Oisans in winter, 5 activities not to be missed

Oisans is a large area straddling two departments, Isère and Hautes-Alpes. A land of contrasts. In winter, too, it offers a whole range of possibilities in a wide variety of locations, from the large ski area to the small family resort. Here is my top 5 snow activities not to be missed in winter in Oisans.

Learn to ski touring in Oz

Oisans is the kingdom of off-piste par excellence. Starting with the mythical valley of the Meije and the Grave -a world famous freeride spot- or the superb Écrins park. Before embarking on such adventures in ski touring, it is better to start in a more modest way if you haven’t tried it yet! This is how I had a great initiation session in Oz-en-Oisans, where there are several marked routes, with the ESF. At the top of the Alpette, I familiarize myself with the DVA (avalanche victim detector), I learn how to install the skins. And off you go for a nice trip, just under a magnificent rocky bar from which you dominate the entire Enversin valley, facing the Belledonne range. We climb with the strength of the calf – no ski lifts – and then go down either in the powder or by the slopes. Owl !

Trapper evening with snowshoe cani-rando

Here is an activity that I did not know at all: a snowshoe hike where I am towed by a dog. At nightfall, I get to know Barbara and her Siberian huskies. In her pack of 40 dogs, she has decided on the lucky guys who will be out. Lucky ones, because they love it: you just have to see them stamping their feet, getting impatient while we harness ourselves and learn the basics of cani-rando, the baba. of canine psychology. I put on a harness that will be connected to that of Patsy, my partner this evening. I was warned -because everyone chooses his dog according to his character-, she is tonic. But at this point… On the climbs through the forest, I’m going a hell of a lot faster than usual and without any effort! Fresh as a roach, I thus arrive at the gap where Erwin is waiting for us around a large wood fire with the trapper’s meal.

© Charlotte Rochette

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Great skiing on the large Alpe d’Huez area

Among the last born in France since created only at the end of the 80s, Oz-en-Oisans is one of the resorts that make up the Grand Domaine d’Alpe d’Huez, one of the largest in France. I can’t wait to find out. The highest point, the Pic Blanc with its 3,330 m, is also on the lands of Oz. From there, among others, the Sarenne trail. A great moment of skiing, literally and figuratively, since it is the longest run in Europe! And one of my best skiing memories in a long time. Everything is there: the elevation, the decor. Of course, the rest of the area is pleasant: with 250 km of slopes, there is plenty to do.

Resources for traveling

Here are some resources for planning your trip:

  • Find your travel guides on Amazon, at Fnac or on Nostromo
  • To book your hotels, holiday rentals and gîtes, there is of course Booking but I also invite you to discover GreenGo (responsible accommodation in France), Feelingo (sustainable accommodation in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) and Abracadaroom (accommodation unusual in France)
  • Compare the price of car rentals on Rentalcars or Autoeurope. Rent your van/campervan on Yescapa.
  • Compare flights with Skyscanner or Kayaking
  • Compare the price of your journeys by bus, train, ferry and plane with omio
  • Rent your photo equipment at Pixloc instead of buying it
  • Book an activity, tour or skip-the-line ticket with Civitatis Where Get Your Guide and your adventure or sports activity with Manawa.
  • Are you looking for insurance and/or assistance? I personally use the one from Chapka Assurance.
  • Send a quote request to a local English-speaking travel agency
© Lionel Royer

The Yooner on the slopes of Auris

Latest novelty to appear on the slopes, the Yooner. A small machine derived from the paret of yesteryear, this small wooden sledge on a single runner. The Yooner looks a lot like him, except that he has a short modern ski as a skate and that we have our buttocks resting on a tiny seat, about twenty cm from the ground, both hands clinging to an inclined handle forward. And it glides really well! I experienced this at Auris, another of the ski resorts in the Grand Domaine Alpe d’Huez. After the slopes closed, when the last rays of sun caressed the mountain, I found myself on the red Bûcherons slope, at the top of Les Sures. The instructions are given by the two instructors Mathieu and Lucas. One in front, the other at the back of the peloton, they supervise the group of about fifteen people, adults and children. Besides, the kids aren’t the worst at the game, which I quickly took a liking to. Because it’s easy and fun. Turns are taken by opening one arm backwards, and playing the handle. Fairly quickly, I master the machine, manage to go where I want with a fairly clean trajectory. Nice !

The Trott’athlon in Auris

Do you know the fat bike, bikes with big tires, on snow? Well, here is the electric scooter, also in fat, combined with rifle shooting for an original biathlon: the Trott’athlon. A formula that I tried in Auris. Philippe, the friendly manager of ZeTrott, is installed on the edge of the track. He explains to me how his strange contraptions work, electric scooters with big sausages. A few short tours to practice – it’s as easy as anything – and presto, I’m off for a nice tour in the forest, on a signposted route. I was worried it would slip a bit, but no. And on the way back, rifle shooting sequence with quite sophisticated optical sighting models. Like real champions, or almost.

Useful information

Oisans Tourist Office: everything you need to know to organize your stay, from accommodation to various activities. And even see the program “Échappées belles” dedicated to this region in replay!


  • From ski touring in Oz-en-Oisans, with the ESF on marked routes, a first approach to skiing where you forget the ski lifts.
  • Cani-rando on snowshoes snow with trapper evening in Oz-en-Oisans: an original experience, for young and old, with Siberian husky dogs who are friendly as hell.
  • From Yooner in Auris: this small machine accessible to all provides new sensations. Sessions at the closing of the slopes with the ESF.
  • the Trott’athlon in Auris, electric scooters, equipped with super-wide tires, and rifle shooting. But you can just rent scooters for a pleasant ride in the forest on marked routes.

Good addresses

  • Hotel Timberlodge (3*) in Oz-en-Oisans has just been renovated from top to bottom. It benefits from a spa and a large swimming pool. Good meal. And it’s the only real hotel in the resort.
  • Residence Vacancéole (3*) in Auris: brand new, it has just been put into service. The accommodations are really large, comfortable and well equipped. The residence has a spa with swimming pool.
  • Restaurant The Signal 2108 which dominates Alpe d’Huez has undoubtedly the most beautiful view of the resort, breathtaking. With a designer frame. All this is reflected in the prices, not really given, but the cuisine holds up.
  • Restaurant The Dahu refuge in Auris, a good address for traditional dishes in a warm setting at very affordable prices.
  • the Etoile d’Or restaurant in Aurison the Place des Écrins, offers excellent homemade cooking with good value for money.

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Oisans in winter, 5 activities not to be missed