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Flying to Marseille- which resort?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello,

We’ve booked Monday -Friday flights to Marseille over February half term, everything else was looking really expensive.
Don’t really know the ski resorts within reasonable driving distance from Marseille, we are thinking of Pra Loup but haven’t been there, any ideas what it’s like or any other resorts we should be looking at?

Family of four all reasonably good skiers.

Thank you!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Marseille Ski Club go to Pra Loup. Only been to Pra Loup for a weekend but it is a good mid-sized resort. There was a thread on someone skiing there for a season a few years ago.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A few years ago in Serre Chevalier I skied with a guy from Marseille who drove up there on weekends. Said it was 3-3.5 hours, if that helps...
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Looks like only 20 mins longer drive to Briancon so Serre Che also in reach ( assuming Embrun road stays pretty clear in winter)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Dave of the Marmottes, We think alike! Think SC is the closest big station.
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Interesting, Serre chevalier would be good! Looks like it’s approximately an hours more driving 3.5 as opposed to 2.5 for Pra Loup.

Having never been to either, not sure, what do you think?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Indy, stating the obvious but really does depend on the snow.

Many second homers in Serre Che / Briancon come from down South as we are only 3.5hrs away.

There are many resorts closer to Gap but these are quite low so not so snow sure, though Orcières is around 1,800 - I've never skied there but a mate who I cycle with and is a instructor is Serre says it's really good

Larger resorts are Vars and Risoul and another option as we often go there is the Queyras* where one lift pass covers around 7 resorts - St Veran is the highest commune in Europe and it's so Disneyesque picturesque.

Might be worth looking at when Marseilles region is on half term as if they are not at the same time as you then they will not be so busy.

Then there's Puy St Vincent though then you might as well come to Serre and do a day in Puy.

*and if you're there with a Retour Est then there can be no better place to be!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Aix-Marseille schools are on holiday from 9th-25th February.
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It's an easy drive from Marseilles to Serre Chevalier. We normally fly to Turin for Serre Che but I always check Marseilles flight prices because although a longer drive it's a perfectly viable option. We did it a few years ago in March without any problems and have just booked Marseilles flights again for January. I spent 2 winters in Orcieres-Merlette in the late 80's and loved it. I haven't been back recently and I think it's grown since I was there, but I thought it was a lovely little resort (it did get busy when Aix-Marseille schools were on hols).
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When you fly to Marseile, try one of the resorts in the Alpes Maritimes.
Really nice resorts, and much less time on the road compared to SC. Not to say that SC is not good (it is) but this would just be better time-quality-value.

1) Isola 2000 https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=43366
2) Auron https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59472
3) Pra loup https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59496
3) Limone Piemonte, especially after a retour d'est https://www.onthesnow.com/piemonte/limone-piemonte/reviews.html

The trip reports on alpinforum are fabulous quality. But in german. If you can't read german, paste the url into google translate
https://translate.google.com/?hl=en


https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alpinforum.com%2Fforum%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D43366
https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alpinforum.com%2Fforum%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D59472
https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alpinforum.com%2Fforum%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D59496
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Some random Pra Loup pictures





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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Onnem wrote:
When you fly to Marseile, try one of the resorts in the Alpes Maritimes.
Really nice resorts, and much less time on the road compared to SC. Not to say that SC is not good (it is) but this would just be better time-quality-value.

1) Isola 2000 https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=43366
2) Auron https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59472
3) Pra loup https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59496
3) Limone Piemonte, especially after a retour d'est https://www.onthesnow.com/piemonte/limone-piemonte/reviews.html


or trying buying a map.

Isola is a long, long way from Marseille, the road is prone to traffic jams and the road up to Isola to being blocked in bad weather. Auron is further still and Limone is the other side of a col and about a 4 hour drive on a good day.

Marseille is really very sub optimal for skiing. Plus your hire car will have summer tires, probably a couple of them bald from locals doing doughnuts round the airport carpark.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
^^That's kind of a cheap shot.

We got an Insignia wagon last year in Milan from Europcar with bald summer tires.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Surely @davidof, makes a good point. Marseille would not at all feature on my list of airports convenient for skiing.

