Get away for a short ski or for a fun family holiday in the snow, it says something. Don’t feel like sitting in the car for hours or driving over high mountains? Then keep it close, go to the French Vosges! In Gerardmer, Xonrupt and other ski stations you are in the right place for a few hours or days of fun in the snow, skiing or cross-country skiing. A dog sled ride is also possible.
Just a five-hour drive from Antwerp, just under seven hours from Amsterdam, lies a true winter sports paradise at reasonable prices. The Vosges in eastern France. The largest ski area is around La Bresse. Many day trippers and full tourist buses come here to ski. The Gerardmer ski area is slightly smaller and more relaxed. You will also find ski slopes in Ventron, Valtin and Xonrupt-Longemer.
What can you do in the Vosges in winter?
The six winter sports resorts of the Vosges together offer 90 ski lifts and 120 interconnected slopes. Add to this 100 km of signposted slopes for cross-country skiing and 350 snow cannons to lend a helping hand to nature on time and everyone is very satisfied. The après-ski here may be slightly less spectacular than in Austria, Switzerland or Italy, but it is very pleasant and cozy. If you don’t like skiing, you can also go sledding, snowshoeing, snowboarding or dog sledding. What does a man want more?
If you want to impress the locals, say Gerardmee, because that’s how it’s pronounced over there! In Gerardmer you will find no fewer than 20 slopes at the Domaine de la Mauselaine-Chaume Francis-Grouvelin: 2 black, 7 red, 4 blue and 7 green. And don’t forget a practice area with a drag lift! A total of 40 kilometers of slopes.
Animals on the slopes!
The ski slopes all have names of local animal species: le Renard, le Tétras, la Marmotte, etc. The highest point here is 1400 m. The ski area is located about 2.5 kilometers outside the city center. If you go by car, you can park it in a car park with 1,200 parking spaces. The ski equipment rental center is located at the bottom of the slopes. During weekends and school holidays you can also take a shuttle bus. On Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and during the school holidays, the slopes are illuminated between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., so you can enjoy evening skiing.
Gerardmer is also great for kids. There are special children’s ski lifts, childcare and a children’s ski school. There are also special sledding slopes for them.
Snowboarding and cross-country skiing
Don’t like skiing that much? In Gerardmer you can also snowboard in a specially constructed snow park, cross-country skiing (30 km of slopes connected to those of La Bresse and Xonrupt) and take a rocket walk (Bas-Rupt and La Mauselaine). In the Complexe sportif de loisirs you will find an skating rink of 800 m².
In addition to the classic ski courses, the Ecole de ski français (ESF) also offers more spectacular excursions such as climbing ice waterfalls, snow tunnels, ice ruiseling and snow canyoning. They also give skiing lessons to the disabled. You can also enjoy beautiful views and walk around the frozen and snow-covered Lake Gerardmer.
Two small family domains: Le Poli near Xonrupt with 4 slopes (2 blue and 2 red) and 2 ski lifts and in Retournemer with 1 slope and 1 ski lift. Two sledding areas, a Snow Run. In Gerbépal you can go dog sledding, a unique experience!
Here you will find three ski areas. Les Hautes Navières near Valtin with 3 slopes (green, blue, red), mini-ski, snow park and 1 toboggan run. The Domaine du Col de la Schlucht, and the domaine du Grand Valtin – Vimbar.
Largest ski station in the area, with the result that there are significantly more people than in the other stations. But still not exaggerated. Several Cross-country Skiing World Cups were held here, as well as several European Alpine Skiing Cups. Here you will find three ski areas, connected to La Bresse village by a shuttle bus.
The first ski area can be found in La Bresse-Hohneck, 8 km from the city center. 22 ski lifts and 21 km of slopes (4 green, 11 blue, 11 red and 1 black) over 220 hectares. If necessary, 70% of the domain is snow-covered with no fewer than 220 snow cannons. You can also go evening skiing here. La Bresse is also the largest illuminated ski area in Europe. Skiing at dawn with breakfast is also possible, from 6 am every weekend.
The second ski area is La Bresse-Lispach, also 8 km from the center. Here five ski lifts and 6 slopes (2 green, 2 blue, 1 red and 1 black). Some family slopes at Lake Lispach.
Closer to the center you will find the slopes of La Bresse-Brabant. Three ski lifts and four slopes (1 green, 2 blue and 1 red). There are also some family slopes here.
You can also snowboard in La Bresse in a snow park with a real half-pipe, a quater pipe and a big air. You can go cross-country skiing on the 50 km of slopes of La Bresse-Lispach. Around the lake you have a green piste of 2.5 km and a red piste of 9 km. In the Nordic Park you will find a landscaped course with bumps, pits and jumping opportunities. In Le Montagnard, at the Col de Grosse-Pierre, you can get a biathlon initiation (cross-country skiing and rifle shooting) or participate in the more fun biathlon version with rocket tartiflette. For lovers of rocket walks, there are six marked slopes, covering a total distance of 40 km. Next to the Tourist Office you will find a covered skating rink of 600m² with natural ice.
In the domaine de l’Ermitage du Frère-Joseph you will find eight ski lifts and ten slopes, including one black. Surf and ski jump. There is also a toboggan run here. You can rent equipment on site. If you want to go cross-country skiing, you will also find 28 km of slopes here, 6 km from Ventron, on the Cornimont/Brabant domain.
Modest ski station and first town in the Moselle Valley. There are also two ski areas here. Firstly, the La Bouloie area with three ski lifts and four slopes (green, blue and red). Next to the domain 3 slopes for sledding. Furthermore, the domaine Larcenaire with four ski lifts and 10 hectares with 7 slopes (blue, green and red). Free cross-country skiing trail with three slopes that together provide 21 km of fun. You can also cover about 10 km on rockets.