Mountain Biking - Vars
Mountain Biking in Vars
Vars is situated close to the Italian border in the heart of France’s Hautes-Alpes department at an altitude of 1850 m. The surrounding 3000 m mountains provide an epic backdrop to some fantastic cross-country and enduro riding. It’s a popular ski resort in winter, but much quieter in summer. Expect dry trails, clear blue skies and a mild Mediterranean climate.
Summit 2580 m
Vertical Drop 930 m
Base 1650 m
Cable Cars 1
Chair Lifts 2
XC Very Good, beginner to advanced
Downhill Good, beginner to advanced
Enduro Fair, beginner to advanced
Total Riding 111 km (inc. XC)
Bike Park Yes
Bike Wash Yes (2)
Beginner Trails 2
Intermediate Trails 10
Advanced Trails 12
Expert Trails 2
27 June to 30 August
Day pass: 15.00 €, Week pass: 50.20 €
Turin (3 hours 02 mins)
Grenoble (3 hours 17 mins)
Nice (3 hours 20 mins)
Office de Tourisme de Vars
Phone: +33 (0)4 92 46 51 31
Vars MTB Gallery
Vars MTB Videos
The mountain resort of Vars is made up of four villages that are lively in winter but quieter in summer. Vars-les-Claux in the heart of the resort blends the spirit of the old villages with the modern facilities of an established winter resort, and it is here that you can take the Chabrières cable car up to the green and blue trails, the outstanding Taillefer trail, and access the small slopestyle park.
From the village of Sainte-Marie further up the valley, you can take the Sainte-Marie and then the Peyrol chairlifts up to La Mayt. At 2580 m, this is the starting point of the red and black trails, and the epic 32 km descent down to Embrun.
Vars has some superb forest runs like the red ‘Le Forest’, some great natural singletrack that’s well adapted for enduro riding, and some decent rough and ready downhill tracks. The trails certainly aren’t manicured like some resorts and overall Vars has a very natural feel that enduro and all-mountain riders will love.
Vars and the Forêt Blanche resort is for the Southern French Alps a pretty special mountain biking area. Most of the trails have an overall downhill profile which will delight fans of enduro style biking, who, with a bit of effort, will be able to link up all the sections of the resort. Whether you’re riding Sainte-Marie or Claux, the XC and enduro trails are not as technical as some Alpine resorts, but they’re fun and weave through forests and open ground that makes for some great mountain biking.
Don’t miss the 32 km Vars-Embrun descent which isn’t particularly technical but takes you through some stunning countryside and can be ridden by anyone provided they take rest stops along the way. Starting from La Mayt at the top of the Peyrol chairlift, you’ll ride a full 1800 m of vertical drop over a huge variety of terrain. Allow half a day including the shuttle back to Vars.
Les Balcons de Vars
Another good enduro style route is the blue Les Balcons de Vars, which is a high-Alpine traverse with impressive views over the Vars valley. Starting from the top of the Vars-Sainte Marie chairlift, the trail is flowy and peppered with northshore-style bridges.
If you’re looking for more of a buzz, the Taillefer trail ticks the box. It’s the oldest trail in the resort and was built in homage to French mountain biking pioneer, Christian Taillefer. The trail is graded red and has some really fast sections interspersed with technical bits through the forest to spice things up.
Vars also has a nice blue downhill trail and a slopestyle course complete with gaps, jumps and Northshore features. A nice touch to get the competitive juices flowing amongst friends is the stopwatch system on the Taillefer and blue Marmottons trails.