And wouldn’t Nice be more or less just as cheap?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@under a new name, it might well be but they've booked Marseille so need to make the best of it. Monday to Friday at half term too
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Superdevoluy isn't far from Marseille (near Gap) but I've no idea what it's like as a ski station. There's a few runs on Mont Ventoux as well... wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hurtle wrote:
Superdevoluy isn't far from Marseille (near Gap) but I've no idea what it's like as a ski station. There's a few runs on Mont Ventoux as well... wink


you have a different concept of near to mine, Superdevoluy is not too far from Grenoble. From Marseille is is a 2.5 hour schlepp when the roads are clear. They should go to the Calanques instead.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@davidof, fair enough. A couple of hours doesn't seem too bad to me.
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I am surprised to see people thinking 3 hours is too far to drive, given that if you take a tour op flight to Geneva it will probably be a three hour transfer to resorts in the Tarentaise, and I would have thought the roads in the Tarentaise would be busier than those in the southern alps at half term.

I have not skied in Serre Chevalier but have driven up to it from the Mediterranean in summer and it is a straightforward drive. Les Orres would be another one to consider. I think you might find Puy St Vincent too limited - I would not rush back there. I haven't been to Vars/Risoul or Pra Loup but I believe they are reasonable size ski areas.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I am surprised to see people thinking 3 hours is too far to drive, given that if you take a tour op flight to Geneva it will probably be a three hour transfer to resorts in the Tarentaise, and I would have thought the roads in the Tarentaise would be busier than those in the southern alps at half term.

I have not skied in Serre Chevalier but have driven up to it from the Mediterranean in summer and it is a straightforward drive. Les Orres would be another one to consider. I think you might find Puy St Vincent too limited - I would not rush back there. I haven't been to Vars/Risoul or Pra Loup but I believe they are reasonable size ski areas.
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A few years back I flew into Marseille when my flight to Lyon was cancelled and I had to reorganise at very short notice something affordable.
We went to Serre Che although not really close it was not that far , the drive was very scenic and there were no high level passes or roads that would be difficult on anything other than very rare occasions.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks so much for all the ideas and suggestions, lots I hadn’t thought of!

Shortlisted down to two resorts now:

1) Risoul
2) Pra Loup

Both 2.5 hour drive and look like nice resorts, having been to neither open to suggestions!

Some interesting thoughts on the drive/Marseille , being half term we had to be a bit creative on flights and the Marseille flights were very reasonable compared with the more ‘usual’ airports. Definitely did look on the map and looks like it’s motorway virtually all the way and looks straight forward, if it works it could be an interesting way of getting to southern alps ski stations..... we’ll see Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Indy, Risoul and Vars, once went there early 90's, good skiing albeit fairly easy I recall, awful architecture at the time.....micght be better now, was early days for Risoul area development I think.
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@Indy, I skied Risoul years ago and could not even attempt to remember what it was like.

Vars on the other hand, whilst I've never skied there, I probably cycle through / drive through ten times a year and I always think how I should go and ski there one day, as the area & lifts looks really good, and then of course the two are linked anyway*, so it's a good call, plus closer than Serre Che etc

*though did have to double check that
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@Indy we skied Pra Loup Easter 2016 which was the first few days of April from memory. Skiing was lovely and perfect for intermediates. Lots of pistes through trees. The link to Foux was closed though, it often is, but there was enough skiing for the 3days we were there. Village was virtually empty as it was the last week of the season. Everything from accom. food etc very decent value. Half term week is lively I hear. A family member skis Vars/Risoul regularly and rates them better and I would be tempted to ski there next time. For info we flew into MRS as well. If the skiing is sh*te head down to Cassis for lunch on your last day. Hope this helps.
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As above, Marseilles is a cr*p choice for skiing.

The nearest semi-decent resort is Risoul and it is ~3hrs away (good traffic).

Pra Loup (Espace Lumiere) is ~3hrs and by far the biggest station within striking distance.

Serre Che is best and 3-4hrs away.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We’ve used Marseille several times and found it very convenient. Nice on the other hand is nightmare for collecting hire cars and traffic. But then we are quite happy to drive from Milan Malpensa to Puy st Vincent. Much rather drive an extra hour and save £100s on the flights.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Did some research on this a few years ago, but never did the trip Sad We were going to stay in Gap and drive to a different resort each day.

