Why Isola 2000 Ski Resort?
- Just 90 minutes from Nice
- Guaranteed snow - with slopes up to 2610m
- Plenty of sunshine
Purpose-built in the Southern Alps by a British property company in the late 1960s, and only opened in 1972, this car-free ski area is predominantly modern with some controversial style architecture.
If you’re looking for a touch of the Riviera in the Alps, Isola 2000 - the most southerly major resort in the French Alps and just an hour and a half’s drive from the beaches of the Mediterranean – has that magic combination: guaranteed snow (because of its altitude – the slopes reach 2610m) and sunshine that’s pretty much guaranteed!
Just 90 minutes from Nice – a spectacular drive through the Gorges de la Mescla and the ravines of the Tinée Valley - the resort is some 10 miles from the village of Isola (from which it takes its name) with its 12th-century Roman bell-tower and Baroque parish church. Since it's opening in 1972, the ski resort of Isola 2000 has now spread out - in complete contrast - with new hamlets of more luxurious, wood-clad buildings.
There’s a bus service from both the railway station and airport at Nice, so you could even throw in a stroll along the beach or go sailing in the Med if you fancy a day off from the mountain.
ISOLA 2000 SKI AREA
The skiing is divided into three linked areas: St-Sauveur, Pélevos and Levant, which form a horseshoe around the resort. A gondola takes skiers and boarders from the resort centre to Pélevos at 2320 metres. From here there is also access to the St-Sauveur sector. The three sections of slopes have something to offer all levels of skiers. The St-Sauveur section is best for experts as it has some of Isola's most challenging runs as well as some good off-piste. Intermediates have a great choice of slopes in the Pélevos section and for beginners, the best slopes are in the heart of the resort.
Most of the skiing is above the treeline, and if you’re lucky, on a clear day you might be able to glimpse the Mediterranean. In spite of its southerly location, the resort gets a surprising amount of snow, with the Mediterranean winds dropping moisture as they are forced over the Alpes Maritimes - and the north-facing slopes of St-Sauveur and Pélevos ensure it lingers well into spring.
It is not unusual for Isola to enjoy better snow conditions than its more northerly neighbours, and the resort regularly remains open until May. But it has extensive snowmaking, just in case.
You can also try snowmobiling, ice-skating, ice-driving and even karting on ice. There’s heli-skiing too: accompanied by guides, you can access virgin snowfields on the Italian side of the border.
In fact, you can even arrive in Isola by helicopter: the flight from Nice or Monaco takes a mere 25 minutes. Definitely, some bragging rights if you do!
ISOLA 2000 SKIING
ISOLA 2000 BEGINNERS/INTERMEDIATES
Isola 2000 has slope-side accommodation and a large, sunny nursery area at the base. Most of the skiing in Isola is fairly easy: over half the runs are suitable for novices, with about a third ideal for intermediates.
Pélevous where there are great blue runs for early intermediates. Levant, which can be reached by a chair lift from the resort centre, is host to some great intermediate runs in this sector which can be found below Col de La Lombarde.
ISOLA 2000 EXPERTS
Although half of Isola 2000’s slopes can be used up to an intermediate level, there is also plenty to challenge the more demanding skier or snowboarder.
St-Sauveur has the most challenging slopes, with long cruising runs and some good off-piste opportunities. The black Lou-Mesclun piste is two-and-a-half miles long.
Other black runs include J.M. Morisset, Boumphrey, Super Vallon and Super Sapins. There are some 47 runs altogether totalling 75 miles of pistes, served by 25 lifts. The vertical drop is 770 metres (2526 feet).
ISOLA 2000 SNOWBOARDERS
There is a snowboard fun-park and a “biopark” with natural larch obstacles including a wooden wall and slide bars.
ISOLA 2000 CROSS-COUNTRY
There is only 4km of cross-country skiing trails in Isola 2000.