Risoul is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France. Located in the French Alps between the towns of Briançon and Gap, Risoul’s ski resort is a lovely family friendly and very picturesque resort that is perfect for school ski trips. It partners with neighbour Vars to form the Forêt Blanche ski domain, located between the Queyras and Écrins national parks. And once we arrived we certainly weren’t disappointed – the flight was steady and the views across the alps were stunning. We arrived at the hotel at 8pm and after some much needed food we completed our ski fit and then it was off to bed.
Day 1 – skiing was awesome! The morning session was so hot that we all shed the layers for the afternoon. The ski slopes were quiet and the 3 groups all made great progress. After our evening meal we explored the resort and bedtime was a straight forward affair with lights out and quiet by 10pm! The staff in the hotel are very friendly and accommodating and the students are really enjoying the skiing and the down time – the local Spar is certainly stocking up on pringles and pop!
Day 2 – and the sun was shining as soon as we were uo and having breakfast at 8:30am. The routines are now firmly established and as we cleared our tables with the usual scrap and stack – off we went back up into the mountains. The 3 groups made lots of progress and today the experienced skiers ventured up to the Pointe De Razis at 2550m altitude before dropping down into the neighbouring Vars Les Claux resort. The intermediate group tackled some of the blue routs and continued to work on their parallel turns technique. Meanwhile the beginner group made some amazing progress – leaving the nursery slopes and venturing up to the higher green runs. The sun was very hot and we found that all we needed was a simple base layer and ski jacket. It was a busy day and after tea the group decided not to do the quiz, but escape to the comfort of the rooms – that are beginning to resemble a scene from a battlefield! The corridors were silent within minutes!
Day 3 – the skis this morning were more overcast than usual – but the skiing was fantastic as all the groups went much higher than previous days. By the afternoon all of the groups explored the eastern side of the resort – with groups skiing from the pretty summit of Peyrefolle at 2440m altitude. The clouds began to mass on the horizon and by 3pm the snow started to drift across the slopes – and by tea time the resort was covered by flurries of snow that swirled amongst the tall streets of the resort. With fish and chips for tea – we finished the evening with a movie night. Everyone was now quite tired with 12 hours of slope time under our belts.
Day 4 – the snow came down heavily by the afternoon with huge fluffy flakes swirling amongst the streets and covering everything. The skiing was great and each group managed to get lots of routes done that they hadn’t previously managed. The experienced skiers swooped down the slalom run to the east, whilst the other groups concentrated on the eastern routes. Before tea time we attempted some bum boarding, however, the snow was too thick so it was back to the childhood favourite of snowman making! We went to bed full of anticipation for the morning as the snow continued to fall during the night.
Day 5 – the snow has definitely arrived in Risoul! The snowploughs were busy all morning clearing the streets whilst we headed for the slopes. In some places the snow was so thick that the routes were unskiable! Not that we were put off – bounding down the slopes putting our parallel skills to the test. Lunch today was good old chicken nuggets and then back off to the hills. Curry and bingo tonight!