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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.

Mountain Biking - Vars

Fun riding in varied Alpine terrain. Epic Vars-Embrun 32 km descent.
Small, quiet resort. Freeride biking is limited.


Summit 2580 m

Vertical Drop 930 m

Base 1650 m

Lifts (3)

Cable Cars 1

Chair Lifts 2

MTB Trails

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

Location Map

Practical Information

Opening times

27 June to 30 August

Resort prices

Day pass: 15.00 €, Week pass: 50.20 €

Nearest airport

Turin (3 hours 02 mins)
Grenoble (3 hours 17 mins)
Nice (3 hours 20 mins)

Tourist Office

Office de Tourisme de Vars
Cours Fontanarosa
05560 VARS

Phone: +33 (0)4 92 46 51 31

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Vars MTB Gallery

  • Fast corner in Vars - MTB

    © O.Leblond

  • Backcountry XC mountain biking in Vars, France

    © O.Leblond

  • Railing a berm in the Vars bikepark, France

    © O.Leblond

  • Air time in Vars

    © O.Leblond

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.

The Trails

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...

Vars-Embrun Descent

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.

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