Vars 1850 is linked to Risoul and between them they make up the Domaine de la Foret Blanche. This is the largest domain in the Southern French Alps, collectively offering 170km of pistes. Vars is located 25 miles south of Briancon and is composed of four villages, of which only Les Claux is purpose-built. Most accommodation is in apartments and the majority of visitors are French. It hasn't yet found its way into many major brochures, so the crowds are relatively sparse.
Some say it's less attractive than Risoul, but it more than compensates by offering a better range of skiing for all abilities. Beginners and intermediates are suitably provided for, whilst advanced skiers can zip up to several couloirs and some great off-piste. Because most of the skiing is at around 1900m, there can be occasional problems with snow reliability. On the flip side, the sun can shine for up to 320 days a year and there are plenty of tree-line runs. Vars and Risoul share the same problem of the nearest airport lying three and a half hours away. The restaurants and other non-skiing activities are average, but there is some quite lively nightlife at the weekends.
Overall, Vars is a great place to escape the crowds, with queues only a slight possibility even at weekends. And, if tearing down a mountain at over 160km/h appeals, you can always pay to go down Vars' World Cup speed-skiing track.