The closest resorts are Orcieres and Les Orres, both just under 2h30min from Marseilles airport, Pra loup is a little further at 2h40min. All look very decent to me, both have a 100 kms of piste to play in!

I found the reviews on the website below useful with some beautiful photos, all of the southern Alps resorts are featured.
http://www.mountainpassions.com/winter/category/ski-resort-reviews/
http://www.mountainpassions.com/winter/ski-resort-reviews/alps/ski-orcieres/
http://www.mountainpassions.com/winter/ski-resort-reviews/alps/ski-les-orres/

I've skiied at Serre Chevalier, Auron and Isola 2000 previously and enjoyed them all, but they are all a little further from Marseilles than those suggested above. Good luck!

Quick tip, coach transfers (Les Navettes Blanches) run throughout all the winter months from Marseille airport to all of the major local ski resorts but only from Saturday to Saturday (see below - this years timetable is yet to be published):
https://www.marseille.aeroport.fr/content/download/8720/72080/file/Depliant_Nav_Blanches-2018.pdf
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The southern French Alps are so much more relaxed and lovely than the bastardised northern areas. Most ski areas are lovely. Risoul/ Vars is an absolute gem. Barcelonette great too.
Serge Che, great Mountain but naff lift system.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Le Mont Dore? Anyone ever ski there.....I went on a school trip when I was 14 and vowed i'd go back one day, never have though....yet.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Driving on Monday and Friday will be much better than Saturdays. You'll probably have to pay for an apartment for the whole week but I reckon that's a good scheme for a half term trip at reasonable cost. Rent or buy snow trains and make sure you know how to use them.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Chains!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Aware that the OP probably already made a decision, but since I've done quite a few Marseille-based skiing trips I thought I'd chime in (might be useful for others).
Contrary to what others have said, the drive from Marseille Airport to the mountains is very easy despite the distance, few twists and turns. There's a catch though: chains are rarely available for hire at the airport, so plan on buying some if the forecast is snowy.
As for resorts, there are basically three main areas below the three hour drive mark:

Orcières which is good when there is snow but suffers from being entirely south-facing, not a good thing at these latitudes! Wouldn't be my first choice.

The areas around Barcelonnette, especially Pra Loup: this is one of my favourite resorts, with lovely tree-lined runs (not very steep), easily accessed tree skiing, modern lifts in the main area, and a weather-dependent link to La Foux which opens huge, steeper snowfields with barely a soul outside Marseille school holidays. Only downside is the ugliness of the resort: I would suggest staying in lovely Barcelonnette as shuttles are available taking 20 minutes. Staying in Barcelonnette also gives a chance to try out Le Sauze, 10 min drive away (!), a beautiful area with interesting, unremodelled pistes, but set back by antiquated lifts (you can ski almost the entire resort without using a chairlift).

And Les Orres, which is smaller (just about fine for a week) but highly rated with a wide selection of tree lined and above tree line pistes, and fairly snowsure as it's quite high and North facing. Avoid when Marseille is on holiday / at the weekend after a dump however, as it seems that the whole city is on the hill.

There's also Risoul a bit further but I've never been, as well as plenty of smaller ski hills (Ancelle, Reallon,...) that aren't as snow sure and can't entertain for more than a weekend.

Overall it's a great part of the world to ski in and since Marseille flights are in low demand in the winter it's also easy to put together a late notice trip when the snow looks good!


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 24-12-18 23:54; edited 1 time in total
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Some good info there -- thanks
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Of the resorts mentioned, I've skied Orcieres twice and also Mont Dore twice, both later in the season. Of the, two Orcieres is more fun for a week and should have no real snow problems in February. Mont Dore is bigger for apres but I found the skiing limited as on both occasions links to Super Besse were closed for a few days, once too little snow and once too much!!
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Mont Dore is flipping miles away from Marseille Shocked

Fun little place for a few days though, especially the couloirs when the conditions are right.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Did a weekend in Risoul/Vars a few years ago. Long drive from Nice, but were very impressed with the ski area and would love to go back sometime.
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