Villars Ski Resort
Villars is posh, polished and very Swiss, with its mountain railway, picturesque chalets, elegant restaurants and smart hotels. It's also one of the best family ski resorts close to Geneva, with a ski area that stretches across to Les Diablerets, Gryon and high, snowsure Glacier 3000.
Villars sur Ollon has a long pedigree as a ski resort. It has been one of the classiest places to take a winter holiday for over a century, and traditionalists can still use the old mountain railway to get to the slopes although there are modern lifts as well. The resort has more than its fair share of smart restaurants, luxury hotels, and rich and famous residents who jet in and out at weekends taking advantage of the short transfers from Geneva airport, but there is very little ostentatious glitz and bling. Instead Villars is charming, discreet and very family-oriented with good nursery slopes and child-friendly ski schools.
And you don’t have to be a well-heeled family or jet-set weekender to like the mid-sized ski area that Villars shares with Les Diablerets, Gryon and Bex which includes a snowsure glacier (‘Glacier 3000‘) at the far end. Some of Verbier’s mountain guides bring clients here, knowing that they’ll have the backcountry largely to themselves, and the mountains above Villars form the first 3000m barrier on the north-west side of the Alps that powder-laden snow storms encounter. Challenges on the piste, however, are limited: the long black and red runs coming down from Glacier 3000 to Reusch are the best of a very small bunch. But that does not matter to the novices and relaxed intermediate skiers who come to Villars year after year. They relish the resort’s short, sunny, gentle red and blue runs which are subtly replenished at night with artificial snow (provided it’s cold enough). Only in a warm spring does the ski area contract sharply, and even then there will always be skiing at Glacier 3000, but that’s quite a slog to get to from Villars, so many holidaymakers simply hang up their skis and take up other activities such as walking on prepared mountain paths, tobogganing, skating and swimming in indoor pools. Or they just spend more time at lunch, because the smart restaurants in town are mirrored by ones that are just as good up the mountain.
- Accommodation in Villars and Les Diablerets. Hotels, Guesthouses, Chalets, Self-Catering Apartments… Read more ;>
- How to get to Villars . Nearest Airports and Railway Stations, Airport Transfers… Read more >
- Ski Schools & Guides in Villars. Ski & Snowboard Schools, Off-Piste Mountain Guides, Private Instructors… Read more >
- Discounted ski and board rental in Villars and Les Diablerets:
- SKISET has several ski hire outlets in Villars and will give discounts of up to 50% if you book online in advance here.
- ALPINRESORTS.com also works with shope in Villars, Les Diablerets and Gryon and will arrange discounts of up to 60% if book through this link.
Villars Pros & Cons
+ Excellent restaurants on and off the slopes
+ Beginner-friendly, mid sized ski area
+ Mountain railways add to the appeal
+ Quick and easy to get to from Geneva
+ High snowsure glacier at Glacier 3000
+ Good off-piste with a guide
– Long journey to and from glacier
– Non glacier slopes are not snowsure
– Very few challenging pistes