Organising a family ski holiday for 14 people was never going to be easy…
Add into the mix that we are all different level skiers and it becomes even more challenging. Happily, Emma Folkes (erstwhile blogger for MadDogSki) found us a perfect chalet in the resort of Oz-en-Oisans, known to its friends and fans simply as ‘Oz’.
Oz is one of seven villages in the Alpe d’Huez grand ski domain and sits at 1350m. It has its own ski area and lift pass but access to the wider ski domain is super simple; one 15-minute telecabine ride takes you to Les Jeux 2100m above Alpe d’Huez village. From there everyone can easily explore the whole ski area. There is a plethora of easy, wide, open greens from Les Jeux as well as pedestrian access to almost everywhere. In fact, one thing that is really noticeable about the resort is just how easy they have made it for non-skiers to get around and meet skiing friends for lunch.
That said…the skiing is great
For experienced skiers, you can choose a 90 minute 2205m vertical drop route back to Oz, without taking a single lift. Start by checking out the amazing views from Pic Blanc at 3330m. Then the challenge of the infamous ‘Tunnel’ black run, leading to ‘Les Rousses’ red. You finish on the black ‘La Fare’ through the trees into L’Enversin d’Oz at 1125m. If that sounds way too exhausting, you can party at the Folie Douce and make your way back via telecabine or take the last gentle Chevreuils blue to resort.
Oz-en-Oisans at a glance
- Altitude: 1350m – 3330m
- Ski area: 75km Oz/Vaujauny or 250km in the Alpe d’Huez grand domain
- Lift pass price (6 day): €179 Oz/Vaujauny or €275 Alpe d’Huez grand domain. Early online booking discounts available.
- Resort open and close: December to April
- Nearest airports: Grenoble (91km, 1 hour 15), Chambery (110km, 1 hour 40)
- Alpe d’Huez pistes: 100 (42 green, 37 blue, 39 red, 17 black)
- Lifts: 68 (Alpe d’Huez grand domain)
- Snow parks (Alpe d’Huez): 2
- Alpe d’Huez snow cannons: 963
Oz is a small resort with just seven restaurants. It is mainly pedestrianised (you can ski down the main street) and it’s easy to find your way around. There are two lifts from the village and most accommodation is ski in, ski out. We used the ski storage facility in the Ski Tonic Ski Set shop, which was great value and located conveniently next to the Poutran ski lift. Shared lockers (€25 for a two person locker per week) get booked quickly but the reserved ski room (€10 p.p. per week) is warm and dry.
Lots to do
The resort organises lots of free extra activities. We had a tour of the piste basher garage and learnt how these unsung heroes keep the pistes immaculate. We also tried snow-bikes and airboards on the beginner slopes (but missed the game of snow football and night skiing). Some weeks they offer a ski repair workshop and visits to the snow making factory – perfect for the snow geeks among us. Or a visit to a microbrewery which is perfect for everyone else. If you’re unlucky enough to have bad weather days, the tourist office team also organise badminton and table tennis games.
Small and perfectly formed
Oz may be small but that is definitely part of its charm. Parents can relax in a bar watching the kids playing in the snow in the safe pedestrianised streets. Most accommodation is ski in, ski out and if you want big resort skiing, it’s a short lift ride to Alpe d’Huez’s 250km of pistes. Our accommodation was good value compared to bigger resorts and we all loved knowing we could easily meet up at the end of the day in one of the few bars. We felt like locals by the end of the week and all of us would go back again. In summary, it’s pretty much a perfect family resort.
Thank you to Ski Tonic for ski hire on my trip (fabulous skis by the way). Ski Set offer discounts for groups and online booking. If you book online you can choose all your equipment beforehand and simply collect in-store. If you need guidance, one of the friendly team will be on hand.