Les Sybelles came out of nowhere in 2003, when half a dozen unknown resorts were linked by a painfully slow network of drags and old chairlifts to form an apparently impressive ski area (the current claim is 310km). Happily, there is now a sprinkling of fast lifts in key parts of the network. The biggest resorts are La Toussuire (1750m) and Le Corbier (1550m). They're also the least attractive - La Toussuire has spacious chalet-style suburbs, but overall both are functional modern blots on the landscape. St-Sorlin-d'Arves (1600m) and St-Jean-d'Arves (1550m), in contrast, are largely unspoiled, traditional villages that have expanded tastefully; and for our money, St-Sorlin has the best local slopes. But, being on the south side of the area, these latter resorts are less accessible - the bus from the main valley takes an hour to wind around the hill. Les Sybelles is a fair-sized ski area but, according to Christoph Schrahe (read our feature on piste extent), the claim of 310km is one of the most extreme examples of the over-statement we keep banging on about. Schrahe's measurements give a total of 146km, or just 47% of the claimed figure. Having skied around much of the area in a leisurely day last winter, we believe Schrahe's figure. Given the altitudes and latitude, it's slightly strange that virtually all the skiing is on open slopes. There are three main sectors, linked mainly by a spidery network of lifts and runs centred on the low peak of l'Ouillon (2430m). First, a single broad mountainside above Le Corbier, served by a six-pack and a row of slow chairs and drags; this is linked (slowly) over a ridge to a few slopes above St-Jean and via an intervening valley to the second sector, the bowl around La Toussuire. This has an array of four six-packs heading over shady slopes for l'Ouillon, while the sunny side of the bowl is slow-lift territory. And finally, two linked mountains above St-Sorlin, including the area high-point of Les Perrons (2620m); two six-packs depart from the village, and two others make the connection to pivotal l'Ouillon. There is also a rather strange leg stretching down to St-Colomban-des-Villards (1100m) which involves four slow chairs to return to l'Ouillon. The slopes are generally easy-intermediate stuff, and a bit featureless. The St-Sorlin sector has more character and offers more challenge, with some serious reds, the occasional black and abundant varied off-piste terrain. A March visitor this year reports that the linking draglifts on l'Ouillon can build queues. We returned to La Toussuire in 2015 after a long absence. It remains an uninspiring place, the main attraction of which is low prices; but we were comfortably accommodated in a simple but spacious apartment in Lagrange's Ecrins des Sybelles residence; and our March visitor was much impressed by their Hauts de Comborcière.

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