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The neat, unpretentious little resort of VILLARS is linked to Bex, down in the valley, by a quaint Edwardian train, and to Aigle by a rather less romantic postbus. It wins no awards for grace or stylishness, but where it does score (and where it has won awards) is for its family-oriented service. Winter after winter Villars, and its neighbouring community of Gryon, 4km away on the Bex–Villars train line, attract scores of families on skiing breaks, while still remaining virtually unknown to a wider clientele. The skiing around the town is actually pretty good, with the added bonuses of direct lift linkage to Les Diablerets for glacier pistes up to 3000m, and a deal whereby multi-day lift passes are also valid in the Gstaad Super Ski Region a bus ride away.

A gondola rises from the edge of the village up to the Roc d’Orsay (2000m), from where a long blue run delivers you to the hub of the skiing at Bretaye, set in a broad bowl and also served by a rack railway from Villars centre. Gentle red pistes abound, and from Barboleuse a gondola heads up to Les Chaux (1750m), offering a long and rewarding blue run, as well as a red or two and a long steep black down to Sodoleuvre. It’s also easy to work your way over to Les Diablerets, from where lifts serve the Scex Rouge and Diablerets Glacier – although beware that if the snow at Villars and especially Gstaad isn’t that great, everybody heads up to the glacier, which can make things uncomfortably overcrowded.

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