A small resort in the Lake Geneva region, which has earned a reputation as one of the best in Switzerland for families with children, put a lot of effort into making the skiing area as comfortable for all family members. Riding for kids begins right in the center of Villars, at the train station. Two minutes up the stairs from the station and you find yourself in the “kindergarten” in the open air, with three belt and one rope lift and short slopes of different steepness for the smallest. There is also a small route for older beginners and slightly more experienced.
All this is completely free for children and adults, so there is no need to buy a full-fledged ski pass and drag the child up to the main ski area for him to take the first steps on skis or ride sleds. There is also a hire of sleds and equipment for everyone – you can try to get up on skis yourself, and many parents learn to ride along with the little ones here.
Getting on the train at the railway station just below the children’s slope, you can go up to Bretaye (1810 m), in the very center of the Villars ski area. Another way up is the cable car to Roc d’Orsay (2000 m), which starts slightly higher in Villars. In any case, you will need a ski pass, of course. Children under 9 years old ride here for free. The easiest subscription for everyone else includes the ski areas of Villars, Gryon and the neighboring resort of Diabler. In the ski pass, the Glacier 3000 glacier is more expensive, but from Villars the way is not close there and it’s worth taking a separate day for a trip and skiing there – it’s worth it! On a nice sunny day, the glacier offers a great view of the Alps of the canton of Vaud and the panorama of the mountain peaks of the neighboring canton of Valais, and extreme lovers and off-piste lovers will find something to do on the steep northern slopes.
In Bretaye, the ways to Gryon and Diablel come together or begin, most of the “hot spots” of the ski area are located right there – from democratic burger cookies to the famous traditional restaurant in Hotel du Lac. In addition, Bretaye is a meeting place for students and instructors where groups of children and adults gather for training. The ski area of Villard itself is located on three peaks – Grand Сhamossaire (2120 m), Petite Сhamossaire and Chaux Ronde (1987 m). A unique feature of this place is the slopes along which the tracks are laid, covered with fantastic spruce forest. The forest not only pleases the eye when skiing, especially after heavy snowfall, when the slopes resemble some kind of fairy tale from childhood, but also protects from winds and gives a sense of security. It is also important that all the tracks are wide openings in the forest, and even in conditions of poor visibility or snowfall, you can safely ride – you can always see where to go. For lovers of off-piste skiing, the local forest is also great entertainment, especially after snowfalls.
The trails in the region of Villars are mostly red and blue, wide, well marked and prepared. Below are the slopes with lifts for training for children and adults, then chair lifts throw riders on three peaks. Riding the top is almost as pleasant as going down – the views are amazing! For fans of carving and downhill, you can distinguish two red tracks with the Grand Сhamossaire, with almost the same angle of inclination to the very bottom and the track with Chaux Ronde, where the slalom and giant slalom competitions are held among local schools and colleges.
By the way, you or your children can also try their hand at amateur competitions: a fee of 5 francs per attempt, a starting number and your time on the general scoreboard. The organizers give out a bunch of prizes in various categories, no one seems to be leaving this competition without gifts. They pass every Saturday and Sunday. Parallel to the track there is also a snowpark for freestyle lovers.
From Bretaye, follow the blue trail to Griyon. An alternative route goes down there from the top of Chaux Ronde. True, the upper part of this route is a rather steep slope, which is not prepared and is closed for security reasons. But it is labeled as an off-piste route with yellow landmarks.