Hidden deep in the unspoilt Southern Alps, Risoul gives you the chance to sweep across pristine bowls of gleaming snow, and scatter powder behind you while slaloming through twinkling larch trees. Despite its wintery appearance, the resort actually enjoys 300 sunny days a year, and you’ll find that the clouds - which generously layer the slopes with fresh snow overnight - magically melt away before breakfast. It doesn’t matter whether you’re skiing, hiking or mountain biking - getting active below a crisp blue sky, with an ocean of jagged mountains surrounding you, is a truly mesmerising experience.Things to see
Put your skills to the ultimate test, as you ski along breathtaking ridges, with sheer drops on either side. Or, work up your confidence on the more forgiving - but no less scenic - slopes of the Forêt Blanche ski area. The resort's terrain park gives you the chance to dig into your bag of tricks, and wow the crowds by sliding across rails, and landing acrobatic jumps. For something a little different, leave the resort behind, and try a day trip out to Place-Forte de Mont-Dauphin. The UNESCO World Heritage Site sits proudly on top of a rocky island, which juts up from the flat valley floor. Don’t worry if you hear scampering in the bushes, while hiking up to the Medieval fort – it's just the fluffy marmots, who love to come along for the ride. Get your breath back by looking down over a sea of farmers’ fields, and tracing the twisting path of the Le Guil River from above. While you’re away from the ski slopes, make sure you take the 20-minute drive out to Serre-Poncon Lake. Sail across its arms of glowing turquoise water, or sit back and enjoy a picnic on the shore, looking out at the tiny church that sits alone on a tiny pinprick of an island. Hotels in
Sliding windows let light flood into the attractive chalets, apartments and hotels in Risoul, and the pale wood panels, and cherry-red highlights, make these rooms stylish places to spend time. Free WiFi, flat-screen televisions, and effective heaters mean it can be tough to drag yourself out of bed, but the views of thick snow on the slopes - and the highly-stacked breakfast buffet waiting downstairs - will provide more than enough motivation. Luxurious touches - like a cosy sauna, and spitting log fire - complete the charming Alpine experience. Where to stay
After getting your heart pumping out on the slopes of Risoul Ski Station, head back to your hotel, or get into party mode at the Grotte Du La Yetti, where you can drink and dance on the snow. Don’t worry about noise, though - the resort favours low-key celebrations, and you can always retire early for a quiet night, and be fresh for the morning’s crisp snow. The Forêt Blanche Ski Area is actually comprised of 2 linked resorts. Vars is the other option, and its 2 huge terrain parks, and dedicated speed-skiing stadium, mean it's increasingly popular with snowboarders and speed-skiers.How to get to Risoul
There is a small price to be paid for the gorgeous scenery, and quiet pistes of Risoul - it’s quite hard to reach. Nice’s airport is physically closer, but the journey from Marseille Airport is much quicker, as you can motor along the A51 Autoroute in 2.5 hours. The drive from Grenoble Airport will take you about the same amount of time, if the mountain pass is open. Trains also run to Mont Dauphin Gare - changing in Valence from Paris. Transfer services are available from the station.