’ for all ages and abilities. With six circuits, a 300 meter zip-line and a Tarzan jump, fun and adrenaline are guaranteed.
Oz provides an exciting archery course for those who fancy a day slightly less extreme!

If you take yourself down the mountain, there are plenty of relaxing and enjoyable day outs to be had on the lakes, noticeable Le Frey and Lac du Verney right at the base of the Oz en Oisans ascent: jump in a peddle-boat, a canoe, dingy boat, a windsurf or even brave the cold glacier waters by taking a quick swim.

These are just a small taster of some of the many summer activities you can do when basing yourself in Oz en Oisans.